Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

If you have not already heard of Aprilynne Pike, you need to run to your nearest library ASAP. Because she is one of the best young adult fiction writers I have ever...met? Well, that I have ever, um, read her get the point.

Illusions is the third book in Aprilynne's fantastic faerie series. Illusions pulls us right back into the craziness of Laurel's life. Laurel is a faerie living in the human world. She continues to have boy problems (should she choose David, the human, who helped her when she first discovered what she really is, or Tamani, the faerie she shares an unknown past with and could easily fit into her future, no questions asked?). Thankfully, her parents and best friend Chelsea are finally all on the same mythical-stuff-exists page. Laurel's drama intensifies when Klea, the weird troll-hunter who always wears black, shows up again but this time with a faerie in tow - a faerie that, by faerie records, should not exist. Is Klea someone who can be trusted? Should Laurel befriend this new faerie or is she a threat? Why are the trolls suddenly able to withstand faerie magic? And should Laurel apply to college or go study Mixing in Avalon?

Basically, I love this series. Partly because it is about faeries, which I love. Partly because it is well-written and creative. And Partly because it has just the right mix of intensity, drama, magic, and romance. I highly recommend this series. (First book: Wings; Second book: Spells.)

Hot Air Balloons and a Pup

If you are lucky enough to live in beautiful Tualatin, Oregon then you know that one weekend in late June, you will wake up to hot air balloons flying overhead thanks to Tigard, Oregon's Balloon Festival. (Well, maybe that should say the west side of Tualatin ...the east side may not be able to see the balloons - too many trees might be in the way [we have been labeled as the "Best Tree City" or something like that for the last 15 years - yay Tualatin!]. Bummer, you east-siders.) Well, anyways, I get to wake up to hot air balloons. When we first moved to Tualatin, we were not aware of this wonderful tradition. We woke up on our first day in our new house (it happened to be my birthday!) and there were hot air balloons basically right outside our windows! It was so exciting. Well, today, I woke up around 6:20am and a few minutes later, Murry started barking. I hurried down to let him out of his crate before he woke up everyone else. I left him chewing on his blanket (a weird quirk of his) while I went to get the newspaper. There were hot air balloons right there!I was so excited, so I hurried back in, fed Murry, changed, grabbed the leash, and Murry and I headed out on a hot-air-balloon-admiration walk. Murry probably expected a typical morning walk. Without thinking, I tried to draw Murry's attention to the hot air balloons. Big mistake. He saw the one right over our house and started barking his adorable little head off. I had to take him back inside to calm him down. Since I didn't want to miss the balloons, we went back outside once he had stopped freaking out. He started barking again, but not as bad. The whole walk he seemed antsy, but the hot air balloons looked amazing! I wish I had taken pictures to post, but I was preoccupied with a nervous dog and didn't think about that until it was too late. The hot air balloons are definitely one of the little joys in my life. I've decided I'd like to ride in one one day. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas

This book is beautiful. At first I was a bit skeptical, but I am so glad I read this amazing novel. It takes place in the 1930's in a tiny Colorado mining town called Middle Swan. Hennie Comfort has lived there since the very beginnings of Middle Swan. She has a very interesting past and loves to tell stories. Dick and Nit Spindle, a newly married couple with a lost baby already under their belts, move into Middle Swan and Hennie takes young Nit under her wing. It is an unlikely friendship considering the age difference between younger-than-twenty Nit and eighty-something Hennie, but their love of quilting and stories joins them together. As the book goes along, we learn the stories of Hennie's past; her trials, her joys, her sorrows, her service, and all the things she learned. Hennie is dealing with a trial of her own as she helps Nit along. Hennie's daughter wants her to move to Iowa to live with her since Hennie is getting old. Hennie has no desire to leave her home and she feels obligated to stay to help Nit and she also has an unsolved problem to take care of.
This book pulls at your emotions. I teared up, smiled at Hennie's jokes, and had the desire to quilt and bake pie (which, unfortunately, I cannot do). There was only one thing that bugged me about this book: Hennie's unsolved problem. We do not learn what it is until the end, but Sandra Dallas continues to hint at it in a ridiculously obvious way, like, "Look! Hennie has a problem, and you need to be reminded every chapter!" I was able to figure out the "problem" pretty quick, but that might be my writer's background. And maybe it is the writer in me getting annoyed, but personally, I think she needed to only mention the issue half as many times as she did to make you notice it enough to wonder. Anyways, that's my rant about this book. But otherwise, it was fantastic! I would label this as an adult novel, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Cover: girl with hot pink hair and a wand sitting on a roof. Eye-catching? Yes.

My Fair Godmother is the story of Savannah and her boyfriend troubles, if you want it brief. But deeper, it involves sister betrayal, misunderstood wishes, an impatient fairy, chaotic fairy tales, a cyclops, a dragon, and a few princes. Plus a desperate goat, a couple of enchantments, and a wizard. Overall, it was pretty exciting. It pulled in details from a bunch of different fairy tales, which I really enjoyed.
And of course, it has a happy ending!

I adored this novel. It was fun and cute. It was also 100% clean, which is always a big deal for me. It's totally a chick flick book and was perfect for a fantasy and romance loving girl like me. I haven't read anything else by Janette Rallison, but I definitely plan to. Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review: Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Shadow Thieves is the sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers. It was also a fun and exciting adventure. Peter lives with his friends, now titled the Lost Boys, on the island named Never Land. Pirates show up on the island looking for the chest of starstuff that Peter helped protect in the previous book. The starstuff is no longer on the island, but the pirates, and their creepy, dementor-like "friend" go off to London to search for the Aster family and the chest. Peter knows he has to warn Molly Aster and her father, so he stows away on the pirate ship along with Tinker Bell and heads to London where he he has a few unexpected adventures. After a kidnapping, a night in jail, and a starstuff fiasco, Peter and Tink finally find Molly. But then, once again, it is up to them to save the starstuff. They have to face Lord Ombra, a dark creature who does things to shadows, Pirates, Mister Slank, who is desperate for revenge on Peter and Molly, all with the state of the world hanging over their heads. This children's novel is fast-paced and full of thrilling adventures. It didn't have all the unnecessary details that Peter and the Starcatchers had. This book was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed a bit more than Peter and the Starcatchers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

The cover of Heaven is for Real says, "A little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back," and it is all true. Little Colton visited heaven when he was four years old. He had to go through surgery for a burst appendix and apparently visited heaven while under anesthesia. His body never clinically died. His story proves authentic when Colton can tell his parents exactly what they were doing while he was unconscious on an operating table, and he can also give them facts about heaven and Jesus that correctly line up with teachings in the Bible that no four year old would ever know. Todd Burpo, the author, is Colton's father and a pastor for a Protestant church.

I was amazed with this book. The story was fantastic and I believe it. The things that Colton says line up correctly with the teachings of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Todd Burpo, Colton's dad, sometimes interprets Colton's statements a little differently than I would. So I believe all that COLTON says is true, but not necessarily the way his dad explains it. (If you would like more information on what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches, visit I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE, no matter what your views on religion are. One thing Colton repeats over and over is that "Jesus loves the children." What a sweet little boy and what a great experience.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey

This is another one of those "Once Upon a Time" books. And, once again, Cameron Dokey did a fantastic job. Winter's Child is a retelling of "The Snow Queen," which I have never heard of. So this story was all new to me. Basically, Grace and Kai grow up hearing the tale of the "Winter Child" - a girl who was swept up by the North Wind as a baby and now has to go on a quest when she turns 16 to reverse what the North Wind did to her. She must heal the hearts that have slivers of ice embedded in them, causing them to fear too much to love. The Winter Child's heart also has a slice of ice, but she cannot heal her own heart. Grace has always thought this was just a fairy tale, but Kai believed in the Winter Child. After the biggest argument of their lives, Kai leaves to follow the Winter Child on her journey, without saying goodbye or explaining to Grace. Grace realizes how much Kai means to her and sets out to follow him, having an enlightening adventure of her own.

I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy read, and it was beautifully written. It had some fantastic quotes.
"A plant needs to do more than stretch its leaves toward the sun. It also needs to send down roots deep into the ground. They hold on tightly in the dark, out of sight where it is easy to forget about them. But it is the fact that a plant can do these two things at once, anchoring itself to the earth even as it reaches for the sky, that makes it strong."