Review 10th Kingdom (the mini-series)

I love 10th Kingdom

Before Vampires and Werewolves, Before Once Upon a Time and Grimm there was 10th Kingdom the mini-series

Summary: Virginia gets tricked into a fairy tale from NYC, and begins to meet fairy tale characters and tests which ultimately result in self-discovery, trust and a happily ever after.

Why I like it: This is a miniseries, so if if gets a little repetitive (sometimes the villainous trolls get a little long), but the fairy tale references are magnificent, the self-discovery lead the viewer to a better understanding of the trials and tribulations that exist in fairy tales.

Both the wolf and the Prince have adorable moments, Virginia learns to get over herself some and appreciate her father more, and her father develops into a hobbit-like hero figure. Plus Snow White Rocks (literally). There are some achingly embarrassing moments, but I feel like they are few and probably necessary to the story.

If you can’t borrow/stream/rent this series, I’d consider picking it up, it is all of about $10 for hrs of entertainment.

-And do me a favor, when you are done go out and read the first 11 graphic novels of Fables the comic book series (you probably want to interlibrary loan them at first, but of course I own them all ūüôā

Book Review: The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

Marina is sent away to live with her godparents as a baby–she doesn’t really know why, but she does know that when her parents die and she is forced to live with her aunt, something is wrong.

Review: I liked this book even more than the first one. . I think part of this may be because Lackey was able to further develop the world of elemental magic. It also may be because the love interest was still a minor note in the story but somehow it seemed to be more appropriately placed (I think the first one vacillated between wanting to give a fuller account of the romance and yet not giving me enough to stay interested).

Very enjoyable read, again with strong heroine and an interesting world.

Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

If you like stories about fragile females, who actually end up being not so fragile, with willing males to simulatenously take care of them even as they serve them, then Anne Bishop is your feminist.

The plotline is basically the same as her other 3 series (Black Jewels<–first and favorite, Belladonna and Bridge of Dreams<–not really a fan of this one).

Despite the plotline and characters getting to be (more than) predictable, Anne Bishop creates awesome worlds where magic is both feared and utilized in unexpected ways.

I like the plotline, so I don’t mind it being that repetitive, however I think that in her most developed world (Black Jewels) the books about side characters start to get away from the tired plotline, so its still my favorite. Plus this is not a common plotline elsewhere, so although its the same tune from Bishop over and over again I do recommend reading one of her series to get a taste of her style.

Be warned: Anne Bishop not only does explicit sex (which no one seems to worry about) but touches on real issues of abuse (self and other-inflicted), and the vulnerability of humanity to abuse and be abused–in fact a lot of the power dynamic within her books are about how powerful characters remain good. I think the fact that she deals so well with these issues are part of what makes her a good writer, but don’t expect a happy, squishy fantasy world…

I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in cool worlds, strong females and powerful issues…..

Book Review: The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

 

Synopsis: Half-Indian Maya Witherspoon has returned to England, but that’s not all, she has returned as a doctor, but that’s not all, she is also a strong magician.

Review: Very Strong Female Character–think Victorian Era Romance with a strong female. Also this is a very different look at Snow White! (However if you are in it for the fairy tale, that’s really a minor aspect). This is some of Mercedes Lackey’s best writing. There is a touch of mystery too (although it isn’t in any real sense a mystery). Also, a good struggle between her Eastern and Western heritage.

Strongly recommend!

Books you may also like: Patricia C. Wrede Mairelon the Magician (or the compilation which were released as A Matter of Magic or Magic and Malice). Snow White and Rose Red and The Enchanted Chocolate Pot¬†(or¬†Sorcery and Cecilia).¬†Trying to think of other Victorian (non-steampunk, although those are great too) magic series….might add a comment about it later

Review: The Shakespeare Stealer series by Gary Blackwood

Found this at Good will for $3.00!!! Yay for cheap books, that is a dollar a book.

This story is really good for people who

        a. like historical fiction

        b. like theater

        c. like medieval England

        d. (and of course) love Shakespeare

          Basically this book was good! It was pretty historically accurate, illuminating into how it felt to be an apprentice, an actor, a girl, an orphan or a playwright!

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Here we follow the exploits of Widge, an apprentice who is able to write not only in English and Greek, but also in a shorthand of squiggles. Being able to read and write in such a time, he is sent to steal Shakespeare and accidentally joins the theater troupe instead–he then proceeds to stay with the troupe for three books!

I loved this book, I am a big medieval and Shakespeare lover, and to me this book was extraordinarily written, engaging for all ages (and educational but SHHH!!! don’t tell)

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Definitely recommend it!!!

Review: The Spy Princess by Sherwood Smith

The Spy Princess

I found this in the Elementary Readers section of the library, which is interesting, but I think a good fit. Crown Duel is often found in YA section and the main character didn’t really interest me. For those who don’t know the Crown Duel and Wren series are both in the same world as this book, but each stand so independent I don’t think it really matters–except that the Wren series is really good and the Crown Duel series is ok.

Lilah, though is back to Smith’s spunky women. A princess who wants to know what is going on in the kingdom disguises herself and through it gets to know her father, her uncle, her brother and herself much better.

I think Smith writes better characters when they aren’t concerned with love–both Wren and Lilah declare they are “too young to worry about love.” This has stuck with me: intrigue is definitely a strength of Smith’s writing, and I especially like how she handles the topics of revolution and war.

All in all not quite as good as Wren, but definitely better than Crown Duel for me.

Various Book Reviews or My Hero(ine)

Note the riveting chart of young adult heroines below–what do they have in common (getting over the fact that Hermione was NEVER part of a love triangle)–they are all young fighting women white (sad-day), virgins (probably) with low self-esteem (except Julie from Warm Bodies) and are shy/quiet. Most of them have brown hair, protectors (male of course).

First I need to note the GROSS (and probably sexist) oversight, that Intelligence or smartness was not a factor–whereas I bet if it was about males it would have been!!!!!

That’s it next novel I write (i.e. if I ever get around to writing) it should have a nonwhite (although I am white, maybe I could do a Korean-American girl…I have some cultural experience there), assertive (not quite, even if she likes books…I’m bookish and I am SO not quite), with no Protector (LIKE CIMORENE), who is SMART, has good Self-Esteem, No love Triangle (ugh), don’t know about the virginity thing–I think young heroines tend to be virgins on principle (unless abuse is involved), with black hair (which the Korean thing would totally take care of). Hmmm….Who’s up for cooler Heroines…I think my favorites of the list below are Katniss and Hermione, I have even cooler ones following the chart. YAHeroineInfographic-650dpiWidth4

original article here

Cool Heroines not included here are Robin McKinley’s heroines (yes all of the them-I’m not going to list them), All of Tamora Pierce and Kristen Cashore (DITTO)¬† Patricia C. Wrede’s Cimorene, Dave Duncan’s Inos, Harry Potter Hermione (who is not a title character, but deserves a better rep then what we have here), Scott Westerfield’s Tally Youngblood, Madeline L”Engle (who was so ahead of the time her feminist characters sound forward thinking even today 30years later), Anne of Green Gables, etc. for more see my fairy tale lists–my classic and my alternative (not well-known) list.

The 10 Most Badass Cartoon Heroines of the √ʬĬė80s

Review “A Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel” Adapted & Illustrated by Hope Larson (and written by Madeline L’Engle)

I am a total fangirl of Madeline L’Engle, she is most likely my favorite self-named Christian Fantasy author (as opposed to Lewis or Tolkien or the like)…so A Wrinkle in Time I bought with my oft hoarded holiday gift cards.

so when my 4 and a 1/2 year old son saw The Invention of Hugo Cabret on the floor and was fascinated by the fact that grownup books can have pictures. Immediately I t

600¬†√ó¬†230¬†–¬†hardcoversandheroines.com

old him some adult books are entirely pictures, they are called graphic novels, and I showed him A Wrinkle in Time. He then asked if we could read it.

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I’m a “Why not?” parent, and said “well we can try…” uncertain of its quality, his interest and our schedule (reading a chapter a night is a big commitment)

Bulletpoints of A Wrinkle in Time

1. The pictures were totally used to “fill in” the story. I have an ongoing theory that all remakes of classics (Oz, Narnia, Lord of the Rings) tend to be better if they were done by children who grew up with the tale, because reading things as adults–we just don’t connect the same way, and we tend to put our own values and systems on instead of exploring the world that is presented (Harry Potter comes to mind, the first movie the director said re: Dumbledore’s Office “what was fun was we could do whatever we wanted, and create it from scratch…um…excuse me isn’t there a perfectly perfect BOOK to refer to argh, a guess that’s another post for another day.) Hope Larson definitely got the world, genre, passion and feel for L’engle’s tale

2. This is what I always pictured a “graphic novel” to be, its a real novel, told in graphics (comic books are great, but they always sound shorter to me). At 383 pages and multiple panels a page (1-10panels) the story is given the breadth, width and depth to be a deep telling of the truth that is in the books

3. She gets stars: Stars are a L’Engle thing, Larson, totally uses it, bonus points galore.

4. My four and a half year old was entranced, wondering when they would finally get to rescue first Meg’s father and then Charles Wallace…He was very disciplined about the one chapter thing, telling me it was “so exciting” to wait til the next day (like me he’s a sick person who enjoys delayed gratification–this makes us really great readers, we will willingly believe whatever you tell us because we like not knowing the real answer)

5. When we finished the book, Franklin (my son) wanted to know if we could pa-lease-read-it-starting-at-the-beginning-tomorrow-night-RIGHT? (needless to say we went a reserved the graphic novel of The Hobbit at the library ASAP)

Katy’s Review 4 out of 4 stars

Franklin’s Review 60 out of 4 stars

PS: The story of love’s triumph over nothingness is amazing, and I can only pray that Hope Larson has been engaged for A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and not someone else–because, hey, I trust her….She was able to show me Aunt Beast, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit without messing with their alien/mysterious natures!!!

Other pictorial interpretations of Wrinkle in time

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Shannon A Thompson

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