Category Archives: Youth/Children’s

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Book #7: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling

I finally did it, I started reading Harry Potter! Everyone was telling m to for ages and the internet has loved the series since it first came out. I however had never read it, and never watched the movies. Being an avid internet-user however I knew the basic plot of the story, the main characters and a skeleton idea of how the series progressed because you can’t follow most video-bloggers or tumblr accounts without getting Harry Potter “spoilers”.

Well, I’ll just say it. I wasn’t blown away. I’m sorry avid fans, please don’t tear me apart or come murder me in my sleep! It’s just really not my type of book… I shan’t be finishing the series I’m afraid, but I can at least now say I’ve tried.
It my sound pious and get on your nerves, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t get over the whole aspect of witches and wizards being “good”. Witches and wizards are not good. They’re evil. Withcraft is evil and these books are glorifying it and making it look good.

Summary: (courtesy of the back of the book, Raincoast publication)

Harry Potter thinks he’s an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The reason: Harry Potter is a Wizard!

Sorry all, but that is my biased opinion. I won’t put a rating on this one because the reason I didn’t like it had nothing to do with the writing, but the topic. The writing style was fine but it was obvious that The Philosopher’s Stone was written as a children’s book and thereby didn’t grab my attention in the same way an adult book does.

DFTBA!
– Becky.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Youth/Children's

The Wind in the Willows

Book #6: The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame (children’s fiction)

So this was just a quicky read for fun so it’ll be a quicky review to match! When I was a kid we owned the “Four Seasons” VHS box set (boy, that ages me!) of “The Wind in the Willows” which I loved, but I realized a couple weeks ago I’d never actually read the original stories even though the book was sitting on one of the living room shelves. So I fixed that this week.

The stories are adorable, they’re quick, they’re for children, they’re sweet, they’re funny, and as an eighteen year old, I still enjoyed them! Although as an eighteen year old I instantly pictured “Rat” as Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and “Mole” as John Watson (Martin Freeman) so…

The book follows the story of four friends, Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger and their lives and occasional adventures. It begins with Mole in his burrow alone, not knowing anyone, but he gets a bit of spring fever, comes out of his burrow and quite quickly thereafter, meets the Water Rat. Mole is so enchanted with The River and with Ratty’s lifestyle that he moves in with him (seeing the “Sherlock” similarities yet? ;D) and soon gets to know Ratty’s friends, Otter, Mr Toad, and Badger. They all are very merry (except Badger who sticks to himself most of the time…) and they have some good laughs, find Otter’s son when he goes missing, and try (note the “try”) to keep Toad out of trouble.

It’s very light and  easy reading, obviously directed at children, but still enjoyable for adults! (or for the young at heart or something…)
All in all, 8 out of 10. Well written, happy ending, but it’s a kids book so it wasn’t exactly intellectually challenging =D

I’ve got a trip to the library planned, got a bunch of books people have recommended I read to get! Talk to you soon!
DFTBA
– Becky

4 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Fiction, Youth/Children's

The Three Elizabeths

Book #10: The Three Elizabeths
By J.M. Page (fiction)

See what a terrible person I am? Almost two weeks ago I told you that I would write up another post immediately, and yet here I am just writing it now… naughty, naughty… =D

This is a book I have reread at whim since I was about ten. I loved it then and I love it now. It never gets old and it’s still just as cute at eighteen as it was when I was ten.

I love Elizabeth, the oldest of the “sisters”/cousins and how she bosses the younger two around (much like I do my siblings). Elspeth, the bookworm who loves English and history like me. Beth, the youngest, naughty and curious…

I was last worked on this on November 23… So I’m not gonna finish this post, just know that this is a great children’s book, it’s got a good story line, very sweet. Not intense or anything, but sweet, first love, new families, happy endings =) Good stuff… 8 out of 10 stars.

C’EST FINI!!

I have made one of my new year’s resolutions to read 30 books in 2012. This one doesn’t count =D

2 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Fiction, Youth/Children's

Dragons of the Valley

Book #8: Dragons of the Valley
By Donita K. Paul (Fantasy)

This book is the second in the Dragons of Chiril series by Donita K. Paul (who, like I said in The Vanishing Sculptor, the first in this series, is one of my favourite authors). I finished reading this book like a week ago, I just kept forgetting to review, so hopefully I’ll remember how much I loved it!

Once again at the end of the book I was left glad that this is not the last book in the series, there’s only one more though… very sad.

This book seemed to focus more on Bealomondore, the artist from the last book, than on Tipper, the heroine from the last book but book were a main part. In this book I found that I liked Bealomondore much more! But I suppose that is the point after all…he’s matures more in this book and grows more courageous. He even takes up a sword to defend his country!

At one point, *careful spoilers!*, I began to get worried that Paladin and Tipper weren’t going to get together, but Bealomondore and Tipper instead! Thankfully that didn’t happen, because as I thought at the time, Tipper is an emerlindian (tall and slim) while Bealomondore is a tumanhofer (short and stout). It wasn’t going to be a good relationship… Thankfully it never happened and all my worry was for nothing!

This book, like all of Donita’s books that I’ve read, has a Christian subplot. This one is very much about fighting evil and becoming who we are meant to be in Christ whether we feel comfortable with it in the beginning or not. It shows that as we step into who God made us to be and begin to follow his plan for our lives, our lives will improve and we will be more at peace with him, and as we interact with others.

**SPOILERS** (Okay now, if you’re still reading this, it’s time for me to spoil the whole book for you, beginning to end!)

The book starts off with Bealomondore at night in the main hall of the Palace (exactly where we left off in the last book, but night time) with a kimen trying to convince himself not to steal the statue the kimen has told him to take. It is one of the three statues, the trio of elements, that the artist Verrin Schope carved and were crucial to the last story. The kimen eventually convinces Bealomondore and he takes the statue in question and goes off with Maxon (the kimen) with the statue in a hollow (their like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag). Maxon take shimt o meet some other kimens at an inn and Bealomondore is drugged by the nice friendly kimens.
Meanwhile basically the same thing has occurred to Tipper except that her kimen friend is Taeda Bel, a family friend and she’s been given the statue by her father to take away with Taeda Bel as her guide. So basically not the same thing as Bealomondore then… whatever.
Tipper is head-over-heels for Paladin who (besides  being a flirt) doesn’t seem overly interested in her. As she is thinking about him she looses sight of Taeda Bel and is captured by unknown enemies. Now lets hurry through the rest. When the two statues are discoved to be missing there’s chaos at the palace. Verrin Schope starts disappearing and reappearing again (startling his wife considerably) and in the end Wizard Fenworth takes the last statue and “whirls” (teleport basically) away with it. Bealomondore recovers in the kimens’ forest home (which, similar Lothlorien in Lord of the Rings, you cannot know how you got into it. They however have never thought of blindfolds like the wise elves…Bealomondore does not hesitate to suggest them). Maxon takes him to his village but on the way they find Tipper (who was taken by rompas, supposedly to the kimen village, but Rompas, not being the brightest, lost her). She’s unconcious due to a reaction with a forest plant. Eventually Maxon and Bealomondore get her to the kimen village and she recovers and Fenworth whirls into Bealomondore’s temporary house with Libretowitt. They realign the statues and then discuss what to do.  The kimens report seeing strange soldiers around the country and especially a strange creature, like none of the high or low races, called The Grawl. I don’t feel like writing a really detailed summary right now (and the details are starting to get foggy) but basically Bealomondore becomes a knight due to a magic sword Fenworth gives him that trains him as he uses it, Tipper becomes a background character, Fenworth and his buddy-kimen Holee whirl away to the wrong places accidently. Tipper, Bealomondore, Witt, Holee, Maxon, Taeda Bell, and Fenworth are trying to get to the town Vererin Schope and Lady peg are in, they get…waylaid…Fenworth whirls back to where the others are, sees the Grawl and scares him. They make it to the town they were trying to get to, Bealomondore goes to fight in the battle against the bad soldiers the kimens saw, Tipper and Lady Peg reopen their house as a war hospital. Fenworth, Witt, and Holee go to the valley of the dragons and begin to build a safe shrine for the statues and the dragons help. The Grawl has made it his goal to kill Fenworth so he gets some schoergats (dragon hunting creatures, one of the low races, sort of) to come get the dragons while he gets the wizard. The King starts accepting Paladin’s advice and they start winning some battles (after loosing many), Paladin come to the valley of the dragons with Bealomondore and some soldiers. They are in the valley when the Grawl and the Schoergats come and attack, they win. The king is killed in battle making Tipper the queen (the crown moves strangely in Chiril, goign to the second generation, Tipper, not her mother). Paladin and Bealomondore go off to finish winnipeg all the battles, Tipper goes home. Fenworth finishes the shrine and opens it to the public. Tupper is still madly in love with prince Jayrus/Paladin from home and one day, after all the battles are won.  One day Paladin come to visit Tipper and proposes. Now THEY’RE ENGAGED!!!! SQUEE!!!! And ya. That summary got really boring and vague at the end there but honestly, it’s a really good book. I wanna read the third one NOW! =D

Overall: 7.5 our of 10. I like the last book better, and I expect to like the next book better too. Middle books are always hard, inbetween.

Should be back soon, I’ve finished another book I need to review!
– Becky

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Youth/Children's

The Vanishing Sculptor

Book #5: The Vanishing Sculptor
by Donita K. Paul (Fantasy)
(republished as The Dragons of Chiril)

So Donita Paul is the author of one of my favourite book series, The DragonKeeper Chronicles so when I saw this book in the library yesterday (yes, yesterday) I didn’t hesitate a moment before taking it out (on my mum’s library card, I have unpaid fines on mine… ;D). I wasn’t disappointed, although I am glad that this is a first of a new series by Donita Paul because the ending wasn’t quite satisfactory for me…but more on that later! Donita is a great writer and I always love her stuff and her ability to make you love the characters she creates (the good characters that is!)

This is a fantasy book so it, obviously, takes place in a fictional world. It takes place in the same world as the DragonKeeper books but in a different country (Chiril, rather than Amara). It does have some names DragonKeeper fans will recognize though, I squealed with delight upon discovering this, yes, literally squealed, I’m cool okay!

Now I just wanna point out, the few random illustrations in the copy I read are, well, they don’t relate to the book at all… I’m an idiot, I just re-looked at the illustrations. There are four illustrations in the book and each of them is the statue that is mentioned in that chapter. Okay, they’re a little crudely drawn, but they DO relate to the book =D My bad…

The book could be looked upon as allegorical, Donita Paul is a Christian author and if you choose to look at it as such, this book documents the spreading of the gospel to a land that’s never heard it and how it can change and save lives. I look at it from that perspective, but even if you choose not to, the plot is great.

There is sort of a romantic subplot but it doesn’t get resolved in this book which is why I’m going to read the sequel soon. I need this to be resolved!!!! =D

Also I like these books because they don’t have humans. There’s the seven high races and the seven low races. If my memory serves my right from the DragonKeeper books, the seven high races (emerlindians, kimens, mariones, o’rants, tumanhofers, doneels, and urohms) were created by Wulder (“God”, the world’s creator). The seven low races (bisonbecks, blimmets, grawligs, mordakleeps, quiss’, rompas, and schoergs) were created by an evil guy, I think he was a wizard, and he made them to try and prove he was as powerful as Wulder. He failed and his creations were twisted and evil. O’rants would be the closest you can get to a human. Emerlindians are like elves and the main character in this book, Tipper, is a young emerlindian woman.

Ready? Let’s go…

**SPOILERS** (One of those summaries that makes watching paint dry look exciting, jk =D I hope…)

Tipper’s father has been gone for years. He was an incredibly skilled sculptor but they don’t know where he is and they don’t know why he left. Her mother, who is the banished daughter of the King and Queen of Chiril, seems to have gone slightly mad and appears to be living in an imaginary world where she is still in communication with her husband. Tipper is watched over by Sir Beccaroon, the local magistrate and a family friend. Sir Beccaroon is also a Grand Parrot, and magnificent speaking bird reaching about to Tipper’s waist. Tipper has been forced to sell most of her father’s sculptures to pay for family expenses in his absence. One day an aspiring tumanhofer artist arrives at the house demanding to see the famed artist Verrin Schope. Tipper manages to get rid of him and a couple days later her father suddenly appears with two guests. Tipper learns that Verrin has somehow contracted a condition that causes him to come apart into particles and then reform next to a certain “gateway” (a sort of doorway that goes from place to place, country to country, etc depending on how it’s built). With him have come the Wizard Fenworth and his librarian, Librettowit from Amara. They were the ones to build the gateway in the first place and are now trying to find a way to untangle Verrin’s connection to it. While away with the wizard and librarian (the gateway went from Verrin’s house to Fenworth’s, it was built before the Schope’s house) Verrin Schope has learned about Wulder and is eager to share the news with his friends back in Chirul. The wizard and his librarian have determined that to cure Verrin Schope’s problem with coming apart and reconstructing, they need to join three of his sculptures together because they were originally of one stone, one of Wulder’s foundation stones. The problem is all three of the sculptures have been sold over the years. Thus begins a quest to find the three sculptures. The tumanhofer artist, Bealomondore, is asked to join the party because, having studied all of Verrin Schope’s work he has the best idea of where to find each sculpture. Along with the party come four minor dragons (minor dragons are small, about the size of a kitten usually, they only communicate through mindspeaking and only certain people can hear them, and they each have gifts, like music or healing or hope). Wizard Fenworth quickly decides it would be much more convenient to have some riding dragons so they go to the Sunset Mountains. Here they find dragons, but they also find a Dragon Keeper. Under the advice of his mentor  the Dragon Keeper, Prince Jayrus, agrees to lend the company riding dragons, but he will accompany them on their quest. Prince Jayrus is a young emerlindian man and it’s later discovered by Fenworth and Librettowit that he is the Paladin of Chiril, “the educator, encourager, exhorter, spokesman for Wulder, interpreter of the principles, leader” (Page 321). In the process of getting the final sculptures the questers are kidnapped and Lady Peg (Tipper’s mother, who has joined them after visiting her sister) is to be forced to the throne and used as a pawn for the villain to rule Chiril. They use a gateway to enter the palace and overthrow the King and Queen but thankfully Fenworth is able to defeat the villain (evil wizard) in time and save everyone. The three sculptures are all gained and placed together correctly, fixing both the gateway and Verrin Schope. Paladin (Prince Jayrus) helps Lady Peg and her mother reunite and we are left with a happy family, but knowing that Tipper quite fancies the prince going so far as to ask her father is Paladin’s are allowed to marry. This is way the ending is unsatisfactory but also a good ending because it makes you want to read the sequel. I am going to request it at my library ASAP because my brain is screaming “DO TIPPER AND JAYRUS GET TOGETHER?” and it’s getting kinda annoying listening to that so…

Overall: 8 out of 10 stars (I still like the DragonKeeper Chronicles better, though I guess I haven’t read the rest of this series… =D)
Unrelated sidenote: I have another blog on which I publish poetry I’ve written, so if you care to check that out, please, by all means, go ahead! http://random-orange-juice.blogspot.com

Hope to see you soon!
– Becky

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Youth/Children's