Divergent ~review

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Beatrice Prior has a choice to make. Now that she’s sixteen, she must choose which “faction” she will belong to for the rest of her life; Dauntless, Amity, Abnegation, Candor, or Erudite. Since she was born into Abnegation, Beatrice assumes that she will choose to stay there. That is, until her aptitude test results come back a little…odd. Or in another word, they are Divergent. Beatrice learns that she has equal aptitude for not just one group, but three. Which is not good, especially in a society that encourages loyalty to faction before blood and the necessity to have your purpose in life maintained. How is Beatrice, or Tris as she’s now known, supposed to survive being Divergent? Simple; pretend she isn’t. Walking that fine line is not for the faint hearted. It’s for the Dauntless…..

(Okay, I had fun writing the synopsis. 😉 ) I hadn’t heard about Divergent till I saw something about the movie coming out. My thoughts went something like this; oh, YA dystopian, Hunger Games knockoff, something like Matched, eh, no overwhelming desire to read it. I was curious, but my life wouldn’t have been over if I never read it. Plus, I’ve never seen it at the library. Convenient excuse, I know. 🙂 So, when I was sitting at the library for three hours on Sunday, I spotted it and decided, why not? There’s nothing else to read.

As a general rule, I am not a huge fan of YA books. Too much inappropriate content, drugs, swearing,…, etc. Sometimes I’ll find a rare book that is actually decent and readable. I wasn’t blow away by Divergent but I wasn’t irritated with it. I wasn’t thrilled with many of the choices that Tris made. She was unforgiving, leading to tragic consequences for another character, and brutal at times, but she was also selfless. I really liked her mother as a character, even though she was barely in the story. Yes, Divergent made me cry. I won’t say why, but it did. Then again, I cry reading most books.

As a book, Divergent was kind of Eh for me. I don’t think I’ll ever want to own it, but I will look out for the rest of the series. Maybe since I’m reading them after the craze, I’ll be able to find them easier! Yeah, sure, keep on dreaming…

(P.S. Like this post if you love the snowmen mugs!)

Have you read Divergent? What did you think of it? Leave a comment!

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!

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!

Black as Night~ review

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Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold– by Regina Doman

“Who is the fairest in the land” games don’t always end up so nicely…

Blanche Brier has always been a little different. With hair as black as night and skin as white as snow, she looks like she just stepped out of a fairy tale. Lately, though, she has been feeling like she is in danger, on the other side of the mirror, where everything is backwards. Running from an evil queen intent on her destruction, she takes refuge with a group of Franciscan friars. Calling herself Nora, she thinks she is safe. She doesn’t know her family is searching for her, or that things from her boyfriend Bear’s past will come careening her way. Will Blanche survive the wrath of the evil queen, or will she become just another pawn in the chess game?

I think Black as Night and Waking Rose (review coming soon) are my two favorites of the Fairy Tale Novels. The fairy tale in Black as Night is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. There are also elements of Alice Through the Looking Glass and chess games. Color plays a huge part in the story: black, red, and white.

I love that the characters are fleshed out more in the book. Bear and Blanche are the most important characters, of course. Rose Brier and Bear’s brother Fish are more minor characters. The seven friars are, obviously, the seven dwarves. They are all so funny! For those who don’t know, friars are men who have vowed to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience within a community. They can be priests or laymen who aren’t ordained. I liked how the Huntsman is tied in.

I do think that you should read the books in order, so you understand who is who and what is referenced from the other books. My reviews are in the order that the books should be read. As with all Regina Doman’s books, there are some content issues since the books were written for teens and young adults. Find the Picky Parents Guide for Black as Night here.

Have you read Black as Night? What did you think? Comment below!

The Shadow of the Bear~ review

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The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold– by Regina Doman

Blanche and Rose Brier live with their widowed mother in New York City. They live a quiet, simple life with their books and each other. Quiet that is shattered when a stranger shows up on their doorstep after saving Mrs. Brier’s life. Blanche, the elder sister, is frightened of him and wants him gone. Rose, the more adventurous one, is fascinated by the young man who calls himself Bear. Bear’s life hasn’t been easy, and he has some pretty dark secrets in his past. Will those secrets come back to haunt or even hurt Bear and the Briers?

I’m going to say it right now; I LOVE Regina Doman. I had the privilege of meeting her a few years ago, and she is an awesome, funny lady with a love of God and writing. The Shadow of the Bear is the first in the Fairy Tale Retold series. It’s a retelling of the tale of Snow White and Rose Red set in modern-day life. I love the book. Mrs. Doman ties theology, G.K. Chesterton, adventure, prose, elements of a fairy tale, and poetry all together the make a wonderful tale. There’s action and suspense for the boys, romance and true love for the girls. Win-win! 🙂

Of the two sisters, I think Blanche is my favorite. I relate more to her than to Rose. Bear has a bigger role in the story than his brother Fish. But don’t worry: Fish gets a book of his own! For being a short book, The Shadow of the Bear is intense. This book was written for teenagers, and as such, there are some content issues. For Mrs. Doman’s Picky Parent Guide, click here. There are spoilers, so read with caution! I love all of Regina Doman’s fairy tale novels, some more than others. I’ll be reviewing all the rest of them, except the newest one, over the next two weeks.

Have you read any of Mrs. Doman’s books? Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!