Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is the story of many things. It's a story of the Holocaust, friendship, love, acceptance, and hardship all told by Death itself. Leisel has come to stay with the Hubermanns, an older couple looking for an addition to their family. Origianlly Leisel and her brother were to become the Hubermann's foster children, but on their journey to their new home Leisel's brother dies on the train. Distraught over the loss of her brother she is woken every night by horrific nightmares, but Hans Hubermann (aka Papa) is always there to comfort her. Papa even teaches Leisel how to read and write. They soon forge a bond together that becomes so strong that Leisel can't imagine her life without him. Once Leisel learns to read she is addicted to words and soon gets addicted to stealing books. They come from an assorted number of places, including the Mayor's house. Over the years at the Hubermann's house Leisel befriends a Jew, her next door neighbor, and grows into a wonderful person. Will the war tear her beloved family apart?

This is a brilliant book. I can't believe it took me two years to finally get around to reading it. I know my summary was a little short, but if I wrote much more I would be giving away too much of this wonderful story. Markus Zusak is a truly talented author. The words just flowed from one page to the next and the story was amazing. When I think what it would have been like to be in Leisel's position I shudder. I can't believe one not being able to read and two to have to live through such secrecy and fear as she did everyday. The book truly came alive for me which I found amazing. The events that were talked about were so real and made me cry. While I know that Leisel was not a real girl, I know that there most likely was a girl just like Leisel in real life. She probably lived with all the same hardships during the Holocaust that Leisel did. I also loved how the whole story was narrated by Death. It made me look at the situation via a whole new angle. All in all this was an outstanding book and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good book. While it may look thick it won't take long to read as the story sucks you in!

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian

All Ruby plans on doing for her sixteenth birthday is indulge in ice cream cake, take pictures with her new vintage Polaroid camera, and hang out with her three good friends. There's Beth, who's been her loyal best friend for years, Maria who is full of advice on boys, and Katherine, who Ruby is not so sure about. Everything is going great until Ruby's father, who walked out on her and her mom six years ago, shows up with a cheap bouquet of carnations wanting to talk. Ruby doesn't know how to handle the situation and ends up running off to party with her friends. The next day thoughts of her father flood her brain and she starts wondering why he might of come. Over the next couple days Beth tries to lighten Ruby's mood hoping that Ruby won't start to slip like she did when her dad first left. Ruby seems to be okay, especially when she meets Charlie. Charlie is the first guy that's ever really been into her, but she's having some trust issues that relate back to her dad. When Ruby discovers that Beth has been keeping a secret from her she immediately starts to question the honesty of her friend. With Charlie's help Ruby discovers that it's okay to make decisions on her own and she doesn't always need her friends' say in the matter. Will Ruby make things work with Charlie? Will her friendship with Beth be in jeopardy?

I'm not really sure there are words to describe how utterly awesome and jaw dropping this book was. I had heard so many good things about it that I had really high expectations for it. It exceeded every one of these expectation with flying colors! The story was honest and raw and just plain refreshing. Ruby's character was awesome. I truly felt like I could connect with her and I could relate to what she was going through. I've never had a parent leave or anything, but I do understand all of her problems with her friends. When the book was over I was so sad, because I didn't want it to end, it was just that good. I also loved Ruby's fascination with photography. I love how she captured different aspects of her world through Polaroids. That one wacky characteristic got to me and really made me realize how much I love taking pictures and capturing my world in a certain moment. One last thing I really liked was the humor. While it wasn't always "ha ha" funny there was this feeling I got while reading it that made a smile spread across my whole face. All in all this book was unspeakably good and a phenomenal first novel by Siobhan Vivian. I highly recommend you go buy it because you will want to read it over and over again, I know I certainly will!!

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Julie is just like any other twelve year old girl. She doesn't seem to quite fit in at school, she doesn't get along with her mom, and o, she's Rapunzel's daughter! You know, the Rapunzel with the long golden hair that lives "happily ever after." This makes Julie feel even more of an outcast because of all the secrets she has to keep for her family. The biggest secret being that "The Wild", where all the fairy tale creatures live, is living under her bed. She knows that she always have to be extra careful not to let "The Wild" escape or else once again try to take over the world and recapture the fairy tale creatures who escaped. When someone makes a wish in the wishing well at Julie's Grandma's motel to release "The Wild", Julie's life is turned upside down. Before she even has a chance to do anything her mother and grandma have both been taken up by "The Wild" and Julie is left alone. Julie knows that she must rescue her mother and grandma and head off into "The Wild" accompanied by her brother Puss-in-Boots (yes, he's a cat). As she traipses through "The Wild" she is pulled into multiple stories and even starts to forge her own. While some people think that "The Wild" is all about happily ever afters, Julie is quick to realize that it has alternative motives. Will Julie be able to rescue her Mom and Grandma or will "The Wild" turn her into just another story?

I had heard so many good things about this book that I was just dying to read it. Also it's the ultimate fairy tale, and I adore fairy tales, so yet another reason it was in my "to read" pile. Wow! Why, o why, did I wait so long to read this book? It was fantastic, no phenomenal, just all around great. I got sucked into Julie's story by the end of the first sentence and couldn't tear myself away from the story. I loved how the author took a bunch of fairy tales and pulled them into the story and made them so exciting. I was so envious of Julie through the whole book that she got to go on this amazing adventure with fairy tale creatures and I didn't. The whole story just felt so real and I just couldn't get enough of it. For anyone who loves fairy tales this is a must read, or if you're just looking for an amazing book to read, run to your library or bookstore and pick up a copy of Into the Wild. You will not be disappointed in the least. Truly there aren't many words to describe this book, but I managed to find a few! Also the sequel, Out of the Wild, hits stores June 19, and you know I will be first in line to go get a copy!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Kezi is subject to die as a sacrifice to Admat, her people's god. It doesn't seem that there is anyway out of this unfortunate situation until Kezi meets Olus. Olus is the Akkan god of the winds who has watched Kezi from the fields and has somewhat fallen in love with her. Olus and Kezi immediately hit it off when they finally meet and Olus convinces Kezi to embark with him on a journey back to Akka. Along their journey the duo is faced by many perilous quests, both alone and together, that will test their love for each other and their beliefs. Kezi soon begins to question the validity of Admat and is desperate to fulfill her missions in order for her to stay with Olus. If either of them fails their mission then they will be torn apart and Kezi will make the ultimate sacrifice. If they succeed though, the rewards are endless. Will Kezi and Olus succeed? Will their love survive?

I must first start by saying that I had very high expectations for this book as it is written by the fabulous Gail Carson Levine. Ever meet every one of those expectations and even a few more. It was truly an amazing book. The story was brilliant and I devoured it in one night. I truly felt that I was picked up by one of Olus' powerful winds and transported to Kezi's side. I could vividly picture everything that was going on and couldn't put the book down. Questions swirled through my mind and I was always anxious to hear if Kezi and Olus would be successful. One thing I thought was really interesting was Kezi's doubt in Admat. I don't know why this intrigued me so much, but I found it so intriguing that someone who used to be so faithful could ever have so much doubt in the one person they believed in. Also, don't you love the cover? I think it's awesome. All in all this was a fabulous book and one of Gail Carson Levine's better books. I recommend this book to anyone looking to curl up under the covers with a good fairy tale. It comes out on May 6, so keep your eyes open for it!

The Mystery of Martello Tower by Jennifer Lanthier

Hazel and Ned are in for the summer of their lives. Just days after their return from boarding school their father disappears without a trace. If that wasn't enough to send the kids into a fury they soon find out that two people in particular, Richard C. Plevit and Clive Pritchard, have been harassing their good-friend and babysitter Frankie. When Frankie is asked to go to New York she knows she can't refuse because if she does she will surely lose her job. Hours after Frankie leaves Hazel and Ned walk into their father's study to find it devoid of everything. They instantly know its been burglarized and they lock themselves in Frankie's apartment to brainstorm ways in which all the mysterious events are connected and who's behind them. After a couple of days it becomes evident to Hazel and Ned who is behind all of their trouble. It's none other than the mysterious thugs Richard C. Plevit and Clive Pritchard. In an attempt to escape these nasty thugs Hazel tells Ned about an email she found on her father's computer from a family member. This comes as a shock to Ned as their father has always told them they have no family. Ned, being the genius he is, finds the number to these long lost relatives. Before they know it the siblings are on their way to an isolated, but charming island to meet their long-lost relatives. Here they are greeted by their four cousins and are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief as it seems they have finally been able to get rid of the thugs on their tail. Their moment of relief soon comes to an abrupt end when the kids catch sight of Clive Pritchard. Hazel and Ned clue their cousins in on their situation and all six cousins band together to help solve the mystery. While figuring out this mystery many secrets of Hazel and Ned's past are uncovered, including those that involve their mother's death. Will the siblings be able to figure out why these mysterious people have been following them?

Wow! This book was great. I am always up for a good mystery and this book definitely satisfied my appetite. From the moment I cracked the spine of the book I was pulled into the mystery surrounding Hazel and Ned. The author had the right mix of suspense and adventure to make this book great. I also loved how there were a couple different mysteries surrounding the siblings throughout the book. This made the book move really fast and never left the reader bored, which I think is really important. I was always on the edge of my seat intrigued as to what was happening and questioning what could possibly happen next. The characters in the book were so real. I felt like I instantly connected with Hazel and felt her fear, excitement, and sorrow right along with her. I am anxiously anticipating more books by Jennifer Lanthier and finding out if Hazel and Ned make a habit out of sleuthing. Any fan of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, or just plain mysteries, will love The Mystery of the Martello Tower. Look out for this book on May 13, 2008!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Frenemies by Alexa Young

Avalon and Halley have always been the ultimate best friends. They live right behind each other, they share their beloved puppy Pucci, and this year they even get to co-host a fashion blog for their school's newspaper. At the beginning of eighth grade Avalon decides to throw a huge party in honor of the girls' friendship. Halley's not that keen but, for the sake of her friend, she goes along with it. Things start to go down hill from there. The girls can't seem to agree on anything, be it fashion advice or who to hang out with. Soon the jabs between the girls become lethal and full out war is declared between them. Avalon's even gone as far as to draw up an agreement between them as to who gets custody of Pucci, who gets which friends, and who's in charge of the blog. As the weeks go by the girls develop new friendships and keep on fighting with each other. Even their blog posts start turning into malicious jabs at each other. As to their party Avalon seems to have taken over the whole thing, but Halley still feels that since her name is attached to the invitation she should have some say in what goes on at the party. Will the party be a big bang or bust? Will the girls ever get over their differences and become besties once again?

I'm not sure I quite loved this book. By no means was the book bad for me there just wasn't that extra something that made the book sparkle. Still, there were many parts that I loved about it. For one, I thought the book was hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud many times. The comments that Avalon and Halley made to each other were the best. At times I felt like shouting "burn" and then laughing some more! After contemplating the whole book I think the reason it didn't sparkle for me was that it was geared more toward a younger audience. If I was a little younger I don't think I would have found some of the things that Halley and Avalon fought over so petty. For fans of the Clique books I would definitely recommend Frenemies as I think you would really like it. The book finishes with many questions still left unanswered, but don't fret they will be answered by the time the series finishes (there will be four book total). I am defnintely hooked enough that I look forward to reading the rest of the books as they come out!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Elite by Jennifer Banash

As soon as Casey McCloy steps into the luxurious Bramford apartment building she knows that she has entered another world. Everything seems so much more elegant and sophisticated then even the nice places in her hometown of Normal, Illinois. Casey has moved to Upper-East Side Manhattan to stay with her grandmother while her feministic mother travels to England to do research for her up and coming book. Before Casey even steps foot in her grandmother's apartment she is greeted by Madison MacAllister, the ultimate It Girl, and her possey. Even though the girls seem intimidating, Casey thinks that maybe, possibly they could be her friends. They even invite her to the park with them after she has settled in. When Casey finally makes it to the park she is thoroughly introduced to Madison's sidekicks, Sophie and Phoebe, who seem to be a lot nicer than Madison. Casey is also introduced to Drew, who just happens to have something going on with the Queen bee herself, but definitely has eyes for Casey! During the last few weeks of summer vacation Casey finds herself hanging out with Madison, Phoebe, and Sofie quite a bit. They even give her some fashion advice for her first day of school outfit. Casey's stoked that she has found some friends, but when Casey starts talking with Drew jealousy overcomes Madison and things aren't as bright for Casey anymore. Madison is determined to get Drew back, and she always gets what she wants. Will Casey's sweet demeanor trump Madison's nasty attitutude?

This book was awesome. I couldn't put it down. Originally I was a little skeptical because the book sounded a lot like the Gossip Girl books which I don't really care for, but I made the completely wrong assumption. While there is drama in this book it doesn't overpower the story, it actually makes the book even more devourable. The characters are extremely real and in most cases likeable. Yes, the girls were rich, but money wasn't the main focal point of the story. Actually, I liked how Casey was able to lead a very interesting life without all the glitz and glamor that money provides. I also liked how two of the supporting characters, Sophie and Phoebe, got their chance to shine too. I haven't read many books where this happens and I really liked how the reader got to take a little break from the main character(s) to see what else was going on in the story. Another great thing about this book is the humor. I found myself laughing out loud a lot and just smiling at what Sophie would say, or how Casey would act. This was a great first novel from Jennifer Banash and I desperately wish that the sequel, In Too Deep, was already on my bookshelf but I guess I'll have to wait until October...! In the meantime, The Elite comes out on June 3 -- I highly suggest that you all pre-order it as it was such a good book.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

Rhianon has just been dumped by her boyfriend for no apparent reason. She is beyond devastated. She just doesn't understand why Steve would just break up with her. The worst part is she wants Steve back, but it seems he doesn't feel the same way about Rhianon.

Nicole is her own kind of person. No one's like her, but they all admire her. She has just dumped her boyfriend and only she knows why. Danny was the sweetest boy that Nicole had ever met, but then things started getting too serious for her and she just had to end it. Quickly moving on she soon has a new crush.

James is a computer geek who's Rhianon's best friend....but he so wishes it were more. His best friend just happens to be the same Danny that Nicole just dumped, and he knows that Danny still wants Nicole back.

Set during one hectic week of these three friend's lives, Take Me There is the ultimate teen novel. What starts as a horrible week, ends up turning into one heck of a roller coaster ride. Told from all three people's perspective we learn all of the dastardly deeds and heartbreaking moments each character experiences.

This was one of the cutest books I've ever read. Each part of the story was told three times, but by a different character which made the book really interesting. It also allowed the reader to learn secrets about the other characters and made previous events that had happened make sense. This was the first time I've ever read a book told like this, and I loved it. I also really enjoyed how all the characters seemed so real. Nicole is the best friend who will always help you up when your down, but will never accept your help, and Rhianon is the smart organized, super nice girl in all of your classes. As for James, I totally have a crush on him. He seems like the sweetest guy who any girl would die to have. There is nothing that I didn't like about this book, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good, heartwarming read. I definitely look forward to ready more of Susane Colasanti's novels.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

6 Random Things

The Book Muncher and Ink Mage (I feel lucky that I got tagged twice!) tagged me at the beginning of the week for this ever so popular meme and I am finally getting around to filling it out! Here are the rules of the game:

1/you link back to the person who tagged you.
2/ post these rules on your blog.
3/ share six unimportant things about yourself.
4/ tag six random people at the end of your entry.
5/ let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs

My facts are completely off the wall, but I hope you enjoy them!

1. I LOVE LOVE math. Most people would think that since I'm a complete bookworm that English would be my favorite subject. They would be wrong. To me math is the most brilliant thing ever. It's crazy because there are times when I sit down and I'm like let's do some math! I know I'm ridiculously weird.

2. I am a vegetarian bordering on vegan. I just can't get over the fact of eating dead animals.

3. I love flip-flops. They are the best kind of shoe in the world. I seriously wear them year round. No joke. Even when it's below freezing there are still flip-flops on my feet. It helps that it never snows where I live, but even if it did I just love that feeling of having open toes.

4. I play the piano and the alto sax. The piano is my first love, always will be. I've even ventured into teaching piano....which is very interesting. Also I am first chair alto sax in my school's phenomenal Jazz Ensemble.

5. I'm really hoping to get into the North Carolina School of Science and Math. It is a residential high school for your Junior and Senior year. It's been my dream to go there since I was in 7th grade. The application process is over and now all I have to do is cross my fingers and toes that I get in!!

6. I'm so glad the writer's strike has ended. I was truly missing my T.V. shows! This may make me sound like a T.V. junkie, but I'm not I watch a total of 2 shows. Private Practice and Gray's Anatomy - which is totally my favorite show and I'm so glad it's coming back!!

So now it's my turn to tag people. The Page Flipper, The Ravenous Reader, and Beth Kephart, your it! As I could only find three people to tag feel free to tag yourself if you wish to participate in the meme.

Also the fabulous Book Mucher is hosting her first ever contest! She's giving away a signed copy of Screwball by Keri Mikulski. Enter quickly as the contest ends March 26.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nick of Time by Ted Bell

Twelve year old Nick McIver is always up for an adventure. Especially if it has to do with sailing around Greybeard Island, which he calls home, in his self made boat. Nick loves his life on the island. He gets to live in a lighthouse (which has been maintained by the McIver's for generations), there is lots to do, and everyone is so friendly. One night as he is helping his mother find her glasses he comes across a secret drawer in his father's desk. Inside the drawer Nick finds a notebook filled with notes on his father's "birdwatching", which are actually his reports from spying on Nazi activity. When his father finds out that Nick came across the book he is not angry as Nick expects. In fact he welcomes Nick into his "birdwatching" circle and asks him to keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Nick takes his mission very seriously and doesn't delay in searching out clues. While off galivanting around the island with his sister Kate, Nick comes across a washed up chest. The chest looks like it's from a very long time ago, yet it looks brand new. Nick wonders how this could be. The chest is very heavy and impossible to open, but Nick and Kate manage to hide it in a cave until they are able to come back for it with help. On the way back home they encounter a terrible storm and run to their old friend Gunner's Inn for shelter. There they meet two mysterious pirates who scare them senseless. When the one pirate, Billy Blood, hears Nick, Kate and Gunner discussing the chest he becomes very interested in it. Could Billy Blood possibly know the contents of the chest? After realizing Blood's suspicious fascination with the chest, Nick is determined to find out what lies in it, and keep it away from Blood. In order to protect the chest Nick decides that he must take it to Hawke castle, which is supposedley deserted, but when he reaches his destination Nick finds that it is far from deserted! There he finds that Lord Hawke and his trusty sidekick Hobbes are still living in the castle and know quite a lot about the contents of the chest. Whent the chest is finally opened, Nick finds Da Vinci's time machine! With the aid of his friends and the time machine Nick goes back in time to help an ancestor and battle Billy Blood, while Kate and Hobbes set out on an adventure that involves a German U-Boat. Will Nick be able to set things right?

While the plot was interesting I can't say I loved the book. For me there wasn't that extra something that completely pulled me into the book. While reading I thought it was excellent, but once I put it down I found it very hard to pick back up again. However there were many good highlights to the book. The story was a combination of spies, pirates, mystery, adventure and war. Some of the scenes in the book reminded me a lot of the Pirates of the Carribean movies, which I really enjoyed. One other thing I enjoyed was the author's ability to make you vividly picture the scene in your mind. Every scence played like a movie in my head making it easy to relate to the characters. I would recommend "Nick of Time" to middle school boys as it deals with topics that they just seem to love!
*Also reviewed for FlamingNet
P.S. The Story Siren is giving away a copy of City of Ashes. Visit her blog by March 26, for more info!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks is not your typical teenager. She seems more interested in participating in debates than painting her toes. After an amazing summer where she transformed for a duckling to a swan she is ready to return to Alabaster, the boarding school she calls “home” for most of the year. Alabaster used to be a male only school, but they allow girls to come as well. Even though girls are allowed at Alabaster now there is still a strong male dominance. Especially concerning a famous secret society, The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, who are infamous for their scandalous pranks. Frankie has only briefly heard of this rumored society from conversation her dad has had, as he was an alum of Alabaster and supposed member of the Order. Shortly after school begins Frankie captures the heart after the gorgeous, much sought after Matthew Livingston. She is soon his girlfriend and invited into his inner circle of friends. While she loves being apart of this group of guys she realizes that they are all apart of the Order and are keeping it a secret from her. With ambition and some super sleuthing skills, Frankie listens in on a couple of meetings and learns that Matthew and is right-hand man Alpha are the current, so-called Kings of the Order. Whenever tries to lure information out of Matthew-and o, does she try- he either acts like he is clueless or just plain ignores her. This infuriates Frankie in more than one way. First of all, she doesn’t think her boyfriend should be keeping secrets from her and second of all she doesn’t think it’s fair that the Order only allows male members. Being the type of girl that she is Frankie finds a devious way into the Order and makes sure that her name will go down in history. She devises many pranks and lets her message ring clear, but how is she getting away with it and how long can she make it last? Along her hilarious journey she realizes many things, not only about herself, but about how she should be treated.

When picking up this book I had high expectations, because it was written by the amazing E. Lockhart. Let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. In fact I think this is E. Lockhart’s best book to date. Frankie’s character was original and I felt like I instantly connected with her. I too have a lot of views that Frankie has, such as why do guys have different standards than girls and so forth. The way Frankie stood up for herself was great. I wish I could do as good a job as she could! Also the book was fall on the floor funny. I was laughing at all the pranks that got pulled and just the words that came out of Frankie’s mouth. The setting was also really neat. I could actually picture myself sitting in the cafeteria eating the wilted vegetables, and walking on the grass where it deliberately says “No Walking on the Grass!” I definitely think that this is a must read for anyone looking for a truly humorous, honest, and all around great book!

*Released March 25, 2008, I highly suggest you go buy it!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Interview with Charlotte Kandel

I recently got the amazing opportunity to interview and talk with Mrs. Charlotte Kandel. As I waited to for the phone to ring I started to get really nervous, but then as soon as I started talking to Charlotte all fear escaped me and I had a complete blast. Charlotte is a wonderful woman and I just don’t have enough good things to say about her. If you have not read The Scarlet Stockings: The Enchanted Riddle I highly recommend you go to the store and buy it. It is a great read for all ages and I know you won’t be disappointed.

Why did you write about ballet? Were you a “ballerina” as a child? Was that your dream?
Not at all. I am the kind of person that can barely walk in high heels and am very clumsy! I am constantly dropping things and am such a huge klutz. However I did loved watching ballet because it seemed so impossible to me. Also when I worked at Warner Brothers as the global head of publicity for 15 years, I really got to seem what goes on behind the scenes, which I thought was so interesting, and just increased by love of ballet.

What made you want to become an author? When did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an author. The thing is I was to scared. I was always very shy and had no self confidence. When I left Warner Brothers I questioned what I was going to do with the rest of my life and realized that maybe I could finally achieve my dream of becoming an author. Then a friend, who happens to be a Tony Award winning set and costume designer pushed me and kept telling me I could do it. After much persuasion and my knees shaking I finally sat down at my computer and started thinking about wonderful ideas for a book.

Why did you make our book take place in the 1920’s?
Because for women it was the most exciting point that had ever occurred and everything changed. Women were allowed to wear makeup and cut their long hair. They could get real jobs that weren’t horrible. This shocked their parents and grandparents and I just thought it was such a glamorous time to be in.

What kind of research did you do for this book?
Google. God bless it! Since I worked at Warner Brothers I knew a lot of people who knew lots about ballet. Also I knew where ballet started, so I had a good base. After that I really started to research ballet and discovered its founder Pierre Beauchamp. This immensely helped me and I was able to fill the book with true facts about ballet. I didn’t want to fill the book with a bunch of rubbish because I didn’t think it was fair to all those dancers who really know their history.

Will Daphne’s story continue?
O yes. There will be a total of three books in all. I have always envisioned Daphne’s story to be told as a trilogy because to me it has always logically had three parts, I don’t know why, but it just has. In each book Daphne will be two years older than in the previous book. For example, in the first book she was thirteen and fourteen, in the second book she will be sixteen, and in the final book she will be eighteen. I did this because I really wanted people to grow up with Daphne and see how she handled her teenage years. Also with Daphne being a little older in the third book I could really write about and finish with a romance. Each book will continue to have a ballet as part of the main plot. In the second book it will be Giselle and in the third book it will be Sleeping Beauty. Throughout the rest of the series old characters will reappear and new one’s will come into the story, but one thing is for sure is that Daphne’s adventure will never be over.

I loved how you made the character’s all have their own voice, using different accents. What gave you the idea?
I wanted the book to be real. I wanted the readers to feel like they were actually meeting real people. In the 1920s many of the great ballerinas were Russian. After visiting St. Petersburg I really grasped the way people talked, thus helping me create the accents.

Did you create any of the characters based on people you know or have met?

Daphne resembles me in quite a few ways. I did have absolutely wonderful parents, but they did travel a lot. My twin sister and I were sent to boarding school and we both hated it. Because of this I could really key into Daphne’s feeling of loneliness, self-consciousness, and isolation.
Now if I were to ever do a movie of The Scarlet Stockings I would definitely want Uma Thurman to play Magda. I have had the pleasure of working with her and she is just divine. She is well read, knows many languages, doesn’t walk around with an entourage, and is just a fabulous person. I guess when writing about Magda I was kind of thinking of Uma, but it is only a loose relationship between the two.

The Nutcracker is my favorite ballet and I loved how you included it in the book. Now what’s your favorite ballet?

I don’t have just one favorite ballet! I do have a soft spot for all ballets, but my three favorites would have to be The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty. This is why these are the ballets in my books, because I just love them so much. One of my fondest memories of a ballet was when I was 19 and saw Giselle. The ending when the two main characters must part and their fingers move slowly apart just captivated me. I could feel the yearning, a cried for three days, the emotion produced was just so grand.

The Scarlet Stockings:The Enchanted Riddle by Charlotte Kandel

Daphne has been at St. Jude’s for thirteen long years. The only snippet of her story that she knows is that she was laid on the doorstep with a note attached with three simple words on it, “my name’s Daphne”. Daphne’s dream is to become a ballerina. Her dream seems farfetched until a package arrives in the mail with a book entitled “How to Teach Yourself Ballet” and a pair of scarlet stockings. On the inside cover of the book is a mysterious riddle that perplexes Daphne. She loves her gift and soon realizes that the stockings hold magical powers. She only wishes now that she had more time to dance.
Daphne doesn’t think her life could get much better, and then she finds out that she is to be adopted by the local vegetable stand owners. The Greens are just the nicest people around and are gracious to have Daphne in their home. As a surprise the Green’s take Daphne to see a production of Swan Lake with the amazing Ova Andova dancing the leading role. Daphne is star-struck and realizes that she has to be a ballerina. Another surprise awaits her as the Green’s inform her that she will soon be taking ballet lessons. Daphne is overjoyed, until the day she goes to lessons. Her teacher acts like a witch and deflates all of Daphne’s dreams of becoming a ballerina. She knows that she can’t be that bad and soon sets off to make her dream come true.
One day while scanning the newspaper she finds an ad that shocks her. The famous Magda Magellan is looking for a personal assistant. Daphne knows this is her ticket into fame and secretly goes to London to apply for the position. She is delighted when she lands the job, but doesn’t know how to break it to her new parents. When they agree to let her take the position she knows that she will soon become a great dancer. With the help of the scarlet stockings and a few of Magda’s contacts, Daphne hopes she will succeed. Will she become a famous ballerina?

Even though this book is geared for younger readers (9-12 year olds) I thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlotte Kandel did a great job creating her characters, especially Daphne. I felt like I wanted Daphne as my best friend. I loved how Mrs. Kandel made each character come to life. It felt like I was actually watching the book come to life. Each character’ accented voice could be heard through their conversations, making you feel like you were standing right there beside them. I found this very refreshing. The message in the book was great too. Encouraging people not to give up on their dreams is huge, because without dreams you wouldn’t be reading this review on a computer. There was also an essence of mystery, which I absolutely adore. All in all this was a great first novel and I am anxious to learn what becomes of Daphne next.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Aislinn has always been able to see faeries, but has never let on to it. This is one of the rules that her grandmother instated when Aislinn first mentioned the faeries. She always abides by this rule in fear that if the wrong faerie finds out, there will be grave punishments. Life is good for Aislinn until she begins to be stalked by two faeries, one of whom happens to be the Summer King Keenan. Keenan has been in search of a queen for centuries, but just can't seem to find the right girl. Yes, many girls have been swooned by his looks and attempted to be the prized Summer Queen, but they have all failed either becoming Summer girls, who are sultry faeries, or are filled with winter and become Winter Princesses. When Keenan meets Aislinn though he knows she is the one. Not only because of her ability to resist him, but that his mother, Beira the Winter Queen, is very afraid of her because of her abilities. As for Aislinn she wants nothing to do with the faerie world. She is content being a teenager. The only thing is she can't seem to figure out is her relationship with her best friend Seth. They've been friends for a long time, but she's not sure if she only likes him as a friend anymore. He is constantly flirting with her and seems to be sending out mixed messages. What is a girl to do? Putting her feelings on the back burner for a few days Aislinn enlists Seth's help to deal with the faeries. She wants them to leave her alone, but she seems to have an irking feeling that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to help them out. With the help of Seth Aislinn learns that she can be in control of the situation and starts to see if she can make the best out of the situation and make everyone happy.

This was an absolute gem to read. Everything about it was beyond amazing. Isn't the cover fantastic too? I must admit I have never been keen to read faerie books, but Wicked Lovely left me craving for more of the faerie world. To me the story was completely original and the writing was phenomenal. Melissa Marr slowly reeled me in from the first page and left me dangling throughout most of the book. It wasn't until the very end that everything came together. Also the names used in the book are so original and creative. Aislinn's character was great. I felt like I had a connection with her, not that we seem to be alike, but there was just something there. This was a great debut novel and I cannot wait to read more of Melissa's writing. Ink Exchange comes out at the end of April. I strongly recommend this book to everyone and anyone, whether you like faerie tales or not. This is truly a unique book that I think everyone will love.

Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall

It's 1978 and Poland is still under communism's reign. The militia control everything from food to religion. How does this relate to American girl Eva Lott? Well her father has decided to uproot her from her perfect life in Chicago to a small village in Poland in order for him to lead an underground newspaper. Eva is devastated. She doesn't want to leave her amazing best friend and her awesome boyfriend, plus she just earned a spot on the varsity swim team. Eva is furious that her father won't let her stay with her best friend Melanie, but with no other choice she packs two measly suitcases and accompanies him on his journey. After an arduous and frightful trip, Eva and her father finally arrive in Poland and are greeted by Tomek. Tomek doesn't say much, but Eva finds him very handsome, although he seems very standoffish. He leads them to a house in Zakopane, Poland which will be the newspaper's headquarters. Tomek introduces them to all the other people living in the house, but Eva feels unwelcome and immediately starts planning an escape route. When it finally comes time to escape Eva feels that she has become used to Poland and it's strangeness. She also thinks that there may even be something pulling her towards Tomek. Will Eva stay, or will she go? Will her father be successful in creating an underground newspaper?

This book was okay. To me it started out a little slowly. It wasn't until about the half-way point that I really got interested in the story. I had never really read anything about the "Iron Curtain" in Poland and this really opened my eyes to what other people, who were not free, had to endure on a day-to-day basis. The romance that blossomed between Eva and Tomek was cute - it wasn't unexpected, but it was sweet. What can I say, I'm a sucker for love!! I have to say the historical facts were my favorite part of the book. They are the only things I really remember.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Multitude of Randomness

So I have lots to say and the easiest way to do this is in one huge post. First of all check back latter on in the week for three more reviews and an interview.....I've been a little slow posting reviews...sorry! Also I wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog, it really means a lot to me! Now for the fun part. Contests, no I'm not having one, but many others are. So a list of contests for you to enter.

First of Girls Just Reading is giving away a copy of Jodi Picoult's new book Change of Heart. It looks fabulous, and the copy may even be signed. Hurry over to their blog to enter. The contest ends on March 13.

Then the Page Flipper is giving away SIX books...yes 6...for her monthly contest. All you have to do is email her with the heading March Contest and you are automatically entered. Also if you blog about it you get an additional 5 entries.

The Page Flipper is also holding another contest. Enter before March 17 to get a copy of Wake by Lisa McMann. If you haven't read it yet I strongly advise you to read it. For a review click here.

Also for all you Meg Cabot fans, head over to her website and enter to win a copy of Allie Finkel's Rules for Girls. Also if you are the Grand Prize Winner you also receive an ARC of the much anticipated Airhead.

So those are a random few contests there are many more out there. Good luck to all of you and thanks again for reading my blog!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Jas is a 6 foot tall seventeen year old who loves a good mystery. The thing is, her father can't stand her gallivanting around trying to solve these mysteries. After a summer spent being a medical assistant at her uncle's practice she is ready to take her annual summer vacation with her family. Her first day in Las Vegas, at the glamorous Venetian hotel, seems to be perfect. The sun is shining and Jas is having a wonderful time eyeing the hot guy standing by the snack bar. Then her evil cousin Alyson and her henchman Veronique have to come and disrupt the peace. Not only does Jas have to endure this, but then a hairy orange furball of a cat jumps on to her and claws into her skin. OWWW! She runs trying to get the cat off, but only stops when she knocks over a 5-tier wedding cake and sends the bride into a pool. After being taken to a "jail" cell, she is released by the chief of security himself, Mr. Curtis. He seemed to be even thanking her for ruining the wedding! After the accident she realizes that the reason she was let go was because the cat that had caused so much trouble belonged to the super famous Fiona Bristol's son Fred. There even seems to be a mystery surrounding Fiona's life, but Jas is trying to be a model daughter and tries as hard as possible not to get involved. Her attempt fails when she is surprised by a visit from her three best friends, Roxy, Polly, and Tom, who convince her that she must and try to solve whatever mystery there might be. With the help of her friends Jas starts to uncover lots of little clues, and one thing leads to another. Before she knows it shes wrapped up with the cute guy at the snack shop, and has fallen into a case that seems to be way over her head. Will Jas be able to solve the mystery? Will she make her father find the good in mysteries?

This book was really good. At first I was a little leery, but then I just loved it. It's almost like a modern Nancy Drew, but a lot more sassy. Jas makes a great main character. She is quirky, funny, and up for anything. With her three sidekick friends she seems unstoppable. I loved how each character had one thing that was crazy about them. For example, Polly loves BeDazzlers, Roxy is obsessed with Aliens, and Tom is head over heels in love with Polly. This really added to the quality of the book. One thing that I didn't like about the book was the footnotes. It seemed like there was a completely different story going on within the footnotes, which confused me a lot. Excluding the footnotes though the book was great. There were many turns that kept you guessing until the last chapter and many surprises that made me laugh. All in all a great mystery that I recommend to everyone.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Jane and her best friend Allison have always been outsiders. This becomes even more evident when there is the Big-Little ceremony at the girls' school, St. Theresa's School for Girls. This ceremony is where freshman, or transfer student, pick a senior to be their mentor, really all it is though is a popularity contest. When Allison accidentally vomits on a freshman girl's head she knows that her social life is over and rushes off to hide. Jane immediately goes and tries to help her, but just can't seem to get through to her. Then all of a sudden a new girl, named Lanalee, comes in and declares herself as Allison's "little" and makes Allison feel a whole lot better. The next day Allison has been transformed. She's dyed her hair, has a whole new wardrobe, even a Coach purse. Jane starts to sense that Lanalee may not exactly be the friendliest person and could be bad news. Jane's suspicions are confirmed when Allison confides in her that she made a contract with a demon. Allison doesn't even have to tell Jane that the demon is Lanalee. In order to save her friend Jane makes a deal with Lanalee. If she can get her ex-boyfriend, who's with Allison, kiss her by midnight on Halloween then Allison and Jane's soul will be saved, if not - Jane's soul will be sucked out of her body. With the help of a very interesting boy named Owen and a teacher at her school Jane embarks on a journey to stop the evil Lanalee and dig herself out of the grave that she has just dug for herself. Will her efforts be in vain, or will good conquer evil?

I thought this book was really good. Maureen Johnson is such a good author. She packs her books full of humor and the stories are completely original. The characters are also very different. For example, Jane is described as being 4'11 with short spiky blond hair. For some reason this made me laugh every time that she was described. I don't know if this was the author's intention, but I loved it. Like I said before, the story line was very original. I've heard a lot about vampire books, but none about demons disguised as teen girls! All in all I really liked the book, and look forward to reading more from Maureen Johnson.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An Interview with Melissa Walker

In honor of the release of Violet by Design I have a super wonderful interview with the fabulous Melissa Walker. I had such a great time talking with her, as she is a wonderful person. Also check out Melissa's blog for chances to win a copy of Violet by Design and many other wonderful books. Now read on and enjoy!

What started your love of fashion?

Hmm… well, probably working in magazines sparked it. But really, what I love is fashion people. They’re fun and funny and smart and crazy—it’s a buzz to be around them! And as for the clothes, well, who doesn’t love a perfectly cut dress in the right color and fabric? Fashion is hard not to love because it’s so visually captivating, at least for me. (But I still balk at some of the prices!)

What made you become an author instead of a magazine editor, or do you juggle both?

I do both. I love writing and editing magazine features, but I always regret that parts of the stories inevitably end up on the cutting room floor. I really wanted to tell a longer story than magazines can hold, so a book was the logical next step.

I still make most of my living writing for magazines… and I love it!

Doe the character Violet resemble you in any way? Did you want to be a model when you were Violet’s age?

At 17, I knew I wasn’t model material. When I was about 10 though, I had this dream that my semi-high cheekbones could take me places. I think lots of girls fantasize about modeling at some point in their lives.

And as for Violet, she is like me in many ways, yes. Her likes, dislikes, pet peeves… mostly mine. But in the end, she turned out to be incredibly different from me, too, and that is a good thing.

What influenced you to write this story?

My time at ELLEgirl gave me insight into the fashion world and how newer models live in NYC (which can be glamorous, scary, thrilling and a little dark all at the same time). That knowledge kind of overlapped with my long-time dream of writing a teen novel about a small town girl in the big city (original, right?). The fashion world thing gave it more focus and helped me nail down the plot.

Are you planning on writing more than 2 books about Violet and her fashion adventures?

Yes! The third book, VIOLET IN PRIVATE, will come out in August!

What’s one of the hardest parts of being a writer? The best?

It’s really hard to make yourself write every day, but it’s key. If you sit there long enough, the words will come. (Sometimes I had to shut off my wireless, and I NEVER have IM on while I’m writing, unless I’m totally kidding myself about doing work.)

The best part—hands down—is getting emails from readers who liked the book. It’s crazy to me that people are actually reading what I wrote! So those emails are like proof, and I totally cherish them.

What experiences have shaped your writing style? Your ideas?

My writing style has a lot to do with great magazine editors whom I’ve worked with—including Brandon Holley of ELLEgirl and JANE fame, and Christina Kelly, teen queen of Sassy, YM and ELLEgirl. They both made me better by asking hard questions in pink or purple pens (all over my drafts!).

As for my ideas, well, as soon as I started peeking behind the scenes of modeling and fashion as a magazine editor, I knew that I wanted to put a "real girl" in the middle of this crazy world, a girl who would see it from the outside and be like, "Holy crap!" It’s an insane environment, so there’s lots of fodder for adventure, humor and drama, especially from the point of view of a small town girl who’s not yet jaded.

What is your favorite book?

Four little words that are impossible to respond to! Okay, here is my favorite book MOMENT (does that count?): I was in a city park, and I saw a book vendor selling an old copy of JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. I bought it for $1, sat down in the park, and read it twice in a row! The sunshine was so warm that day, my perch so comfortable, and the book so delightful that I didn’t want to leave the world it created.

What’s one crazy fact about yourself that you want to share?

Hmm… crazy… well, I went swimming in a formal dress this year, just for fun!

Are there any other questions you wished I had asked?

Nope—you’re a pro!

Violet by Design by Melissa Walker

At the end of Violet on the Runway, Violet swears that she's quit the modeling industry. That is until she is offered the opportunity to walk the runway in Brazil. Violet has always wanted to travel and she sees this as her ticket. Deferring college for a semester Violet heads to Brazil while her best friends, Julie and Roger, head of to their respective colleges. While in Brazil Violet meets up with Veronica, and realizes that Veronica is one of the best friends that she has in the industry. When Violet's not catching up with Veronica, she's putting on a spectacular show and designers are all wanting her to walk for them. Then there's Paulo... An up-and-coming designer who is extremely hot, and whom Violet can't help but fall helplessly in love with. She almost feels that she could go all the way with Paulo, that is until she finds him in bed with another woman. Mortified she hops back on a plane to the States and wallows for two weeks, feasting on ice cream and cheeseburgers. Her brother finally convinces her to get her act together and she does. She flies up to New York and hangs out with Roger and his highly annoying girlfriend Chloe. After her outing Violet knows she's ready to go back into the modeling world, and calls up her agent, Angela. When she sees Angela, she wishes she had never called. Angela immediately starts picking Violet apart for putting on 5 pounds. Violet's ashamed of herself, but continues trying to get rid of that blasted ice cream weight. Her dream of traveling comes true again when she is whisked off to Spain. Here she is still pestered about her weight, but when she speaks up she gets into a lot of trouble. Will Violet ever be satisfied with her body? Is her modeling career over?

Wow! This book was just as good as the first one. For me that rarely happens. Violet was as strong as ever in this book and I loved how she stood up for what she believed in. Throughout the story Violet is pressured into losing weight even though she's already skinny. This deals with the whole models are too skinny issue that real world models are facing today. I thought that Melissa Walker did a fantastic job getting the message across that we all need to be comfortable with our bodies and that being skinny definitely has it's negative side. Once again I couldn't put the book down and was riveted by the story. I stayed up until all hours of the night to finish it and it was so worth it! One thing that frustrated me during the whole book is Violet and Roger's relationship. I believe that they are destined to be together. Why, o, why does he have to be with that Chloe girl? Why Melissa Walker did you have to leave us hanging with their whole relationship? So many questions left unanswered. Hopefully they will all be answered in the third book in the series Violet in Private, which comes out in August. I absolutely can't wait:)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wake by Lisa McMann

Usually when parents tuck their kids in at night they tell them to have sweet dreams, right? According to Janie that's wrong. She can't remember ever having a dream. Instead she falls into other people's dreams. Some may think this is really neat, but for Janie it's horrible. Janie can't spend the night at other people's house, and when people fall asleep at school she's also sucked into their dreams. Janie's been having this problem since she was eight years old. Now she's seventeen and a senior in high school, and the whole dream thing is getting very old. The worst thing is she can't tell anybody in fear that they'll think she's crazy. Lately it seems all the dreams are the same, being naked in front of a crowd or falling into an endless pit. Then she starts falling into the same dream, actually more of a nightmare that hits way to close to home. She can't really make sense of it, but she hopes it will soon stop. Aside from the dreams though her life seems to be looking up. Her grades are good, she has an amazing boyfriend who understands her and knows her secret, and her alcoholic mother mother has started to be a little more motherly. Just as life is looking up, a cloud comes and rains on Janie's happiness. Her and her boyfriend Cabel have an unofficial break up, and her favorite patient at the nursing home she works at, Ms. Stubin, dies. Then Cable is all of a sudden dating rich girl Shay and Janie doesn't understand this at all, and it seems that everything else is confusing her. Will Janie find some answers to her confusion, or will she plummet into darkness with only other people's dreams to keep her company?

I. Loved. This. Book. Wake gives the term "page-turner" a whole new meaning. From the moment I opened the book it was glued to my hands and I was on the edge of my seat, anxious to read what happened next. The story was completely original and was absolutely fascinating. There were so many twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very last sentence. Even then it wasn't enough, there are still so many questions buzzing around my head. It is so not fair that the book had to end! The characters were also amazing. Janie was great and I am so jealous of her relationship with Cabel, for the most part! To me all the characters had their own unique personality which made the book have great depth. What stunned me even more about this book is that Lisa McMann is a first time author. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next, especially the sequel to Wake, Fade which comes out next year.

Vegan, Virgin, Valentine by Carolyn Mackler

Mara Valentine is an overachieving high-school senior. She's been awarded early-acceptance to Yale and is in a neck in neck race with her ex-boyfriend for valedictorian. Her life seems to be smooth sailing until her parents inform her that her niece, yes niece, V will be coming to live with them. V is the complete opposite of Mara. She does drugs, she doesn't do well in school, and she is most definitely not a virgin! The first day that V starts school she hooks up with Mara's ex-boyfriend. This makes V's and Mara's relationship even more strained. Mara soon learns to ignore V, even though it is quite difficult, and immerses herself in her schoolwork and job over at a local coffee shop. Over the course of the year there are even more changes in Mara's life. One, she falls in love with the owner of the local coffee shop, a.k.a her boss, her relationship with V takes a turn for the better, and she isn't as focused on college anymore. Through her senior year Mara learns many life lessons and forges many new relationships. She transforms herself into a great person. Will V do the same?

I thought this book was cute. It wasn't fabulous, but by no means was it boring. I could really relate to Mara, especially the whole over achiever thing! I learned that school isn't everything and that sometimes it's o.k. to let loose. V was also a fun character. There are some twists thrown in with V's character that I would never have guessed, but they made the book interesting.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thirteen by Lauren Myracle

Winnie has finally reached her thirteenth birthday. She doesn't think life could get any better. She has two wonderful best friends forever (BFFs), Dinah and Cinnamon, and a super hot boyfriend, Lars, who held her hand just last week! Everyday is a new adventure for this fun teenager. Her six-year old brother Ty always has intriguing questions, and it seems that some times he will only listen to Winnie. Then there's her sister Sandra who's in her senior year of high-school and is moody most of the time, but at other times can offer some great sisterly advice. Winnie soon begins to realize that being thirteen has its ups and downs. She's on the rocks with Lars, and doesn't quite know how to handle it, as it is her first real relationship. And then there's Joseph, the little boy in her brother's class who has leukemia. Even though she doesn't know him Winnie feels sorry for him. This makes her look at life in a whole new way. Over the course of her thirteenth year, Winnie faces lots of new things, each one exciting in its own way. Even though life sometimes gets a little hectic, Winnie knows she loves being thirteen!

This book was really cute. There are two other books that come before it, Eleven and Twelve, but I don't think it's necessary to read them before reading Thirteen. I loved how Lauren Myracle made Winnie such a real character. It seems that characters in other books like Thirteen have really unrealistic goals or outlooks on life. Winnie seemed to be really down to earth and very likable. I could relate to a lot of the issues that she faced, and it was easy to laugh along with her. This is a great book for any girl, young or old, and makes you see growing up in a fun way. I look forward to seeing if Winnie's story continues.

Also, from March 2-10 chat with Lauren Myracle on BookDivas! Ask her any burning questions you have about any of her books and see what others are asking too! Hurry on over because she'll only be there for a week.

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

A couple years after Isi's marriage to Prince Geric, Enna returns to the forest after being in the city of Bayern for so long. Her original return was to tend to her sick mother, but after her mother dies, Enna can't seem to leave her brother Leifer alone in the forest. Little does she know that Leifer has truly changed. He seems to know the language of fire, just like Isi knows the language of the wind. The fire seems to overtake Leifer and he goes as far as threatning to kill Isi and burning Enna's ankles. Bayern soon goes to war and all men, including the forest folk, are asked to join in the fight. Enna is also asked to go, not to fight, but to be Isi's maiden. At the first major battle, Leifer uses his fire and burns, and kills, many enemy soldiers. In this same battle the king of Bayern is killed as well as Leifer. Geric mourns the loss of his father, as does Isi, and Enna mourns the loss of her brother. Except Enna mourns in a different way. When saying her final goodbyes to Leifer she finds a piece of vellum that teaches the fire language. Curiosity gets the better of her and she begins to read the cryptic story. Soon the fire seems to take her over, and she seems to have changed, just like Liefer. Enna soon realizes that she must use her newly discovered power to help Bayern win the war. She gets a little ahead of her self and finds herself captured by the enemy. Just as she has finally given up hope that no one will come to her aid, she starts to discover she may have feelings for her capturer. In the back of her mind she knows he is the enemy, but all she wants is someone to love her. All changes when Isi helps her escape. Enna learns the truth of why her captor was being so nice, and she knows she must get to Bayern immediately if she still wants to succeed in her goal of helping them win the war. Will Enna's power get the better of her, or will she learn to control it?

Usually I am not so keen on follow up books, but I was definitely wrong with this book. This is a great companion to one of my favorite books, The Goose Girl. Enna Burning is told through the point of view of Enna, which I loved. I thought it was great that we got to hear another characters to voice in the follow up novel instead of the same character from the first book. Shannon Hale did a phenomenal job creating the character of Enna. She is a strong and funny character that is instantly likable. I felt myself pitying her at times, and laughing with her at others. As for the story line is was once again fabulous. There is adventure, war, and romance, which is enough for me! All in all this was one of the better books I've ever read, and for me it almost lives up to The Goose Girl, but hey nothing really can top that so I'd say it's pretty good.

This is my third book for the Royalty Rules Challenge!!


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