Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High #1) by Shannon Hale

“A good story was more important than anything. Even than one person’s life.”

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling Publisher: Little Brown and Company Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Library Rating:  (4/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens…whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.

As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen’s destiny is to follow in her mother’s wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven’s style. She’s starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.

I wasn’t going to read this book. I clicked on it while browsing goodreads and when I noticed it was a Mattel book I almost clicked away. But then I noticed how it was written by Shannon Hale (who has written really amazing fairy-tale style books) and that it had gotten a lot of good reviews. So I borrowed it from my Library’s eBook section.

The main adjective that comes to mind when i think about this book is “Cute.” This book was really, really, teeth-rottingly adorable. It was silly, and it had many little fairy-tale related quirks. “Hext messages” instead of text messages, “fairy” instead of very, and “hexcellent” instead of excellent.

And the character names. Oh, the character names. Apple White, Daring and Dexter Charming, Maddie Hatter. All related to the characters they were based on, but slightly different. (And more adorable)

This all goes to say that I enjoyed this book a lot. A lot of it read like a well-written but silly fanfiction, (Conversations with the narrator anyone?) and the entire story was very light and fluffy with not much more to it. But while it wasn’t as great as Shannon Hale’s other books, it was still good and I thought it was worth the read.

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Book Haul (#1)

I didn’t really mean to buy any books this month. And I REALLY didn’t mean to buy ten books this month. But I just kept ending up at book stores, and this is what happened.

April 2014 Book Haul

  1. Hero by Mike Lupica
  2. Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta
  3. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  4. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chianani
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  6. Nick and Tesla’s High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pfulgfelder
  7. Spell Robbers (The Quantum League #1) by Mathew J. Kirby
  8. The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni
  9. How to Catch a Bogle (Bogle #1) by Catherine Jinks
  10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

April 2014 B&N Haul

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing (The Testing #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books
Format: Kindle eBook Source: Library
Rating:  (4/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

Now, this book did have many similarities to The Hunger Games. Actually, this book had many similarities to many of the YA Dystopian novels currently saturating the market. But this is one I actually really enjoyed reading, so let’s just accept those similarities and move on.

When I picked up this book (A few days ago) I really felt tired of dystopian novels. There have been some good ones since The Hunger Games made the genre popular again (The Summer Prince by Alaya Johnson for example) but many of the books have felt very much the same to me. But the library had this one as an eBook, so why not try it? No harm if I didn’t read past the chapter.

I ended up liking this book a whole lot more than I thought it would. The premise seemed a bit unrealistic (Testing the countries smartest people in dangerous ways? Really?) and it still doesn’t seem plausible, but when I was reading the book it worked.

The book’s plot moves along really nicely. Once you get past the first chapter or so it always feels like something is happening, and parts of the book can be really suspenseful. This is actually the first book in a while that I’ve wanted to keeping reading enough that I finished it in one day. 

All in all, a nice fast read that didn’t have the most original plot, but was still pretty good. I will be reading the second book in the series eventually. I’m curious.

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A Sunday in the Cities

As I’m busy with school and sports most of the week, the only days I really have time for going places and doing things are Sundays.

This Sunday me and my family had planned on taking a sort of “tour” of all the most popular/best ice cream places in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Unfortunately, it ended up being rainy and cold all day, but we did manage to make it to two of the places we had planned to go.

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First we went to Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis.

Sebastian Joes Group

I ordered an Oreo Ice Cream Sundae, my mom and dad both ordered a chocolate-banana flavor with a fancy name I can’t remember, and my grandma ordered a scoop of chocolate raspberry.

Sebastian Joes Oreo Sundae

Sebastian Joes Raspberry and Banana

The cafe had a really nice atmosphere, and with the fire in the restaurant it didn’t feel to cold to be eating ice cream. The area with tables also had some glass garage doors on the wall that looked like they were designed to be opened on sunnier days. Maybe I’ll go back during summer to see?

Sebastian Joes

After that we walked a block or so to the Wild Rumpus, a bookstore my mom knew about but I had never visited.

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What was really cool about this bookstore was that along with many, many tightly packed books they also had a bunch of animals! They had some pet rats, a ferret, a pair of small chickens, a tropical bird, a few Manx cats and two chinchillas.

Wild Rumpus Chinchilla

They had so many different genres of books and lots of books from each genre. On each shelf I didn’t see more than one or two copies of each book. They would probably keep more copies in the back. It was technically a children’s bookstore, but they also had a great collection of Young Adult novels.

Wild Rumpus Books

Manx in Window

All the animals, the cats especially, were super friendly. One we first came in to the bookstore (right after it opened) two of the cats were sitting on the windowsill, and by the time we left one of them was napping among the display stack of books. I, of course, didn’t make it out of the store without a few books to bring home. (5 in all. Opps.)

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Next we drove over to Edina, to visit the Edina creamery. This time we only got two servings of ice cream- one mango sherbert and one salted caramel, which was very creamy. My mom also got a coffee, but she said it wasn’t very good. This time we were the only ones in the store.

Edina Creamery

After that we went to a burger place for a late lunch/early dinner, and that was the end of our day. (Well, I ran into a curb and managed to break my mom’s car’s bumper, but that’s a story for another time…)

Joint Review: Vampire Academy and Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy + Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Rating:  (3/5 Stars)

I went into the Vampire Academy series with very low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised when I really enjoyed reading the first book. The plot was compelling, I liked the characters, and I kept wanting to know what would happen next.

I found Rose and Lissa to be very pleasing main characters. I like how Rose is very confident about herself and how she looks. I don’t want to say that trait is rare in YA fiction, but it isn’t something I see very often in the narrating characters and it was a refreshing change.

The plot and the universe was very interesting, and fun to get to know. Having vampire subspecies was a lot more fun than just having vampires where most are evil but some decide to be nice and “vegan.”

Frostbite wasn’t as good as the first book, and parts of it were a bit boring. But the last six chapters or so were very exciting. While I hoped that it would be better than it was, it was still an enjoyable read.

Things I Liked:

Things I Didn’t Like: