Princess Academy: A Book Review

“No wolf falters before the bite
So strike.”
–Shannon Hale
“Look no farther than your hand
Make a choice and take a stand.”
–Shannon Hale

This is a sweet book about a young girl faced with a new environment bent on changing her. It’s a good book, but not really exciting. There are a few scenes when you worry for the girls’ safety, but mostly it’s about the girls at school. I personally was able to put it down and walk away no problem. I certainly didn’t want to abandon it, but I wasn’t dying to see how it would end either.
Miri is a young girl who doesn’t feel she quite fits in her mountain village home. Down in the Lowlands is a prince ready to marry, and the Priests will declare where she is to come from. The entire kingdom, and the province itself, we’re surprised to hear Mount Eskel would produce the next princess. With this announcement, an academy is set up, per the King’s orders, and all girls age 8-16 are forced to attend. Learning to read, write, curtsy, and survive. When trouble comes to Mount Eskel’s academy, only Miri, the outcast, can save them all.
Shannon Hale has won a Newbery Honor award for this novel. It’s a good relaxed reading. I suggest it if you like strange but not overly active or exciting novels. I think it’s a good summer read for under a tree.

Rumors: A Book Review

*Spoilers to first book!!*
“Then he drew her in, folding her small body into his arms, making her forget that there had ever been any other place.” – Anna Gobersen
“Wouldn’t she just let herself in? That’s what I did, and I’m not even related….” – Anna Goberson
“Good girls hold their heads high by daylight,
Their grace and their virtue soaring with kites,
While bad girls slink along in their shame –
Everyone stares at them, everyone blames.
But those bad girls sleep soundly at night
Ne’er do their consciences wake them in a fright,
While our good girls toss and they turn –
They lay awake for those who will burn.
-A Seamstress’s Verses, 1898 (qtd. in Anna Goberson’s – Rumors)
“That was the way love was, she guessed – it left you always unsteady on your feet.” – Anna Goberson

I love the Luxe series. The scandal, the love, the betrayal, the clothes! They’re set at the turn of the 20th century. The lives of three society girls entertwined by friendship, love, and hatred. I loved the first book (Luxe) and this one did not disappoint!
Starting with Will and Elizabeth in California, everything seems great. Back in New York, everyone is mourning Elizabeth’s death, and preparing for the marriage of her once-fiance and once-friend, Penelope and Henry. Once Elizabeth hears of her mother’s fading health from Diana, she rushes back to town and trouble ensues.
The summary is so short because it’s so difficult to summarize without giving away the awesome things! I love this book, and this series! This is a must read for anyone who loves scandal, the turn of the 20th century, or even the Victorian era!

Sunshine: A Book Review

“This was on par with, say, finding out the president of the global council was a [vampire], the moon was made of green cheese, and the sun only rose in the morning because of this complicated system of levers and dials overseen by an encampment of the master race from Antares settled on Mars.” – Robin McKinley
“I was dinner, and when I was finished being dinner, I was dead. But it was like: okay, that’s the way it goes, bad luck, damn.” – Robin McKinley
“It’s pretty amazing what you can not think about.” – Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is one of my absolute favorite authors! I’ve read a few of her books and this one was exquisite! Ms. McKinley weaves a fantastic and unique vampire story in a world at war with the creatures!
Sunshine, or Rae, is just a baker. Get up at 4am, make cinnamon rolls, bake, read books about the Others, bubble bath, sleep, wake, bake. That’s her life and she’s ok with that. Working in the family cafe as the head baker is the life she’s settled happily into with a sweet boyfriend and a kind land lady. One day, to relax, she decides to go out to the old lake house. There hadn’t been trouble down there in years except for the occasional bad spot, so it should’ve been safe. But it wasn’t . Now Sunshine is being held captive by a group of vampires with only a fellow prisoner for company. This fellow prisoner is a vampire too. And let the race begin. Sunshine must escape or die trying, but what about the poor pitiful vampire she’s locked up with? Oh dear, and the plot thickens.
I highly suggest this book to EVERYONE. I got it out of the YA section, but they have it in the adult novels with a different cover. I’m not sure if they changed the story or just the cover, but I suggest either, or both. I love vampire tales, especially ones as unique as this. Thumbs up Ms. McKinley! Keep it up!

Once a Witch: A Book Review

“You’re not going to do anything stupid, are you?”
“You mean intentionally?”
– Carolyn MacCullough
“Do you know what it’s like to grow up knowing that you were meant to be something else, something so very different from all the ordinary filth you see in the in the streets around you?”
-Carolyn MacCullough

Above are a couple of quotes from Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, an amazing first of a two part story. I absolutely love the characters in this novel. They’re so easy to fall in love with and fear for the life of!
Tamsin Greene is our heroine, an un-Talented girl in a family of magic handlers with many Talents. Tamsin was supposed to be powerful, wonderful, a “beacon”, but she has no magic in her. She feels out of place at home but finds sanctuary at a boarding school in the city. That is until a man comes asking for the help of her sister, Rowena. Tamsin, playing the part of her sister to prove her worth, agrees to help this seemingly distraught professor, but the professor is nothing he seems to be and soon Tamsin, the unmagical, un-Talented girl finds herself lost in a a quest to find some unknown object… and herself.
MacCullough does an amazing job bringing these characters to life. She puts a wonderful twist (or eight) into the plot. You’ll never guess what happens next. This is certainly up there on my recommendations. If you like witches, mystery, adventure, sisterly love, family loyalty, and magic with a slight undertone of romance, this is the book for you.