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A Tale of Two Castles
A Tale of Two Castles
by Gail Carson Levine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.47
115 used & new from $0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars A tale of utter boredom, August 4, 2012
This review is from: A Tale of Two Castles (Hardcover)
I have been reading Gail Carson Levine books since Ella Enchanted and while a few of the last ones (Ever comes to mind) might have seen me push myself to continue reading this one I just couldn't.

The story follows a 12 year old girl who leaves home to become an actress but along the way meets a dragon. The dragon puts her in charge of protecting an ogre by playing the "role of a lifetime". The problem I had with the book was the excessive descriptions that did nothing to make the world Elodie lived in any clearer in my mind and the odd side stories - like the cat she is given at the beginning of the story and then promptly abandons on the wharf - that seem to do nothing to add to it.

Granted I have not yet felt such boredom to finish the last 1/3 of the book - mainly because I don't care what happens to the characters - they are not as alive for the reader as Ella or other previous characters; this story is just flat and boring. Sad to write that I will probably not rush out and buy her next offering. :-(

Hating Alison Ashley [Region 4]
Hating Alison Ashley [Region 4]
DVD ~ Richard Carter
2 used & new from $25.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect but for one major flaw, July 14, 2011
To be upfront about it I am not a fan of Australian movies - and I am an Australia. This movie though I do enjoy.

Hating Alison Ashley is based on the novel by Robin Kleine - about a pre-teen girl called Erica Yurken who dreams of being an actress. The story has been modified to instead be teenagers (around age 15) in grade 9. Erica has her dreams of being an actress but at the moment concentrates on being a hypocondriac and trying to navigate her unique family - her father is absent from the picture having taken off, her mum who works as a waiter, her older sister who has a "blackbelt in being a bitch", a brother who is lazy and is looking for the easy way out and a younger sister (who is very likeable), Jedda, who has been playing a horse for 7 years.

My favourite storyline in this movie is perhaps the developing relationship between Erica and Barry Hollis (who had only a small wrote in the book). His character is needed to keep the storyline going and his sarcasm is very well written and acted.

My biggest complaint is that Delta Goodrem is in the movie. With such a fantastic cast of new and experienced actors she really does ruin the movie. She looks a lot older than her classmates and her acting is wooden and uninteresting. Thank goodness for Saskia and Alex!

If you can bear to overlook the casting choice of Delta then you will love the film and find that there is something just a little irresistable about.

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Price: $17.21
18 used & new from $11.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic album, June 14, 2011
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
MLTR's Greatest Hits album includes tracks from the Danish groups 20+ year career that began back in the late 80s. Their music is not well known outside of Asia, South Africa and Denmark but it does stand the test of time.

The music is catchy, easy-listening and full of soul - something sadly lacking is much of today's music. A worthy addition to a collection or a perfect first album as it gives such a great selection of their biggest hits.

The Traitor's Smile (Pimpernelles)
The Traitor's Smile (Pimpernelles)
by Patricia Elliott
Edition: Paperback
41 used & new from $0.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying conclusion, June 14, 2011
This novel picks up where "The Pale Assassin" leaves off - with Julien and Eugenie in England - Dover to be exact. Eugenie settles in but soon becomes more than a little jealous of Julien's developing relationship with her cousin. Her cousin also is hiding a rather delicious and dangerous secret.

With La Fantome back in France La Scapel is sent to England once he discovers that she is there. The familiar face of Guy turns up - initially to Eugenie's delight, but she is conflicted about her developing feelings for Julien.

A wayward hot air balloon ride though sees Julien, Eugenie and co. back in the countryside of France - having only just escaped from the clutches of La Scapel. Eugenie discovers the fate of her brother and it is a race against time to be safe and rescue those who need it.

On the whole this was a fitting conclusion to the series. The characters are developed more in this novel and grow with the storyline. Truths are revealed about all the characters and the conclusion is satisfying without being over (or under) done. Only one scene annoys me because I still do not know what happened in the alley way and what took place - because it is too ambiguous for which character was involved. Apart from that it is a worthy read.

The Pale Assassin
The Pale Assassin
by Patricia Elliott
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.06
81 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars When annoying is okay, June 14, 2011
This review is from: The Pale Assassin (Paperback)
I had the opportunity to read this novel on a plane trip earlier this year - and I must say I loved it.

I usually prefer to read about strong protagonists - and Eugenie is anything but. She is stubborn, but she is wilful, annoying, whinges and acts just like a young lady bought up in that environment should. Had she had been a strong character it would not have sit well with the storyline - or historical events.

Eugenie is raised by a caregiver, her brother Armand is studying law elsewhere and living with his bestfriend Julien. With the onset of the revolution we see a change in the privledges that Eugenie is used to having - and all this is mixed in with a man, La Fantome, who is bent on revenge on her family after the embarrassment her father caused him years before.

I found this an easy read, perhaps a little bogged down at times, but well worth the effort. The historical details are well interwoven without being "too much" - it is just the right amount. The character develop is good in this novel (but admittedly it is in book 2 that this is resolved). Highly recommended.

Dragon Moon (Dragon Keeper)
Dragon Moon (Dragon Keeper)
by Carole Wilkinson
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from $18.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect conclusion to an ancient tale, May 7, 2011
This is the final story in the DragonKeeper trilogy (previous novels "DragonKeeper" and "Garden of the Purple Dragon".

Ping and Kai are seeking the Dragon Haven - a place for Kai to live in peace based upon clues left by Danzi. Kai is now growing up fast and Ping starts to wonder about her own future.

Many characters who appeared in previous novels come back to give a final feel to this book. The young Emperor must decide his own path and Ping begins to have strong feelings about a young boy who is now a man - but wonders if her heart will have what it wants or if she will need to sacrific her own happiness to protect the safety of Kai. But the ever present question is: Are there more dragons? or is Kai the last one?

An enjoyable book that concludes the series with a sense of closure that is something lacking in other novels. While the ending surprised me, I was nevertheless happy with how it all worked out.

The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower
The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower
by Y.S. Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.04
80 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't leave it like that!, May 7, 2011
"A Spy in the House" was one of the best novels I have read in a long time - especially as it is aimed at a slightly older teen/young adult demographic. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of "The Body at the Tower" and once I started it - I had to finish.

This novel is set 12 months later from the end of "A Spy in the House" - Mary is now working on her own and sent undercover as a 12 year old boy, Mark Quinn, after a mysterious death at a building site. Her task however is greatly complicated with the return of James Easton who, having returned from India after suffering from Malaria, is assigned to check the safety of the building site.

The banter between James and Mary is ever so delightful and his concern is so...well you have to read it to know. Perhaps my favourite section of the book (without giving away too much) was Mary when she was drunk - that was just priceless.

My only complaint is that Y.S. Lee has been ever so cruel to leave the ending she did - I appreciate from a writing perspective but as a reader I am immensely annoyed I shall have to endure over a month wait for the final installment! This sequel did not disappoint and is a worthy addition to any bookshelf.

Emily of New Moon: Season 4
Emily of New Moon: Season 4
DVD ~ Martha MacIsaac
Offered by out of this world
Price: $4.23
47 used & new from $1.24

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too far removed from the original story, April 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Emily of New Moon: Season 4 (DVD)
Hmm, for a series that started out strongly it sadly went a little off the rails in this final season in particular. I forgave the killing of Elizabeth as I thought Uncle Malcolm was fantastic - but this series has many storylines that were not in LM Montgomery's original novels and that taint the fantastic trilogy.

I think my biggest problem is the dealing of Perry (one of my favourite characters) and the very adult themes in this series - it is no longer the family friendly series it began as. Also I didn't like that there was no firm conclusion to wrap things up the way it should have been.

Watch it if you have followed the series - but be warned it is not in the spirit of Montgomery.

Dragon Keeper
Dragon Keeper
by Carole Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.39
152 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A dragon tale I loved, April 22, 2011
This review is from: Dragon Keeper (Paperback)
I was a little surprised to find negative reviews for this novel, the first of three that centres on Ping and Danzi, however I can understand some points that were made - especially about the broken language becoming fluent and then vice-versa.

Despite this though I am proud to say I loved the story - as have my students who have learnt about Ancient China while reading it - such as places, people, animals and plant names.

Ping is a likeable character who is very flawed and a reluctant companion to Danzi who is very set on his path and protection of the dragon stone. The story travels from the Huangling Mountains east towards the Yellow Sea and has both overcoming their own weaknesses.

It is well paced with interesting characters - while the story is based in China I think what makes this a good historical novel is the way you can engage students to want to find out more. Read this novel and then the next two as you will want to know how it all ends.

Dragon Dawn
Dragon Dawn
by Carole Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from $15.09

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good prequel to a superb series, April 22, 2011
This review is from: Dragon Dawn (Paperback)
Dragon Dawn is the prequel story to the Dragonkeeper trilogy. Set 1000 years before the trilogy we are introduced to Danzi as a "young adult dragon" not yet 1000 years old but who already has his wings.

Danzi has just lost his dragonkeeper and journeys to return his posessions to his keeper's family which he abandoned many, many years before. Along the way Danzi encounters Bingwen - a young man who is more interested in cheating money out of villagers then doing anything constructive. The two however find themselves in need of each other and team up - only to find they have far more in common.

This novel is much shorter than the novels of the Dragonkeeper series but it doesn't need to be longer. The story is well constructed and written with lively characters and historical references to Ancient China of the time. Highly recommended - but just remember that there is a little violence/blood so not really suitable for younger readers.

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