Book Review: Book of a Thousand Days

Eventually I got myself up so I could write what Tegus said. To keep telling my story seems like the last bit of living I can still do.

I read the hardback, but I love the paperback cover so much I'm using it here.
I read the hardback, but I love the paperback cover so much I’m using it here.

Oh my gosh, I loved Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Loved. LOVED. I just…I loved everything about it.

1. I love Dashti THE MOST. She is smart and clever. She is honest, hopeful, and grateful. She wants to survive and fights to survive. She is just the best. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Ella from Ella Enchanted in that I love her and think she’s wonderful and amazing. And awesome. Ahhh, I just love her so much.

2. I love that this is a fairy tale retelling, but it’s based on a lesser known fairytale (“Maid Maleen“), so I had absolutely no preconceived notions of what the story should be. (I didn’t read “Maid Maleen” until after I had finished the novel.)

3. I love, love, love that Dashti and Lady Saren wind up saving themselves and each other. I mean, sure, it takes Saren a little while to get to that point but when she does, it totally works.

4. Okay, so a brief synopsis: Dashti is appointed to be Lady Saren’s maid; Lady Saren’s father locks the two in a tower for seven years to try to force Saren into marrying this dude she hates; Dashti journals the experience.

5.  I love the way Hale gives importance to the different strengths people have to show that none are necessarily better but that they’re all different and can be used in helpful ways–even if other people don’t always understand them.

6. The ending was MUCH BETTER than I had anticipated. I knew it could only end a certain way (or that I wanted it to end that way), and I love, love, love the way that Hale makes it happen. It’s believable, expected, AND unpredictable. Also, it rewards the readers by weaving in everything we learn about the characters throughout the story.

7. I love that the characters are Mongolian. Yes.

8. Oh, I love the illustrations throughout the story. I also love that Hale finds a smart and believable way to make this Dashti’s story and that she’s the one writing/telling it.

9. Did I mention I love Dashti? I love her SO MUCH.

10. Ultimately, I love what this story says about faith, about passion, about survival, about truth, and yes, about the importance of writing your own story and knowing your own truth.


Source: Library

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Crush On

This week’s topic is characters I would crush on if I were also a fictional character. I decided to keep it fair and do half literary boyfriends and half literary girlfriends. Links go to my reviews or author pages.

I. Book Boyfriends: Keeping in mind that this list is probably a lie because most of these are YA characters, and, when I was a teen, I usually had crushes on the wrong guys.

What Peeta looks like in my head

1. Matt Miller (Angry Management by Chris Crutcher): He is such a great kid. He does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Period. I find that an incredibly important quality. Which is why I love him.

2. Peeta (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins): Peeeeeta. He bakes bread! He sounds like he gives great hugs. He’s clever and smart, and he’s tall and blond and strong. (I always picture him as looking like Bright from Everwood, btw.) I know people don’t like Peeta, and I really don’t understand it. I mean, I kind of get it after the third book, but I don’t understand how people don’t love first book Peeta. He is adorable.

3. Michael Moscovitz (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot): Ahhh, Michael Moscovitz is my number one book boyfriend. He is freaking brilliant, he likes the awkward girl, and he smells great. And he leaves to prototype a robot arm to prove himself worthy of her. I mean, COME ON. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

4. Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling): Neville is just the best. He is brave and smart. He works hard to overcome his fears, and then he explodes into a self-actualized man of badassery. Neville!

5. Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan): My love of Leo has been welldocumented here. Basically, he needs a hug. Also, he is funny and clever and loyal.

So, hmm. Clever and loyal and smart seem to be the repeating terms here. Also, not one sporty guy among them. Like I said, not true to my teenage self. However, as a grown woman, these are the ones I love. Though, to be fair to me, I probably would have had a crush on Leo or Peeta as a teen if they were real, so. Also props to Michael for being the kind of guy who would probably kind of dig me. Maybe.

II. Book Girlfriends: I have a definite type when it comes to book girlfriends. I like ‘em kind of, well, ditzy. With the exception of Tina, most of these girls are completely guileless and unaffected. They are also super sweet and just…awesome. I don’t know how to explain it. I love them. Also, it probably doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous. Just saying.

6. Tina Hakim Baba (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot): I love Tina Hakim Baba so much. SO MUCH. I wish there were words that could express the love I have for her, but, basically, she is the best. She’s super sweet, she’s not ashamed of the things she enjoys, she’s brilliant, and all she ever wanted was a friend. Tina! I love you! (Okay, and honestly, I want her to be my best friend, but I feel any list would be incomplete without her.)

7. Meghan (Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart): She’s so sweet. A little clueless, yes, But super sweet. She loves with her whole heart, and, again, just wants a friend.

8. Lulu (Airhead series by Meg Cabot): I loved her the most in the first book when she told Em how vulnerable boys and their feelings are. Again, loyal, sweet, and smarter than she looks.

9. Chrissy Everstar (My Fair Godmother series by Janette Rallison): Okay, I don’t even know why Chrissy is on this list because she’s a mess, and she would ruin my life. But I guess I would have fun on the ride, yes? All girlfriends can’t be wife material.

10. Vivica the Supermodel (The Boy Series by Meg Cabot): Vivica was my first book girlfriend. She speaks in all caps, which would be annoying in anyone else but is oddly endearing in her. She is super sweet, though! And she loves her friends!

So, yes. It seems my criteria for book girlfriends = super sweet and in need of a friend. Also, I think all of them (except for Lulu and Tina) are blond. Make of that what you will.

I find it kind of ironic that all of my literary girlfriends are the exact type of girl I get mad at the guy for picking on TV because of my own issues with being the not-as-cute-friend of the girl all the boys like. Apparently, if I were a boy (or a lesbian), those are the girls I would pick. Come on, self. Where are the brash, sarcastic, slightly closed off girls on my list? Sigh.

Who’s on your list?

Book Review: My Unfair Godmother

Wishes are powerful things. You can’t expect them to change the world without changing you too.

Chrysanthemum (Chrissy) Everstar is back in My Unfair Godmother, the sequel to My Fair Godmother (one of my favorite reads of 2009), by Janette Rallison. Just like in the first book, Chrissy is trying to prove herself as a fairy godmother. This time, her charge is Tansy Miller, a girl who is very, very angry about her parents’ divorce and continues to piss her father off. When her current boyfriend, Bo, vandalizes a building and lets her take the rap, things spiral downhill pretty quickly for Tansy. Enter Chrissy and the kinds of chaos only her granted wishes can create.

What I Liked

– I love Chrissy. I LOVE HER. I wouldn’t mind seeing a whole book about her and the wacky fairy adventures she gets into when she’s not popping into her mortals’ lives.

– I like that Tansy is so different from the main character of the first book. And! The story is very different, too. I mean, yes, fairy tale, etc, but I was really expecting it to follow the exact same formula–and while there are some similarities–they are really almost nothing alike.

– Tansy has to figure out the moral of her story to right Chrissy’s magic, and, while I like the one Tansy settled on, there were actually several used throughout the story that were nice.

– Nick, Tansy’s stepbrother, is so great.

What I Didn’t Like

– Tansy needs to forgive her father and learn to love/accept her new family, right? Except she spends little to no time with them and all of her time with the love interest. I love a good romance as much as the next person, but I would really like to read stories about girls who don’t figure things out through boys. It would really be nice is all. Not to mention, the glimpses of Tansy’s family we do get after the magic mayhem starts are really freaking fascinating. So, while the story is about Tansy, it really is about the boy moreso than her journey to her family. I don’t like that very much.

– I really didn’t like Tansy all that much. I was caught up in the story but not because of her. It was more the premise than anything. She’s realistic and all; I just didn’t connect with her.

– Not enough Nick or Chrissy, alas.

In conclusion: A fun read in line with the other Chrissy book. I just would’ve liked to see a little more focus on the family aspect.

Source: ILL

Book Review: Real Live Boyfriends

A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart is the fourth and final book in the Ruby Oliver series. I was really looking forward to this book because I love me some Ruby Oliver.

What I Liked

– As I said above, Ruby Oliver. She’s funny and neurotic and kind and boy crazy. She’s also super smart and thoughtful and reflective.

– Meghan. I am claiming Meghan as one of my literary girlfriends. Also, I have realized that when it comes to literary girlfriends I have a type. They are frequently beautiful and kind of clueless, but in a good way. I don’t care. I love her. Her honesty and lack of pretense is refreshing. And I just…I love her, okay?

– Lockhart always explores female friendships really well in these books, and I really enjoyed the way the Nora situation is handled. I also, of course, love that Ruby values Meghan as a friend. Plus, the Hutch/Ruby friendship is explored in this book as well, which pleases me. I like learning more about the boys in Ruby’s life.

– There’s also some good stuff with Ruby and her parents. It’s obvious why Ruby is such a neurotic drama queen when we witness her mother in action. Plus, I thought the way Ruby’s parents understand each other even though Ruby doesn’t understand them is shown really well.

– Even though Ruby is boy crazy and obsessed, I do like that she has other interests, but it’s just that her interpersonal relationships are what consume her.

– My favorite scene is probably the bit with Ruby and Nora in the bathroom. I won’t spoil it, but I will just say that it’s something that needed to be said and hammered home, and it’s so organic and awesome. And AWESOME.

What I Didn’t Like

– Let’s just get it out of the way right now. I HATE THE NEW COVERS. Ugh. It is hard for me to tell whether or not I would pick up the books based off the covers now because it’s too late, but…I really just hate them. The girl is nothing like I picture Ruby, plus the first book makes a point of not describing Ruby too much because it doesn’t matter. But whatever. There’s nothing I can do about it except complain on the internet. In all caps.

– This book is TOO SHORT. It felt more like a novella or one of those 1/2 books Meg Cabot did for the Princess Diaries series. I wanted to spend more time with Ruby and her friends in Tate.

– I also wasn’t completely satisfied with the resolution, but that’s only because I needed more information about where everybody ends up. It’s the last book! I need a little more!

In conclusion: The book is in line with the other Roo books: funny, engaging, heartbreaking. I just wanted it to be longer since it’s the last book ever.

Support Your Local Library: 5/30; YA Challenge: 4/20

Book Review: Runaway

I couldn’t help lifting my hand to finger the spot on my own scalp where, more than three months earlier, surgeons at the Stark Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery had cut open my head, slipped out Nikki’s brain, and inserted my own.

Runaway by Meg Cabot is the conclusion of her Airhead trilogy. Emerson (Em) Watts is still in Nikki’s body in this one, and Stark’s master plan is explained.

What I Liked

– It’s Meg Cabot fare. You know. A good light read with fun characters and the requisite levels of ridiculousness. No one except the villain (Stark) is really bad.

– Lulu. Lulu continues to be awesome.

– The Stark plot is even more sinister than I thought.

– I think the first book was more effective in its commentary on judging a book by its cover and the notion of understanding someone because you think you know something about her. This book, though,  is really about the price of beauty as well as the value of youth and beauty in our society. Overall, I think this trilogy does some interesting things with regards to those questions.

What I Didn’t Like

– That said, there are some very conflicting messages about beauty. On the one hand, it’s skin deep. On the other hand, a decent makeover seems to erase a character’s deep personality flaws. So much so that she can win the affection of the boy she likes even when her personality still sucks. Um yeah. I don’t like that at all. It would be one thing if he were shown to have been drawn to her/intrigued by her before the makeover. Or even if they had GOTTEN ALONG. But no. Just because she’s pretty (now), she’s suddenly desirable as a girlfriend. Yeah, I didn’t like that at all. Obviously.

Thankfully, it’s only a small part of the plot. A very, very small part. Still, the impact is clearly felt (by me).

– Em is very generic in this book. By the end, I felt that she could have been substituted with just about any other Meg Cabot heroine.

And Christopher could have been any dude. They both felt kind of flat.

Luckily, everyone else is awesome. Especially Lulu. Did I mention I kind of love her? I might have to make her one of my literary girlfriends.

In conclusion: If you like Meg Cabot, you’ll like this book. It’s exactly what I expected (and needed) it to be. I think the first book of the trilogy is the strongest, but I like how everything (almost–let’s not count that one stupid pairing) is resolved here, especially the Stark drama.

YA Reading Challenge: 24/75