Every horror fan should read "The Birds." It's worth reading this collection for that one story alone. She scared me half to death in only a few pagesEvery horror fan should read "The Birds." It's worth reading this collection for that one story alone. She scared me half to death in only a few pages. The mark of a master....more
Despereaux was born different. He's super-small and his eyes opened right away. And as he grows older, he's decidedly un-mousy in his behavior. In facDespereaux was born different. He's super-small and his eyes opened right away. And as he grows older, he's decidedly un-mousy in his behavior. In fact, he falls in love with Princess Pea. What will he do for her?
I was drawn into this dreamy fairy tale from the first page. I can't say that I fell in love with any of the characters; that doesn't really seem to happen in true fairy tales. But I did fall in love with the book and all the gently-taught lessons it contained.
There are lessons about individuality vs conformity, courage, honorable defiance, love, forgiveness, loyalty, envy, and judgment. And they're all presented so subtly that kids probably won't realize they're learning anything.
There were several quotes I loved that will show you the heart at the center of this story.
"Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform."
"The sound of the king's music made Despereaux's soul grow large and light inside of him."
"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light."
"Reader, do you think it is a terrible thing to hope when there is really no reason to hope at all? Or is it (as the soldier said about happiness) something that you might just as well do, since, in the end, it really makes no difference to anyone but you?"
I loved this little fairy tale with a big heart and recommend it. It would be perfect for parents to read aloud with their children....more
This was amazing. There were parts that were hard to read, but overall, just unbelievable (in a good way). This is another book that I think everyoneThis was amazing. There were parts that were hard to read, but overall, just unbelievable (in a good way). This is another book that I think everyone should read, if only to gain some sort of insight into Middle Eastern culture....more
I would give it more stars if I could. I love the idea of this novel and I'm surprised that such a thought-provoking idea comes in a such a thin packaI would give it more stars if I could. I love the idea of this novel and I'm surprised that such a thought-provoking idea comes in a such a thin package....more
I must have adopted Willie as my spirit animal at a very young age, because when I pulled this book out of a stack that my mom gave me, my husband eveI must have adopted Willie as my spirit animal at a very young age, because when I pulled this book out of a stack that my mom gave me, my husband even said, "Hey, it's a book about you!" I remember similar comments whenever this book surfaced when I was little....more
It's been a while since I read these, but as I looked back over the table of contents, I kept thinking, "Oh, I remember that one! It's so good." ThisIt's been a while since I read these, but as I looked back over the table of contents, I kept thinking, "Oh, I remember that one! It's so good." This is probably my favorite short story collection by L.M. Montgomery....more
You know Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk? He got up to much more than just giant-killing. If I remember correctly, Richard Chase traveled around theYou know Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk? He got up to much more than just giant-killing. If I remember correctly, Richard Chase traveled around the southern Appalachians collecting all the Jack stories that had been passed down in the oral tradition for generations and this is the result. They probably get kind of predictable, but we used to fight over who got to check this out of our school library. This book was a lot of fun....more
Yelena is awaiting execution for the murder of an important official's son when she is dragged out of the dungeon in chains one day. Expecting to be hYelena is awaiting execution for the murder of an important official's son when she is dragged out of the dungeon in chains one day. Expecting to be hanged, she is surprised when she is taken to her country's spymaster and offered the choice between instant death or becoming the Commander's new food taster. As Yelena replies, she is not a fool.
I just loved Yelena. She is so smart, sarcastic, ever-hopeful, and talented in ways that even she doesn't realize. She's the biggest reason I rated this book five stars. So my question is, with all the kick-ass female characters out there for teen girls to read, why is whiny Bella the one that most seem to have latched onto? There's Yelena in this book, Katsa in Graceling, and Katniss in The Hunger Games. I'm sure there are more that I haven't found yet. I want to start hearing about a strong female with a life of her own for a change!
Anyway, I did have two minor complaints. The first was the font in my copy. It was alright, but the f's were too wide or something, so that when they were next to another tall letter, my eye tripped over the word and read a space where there wasn't supposed to be one. I wish I could show you what I actually mean. But this is how it sort of looked:
"Your drink was laced with a poison called Butterf ly's Dust. Mine wasn't. The only way to detect Butterf ly's Dust in a liquid is to gargle it."
The other thing I disliked was Valek's name. Oh, believe me when I say I liked Valek himself and hope that I get to read more about him in the sequel, but that name kills me. I know I'm probably at least a decade older than most readers of this book, but for that decade, my 401(k) stuff has been administered by a group called VALIC. You see my problem? VALIC is boring. I'm struggling a little with the name Valek.
Other than those two things, I loved the rest of the book. I already mentioned Yelena, but the other characters were great, the pacing was just right for me, and the twists the story took were believable and fun to read about.
This book wrapped up pretty nicely on it's own, but there is some set-up for the sequel. I can't wait to get my hands on it! I want to see what happens, of course, but there's just one little hint in this book about some characters we might get to meet in Magic Study, and they sound intriguing, to say the least.
I highly recommend this for a good fast-paced read with a great female character. I will add that I know this is marketed a lot toward young adults, and that's fine, but I personally would hesitate before handing it to a younger teen. There were just a few scenes that I probably wouldn't have minded at that age (let's be honest--I would probably have searched them out!), but, having read the book, I can't picture giving it to my younger cousin until she's about fifteen or so. But I will try to remember to hand it to her when she's that age. It was just so great!...more
How the hell is Martin doing this? No, seriously. Not only is he keeping up with 50 pages' worth of characters without bogging the story down in names, but he has twisted this story in every conceivable direction without turning it back on itself. I keep thinking that I have made my peace with losing characters that I love, but I am enraged every time another gets knocked off. I cheer when a bad guy gets it. I want to reach inside the pages and bitch-slap an awful lot of people. They are asking for it. Trust me.
Watching the series on HBO made me brave enough to pick up this one. Much as I love these, they are monsters. I need some courage to tackle them. Watching the series is giving me a better idea of how good Martin actually is. I am a slow series reader, so I do lose a lot of details between books. Seeing how things from the first book tie directly into the third book, about--oh, 3000 pages later, is amazing. It's also making it hard for me to keep my mouth shut as I watch with my sister and husband. They would never forgive me if I let a spoiler go, but it is so. freaking. hard. Like that spoiler up there. I want to tell them all about it and hash out exactly what happened where.
I really don't want to give away any spoilers, but I am bursting.