“Enchantment” by Orson Scott Card is a fun read that tells the Russian version of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty with a modern day twist. Ivan the main character and hero of the book stumbles upon a clearing in the Carpathian forest in modern day Ukraine, and sets in motion the fairy tale he has heard of but never believed in.
On a raised pedestal surrounded by fallen leaves, he sees the resting form of a beautiful woman. He is a child at the time and it is fascinating, eerie and frightening all at the same time. When something stirs in the leaves he takes off running back to the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm. Years pass but he doesn’t forget even as he tries to convince himself it was just his childish imagination gone wild. As an adult he finds himself compelled to return and finds it exactly as it was the first time. And he is drawn into the enchantment.
“A Long, Long Sleep” by Anna Sheehan is a cleverly written twist on Sleeping Beauty, varied enough from the classic fairy tale that the connection didn’t hit me until I was done! What would happen if you were asleep for a long, long time. So long that the people you loved, the technology you were familiar with and the world you knew were gone?
This is set in a future time and makes you think about wants, needs and ethics. Rose is the daughter of the famously wealthy and powerful Fitzroys. When she awakes after 62 years she is confused, weak and vulnerable and quickly learns how important it is to know who you truly are and who you can trust.
****a really fun read that surprised me over and over again!
“Book of a Thousand Days” by Shannon Hale is a fun read that starts out simply and then increases interest like a snowball racing down the mountain. The potential for the story just gets bigger and bigger. Dashti becomes the maid of Lady Saren and trades her freedom for imprisonment with her lady in a tower. Why would a person do that? Honor, loyalty, duty, fear? You would have to read it to find out! It is written like a diary from Dashti’s perspective.
****I kept a diary when I was her (Dashti’s) age and some of the writing held the dramatic feelings of a teenager that can only come from being locked in a tower. Except I was never locked in a tower. I was just a little dramatic.
I am finally reading another book! Stay tuned for my review of “Book of a Thousand Days” by Shannon Hale
After hearing so many good reviews on “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, I decided to read it. The book sheds light on the lives and experiences of African American maids working in white households in the United States during the 1960’s. It tells the story through the eyes of three characters Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. It is entertaining and thought provoking. It manages to be both heavy and light. I think that is quite the accomplishment for the author. I wanted to step into the book and slap Hilly Holbrook, a character who is essentially the enemy to all other characters.
****I usually stick to fantasy for the escape from real life but I think this book is well worth anyone’s time. All men and women are created equal, it is the act of narrow minds that makes it otherwise. (this book has been made into a movie as well. Read the book first. I think they did a great job with the movie and there are some stellar performances by the actors in it, but it leaves out a few things and combines a few scenes in the book that are better read in order in the book, in my opinion.)
I have been so busy lately that I haven’t cracked open a new book for awhile! I am looking for one to read and will post something new soon!
“Enchanted Ivy” by Sarah Beth Durst is a quick read fantasy about a sixteen year old named Lily Carter whose dream in life is to attend college at Princeton University. She accompanies her grandfather on a trip for his class reunion to go see the campus for the first time. At the beginning of the book we know that something is wrong with Lily’s mom but we aren’t sure what. Finding out the answer to that question is a big part of the mysterious path the Lily finds herself on. She is given a rare opportunity to go on a quest of sorts to find a key, if she finds it she is automatically accepted into Princeton. If she doesn’t find it she can apply like everyone else and may or may not get in. She agrees to the test with no real idea what she is getting herself into. Her grandfather is not who she thinks he is and she soon discovers that she really doesn’t even know herself.
*****A fun read. I read “Ice” by Sarah Beth Durst and really enjoyed it so I tried out this book as well. Of the two, I like “Ice” better, but they are both fun, easy and clean reads.
"Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones is a lighthearted read for anyone of any age. With light humor it tells the story of Sophie who, as the book says, "has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate." It is a fun and entertaining book. While its not a page turner that can't be put down, its clever and a quick read.
“Song of the Sparrow” by Lisa Ann Sandell lured me in with the promise of Arthurian legend. Isn’t there something adventurous and universally appealing about Camelot and the knights of the round table? There have been many movies, books, plays and other works of art about these things but this book tells the story of Elaine of Ascolat and stems from the poem “The Lady of Shalott”.
The entire book is written in lyrical form, so it reads like one poem although it is more noticeable to the eye than in your mind. At first it irritated me a tiny bit to have so few words on each page, but I got used to it as I lost myself in what those words were saying. It doesn’t read in a line by line rhyme, so once you get going you it is essentially the same as reading a regular paragraph. So if you love poetry the idea might endear you and if you don’t love poetry you’ll find that you don’t notice after a dozen pages or so.
I found myself enjoying the story until it got to the part where Gwynivere was introduced. It was then that I remembered, once again, how much I dislike the whole Gwynivere/Lancelot/Arthur love triangle. Arthur deserves better. I am always furious with Lancelot and Gwynivere when I read it or see a movie about it. But I really enjoyed the character of Elaine of Ascolat.
I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith is probably the first book that I’ve read that makes me want to say things like “delightful, charming, and heart-warming”. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you read it. I found it on a list of best lesser-known books, and I’m so glad I read it!
It is written from the perspective of a teenage girl who narrates as though it is her journal. She is the daughter of an acclaimed author who has been going through a period of writer’s block for several years. The family lives in England and the narrator Cassandra writes her journal as an exercise for her own desires to become an author. She states that she dreams of being a Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen.
The story is sweet and funny and the characters are so well developed. I loved reading this book!
****This is a romantic fiction novel, it doesn’t belong in the fantasy genre. I haven’t listed romance as a category on this site because I’ve always been very cautious about books labeled as romance. Many of them, particularly in the adult section of the library lean towards the erotic romance which I steer clear of! But like all of my recommendations, “I Capture the Castle“ is a good, clean read.