Zita the Spacegirl Trilogy~ review

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Zita the Spacegirl, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, and Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

 I love graphic novels. There’s something really different about reading what is practically a picture book for older people. And I really love Zita the Spacegirl. I’m not sure how I was introduced to this series, but I think it might have been through Regina Doman, who is a good friend of Ben Hatke’s. She used him as her fight expert in a few of her novels. 🙂 Anyway, the story is this: Zita, the heroine, finds a strange device that, when activated, sends her and a friend to a different universe. She and her friend, Joseph, are separated when Joseph is kidnapped by alien robots. Zita teams up with a man named Piper and a giant Mouse to rescue him. I won’t tell you how it ends, but the stories keep getting better. Sadly, there are only three Zita books. More! Give me more!

Ben Hatke’s art is amazing. There’s so much detail in just a few pencil strokes. As for the characters, I love Zita, Piper, Mouse, Madrigal, Strong Strong, and One. They are all unique and laugh-out-loud characters. When I read, I rarely laugh out loud. I’m more of a silent laugher. So if they make me howl with laughter, that’s saying something. I highly recommend these books to all ages. Oh, and Ben quotes G. K. Chesterton in the front! LOVE!

rainbow spines

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When you look at books, the first thing you see is the spine of the book. Sometimes the spines are very pretty. Sometimes they’re really ugly. I searched through my favorite books to find ones with pretty, rainbow spines. Here they are in order. I hope this cheers up your dreary day!

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Red

Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll~ I just had to include this book. My blog is named Alice In Bookland, after all! And the book itself is stunningly pretty. I love the vintage spine. And the White Rabbit on the front? Darling!

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Orange

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham~ The third of the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer books by John Grisham. The spine looks more red than orange, but whatever. This is a really good book, great for boys. And girls!

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Yellow

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne~ I think this book was printed in the 1930s or so. It is gorgeous!

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Green

Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck~ Number four in the Tiger’s Curse series.

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Blue

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall~ Can I say how much I love the Penderwicks? The sisterly love between them is wonderful. The story is sweet. Skye trying to be the OAP (oldest available Penderwick) is hilarious. This is the third in the Penderwick series.

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Indigo

Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery~ My favorite of all the Anne books. I like it because Anne is older (but not too old), and it has romance. And Gilbert! Oh, I have such a literary crush on Gilbert…

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Violet

The Quiet Light- A Novel about Saint Thomas Aquinas by Louis de Wohl~ Louis de Wohl is one of my favorite authors ever in the history of authorship. His books are so well written, so detailed, and the subjects are wonderful. This one, about Saint Thomas Aquinas, is one of my favorites. And it’s one of the only books I have that has a purple spine!

Care to share your favorite rainbow spine books? Comment below!

The Spear~ review

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The Spear -by Louis de Wohl

All Cassius Longinus, son of a noble Roman house, wanted to do was impress a noble lady, win her hand, and make a name for himself as a great soldier. Unfortunately, his plans are forced to change when Sejanus, most important man in Rome, becomes even more ambitious. He’s out for the throne, and the family Longinus is in the way. Cassius is sent to Judea, a little outpost on the frontier of the Empire, in the escort of Pontius Pilatus. Stationed in Jerusalem, he gets mixed up in all sorts of plots and possibly something even more dangerous; a man calling himself the Son of God, the Messiah…..

Louis de Wohl considered The Spear to be the magnum opus of his literary career. Frankly, I’m inclined to agree. Of all de Wohl’s novels, I think The Spear is one of my favorites. The novel revolves around the last days of Christ and all the events leading up to the Passion and Crucifixion. The style of writing is so lush and descriptive. Mr. de Wohl has an interesting way with prose. He uses dialogue outside of quotation marks. That makes no sense. It’s more like the characters’ thoughts are more detailed than the dialogue. Character-wise, I like Naomi the best, I think.

Have you read The Spear? What did you think? Comment below!

The Joyful Beggar~ book and movie review

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The Joyful Beggar- by Louis de Wohl

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most well-known saints of all time. He’s popular among Catholics as the patron saint of animals, and even non-Catholics know who he is. The Joyful Beggar is the story of Francis’ life, as told by one of the greatest Catholic storytellers.

The Joyful Beggar follows Francis as he goes from being the spoiled son of a wealthy merchant to the founder of the Friars Minor, or Franciscans. Born in Assisi, he was named Francis after his father’s love of all things French. There are other storylines that add to the richness of the story. The lives of St. Clare of Assisi, Frederick, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor, St. Dominic, and Pope Innocent III are woven in with ease. Mr. de Wohl is a master of detail. He described the Italian countryside, the sands of Egypt, and the Italian society of the 1200s in amazing detail.

The Joyful Beggar was made into a movie called Francis of Assisi. I actually watched the movie not that long ago on the feast of St. Francis, October 4. It seems to be pretty typical of a movie made in the 1950s or so, (I didn’t see the actual date). It has a very grand, sweeping style, but plays around a bit with the novel. That’s understandable, as it’s rather hard to cram a 370 page book into an hour and a half movie!

I enjoyed the book and the movie. The Joyful Beggar was the first de Wohl book I ever read and I have been hooked ever since. 🙂

Have you read any of Louis de Wohl’s books? Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

Alex O’Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves~ review

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Alex O’Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves: A Fairy Tale Retold- by Regina Doman

CKTC: Curiosity Killed The Cat….

Alex O’Donnell, Mercy College’s resident swordfighter and ninja, is back! Coming home from college, he finds out that his dad has been at his computer antics again. Only this time, it’s pretty serious. Mr. O’Donnell has found a cyberthieves site. To get off the site, he had to enter a series of numbers. Now the O’Donnells have received well over a million dollars. Then the FBI gets involved and the thieves find out where the O’Donnells are and what they know about them. The O’Donnells and Alex’s girlfriend Kateri are now targets. Will Alex be able to protect his family? Or will the cyberthieves win in the end?

Of all the Fairy Tale Novels, Alex O’Donnell is more of a swashbuckling pirate story than a fairy tale. We have swordfighting, cyberthieves, computer hackers, the Samurai Cat, fans with sword blades, G.K. Chesterton, hotels and enough action-adventure for a movie! Alex makes me laugh just with some of the things he says. Kateri is an interesting character. If you’ve read Waking Rose, you’ll have already met her. Seeing her interact with the O’Donnells, whose lifestyle is very different from hers, certainly is amusing.

Mrs. Doman raises some good points about Internet use throughout the book. The Internet is a tool, but it is one that can be very easily abused. Alex O’Donnell is a good way to teach boys about some of the temptations on the Internet and to avoid them. This book is geared toward teenage boys, but all ages should enjoy it. The story is much more light-hearted than its predecessors, but there are a couple of issues that parents might want to know about. Read the Picky Parents Guide here.

So there you have it! All but one of Regina Doman’s Fairy Tale novels reviewed. I haven’t read the last book, Rapunzel Let Down yet and I’m not sure if I will. If I do, I’ll be sure to review it for you. 🙂 I’ll be working my way through Louis de Wohl’s novels next. Look out for those reviews over the next few weeks. De Wohl and Sherlock as well.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Comment below!

The Midnight Dancers~ review

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The Midnight Dancers: A Fairy Tale Retold– by Regina Doman

Splitting your life between light and night is a dangerous dance…

Rachel Durham is sick and tired of being good. 18, pretty, and bored out of her mind, Rachel is searching for some excitement. Maybe if she stretched the day into the night, she’d be able to have some fun, fun away from her overly strict, devout Christian father. Rachel drags her 11 sisters, half natural sisters, half stepsisters, into the nighttime revels. Her father grows worried about the girls and enlists the aid of Paul Fester: medic, soldier, juggler, ninja and swordsman. Will Paul figure out the girls’ dangerous secret before something terrible happens? Or will he drop them, like his juggling clubs, with no net beneath them?

I’m going to say it now: The Midnight Dancers is my least favorite of all the Fairy Tale Novels. It doesn’t have any of the characters from the first three novels that I loved so much. The story is darker, and I really didn’t like Rachel. She was so rebellious and headstrong, so determined to escape the confines of the day, she wasn’t even able to see how much danger she was putting herself and her sisters in.

I did enjoy the return of Paul Fester of Mercy College. He was in Waking Rose and is a great character. I liked how the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses was written in. The soldier who watches over the girls and the “magic” island. It was interesting to watch the Durhams, who are strict Christians, interact with Paul, a devout Catholic. It strayed away from what Mrs. Doman normally writes about but it was a fresh storyline.

The Midnight Dancers is a much darker book than the other Fairy Tale Novels. Mrs. Doman recommends it for teens of 16 and their parents. Of course, that is a personal judgement for parents to make. If you need some help deciding, here’s the Picky Parents Guide.

Do you think it’s easy to become bored with goodness? How do you overcome it? Comment below!

Waking Rose~ review

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Waking Rose: A Fairy Tale Retold- by Regina Doman

It seemed he could never redeem from such a steadfast spell his lady’s eyes…

Ever since Rose Brier was saved from Certain Death by the boy named Fish, she has hoped that Fish would be her knight in shinning armor. But Fish doesn’t feel like he is the hero type. He’s too wounded by his past to be the knight she wants him to be. He wants Rose to forget about him and move on with her life. Rose is attending Mercy College, the school her father and mother both went to. She makes new friends and is trying to forget Fish. What neither Fish or Rose expected was mortal danger from a secret in the Brier’s past. Now Fish has to save his lady from the danger she is in and maybe learn what it really means to be a hero.

Of all the Fairy Tale Novels, Waking Rose is probably my favorite. Rose and Fish are much more fleshed out and real than some of the other characters. I like how Mrs. Doman incorporates the tale of Sleeping Beauty into the story. Even the title is very fairy taleish! The supporting characters, especially the Cor boys, add to the story and make it funnier. Every time I read about Leroy’s antics, I go into hysterics!  The story is serious, light-hearted, and deals with real world problems.

I think that out of the whole tale, watching Fish become the hero and man he is meant to be is the best part. I know that it might seem old-fashioned, but I still believe in heroes, in knights in shinning armor. I think that all men, young and old, should strive to be chivalrous and respect women, no matter what. Old-fashioned, yes, but still applicable in today’s world.

Waking Rose is a wonderful book, but keeping in mind it was written for teens, there are some issues parents might like to know about before letting their kids read it. You’ll find the Picky Parents Guide here.

What is your favorite fairy tale? Share in the comments!