Review: Fablehaven

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction.  The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic.  Enchanting? Absolutely.  Exciting? You bet.  Safe?  Well, actually, quite the opposite…

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven.  Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies.  However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.

I bought this book at one of our local bookstore a few weeks ago.  One of my many goals this year is to spend more time reading with the kids and I thought this was the perfect choice to start.  It didn’t hurt that both of them were excited about the book.  More often than not, one of them will like a book and the other will hate it which makes group reading difficult.

I read a chapter a night, even though they begged for more.  Ok, I confess, a couple nights I couldn’t put it down and had to read another chapter – suspense can be difficult to ignore!  As I typed up this review, I realized that one of my favorite  authors has the quote on the back.  “Like Harry Potter, Fablehaven can be read aloud in a family with as much pleasure for grown-ups as for children…” — Orson Scott Card.  He’s absolutely correct!

I loved the story line and the characters, although I will say Seth bugged me throughout the book.  Every time his grandfather told him not to go somewhere or look at something he turned around 5 minutes later and did what he was not supposed to do.  The first time was fine, but by the fifth or sixth, it got frustrating.  I found myself saying to the kids quite a few times “see what happens when you don’t listen!?”  LOL.

All in all it was a very good read and I’m looking forward to starting #2, Rise of the Evening Star tonight.

Rating: 8 – Great!

Next up: Fablehaven Rise of the Evening Star

The most dangerous evil has infinite subtlety and patience.  Beware: It is Rising.

At the end of the school year Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures.  Grandpa Sorenson invites three specialists – a potion master, a collector of magical relics, and a trapper of mythical creatures – to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to steal a hidden artifact of great power.  Time is running out.  If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world.

Review: the Iron King

How did I get this book: Purchased

This is a book I bought with my lovely birthday amazon gift certificates (my family knows me well!)  I started reading it a few nights ago, and have had a hard time putting it down.  I would read each night until the letters started blurring, and I would still want to read just one more page. I enjoyed the way the author brought in characters from faery tales like Puck and Oberon & Titania.  I’m fairly sure I’ve seen the Ash character before too?

From Amazon:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The second book in the series, The Iron Daughter, will be available on August 1, 2010, and I’m having a really hard time waiting for it …. I mean that’s almost 2 months away!!  To satisfy cravings, and as a very cool gesture, the author has written a novella called Winter’s Passage, that takes place between the first two books.  It’s available for free via the series website until July 31st.  You can download it here for free, or for $2.39 from Amazon.

I frequently add new books to my To-Be-Read lists from reviews posted by Ana & Thea at The Book Smugglers.  They also reviewed The Iron King, and gave it a lower rating than I did, and it seems like the comments are either loved it or had a hard time finishing it.  One comment made me realize why I like this book so much.  It really does remind me of Labyrinth and The Neverending Story, which were two of my favorite movies growing up.  I guess I just like that “rescue the child, save the world” storyline.

I love birthdays!!!

Between books I purchased for myself, and gift certificates I received as birthday presents which allowed me to buy more books, my To Be Read shelf just increased exponentially.

In no particular order:

And finally, because a girl can’t live on books alone:

It’s been awhile!

I started grad school in January, so my “fun” reading has dropped off quite a bit.  I have managed to get into a few new series though that I really enjoy.

First, I’m in love with the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.  I honestly can’t remember when I read the first one, and I know I picked up one of the 5 on Kindle, and another on Audible.com.  The most recent, Spirit Bound – Book 5, came in the mail in all its beautiful hardcover prettiness.  I read it over the course of about 6 hours, then promptly kicked myself because now I have to wait until December for book 6.

I love the relationship between Rose & Dimitri, but am starting to like Aiden as well.  I have no idea how this will end up, but I’m still pulling for Dimitri.  It probably comes from some deep internal need to rescue the damaged soul – which is SO not good for me, but regardless, I can hope for it in books right?

In a stunning shift to a totally different genre, I also picked up Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher book – 61.  (ok stunning may be a bit of a reach, but I like the word).  I LOVE Jack Reacher.  I love Lee Child’s books.  I was thrilled to find out he has a new release this month.  I pre-ordered it, then lent it to my dad so he could read it first since I had a lot of school work that week.  After I read it, I’ll be sharing it with another two co-workers and my mom.  My guess, Mom will get it next.

Jumping to the top of my to be read pile is a book by Megan Whalen Turner called The Thief.  I’ve read reviews of the series on several different blogs, most notably The Book Smugglers review, and have been dying to read it for awhile.  I couldn’t find it in several bookstores that I visited, and ended up searching again on Amazon and found out it’s been Kindleized.  I downloaded it pretty darn quick.  Now to find the time to read it!!

I have a TON more books on my to-be-read shelf.  Even though I don’t have the time to read, apparently I still have the time to go to bookstores and browse on Amazon.   I’m planning on updating my TBR list on this site soon.  Since my birthday is this week, and I’m taking a vacation day to celebrate, I may end up going through my books as part of my Day of Happiness!!

SO much going on!

It’s been forever since I’ve posted, and it involved a huge dose of apathy.  I also got sucked into an online game called evony that took up WAY too much of my time this summer.

But, I’ve broken out of that, taken my first Ruble Seminar for my CIC designation, and made some major life altering decisions.  The most major of those – I’m going back to school! (Huge exclamation point, happy dance, wondering if I’m totally insane event)  I’ve decided to go to grad school and get my MBA.  Lots and lots of reasons, many many benefits, and tons and tons of student loans.  But, I’m really excited about it.  After coming to the realization that there is no way, as a single mom and full time employee, I can commit to a classroom approach to my MBA, I’ve checked out various online programs.  My choice is Capella University.  I’ve read reviews – both positive and negative – about Capella.  I’ve decided that no university will have a 100% approval rating, and I will, as always, get out of it what I put into it.  I’m determined to do well, and am excited about the course schedule. 

To celebrate my decision and impending student-hood, I went to the bookstore this weekend.  My good friend Bob, @redwingsbob,  manager of the store and co-bookophile, recommended 3 books  ….. ok technically, he recommended like a zillion books, but I chose 3.  I’m excited about these – as they’re outside my normal fare of late – urban paranormals.  I will do my best to review these when done, but knowing me, it will be more of a thumbs up or down, than a full on book review.

From Amazon:

Chesley-winning illustrator Brom (The Plucker) weaves together gloomy prose and horrifying adventures in this macabre fairy tale inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Born of faerie blood, Peter hunts abandoned children, runaways and the hopeless, recruiting for his Devils in Avalon and promising them a place where you never have to grow up. He conveniently fails to mention that Avalon’s monsters are very real, and the Devils must practice their war games or risk being tortured to death, eaten or worse. While early chapters are promising, this gothic fantasy stumbles on its own darkness. The devilishly amusing flashbacks to Peter’s origins don’t make up for the heavy-handed bloodshed, rampant violence and two-dimensional characters. It’s all fiendish monsters and desperate battles in this twisted, dark Neverland; the Disney Peter’s mirth and good humor are nowhere to be found.

From Amazon:

While the Bible may be the word of God, transcribed by divinely inspired men, it does not provide a full (or even partial) account of the life of Jesus Christ. Lucky for us that Christopher Moore presents a funny, lighthearted satire of the life of Christ–from his childhood days up to his crucifixion–in Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. This clever novel is surely blasphemy to some, but to others it’s a coming-of-age story of the highest order.

Joshua (a.k.a. Jesus) knows he is unique and quite alone in his calling, but what exactly does his Father want of him? Taking liberties with ancient history, Moore works up an adventure tale as Biff and Joshua seek out the three wise men so that Joshua can better understand what he is supposed to do as Messiah. Biff, a capable sinner, tags along and gives Joshua ample opportunities to know the failings and weaknesses of being truly human. With a wit similar to Douglas Adams, Moore pulls no punches: a young Biff has the hots for Joshua’s mom, Mary, which doesn’t amuse Josh much: “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that the Prince of Peace never struck anyone.” And the origin of the Easter Bunny is explained as a drunken Jesus gushes his affection for bunnies, declaring, “Henceforth and from now on, I decree that whenever something bad happens to me, there shall be bunnies around.”

One small problem with the narrative is that Biff and Joshua often do not have distinct voices. A larger difficulty is that as the tone becomes more somber with Joshua’s life drawing to its inevitable close, the one-liners, though not as numerous, seem forced. True to form, Lamb keeps the story of Joshua light, even after its darkest moments.

From Amazon:

Desperate to outrun the Black Death ravaging England during the sodden summer of 1348, nine disparate souls band together in this harrowing historical, which infuses a Canterbury Tales scenario with the spectral chill of an M. Night Shyamalan ghost story. Maitland (The White Room) gives each of the travelers a potentially devastating secret. How did narrator Camelot, a glib-tongued peddler of false relics and hope, really come by that hideously scarred face? What is magician Zophiel hiding inside his wagon? And just who is Narigorm, the spooky albino girl whose readings of the runes are always eerily on target? As the nine strangers slog cross-country through the pestilential landscape, their number shrinking one by one, they come to realize that what they don’t know about each other might just kill them. Despite Maitland’s yarn-spinning prowess, her narrative occasionally stalls because of unrelenting grimness and an increasingly predictable plot—that is, until its gasp-out-loud finale. (Oct.)

A little of this, a little of that.

I started reading Bartimaeus this weekend.  It’s different than other books I’ve read, and I’m liking it so far.  I’m really enjoying the annotations at the bottom of the pages that further explain Bartimaeus’ thoughts.  Some are quite funny. 

I think I’m going through a book burnout phase though.  It happens every few months, where I just don’t want to pick up a book.  After a week or so, I’m over it.  But in the meantime, I get bored. 

I just realized I have to change my sidebar “Who Am I” info……  Yep, no longer 33. 🙂  I’ve got a good feeling about this next year……  Not sure why, nothing concrete, just a good feeling.

Lastly – I’m heading to Detroit this weekend for the Susan G Komen 5k race for the cure.  I signed up for it with this group that I belong to about 5 months ago.  I figured that would give me plenty of time to get in shape for it.  Yeah, not so much.  I do believe Iwill be walking this event!

Hope everyone has a great day!

Memorial Day

vietnam2

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
— General George Patton