Review: Enchanted

EnchantedAuthor: Alethea Kontis

Age: YA

Genre: Fairy Re-tell

Released: May 2012

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

Series: Woodcutter Sisters #1

You guys… this story… So spectacularly written.

You can read the blurb anywhere so I won’t say much,  this is the story of the youngest of the seven Woodcutter sisters, Sunday.  Yes, they are named for the days of the week, following the old rhyme about “Monday’s child is…” (it’s in the book).  Anyway, it’s a tale woven of many familiar stories, spiced with humor and family and kindness and love and sadness and Joy and Sorrow.

Having the sisters actually named by their days was mostly helpful in keeping them straight but i occasionally got Saturday and Sunday mixed up.  Each one of the array of characters, all of them delightfully complex, come with their merits and misgivings, and each is showcased and utilized with skill.  Only occasionally did it feel like there were 1 or 2 many people in the scene, but it was never distracting.

For the first few chapters I was a little annoyed by all the tales being mashed into one story.  Well, I say mashed, woven would be a better term.  Everything was well crafted, but there were just so many references, it almost felt silly.  However, once I got to the end I actually read the acknowledgements and about how putting all of those into a single story was an on-purpose challenge.  So that gave me a different view, so when you read it, don’t think she was just trying to rip off the classics.  The stories are actually very well pieced into a really lovely whole story.

When it comes to love stories I adore when it starts out with them being friends.  Relationships are stronger when built of mutual confidence and true appreciation of the other person and not just “You are beautiful and turn my brain to scrambled eggs… Let’s be in love and make babies!”  Sunday’s and Rumbold’s starts with sharing time and hearts and kindness, which of course grows, albeit quietly and softly, right in the squishy part of the feels.  Throughout the book, whenever they are together, it is so incredibly sweet and charming, and I love it so much.  I can see it it my head and it makes me so happy… *sigh*

Now, I am aware you can’t write a fairy tale without magic, but this one had just a little bit more than the glitter and fairy dust kind.  Some of the people being are referred to as fey or as having fey blood. The adjective fey is of Scottish origin meaning fated or doomed, but it is also as having the ability to see into the future (visionary), and marked by an otherworldly air. Here it is connected to having magic or a “fairy” in the bloodline, and those who are fey, or have fey blood in them (born or, um, otherwise), tap into the magic that comes with it. There was some, thought not a lot, of ‘hard magic’ (in this story: the use and teaching of runes, ceremonial bloodletting, and the use of taking lives to extend one’s own), it did, however, play a important part in the story line.  While things weren’t made out in detail (there is a “through the window” description of a ceremony scene), I’d rather not have any.  Because of this I would not recommend it for younger readers; magic is nice for stories, but it is not something to be trifled with.

Something that I appreciated that the Aunt/Godmother Joy said about Sunday’s magic is to be aware of the consequences and that everything you do affects the things around it.  This very much applies to real life.

Enchanted is the first book of four (possibly more to come) and I do think I would like to read the others, however I hope that the magic is a little less intimidating and the magnificent construction carries through.

Also, on a petty note, I want to talk about the cover…  With so many amazing dresses out there, what is she wearing?? It looks like she had a short dress and then they stuck a long petticoat underneath it.  I’m really confused because i can’t even tell if the black lace was actually on the dress or added digitally.   I’m much more into the dress on Saturday on the cover of the next book Hero (the grey dress where she’s sitting down, not the hooded one…).

In spite of the magic and swears, I find myself recommending this one to upper YA readers, because it is so well crafted and the love story is just so nice.  It both tugs on the feels and gives you the warm-n-fuzzies.

Following Enchanted is Heroand Dearest, and Trixter (The Trix Adventures #1)

Interested?  Find it here!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 – A few well-deserved, and for the most part correctly used, D-s and someone get’s called a donkey (even thought that’s just really crass and quite rude).

Sexual: 0 – I saw another reader mention that allusions to sex were few and easily missed by younger readers, which I must be because I don’t remember any… 🙂

Other: 2 – Some use of “hard magic”

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Advertisements

Review: Developing the Leader Within You

Review of Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: John C. Maxwell

Age: Adult

Genre: Inspirational/Self-improvement

Click here to read summary

Rachel and I spend a week every summer volunteering at a kids’ camp/high school leadership training known as SALT (Student Action Leadership Team). (We blogged about it last year!) We’ve both been fortunate to be a part of it for several years and be used by God. SALT has pushed us beyond our comfort zone many times, causing us to grow and change. It’s an incredible experience every year, and we look forward to it every summer.

This year, our leader, Bro. Alan, asked us to read Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell in preparation for the leadership training. While I was grateful for the recommendation, I’m not a big fan of non-fiction. However, I’m trying to read more non-fic and self-improvement books (I hate the term “self-help”), so I did as he asked and read it.

First off, be warned. There are plenty of typos and grammatical errors in this book; however, it’s very well written. My highlighters got a lot of use! There are so many good quotes, and I’ll include some of my favorites below.

The style is interesting, because Maxwell uses a lot of stories to make his points. Sometimes, there will be a heading with a story, but no explanation about how to apply it to your life! Rachel and I discussed this and would like explanations, please! However, I know we’re probably supposed to reflect on the stories and try to figure out how they apply to our lives. But we were a bit rushed to read the book, so we’ve kind of been speed reading and not taking the proper time to reflect. (A reread is definitely in order!)

I’ve been able to use this book to pinpoint areas in my life where I could use some improvement, and I like Maxwell’s advice of trying to conquer one self-improvement project (or, as he says, self-discipline development) at a time. “The slow accumulation of disciplines will one day make a big difference.”

Perhaps you don’t view yourself as a leader and you think, “There’s no point in me reading that.” While not every point will apply to you, this book will convince you that you are a leader. Maxwell claims that leadership is influence, and “everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone.” So whether you think this book applies to you or not, it does, and I highly recommend you give it a shot.

Quotes:

The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.

Habits are not instincts. They are acquired reactions. They don’t just happen; they are caused.

The only problem you have is the one you allow to be a problem because of your wrong reaction to it.

A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become.

The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.

Success is learning from failure. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Failure only truly becomes failure when we do not learn from it.

Nothing would get done at all if a man waited until he could do something so well that no one could find fault with it.

When you do the things you ought to do when you ought to do them, the day will come when you will do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

Having it all doesn’t mean having it all at once.

Hours can be saved by making the best use of minutes.

Successful people are willing to do things unsuccessful people will not do.

Good character is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage, and determination. This will only be accomplished with a disciplined lifestyle.

Content Advisory:
None! It’s a clean read!

>>> SIMILAR BOOKS
If you like this review, you might also like Rachel’s review of Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR
Today Matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Summer Reading!!

FREEEEDOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

Do you guys even know that reference any more??  A cookie to the first person to correctly identify the source, *without googleing*Rainy Day Reading

Anyway, IT’S SUMMER!!!!  woooohoo!!  So far this season, it has been stupidly rainy… like every day.. the river has been out of it’s bank for days..  BUT everybody know that rainy weather is good reading weather!  So whether or not it’s a deluge where you are, summer is meant for settling down with a good book.  In order to fill the pressing question of “What do I read next?!?!”  I have compiled a list of happy, fresh, summer-themed books!

I would like to say I have not read these books, but I will!  I am in the process of collecting them from the various branches of our local library system 🙂  I chose these books based off of the story lines and the positive reviews from other readers, as well as the fluff factor.  I’m not usually a fluff-er but summer calls for a little light reading!

Have you read any of these already? Care to share your thoughts?

(Info snips are written by me, basically shortened versions of the blurbs.  Titles link to the GoodReads pages.)

Summer on the Short BusSummer on the Short Bus
by Bethany Crandell

Spoiled Cricket is forced to go to a camp for disabled teens, where she is surprised to find friends and maybe even a little love.

My Faire LadyMy Faire Lady

by Laura Wettersten
After having her heart broken, Rowena jumps feet first into a job as a face painter/wench at a Renaissance Fair and discovers that sometime you have to go back in time find your future.

Breakfast Served Anytime

Breakfast Served Anytime

by Sarah Combs
Gloria is heads to “geek camp” sad, but optimistic, and is swept in by a teachers mysteries, a curious roomate, and the obnoxious, yet unforgettable Mason who dresses like the Mad Hatter.
*Debut Novel*
 What if you had the best chance for revenge ever? That’s just Mackenzie’s case when her ex suddenly gets amnesia and is in love with her all over again, but Mack plans to capitalize on this and make him feel the pain of being the dumpee.
*fluff alert*

17 First Kisses

17 First Kisses

byRachael Allen
So many kisses later and Claire still struggles with the single life that comes with having a complicated past and an irresistible best friend. That is until Luke, who said best friend is also falling for, testing friendship, love, and the life you’ve always known.
 *Debut Novel*

Royally Lost

Royally Lost

by Angie Stanton
Becca is miserable trapped in her family vacation, until the mysterious, and of course handsome, Nikolai (who you probably guessed is a prince, but he’s also the runaway version), and adventure ensues, but in the end is the ever present question “What now?”
Summer of Yesterday

Summer of Yesterday

byGaby Triana
After a seizure changes her summer plans from camp with friends to camping with Dad, Haley is not happy, but a new seizure suddenly transports her into the past, to a very special time and place, that has some very special people.
The Prince of Venice Beach

The Prince of Venice Beach

by Blake Nelson
Runaway/beach bum Robert “Cali” knows everyone on the sands of Venice Beach, CA, making him the perfect guy to find another missing teen, but what if Reese doesn’t want to be found and will do anything to stay that way?
*guy’s POV!*

Review: Code Name Verity

code name verity

Title: Code Name Verity

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Released: February 2012

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

This is one of those books that I just don’t have the words to do it justice. I didn’t even want to read this book, because I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. But Rachel and Jules made me. I finally read it when I felt left out after they walked off to fangirl without me. So I checked it out from the library.

Code Name Verity is one of the most beautiful friendship stories I’ve ever read. As Verity unfurls the story of how she and Maddie met, it’s impossible to not become absorbed. As they fight against the Nazis, these two best friends learn their strengths and balance out each other’s weaknesses. They experience the good during the bad. As Verity says, “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

The story isn’t always fast-paced. But it’s beautiful. And it sometimes is fast-paced and in those moments you’ll wish it weren’t. And in several moments you’ll cry. You’ll question your friendships and wonder if you are a good enough friend to those you love the most. You’ll probably admit that you aren’t, that no friendship of yours will ever compare to that of Verity and Maddie. But you’ll be inspired to be that good of a friend, because these two fierce girls will convict you.

You’ll want to hug your best friend close and tell her through your tears, “We are a sensational team.”

Content Advisory:

No official content advisory because I lost my notes, but there is quite a bit of cursing and some suggestive comments.

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Rose Under Fire is the companion book to Code Name Verity

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.