Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Other Boleyn Girl

Just as Katherine of Aragon is my least favorite of Henry VIII's wives, Anne Boleyn is my favorite. This is largely due to Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, which not only tells the story of Anne Boleyn, but also her sister, Mary, one of Henry VIII's many mistresses, and their brother George. 

I really enjoy The Other Boleyn Girl because it's not only an intense faux love story and affair, but it delves into the family relationships of the Boleyn siblings AND it's historical fiction where one learns about the politics and religion, and their relationship, during this portion of Henry VIII's reign. [holy run-on sentence!] Now, of course, given the subject matter and the character of Henry, who is constantly having affairs, it's not necessarily the most chaste book, but it is my favorite by Gregory and I highly recommend it!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Constant Princess

My first Philippa Gregory book ever was The Constant Princess, the tale of Catherine of Aragon before she married Henry VIII. It tells of Catherine as Catalina, the Infanta of Spain, only to become Catherine upon her marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales. Arthur, Henry's older brother who was to become king. Arthur, the prince who became sickly and died too soon. 

Catherine of Aragon is my least favorite of Henry VIII's wives [yes, I have them ranked. ish. Don't judge.], or at least bottom two. It's like a feel bad for her, but I don't feel her the way I feel some of the others. I don't believe this is due to Gregory's writing, but just Catherine herself. 

The Constant Princess does introduce us to a new side of Catherine, a younger Catherine. She is a desperate widow, heartbroken by Arthur's death, abandoned by her father, abandoned by England. And so, she must take her fate into her own hands: she must fight for what she wants, she must fight to become the Queen of England, as she was meant to be.  

If you're interested in Henry VIII, Historical Fiction, or Philippa Gregory at all, this book is worth the read. You'll like it. 

Time of My Life

If you could go back in time and change your life, would you? Allison Winn Scotch's Time of My Life poses that very question. Jillian, an unhappy housewife, is transported seven years into the past, before she's even met her husband, by her masseuse unlocking her chi. Knowing what she does, can she change her future? Can she? And what other aspects of life will her new choices impact? And most importantly: If she makes new choices and changes her life, will she finally be happy? 

Time of My Life is an interesting, enjoyable novel that really makes you think about your own life and your own choices. Overall, I liked it and recommend it with the caveat that there is some sex and language. If that doesn't bother you, give it a go! 


Highlight it to read. :) 

I really hated the ending; she gets everything she wants without working for it! Unfair! Unrealistic, even for this kind of a novel!! 

Lady Macbeth's Daughter

Lisa Klein's Lady Macbeth's Daughter, is, obviously, about Lady Macbeth's daughter, of Klein's own creation, and her side of the story of Macbeth. It brings a new aspect to a familiar story while keeping it at a high YA reading level. It's a great book for the YA reader who loves historical fiction, Shakespeare, Macbeth, and Scotland, or anyone who just wants to hear a different side to Macbeth. I can't say it's my favorite book, but I enjoyed reading it and I bet you will too. 


I first read Edward Bloor's Tangerine many years back.  Probably about when it first came out in 1997. I feel like I liked it then, and I liked it again this time around. Paul is our main character and the new kid at school.  He's also been having strange memories and questioning why, in fat, h needs glasses and his eyes are so ad, since he doesn't remember looking directly at the sun as he's been told happened.  But that's not all to the story. Paul's brother, Erik, is a jerk of a football star and their dad is pushing him to be the next big thing, even at his new school.  Likewise, Paul is expected  as always, to sacrifice for the brother's football dream.  But Paul has his own port and his own dream: Soccer. 

Tangerine is a great YA novel and I would especially recommend it to kids who feel different, as well as those who don't always enjoy reading, but might be convinced to give it a go if the book is about soccer. It's a good, enjoyable read. Read on!  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Far World: Water Keep & Land Keep













A few years back, Jenn's friend's (who has since become a friend of mine as well) dad got published. Jenn read the book, but you know how I always mean to read a book and never do. And then Jenn said the book wasn't really my type anyway. Well, fast forward to the last time I tole some of Matthew's books and J. Scott Savage's Far World: Water Keep and Land Keep ended up in my pile. And last week, I finally read them. 

We have to main characters, orphaned and crippled Marcus from Earth and Kyja from Far World, who is also orphaned and has her own disability, as far as Far World is concerned. Marcus has been transported to Far World and as he and Kyja learn of their origins, they also learn that it is now their responsibility to save Far World. 

I really enjoyed this adventure.  I'm bummed it's a series with on the first two out (okay, I think the 3rd is out now? Or at least almost . . . ). Well, regardless, it's a cute book with likable,  relate-able characters and an exciting adventure in a magical world.  I highly recommend giving this series a go! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The House on Mango Street

I first got The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros for Ammon because it was required reading for his ninth grade English class. And I have no clue why.  It does not surpass the quality of any of the novels I read in ninth grade, and not nearly close enough to replace them! It's no To Kill A Mockingbird or The Chosen. Not by a long shot. 

Mango Street is told in short spurts by Esperanza, a girl who never really gives us her age or any information abut herself except that she wants  real home.  She does, however, tell us little snip-its about her neighbors in spurts of one or two ages.  It made it really hard to get into the book.  The reader barely knows the characters so one can't connect to them and there's no real story arc.  I'm unclear as to why Cisneros would write this or what story she is trying to tell.  I didn't enjoy this. I don't recommend it. And I certainly can't see a ninth grader enjoying or  learning from it. 


Alice Hoffman's Incantation tells the tale of undercover Jews in Spain during the 1500s.  Our main character, Estrella, doesn't even realize her family is Jewish.  She finally puts the pieces together and sees the danger her family is in.  They have been practicing Judaism but masquerading as good Catholics for years. When they are found out . . . well, it won't be good. At one point, Estrella thinks, "Still, I coudln't help but wonder if it was a mistake for people like us to be tied to a place. If we weren't meant to wander.  If everything we needed was tied up in who we were."  Later, she asks her grandfather a similar question.  He answers, "You run once, what makes you think you won't have to run all the rest of your life?" But if you don't run, will there be a "rest of your life"? 
Incantation is a great historical fiction for the young adult reader.  It delves into history, telling a tale we don't come across too often.  I recommend this novel to all YA Historical Fiction fans. Read on!