Monday, September 29, 2008

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech

Pia, a peasant girl and Enzio, her peasant brother, dream of going to live in the Castle Corona across the river and atop a sloping hill. They imagine often that they will go and live there to make their existence with their strict and demanding master more tolerable. Then their lives are interrupted one day when they see the royal guard chasing a thief through the woods, and they discover the treasure that he drops. Uncertain of what to do with the bag they keep it and wonder over its contents.

Meanwhile the royal family lives a luxurious life in their castle, but they are not satisfied with what they have. The king desires naps, softer clothes, and the answers to what has been stolen for his kingdom by a mysterious thief. The Queen desires a place to find serenity, and her very own hermit, Gianni wishes for the words to be a poet, Vito desires adventures, Princess Fabrizia—the tantrum thrower—wants to do something interesting. This full cast of characters is brought together through the actions of a mysterious and elusive thief, but what has been “stolen” brings reveals a secret that very few expected.

I enjoyed this book greatly, partly because the layout is so cool! It looks sort of like an illuminated manuscript on the inside, with pretty curly cues, and pictures, and bold letters. I’ve always loved illuminated manuscripts half because they are awesomely beautiful, and half because they frequently contain Latin. So, I love the quaintness that the style brought to the tale, and made it more fun to read. The writing is wonderful and smooth, and the characters are drawn with wit and humor. The plot is kind of sketchy, and I sometimes was wondering where exactly the story was going, but it fits with the story’s style, though, I kind of wish that the princes and princess had a little more plot line action. I wanted a sequel on account of the fact I felt like their stories didn’t really finish. The book really was about the characters and their little problems, and intrigues. Overall the book really was fun, interesting, and humorous to read.

Sharon Creech is an Newberry awards winning author, and you can find more information about her here:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Ha-freakin'-zaah! I have a three column template! Take that evil code of doom!

Blog will be prettified shortly.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Into Reading

So, I'm starting another reading challenge. Truly, having another cool image on my side bar was a mojor motivator to do this again. I'm a sad creature. Without futher ado here is my fall reading list. Also, if you want to join the fun just click the image on the right, which has a link to Callapidder Days, our host.

Peace Like a River by Leir Enger
Hero of Ages (Mistborn 3!) by Brandon Sanderson
Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack
Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
As Wide as the River by Dean Hughes
Facing the Enemy by Dean Hughes
Dragon's Bane by Barbara Hambly
Life of Pi

Summer Reading Thing

So, I did rather poorly on my Summer Reading Thing.
I read three out of the seven books I listed. (In my defense I read 19 for the Summer Book Trek.) Though, I did read part of Emma and I started the first chapter of Dragon’s Bane. The book I liked the most would have to be Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm because the story line really sparked my imagination, and left me wanting another story. The book I liked least was Emma by Anita Stansfield. I read about fifty pages into the book, and got more and more depressed about how I really wanted to like this book and just didn’t. I know I said before I didn’t like Stansfield’s style much anymore, but this was a so-so book for her. She can write better, but this one truly did read like a screenplay for me.

Didn’t really discover any new authors. I’d never read George Potter or F.E. Adcok, but I’m not going to go out and read everything they’ve written. Still want to read Barbara Hambly, and see if I like her. (I’ll confess, people, I reread Mistborn instead! The new book is coming out next month and I had to reread it! I’m obsessed! I haven’t been so excited for a book to come out since Harry freakin’ Potter!) Still want to read Jannette Rallison’s book; she really is a great author.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So, if you are coming to visit the blog over the next week then forgive the appearance. I'm currently experimenting with trying to figure out how to do a three column template. I'm not very good at code of any type and so a lot of trial and error is required.

Also if you haven't noticed recently posting is scarse, at least more scarse than my lovely three post a week splurge over the summer. I really would love to post more, but I'm working 40 hours a week, as opposed to not working very much during the summer. I'm starting to get back into the blogging thing as I figure out how to work my hobbies around my schedule, but all is not perfectly balanced quite yet.

I'm hoping to get some links up to other places that read, review, and discuss LDS fiction. I'll see if I can find similar places for Y.A., but that is a whole other huge ball park. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen claims to be the greatest thief ever, because he can steal anything. Then Gen messes up a job and gets thrown into the king’s prison to rot. There he stays until the King’s advisor Magus comes to him with a proposition. He wants Gen to steal an object for him in return for his freedom. This object, magically powerful is located in the land of Attolia. What more can Gen do than accept the job?

They travel deep into the kingdom of Attolia to an ancient temple that holds the powerful amulet they are looking for, but those who have entered before have never returned back out. Will Gen suffer the fate of those before him or somehow beat the odds and win the gods favor?

This book was so-so for me. Magus and his apprentices go on a long journey with Gen to find the object he is supposed to steal, and the journey got kind of boring for me, though I always enjoyed the characters. The main character is fun, solid, witty, and has a nice voice. I also really liked the world building, and the myths that the author made up about the world. It is very much a reflection of Greek history and culture, but the author made the setting and stories her own. I really enjoyed her creation myths. They are different from the Greek Myths, but have the same charm. I was really impressed, because they were very intriguing and fun to read. The ending also has a cool surprise twist that I wasn’t expecting at all. I had to go back and look in the book for clues, which was fun. A lot of the action is told in flashback after the fact, which makes it kind of flat. I guess my biggest problem with this book was that I wanted a bit more excitement out of it. I would still recommend it, and I plan on reading the next book because the set up for a sequel was interesting. Plus, I liked the characters, and wonder what happens to the little Prince Sophos.

Author's Site:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Renaissance Beauty Heather Simonsen

Avery Rose takes a trip to Italy with her grandparents after her high school graduation. They wander around Florence and while in the Uffizi Gallery falls in love with a painting of Lucrezia Panciatichi. On returning home from her trip to Italy she enters Relief Society, and starts college. Then the Relief Society president asks her to help Katelyn Jamison, who has become pregnant out of wedlock. Avery finds this assignment a challenge, as she and Katelyn didn’t really walk in the same crowds during high school, but as Avery explores the true meaning of beauty and love she learns to become the person she wants to be.

The beginning of this book was a little hard for me to get through. The writing was a bit choppy and some scenes awkwardly executed. I wasn’t sure that I would want to finish it, but then Avery’s trip to Italy ended and the book started to get more interesting. It was interesting to see Katelyn struggle with the decision to give her baby up for adoption, and to see Avery grow and become a better person despite her weaknesses. It was nice that the book didn’t make the adoption black and white, but treated the situation with the complexity that it deserved. There is also a really cute romance between Avery and her best friend Barclay, who has lived across the street from her. I wasn’t extremely into that part of the book, but I can see a lot of young girls swooning. I really wished the book was more polished, and didn’t like it extremely well. Though, I did end up getting into the story line and caring about the characters.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Book Trek 2008 Wrap-Up

1. How many fiction books by LDS authors did you read?


2. Did you read more than you would have read if you hadn't participated in this book trek?

Well, I read more LDS fiction than I probably would have, but still would have read just as many books.

3. Did the reviews posted by other participants influence which titles you read? How?

No, not really, but I got some ideas for what I want to read next.

4. Did the Whitney awards influence which titles you read? How?

Well, Since Heather Moore got a Whitney award for her land of inheritance series I decided to read the first book.

5. Did the many, many virtual blog tours that happened this summer influence which titles you read? How?

Yes, I read farworld, and Forged in the Refiner's fire for the blog tour.

6. Did you finish all the books you had planned to read? If not, why?

Well, I was going to read Candy Shop War. I read the first chapter and wasn't interested in it and so I replaced it with another book. I probably should have given it more of a chance, but I wasn't in the mood to finish something I wasn't liking right off. So, it got axed from the list. Other than than I finished more books than I thought I would.

7. Did you discover any new authors whom you now love?

I did discover Kimberley Heuston, and I really like her style. I also really enjoyed reading Dave Free's Journey of the Heart.

8. Did you nominate any of the books you read for Whitney awards?

Hmm, I guess I could for a few of them. I'll certainly have to think about it, but maybe I'll wait until the end of the year for that.

9. Would you be interested in another LDS themed reading challenge either this winter, or next summer?

Yes. I would.

Dante's Daughter by Kimberley Heuston

Dante’s Daughter by Kimberley Heuston

Dante Alighieri’s daughter, Antonia, has a life that is full of upheaval and change. Politics forces their family to flee Florence and to split up. She lives with her uncle while her brother, mother, and father find refuge elsewhere. Then her father comes for her so that she can join him on a pilgrimage to Paris. She has to learn to get along with her father, and endure a long and often hard journey.

I enjoyed this book not as much as the Shakeress, but it still kept me intrigued. Once again the book really doesn’t have a clearly defined plot, but kind of wanders along with the character in the way that I kind of like. Though this time I did feel that the wandering did last a little bit too long.

Periods of hardship and darkness are tempered by times of extreme joy and happiness that comes from having a safe place and loved ones near. The book does have an annoying habit of throwing in Italian words without translation. The vocabulary of the book wasn’t as alienating for me because I lived in Italy for 6 weeks and visited Florence and Ravenna (I’ve seen Dante’s tomb! Both of them.) So, I kind of knew the setting and a miniscule amount of Italian. There are some sections of French without translation too. Most of the Latin was translated though, funnily enough, or given context at the very least.
It is a weakness and strength of the book that you kind of have to have a certain amount of background knowledge to fully enjoy it. It also has some vocabulary and concepts that relate to art that could be confusing if you don’t have background knowledge. So, yeah, kind of tough reading for Y.A. I’m sure some kids will be up to it though.
I enjoyed it for the most part, but could understand it not appealing to some people.