Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer Nielsen was invited to the Provo City Library to discuss/promote her new book, The False Prince. My fellow author friend and I went even though we had not read her book yet. We weren't sure if we would purchase the book while there, because, let's face it, even though we want to buy all the books in the world, we cannot afford to buy all the books. Sigh. BUT, we were so incredibly impressed with Nielsen that we decided to buy her book. (And we ended up getting the best price for a hard-back copy that we have seen so far! Woot!) So I bought it, she signed it, and I went home happy, but a little concerned about spending money I shouldn't have.

It was so worth it.

Nielsen's novel is amazing. I was so impressed. It was captivating, exciting, dramatic, funny, clever, and really entertaining. For me it was a really quick read. It's completely clean and the way she handles that was impressive. Instead of actually having her characters swear, she has them do things like "mutter a stream of curses" or phrases like that. It's a clever way to show how upset characters are without making the book vulgar. I really appreciated that.

The novel is about a orphan boy named Sage who gets bought by Conner the nobleman for a treasonous plan. Conner wants one of the orphan boys he picked to become a false prince - to come back and claim to be Prince Jaron who has been lost for four years. Sage doesn't like the plan. He doesn't like the idea of living a lie for the rest of his life and he knows the consequences if Conner and the new prince are found out. But he also knows that Conner will kill the boys not chosen, so that they can never become the snitch who reveals the truth. Sage's main goal is to just keep himself alive.

I very highly recommend this book. I'm pretty sure you'll love it. More books are to follow The False Prince and I can hardly wait.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

So I'm not a huge games fan. Every Sunday evening my friends get together to play games. I go because I dislike being left out of things (who doesn't?). For the first half, we play ultimate Uno, and I love that and it's a lot of fun. But then they want to play games like Hearts and Scum, which I am no good at and don't really enjoy. So one Sunday when these dull games were being started, I picked up Howl's Moving Castle from my friend's side table and decided to read that instead of playing games I don't like. It was great!

In the novel, Howl's castle does indeed move. Howl's fire demon, Calcifer is in charge of moving the castle abouyt the countryside. Sophie works in a hat shop, and one day the Witch of the Waste gets angry and makes Sophie old. Sophie trudges off, starting a new life, and ends up in Howl's castle. Howl and his apprentice, Michael, find her very annoying but she is a stubborn old woman and refuses to leave. So she cleans. She becomes friends with Calcifer, and learns some of Howl's secrets. Calcifer needs her help in breaking his contract with Howl, but first Sophie has to figure out what exactly the contract is. And then Howl is sent to find a prince, is being chased by the Witch of the Waste, and is courting Sophie's sister. Things get confusing for Sophie pretty fast, and on top of all that, Sophie would like to be herself again.

This book was not exactly fast-paced, but I did think it was exciting. Jones is a creative writer; I still don't completely understand all the magical secrets of Howl's castle. But this book was fun, and I think I will try some of Jones' other novels (she's published over 30 books!). You should try this one out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

I've been hearing about the greatness of Brandon Mull for years. I've met him twice and he is really fun. And now I have FINALLY read one of his books.

The Candy Shop War was fantastic. Mull's books are for a middle school age audience, but they are entertaining for adults as well because he writes so well. The story was exciting, interesting, and unique. Magic is a main topic in many, many novels, but Mull found a way to use magic in a new way.

Mrs. White moves to town and opens a candy shop. Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon go to check it out and Mrs. White invites to be her helpers, in return for some magic candy. Soon, the kids find themselves jumping over creeks and getting sneaky revenge on the school bullies. But things get fishy when a stranger says that Mrs. White is dangerous and their parents stop paying any attention to their children. Nate, Trevor, Summer, and Pigeon have to figure out what Mrs. White is really up to, even if it means losing magic candy privileges.

With candy that can make you weightless, candy that lets you pass through mirrors, candy that lets animals talk, and many other kinds, Mull's book was creative and fun. This book was a lot more than I expected. I am very impressed with Mull's writing and I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I chopped my hair! It was already short to begin with, but this feels great! I had to share cuz I'm just loving life this week. Yesterday was my roommate's birthday and we had a blast making a goofy movie complete with prom dresses, slicked back hair, and a genie (me). And I saw Madagascar 3 yesterday (so funny - my favorite of the 3). And it's also MY birthday week! (It's on Sunday.) So getting my hair cut the way I've been wanting to for a while was basically sprinkles on my cupcake. Let me know what you think. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I very, very highly recommend Graceling. It was fantastic! This was Cashore's debut novel, and I am looking forward to reading more of her work. Her writing is clear and impressive, and her ideas are astounding.

Katsa is Graced with killing. She is a superb fighter. She has never lost a fight, and she is so quick and forceful that the king uses her to bully the people who do not obey him. Katsa is sick of hurting people, but doesn't know how to change things since that is her Grace. Enter Po, one of the princes of Lienid. He is also Graced, but with fighting. He and Katsa start to train together, and Po gives Katsa some ideas about the way she can run her life that she had never thought possible. Katsa starts to see herself and her Grace differently.
Po and Katsa set out on a very intense adventure filled with danger, rescue, and excitement. They discover some horrible secrets and some helpful and enlightening ones about Graces. Their adventures take them all over the seven kingdoms, where Katsa sees the ocean for the first time.

This novel was exciting and intriguing. Cashore's ideas are unique and interesting. It was one of those books where you think about it all the time. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels - it's time for a trip to the library.

I'm still not sure how I feel about book trailers, but here's the one for Graceling.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Review: Tales of the Dragon's Bard: Eventide by Tracy and Laura Hickman

This book review is very exciting for me to write because (drum roll please) I got to read Eventide and write this review before the book was even out! I'm not positive on the exact release date, but it's sometime this month. I'm pretty excited about this one.

So Eventide started out slow for me. I had a hard time getting into it, and at first I blamed that on the reading level - it felt young. But as the story continued, I noticed that many of the sentences were beautifully crafted. The Hickman's word choice is original, and their sentences become creations. It was really impressive, so that made me want to bump up the reading level, and by that point, I was hooked on the book.

It was told in an interesting and unique fashion. The Dragon's Bard, Edvard, collects stories, so I was reading the individual stories but they all connected, influencing the ultimate story line of Jarod and his quest to win the heart of the beautiful Caprice. It was really well written. All the little stories were unique and fun.

I got to meet the Hickman's at the Provo City Library - they are super nice. Both of them have written other novels. You can learn more about them and their other books here. Tales of the Dragon's Bard is going to be a series, and the next book is in the works.

Try this book out - it was fun, clean, unique, and entertaining.