First of all, I just have to say that I read this book a few years ago and only now realized that I never reviewed it… Shame on me! Second, I feel compelled to tell you all how much I love the complete/crazy-long title of this book — Princess Ben: Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts — which is a lot! It has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, I think it helps to set the tone for the book. Because this is not your typical princess story!
It is true that Princess Ben (short for Benevolence) has been hidden away in a tower by her overbearing aunt, Queen Sophia, since her parents and her uncle (the king) were assassinated. Queen Sophia has plans to marry Ben off to the first mildly suitable man to present himself, but Ben is not the kind of princess who would be content to wait for a prince to come to her rescue. Thanks to her inquisitive/mischievous nature, she manages to find an enchanted room in the tower and begins to teach herself some magic with the books therein. Not only does this magic give her something to do with all of her “free” time, but it also buys her some freedom and increases the odds that she will be able to save both herself and the kingdom from Queen Sophia.
P.S. If you like this story, I also recommend the sequel — Wisdom’s Kiss: A Thrilling and Romantic Adventure Incorporating Magic, Villainy, and a Cat.
Since I heard last night that Rhode Island legalized gay marriage, I thought a review of a book focused on GLBTQ issues was in order this morning!
Liz was born female, but has always felt male. Being Liz in public and being Gabe inside was very difficult, but Liz started to make the transition to Gabe in 12th grade. Having an understanding best friend helped a lot, but having a family that still used female pronouns and refused to use the name “Gabe” was pretty hard. When the next door neighbor, a fellow music nut named John, found Liz a radio show on a local community radio station, it presented an excellent opportunity for Gabe to come out… But, it also meant that Liz would have to find a way to tell John about Gabe sooner rather than later.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children was not just a radio show. It was Gabe’s chance to introduce himself to the world and to work through his feelings with music. Before long, Gabe had fans — the Ugly Children’s Brigade — who would perform random acts of crazy art in honor of his show. It gave him quite a confidence boost to know that people liked the “real” him. Unfortunately, a casual date with a member of the UCB threatened to ruin everything when the girl recognized Gabe as Liz and spread the word on the UCB fan page. I won’t ruin the ending by telling you exactly how things played out, but I am sure you can guess [based on real life] that Gabe’s life got pretty tough after that.
I loved the realistic portrayal of Liz/Gabe’s struggle, the supportive best friend, and the fantastic “soundtrack” throughout. As a former college radio DJ, I especially appreciated the authentic setting of the run-down community radio station and Gabe’s trials and tribulations while he got used to being on air. I had more than a couple of “been there, done that” moments as I read this book.
So, it appears that people who follow my blog via RSS feed readers got quite the surprise earlier today. I heard from a reader that my work of editing old posts [to consolidate the categories "award winners" and "book awards"] put a whole bunch of posts back through her feed reader even though some of the original posts were years old… Sorry about that! In the future, I will do my best to avoid updating old posts unless absolutely necessary so that y’all don’t have to deal with that again.
Although I don’t generally “do” the whole Twitter thing, I technically have an account through which I [supposedly] follow a few people. One of those people is the amazing John Green and, because I actually read one of my Twitter digests last month, I read this Tweet. Though I hadn’t previously heard about this book, I trusted John Green to know what he was talking about and requested a copy from another library in my system. I absolutely loved it, so I made sure to order a copy for my library AND bumped this book to the top of my “to review” list. FYI, in case you were not aware, I am way better at reading books than following through with reviews, so my “to review” list contains no fewer than 5 books at any given time and often has books that I finished months ago!
You may be wondering, “What was so great about Poison?” How about the fact that it had action, adventure, humor, magic, romance, AND strong female characters all rolled up into a unique fantasy story? Kyra, a potions master, used to be best friends with the princess. Until, that is, she tried to kill her. Since no one seemed to understand that trying to kill the princess was a good thing, she had to run away to avoid being jailed/hanged for the attempted assassination. And, while being the infamous “Princess Killer” made it rather difficult for Kyra to travel through the kingdom unnoticed, her bag of potions and the help of a cute little enchanted pig was enough to give her hope that she could find the princess and finish the job before it was too late…
The only thing I didn’t like about this story, to be honest, was learning that there won’t be a prequel or a sequel [since the author passed away before this book was even published]. I wish I could learn more about Kyra, but I guess it’s better to have loved and lost [a character] than never to have loved at all.
Period 8 is a class like no other. Regardless of how they get along outside of class, everyone is equal in Period 8. The teacher, Mr. Logsdon [a.k.a. Logs], has a lot to do with that. His only rules are that everyone has to be honest and that nothing leaves the room. Students are encouraged to share or discuss anything they wish, but they are also allowed to just listen to the others if they don’t wish to talk. When one of the Period 8 students — Mary “Virgin Mary” Wells — goes missing, everyone is worried. She never misses school, and her dad is known for being insanely strict, so the fact that she went missing AND that her dad waited three days to report her missing has people feeling very unsettled. Paulie Baum [a.k.a "Paulie Bomb"] is acting strangely too. And even though Paulie is known for ALWAYS telling the truth, Logs can tell he is holding something back. Could Paulie know something about Mary’s disappearance? And, if he does, why wouldn’t he say?
If you’re looking for a story that relates to teens’ lives without talking down to them and seamlessly combines everyday situations with a mystery/thriller scenario — while appealing to guys and girls alike, no less! — look no further. This book was everything fans of Chris Crutcher have come to expect with a little extra thrown in — fast paced, lots of action, and so many twists and turns that I honestly couldn’t guess them all before the story’s conclusion.
[NOTE: I get that this was not written to be a tween/teen book, but I think even tweens and teens could benefit from the organizational tips and tricks given. Plus, I know I have adult followers who would totally appreciate hearing about this book!]
When I saw this book on display among the new books of the Parenting section, I swear I heard it call my name! Though I have OCD and clutter has always been able to cause me undue anxiety, my house has never been completely organized. Many of my friends seem to think that it is well organized, and maybe it is pretty good compared to some other houses, but I know there is still a lot of room for improvement. Being a working mom, I rarely have enough time to do more than get by from one week to the next. After all, keeping a house organized while staying on top of the billion or so other things a mom needs to do is not an easy feat! I often say that I practice “subsistence living” — I am not falling behind, but I only seem to get the bare minimum accomplished. I would love to feel like I am actually making headway on the clutter [i.e. getting rid of it] instead of barely getting by, though, so I figured I would read this book and give her methods a try.
The first chapter lays out Reich’s ground rules, and subsequent chapters help you tackle specific areas of the house. I like that you can apply her four-step method and her “Ten Commandments of Organizing” to pretty much any room/organizational challenge. And, while she does talk about children’s areas and children’s stuff, this book could work just as well for people without children if they simply skip the parts that don’t apply. The practical advice paired with a “tough love” attitude made me give it a try… and seeing the end result in my 8-year-old son’s room sealed the deal! He is happy that he has more room to play and that he can find all of his toys, and I’m thrilled that the “place for everything” structure empowers him to clean it all up when he’s done. Almost one week later, his room still looks like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens.
I absolutely love this book! So much, in fact, that I just ordered a copy of my own — to reference in the future and maybe even to lend to friends/family who want to check it out.
Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad, have shared in many adventures with their cousin, Elizabeth, and their friend, Henry. On one such adventure, they discovered the the Dark Library — filled with ancient books about dark magic and alchemy. When their father found out, he forbade them from entering the library again. After Konrad fell ill with an unidentified malady that the doctors’ treatments and medicines could not cure, nevertheless, Victor decided to seek an ancient remedy in the books of the Dark Library. Full of action, adventure, and mystery, this back-story to Shelley’s Frankenstein is a gothic thriller that will probably even appeal to reluctant readers.