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Charmed Life
Charmed Life
by Diana Wynne Jones
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
85 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Diana has done it again!, February 16, 2006
I am constantly on the lookout for new fantasy reads, because not only is it difficult to find a truly lasting (and by "lasting" I mean you think about it all the time, read it again and again, and gulp down every one of the author's other books) fantasy story, but if you do that author is usually what they call A Lofty One-Piece Wonder who writes one astonishingly beautiful story, gives it to the world...then settles into retirement and ignores all letters posted to them begging for a sequel.

Ah, not so with Diana Wynne Jones.

Hearing about her was actually an accident. I had picked up the book "Inkspell", the sequel to a book I'd enjoyed very much (Inkheart) and saw, on the back, that there was a quote on the back from "Diana Wynne Jones, author". For fun, I wandered over to the J's. Only a few Diana books were there -- THE MERLIN CONSPIRACY, ARCHER'S GOON, and -- the book that forever endeared me to this amazingly talented author -- EIGHT DAYS OF LUKE.

Having five dollars just aching to be spent and about that many minutes left till we had to go, I bought it on a whim.

And inhaled it that night.

I was going through withdrawls. NEED -- MORE -- DIANA -- WYNNE -- JONES -- BOOKS!!!

I got back to Borders and began to scrounge the shelves. Hmmm. "Chronicles of Chrestomanci". Looked okay -- not as good as I'd thought "Eight Days of Luke" was, but -- what was?

I read a little, put it down. Read a little more, and -- couldn't stop.

I am now on Book II, "The Lives of Christopher Chant".

I think you understand what I'm trying to say. Buy this book -- and while you're at it get "Eight days of Luke", too.

Rating: Very Good

Little Women (Signet Classics)
Little Women (Signet Classics)
by Louisa May Alcott
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
115 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, except for the -- ah -- romance, February 12, 2006
Don't get me wrong. While I'm the type that shrieks and covers my eyes when watching something like "Spiderman II" at a kissing part (or at a violent part, for that matter...) I don't mind books about marriage. And so the first part, Little Women book I, was a perfect portrait of a family. A good book, despite the heavy prejudice I carried against it, as it was (gasp) A Required Reading Book.

The Part II, Good Wives, was -- er....interesting. Let's go through it, marriage by marriage.

Meg's marriage. Cute. Same age, good match, and even I, who have decided that my marriage to ANYONE (or dating, for that matter) would be a sign of the Apocolypse, could understand why some less fortunate souls devote their life to another, staying with that person forever (well, not in the twenty-first century they don't - unfortunately). Meg and John Brooke was good. Nice. Sweet. You get it. Now let's move on.

Laurie (Theodore's his real name, for all you thinking that to name a male child Laurie is about the greatest measure of torture you can inflict upon a boy) and Amy. Still okay, though -- and I speak for my entire class here -- LAURIE AND JO SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED!!!!

Jo and Mr. Bhaer. Gag. Vomit. WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THIS AUTHOR THINKING??!! Assuming Mr. Bhaer is NOT in his late forties, assuming he is simply forty. Jo is around -- what, nineteem? Twenty? HE -- IS -- OLD -- ENOUGH -- TO -- BE -- HER -- DAD. She hits the ripe ol' halfway mark (in a manner of speaking) at fifty, and where is he? Seventy. Ol' granddad over there.

Yep. Loved the book, hated the last romance. That's all I have to say.

Rating: Very Good
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2009 12:19 AM PST

Across Five Aprils
Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.99
479 used & new from $0.01

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What. A. Waste. Of. Money., February 12, 2006
Okay, perhaps I'm just a teensy little bit biased, and maybe I'm overstating myself a bit, but to mince words: I HATED THIS BOOK.

I feel bad for the school board. They bought it.

I was forced to read this in my stinking Advanced English class. None of the other eighth graders had to read it -- just like they didn't have to read Little Women (which I liked, apart from that last abysmal Mr. Bhaer romance...but I digress) or Call of the Wild (which had me seriously wondering whether London actually enjoyed the kind of gruesome scenes that have me covering my eyes and make my evil friend constantly read those scenes aloud to me). Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, maybe I just disliked it because of the -- ahem -- forced reading (which I think is a bad way to introduce someone to a great book, as it effectively clouds their opinion on that book FOREVER.) Maybe that's the case. But any book that, when I am assigned to write a "last chapter" in class, makes me title the said chapter "Conclusion: A Sarcastic and Satirical Mockery of Across Five Aprils (In Which Every Character I Loathed Is Ruthlessly Killed)" -- typically I tend to avoid such books.

Maybe it's a masterpiece. Maybe I'm just really dumb, not to like such classic, wonderful, fantabulistic (not sure if that's a word) book. If I am, so is my entire Advanced English class, because not one person (excluding the teacher) did anything less than declare undying hatred for Jethro's plight.

But, hey, it's a book. I honestly like some (most, actually) historical fiction, but generally I prefer middle ages, or renaissance at least. Except most kids' historical fiction of that era is altered a bit and called fantasy.

Rating: A toss-up between Average and Terrible

The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, Book 4)
The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, Book 4)
by Eoin Colfer
Edition: Hardcover
385 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet of the Artemis Fowl series, February 5, 2006
WARNING: spoilers ahead

I was hesitant to get into the Artemis Fowl series, if for no other reason than thief-as-hero stories tend to bore me. But after racing through the first, galloping off to Borders to buy the second and third, and buying the fourth in hardcover from Amazon, I have to say I'm hooked.

Right off the bat, the pixie Opal Koboi springs a trap that makes it seem as though Holly has killed one of her closest friends. Foaly remains certain she is innocent, despite the fact that everyone thinks this attitude is delusional (I've really liked Foaly all through the books for his sheer comic relief, but this book was when he really started to develop as a character.) Then there's Artemis, of course, whom Holly rescues directly after the death. However, Artemis is just as emotionless and, well, EVIL, as he was in the first book, having had his memories of the fairies -- and all the goodness he grudgingly learned from them -- wiped away in "The Eternity Code". He doesn't remember Holly, doesn't care in the least when she informs him that someone he knew well is dead, and is utterly heartless until he finally recovers those memories.

Well, I'm not going to give a detailed synopsis of the entire book, but I do have a suggestion. No, actually, less of a suggestion, more an outright order. If you've finished "The Eternity Code", and liked it, buy this book. Don't ask questions. If you've finished "The Eternity Code", and didn't like it, ditto. If you haven't read any of the Artemis Fowl books, get off this page, go to the first book's page, and buy it. You'll be glad you did.

Rating: Very Good

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (The Underland Chronicles, Book 2)
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (The Underland Chronicles, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Hardcover
91 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Sequel, January 29, 2006
I actually have not read the first Gregor book (I was given the second and third as gifts) but this would have to be near the top of my favorite book list.

THE CURSE OF THE WARMBLOODS was exciting, but the slightly let-down ending was less exciting than this. I love how Ares's character develops, I love Twitchtip telling Photos Glow-Glow or whatever the guy's name was that she would tear his head off if he said another word (Bravo, Twitchtip!), I loved how Gregor explained his refusal to kill the Bane to Nerissa: "It's just...wrong. I mean, if you can kill a baby, what can't you do?" And I love Nerissa's reply, "So says your heart. So says your most essential part."

Overall, a dramatic, action-packed book filled with excitement, mystery and death (though two of the characters that die aren't really dead, and one is still Missing In Action.)

I also recommend Harry Potter, The Sea of Trolls, and the rest of the yet-unfinished Gregor series.

Rating: Very Good

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