At this point, I kind of just accept that when I read a book by Kaitlyn, it’s going to be good. Two More Lives continues Neela’s struggle through the tournament (and life in general because she’s had it pretty rough). This book also introduces some lovable new characters, as well as some complexity with Neela’s past. New secrets and connections are being revealed, which makes for a very interesting read.
There were some points where I felt the book dragged just a little, but my personal preference is fast-paced, shorter books without many “filler” scenes. Even with that, though, this book was excellent! Kaitlyn’s characters and relationships are amazing as usual, and I really enjoyed the added complexity and some extra supernatural elements that came to the surface in this book. And of course, the ending packs a punch that leaves you very ready for the next book!
Another creative take on fairy tales! And how could I resist a book called Frogkisser? I believe this was the first book I’ve read from Garth Nix, but I will have to find many more to read because this was brilliant. The story follow the adventures of Princess Anya, who sets out on a quest to change a frog back into a prince for her sister, but gets much more than she bargained for. Along the way, she meets a host of unforgettable characters- each with a valuable lesson to pass on. Princess Anya’s wit, determination, and courage make her an instantly likable character. Throughout her journey, she encounters characters and objects from classic fairy tales, but of course, they are far from the traditional versions. With memorable characters, plenty of twists and turns, and a delightfully unique plot, Frogkisser was a wonderful adventure from start to finish.
This book is a classic… and one of my absolute favorites! Narnia is a world that you will want to disappear into. The story follows four adventurous children as they step through a wardrobe and into a magical land that needs their help. Narnia has been trapped in never-ending winter by the White Witch, but the arrival of the children marks a change for the better. As the children fight to free Narnia, they meet many magical and lovable creatures. The most wondrous of these is the Great Lion, Aslan- a character too wonderful to describe. You’ll just have to meet him yourself. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is actually the second book in the Narnia series, but the first book isn’t needed to enjoy this story. However, while this book is a beautiful story in and of itself, you would be missing out if you didn’t read the rest of the books in the series. So I would encourage you to dive in and experience the magic of Narnia!
I know I've already written about Lord of the Rings as a book of the month, and talked about it more than I probably should, and it's not like very many people have never heard of it before. But! My mom bought me a beautiful, illustrated three book set for Christmas, so naturally I had to reread them, and after finishing The Fellowship of the Ring I'm reminded why I'm so in love with this story. I have never read any other story where the world is as immersive as this one. Middle Earth, along with the characters and their adventure, is so real. It's beautiful and engaging and heartwarming and even funny at times. I could go on and on... honestly I just think that Tolkien was a genius. The characters are warm and inspiring (Samwise is a treasure, and I will not let him be underappreciated), and it's so cool to see how the relationships grow and develop. Their quest is noble, and there's plenty of action and adventure to hold your interest. Not to mention that the amount of motivational and touching quotes that you'll come across when reading is insane. Okay, rant over. I just love this story.
Okay… so this book is about mice and other woodland creatures, but bear with me here. Redwall was one of my favorite books (and series) when I was younger. My mom would read it out loud to me and my brother before bed, and our dad would usually have to come in and tell us to go to bed because we could always push just one more chapter. And it has the best vocabulary! The descriptions and words used are so perfect and immersive. So yes, it’s about mice, but boy is it a good story. The inhabitants of Redwall Abbey must find a way to fortify themselves against Cluny the Scourge’s army of rats. Although the abbey-dwellers have always been peaceful, they can’t risk the forest being taken over by such a battle-seasoned, bloodthirsty group. With the sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance, but the weapon hasn’t been seen in ages. But not everyone has given up on finding the sword, especially not the clumsy apprentice Matthias. This quest to save Redwall Abbey is filled with lovable characters, incredible adventures, and wonderful riddles. Let yourself get swept away by Redwall’s fantastic atmosphere!
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this book at first. Although I love almost all kinds of fairy tale retellings, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a futuristic setting. Also, the cover had a robotic foot on it, and honestly that was kind of freaking me out. But once I started reading it, I was hooked. The plot is significantly more complex than your typical Cinderella story, but still with enough references to the original story to please any fairy tale lovers. The characters are the kind you can’t help but root for- strong, smart, sassy, and delightfully human. Cinder is a renowned cyborg mechanic, although the cyborg part is something she prefers to not talk about. She’s so renowned, in fact, that Prince Kai comes to her to fix his royal android. But there seems to be more to the situation than the prince is telling her. Little does she know, the prince’s visit is the first step in a perilous adventure that will plunge Cinder into a deadly dance between Earth and the mysterious and cold Lunar race watching them. Mystery, deception, a deadly illness, and the threat of war swirl around Cinder. Now she has to figure out why she matters in all of it… and who she really is.
This book is a great find for anyone who loves a good fractured fairy tale. E.D. Baker adds a whole new level to the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty by introducing the sleeping princess’s younger sister. Princess Annie is not affected by magic of any kind, so when the castle falls under the sleeping curse, she is the only one still awake. Knowing that true love’s kiss is the only way to wake her sister, Annie sets out to find the right man for her sister. Along the way, she is joined by Liam, a handsome guard who was not in the castle when the curse hit. Together they meet a wide array of fascinating characters, some friendly and others very much not. Their adventure is a fun, lighthearted, and special story to read.
This book plunges the reader straight into a complicated and immersive world of ancient mythology, high-stakes schemes, and complex politics. It also introduces the clever, cunning, charismatic, and utterly enchanting Eugenides, the queen’s thief. Fair warning, though, reading this book will very likely invest you in the remaining five books of the series because you’ll want to know every bit of Eugenides’ incredible adventures. It all begins when his boasting in his thieving talent lands him in prison, where he is unable to refuse the offer by the king’s magus to help steal a legendary artifact. However, nothing is quite as it seems with Eugenides, and he has plans of his own. This book, along with the rest of the series, is absolutely brilliant. I was hooked by the genius of Eugenides and the depth and detail of every character encountered in the story. But what kept me turning the pages was the unpredictability of the story. This series is one of my favorites because I was, and still am, so in awe of the plot twists. It’s a perfect choice for anyone looking to plunge headfirst into a story full of intrigue, mystery, and unexpected twists, all carried by amazing characters.
Not every book has the sort of character that sticks with you, but in this book, Errol Stone absolutely grabbed onto me and pulled me into his world and his story. Honestly, I can’t even pinpoint what exactly makes this character so special to me, but he is the main reason I loved this book. Errol is a wildly imperfect character, set on a life full of pain and loss and struggle, but he is also equipped with stubbornness and perseverance beyond what anyone expects. When Errol pulls himself away from his usual pattern of life to deliver a message to a priest, he becomes entangled in a dangerous quest. Pursued by assassins, as well as other things that he can’t even begin to understand, Errol becomes a part of the intrigue and peril of finding the next king. Through it all, he has to find a way past the pain and failures of his past to become a new man. Errol is truly an incredibly inspiring and strong character, made even better by the fact that he is presented in the midst of a complicated and gripping story. He is surrounded by friends and enemies just as complex throughout his journey, and each new turn or character introduced just pulls you deeper into the story. I was so enchanted by this book, and I know that I won’t be letting go of the story for a very long time.
I’m beginning to think my love of fairy tale retellings may be merging into an obsession at this point, but that’s fine. This Cinderella story was such an interesting take on the classic Disney version (and since I’m currently writing a Cinderella retelling, I can count this as research, right?). In this version, the ball is only the beginning, and there is so much more to Cinderella’s story, as well as her as a character. Cinderella doesn’t even have a chance to prove she is the missing princess in this story, but sets out on her own anyway, determined to carve out a new life for herself as a seamstress in the palace. However, she soon finds herself entangled in a complicated plot to manipulate the king and remove the prince from power. As if that wasn’t enough, she discovers that the kingdom also holds a longstanding and dangerous grudge against all fairies (and seeing as Cinderella has a lovely fairy godmother, that is kind of an issue). Intrigue, romance, and some really great characters are all woven together into a story that is just so fascinating. I really liked that the main antagonist wasn’t who it traditionally is, but I won’t say anything more about that. My favorite part of this book by far, though, is the depth of Cinderella’s character. This whole story, including the character of Cinderella, is brimming with those feel-good Disney fairy tale feelings, but underneath that is strength and groundedness that you don’t always get in a Cinderella story. So if that’s something you’re looking for, I would definitely suggest picking up this take on the classic Cinderella story.
I’ve already talked about how much I love John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, and I feel the same about this companion series. In this first book, we are introduced to a group of Skandians, rough and tumble viking-like characters that were first introduced in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. However, the main characters of this story are not exactly like the other Skandians. They’re outcasts, grouped together as a crew to pit themselves against other groups in an exciting competition. This story is full of adventure and friendship. Honestly, John Flanagan’s characters are one of the main reasons I love his books, and these characters have so much depth. They’re interesting, relatable, and so likeable. Not to mention that the book is filled to the brim with swashbuckling action. This book is such an immersive and fun read, and you won’t want to leave the world when it’s finished. But don’t worry… there are a whole bunch of other books to carry on the adventure!
This book, and this entire series, are so incredible. Designed to parallel the story of the Bible, they take the reader on an adventure full of brave knights, daring quests, and overwhelming love. This first book follows the story of Leinad, a farmer’s son who was trained in the sword for reasons he has yet to understand. But soon, whether he understands his place in a greater plan or not, Leinad is thrust into a great adventure. The kingdom of Arrethtrae is broken, but the King and His Son have a plan to save it- a plan that involves Leinad’s full trust and commitment. This story is full of inspiring characters, exciting action, and an adventure that will keep readers captivated. And most importantly, the entire story paints a picture of the true King and how He has worked in our own world to further His Kingdom. Honestly, I haven’t read it in ages, but just writing this makes me want to read it again!
I can’t resist a good fractured fairy tale… and this story fractured a whole bunch and then stuck them back together in creative and exciting ways. This book, and others by Alethea Kontis, was about the Woodcutter family, whose seven daughters are named after the days of the week. The first story is about Sunday Woodcutter, the youngest daughter who desperately wants a special kind of magic of her own so she can feel like a more important part of her extraordinary family. As in most fairy tales, wishes do come true… but Sunday’s wish goes far beyond what she expected or was prepared for. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, you’ll love finding bits and pieces of the classics throughout the story. Even if you’re not as familiar with fairy tales, Enchanted is still a fantastic adventure with plenty of magic, romance, and self-discovery to keep you turning the pages.
I read this book years ago and still remember it being amazing! The adventure takes place in the city of Jewel, a city governed by strict control and blind obedience. Each child is chained to their guardian, unable to really grow up or do anything on their own until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie decides she can’t wait any longer to live her own life. Unfortunately, her boldness is despised by the Blessed Guardians. Their hatred and the danger of living on the streets drives Goldie to the Museum of Dunt, a place full of mystery and peculiarities. Along with Toadspit, a boy who lives in the museum, Goldie must unlock the secrets lying inside to protect herself and everyone she loves. Everything about this book is brilliant and original, from the relationships, to the character development, to the immersive setting. I loved getting lost inside the museum with Goldie, and the mysteries discovered throughout the story kept me intrigued. Every twist and turn of this book, and the other two books in the series, was so much fun to read.
There’s something so incredibly fun and rewarding about reading a book by someone you know, and this book was definitely not an exception to that. I’ve read Kaitlyn’s Dark Irregular trilogy, which was amazing, but this was just a whole other level! Kaitlyn’s characters are just so real and present and driving to the story. Neela is such a tough cookie and really the ideal protagonist. She’s driven, compassionate, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. All the other characters make a great cast, as well. The world-building is incredibly immersive, and the whole idea behind it is so unique. Between the characters and world-building, I was so engaged in this story from the moment I met Neela all the way through to the thrilling conclusion. This is a fantastic book for anyone looking for adventure, magic, and well-developed characters all brought together in a beautiful story.
I’ve seen the movie about a million times, and I love it so much, it seemed wrong to not read the book. Now, I’m going to be completely honest, even at the risk of being sacreligious in the book-loving community, and say that I like the movie better than the book. Still, I found the book charming, whimsical, and just really enjoyable. It definitely is a little less lighthearted than the movie, but there are still all the same elements of adventure, romance, and the little quirks that make it such a classic. The version I read was the abbreviated version of S. Morgenstern’s original story, so throughout the narrative, there were interjections of what was included in the original version along with some of the author’s thoughts. This is something I haven’t seen in any other book I’ve read, and it added an interesting element to the story. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. But overall, I enjoyed this book. It really is a classic, with so many interesting elements to it, and my favorite part was how it fleshed out the characters and their backstories more. It’s definitely a unique read, but there’s a certain sort of magic to it that makes it really special.