Friday, April 29, 2011

My Love of Fairy Tales

Before I get into this, I wanted to spotlight the adorable Doodle of the Day! The Royal Wedding was this morning, but I slept in.

Also, since I'm in a fairy tale mood, here's the picture I may or may not have drawn at a Friday morning art class:

This is my fairy tale story:
It all started with Disney. I was raised watching Disney movies. I was born during "the Disney Renaissance" which went from 1989 - 1999. This is when the best Disney movies were released. Most of them were based on fairy tales or fables. I remember in the mornings I would go to our playroom and watch Disney movies late into the afternoon. I have never been the most active child because my nose has been buried in books and movies galore. I remember Sleeping Beauty was always my favorite princess, with Belle being a close second. I remember having my "Sleeping Beauty" dress, which wasn't more than a simple blue play dress (because I always thought her blue dress was prettier). I would sing and dance around in it all the time. Disney is also the reason I have somewhat pursued theater, but I'm not talking about that now.
We also rented "Faerie Tale Theatre" videos from a video store close to our house. I loved those a lot!
My parents used to own a large book of fairy tales with stunning black and white illustrations. I would always ask for it to be read to me. I especially loved Sleeping Beauty!.
Several years after all this had been going on, my family moved to Europe. We had lots of fun visiting all the different countries. My absolute favorite part of it all was visiting the castles. I have been to 4 castles. The Tower of London, Burg Ronneburg, Burg Eltz, and Versailles. Ronneburg is the least well known, but it was my favorite. We went there several times. They held medieval festivals in the spring and winter. I have several cute souvenirs from there. 
When I was 9ish, I found Ella Enchanted. I had watched the movie which I liked enough, and then I saw that it was a book. I read it and loved it, even though it was completely different from the movie. I began to seek out other Gail Carson Levine books. To my surprise, I saw that most of her books were based on fairy tales. This is when I learned of the genre of fairy tale retellings. It took until I was 12 to find any other books in that genre. I fell in love with Shannon Hale. I worship her in a way. I don't pray to her or anything, but I've read all her YA novels, I follow her blog. I repeatedly mention her and how much I love her (have I mentioned that?), and I've done so many other Shannon related things to show my love!
Now I continue to seek out fairy tale novels. I have yet to read a retelling of Sleeping Beauty besides GCL's Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep which is pretty short and is definetly aimed at a younger audience. 

These are some of the questions asked of Books from Bleh:
Why do they appeal to such a variety of readers? 
Everyone has heard them whether or not they wanted to. Luckily, almost everyone likes them. Parents like to buy fairy tale picture books. Everyone is able to relate to them in some way or another.
Why do so many of us come back to these same stories again and again? 
 Because there is a childish spirit hidden deep within them that people continue to seek out, hoping to find it and feel that childish spirit again.
 What about them interests or captivates you?
So many things. I think especially the characters. Usually they don't have very much background information to explain why they are how they are. They do lots of crazy things without reason. I like to think about the characters past, which helps predict their future (I believe this about all people).
What is it that brings you back?
The wonderful childhood memories. The intriguing stories and characters.  The lessons that are beautifully woven into these tales. The hope. The love.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: The Diamond Secret

Nadya has no recollection of her past before the asylum. She has always wondered who she was, but never had the chance to find out -- until now.
Two men named Ivan and Sergei show up saying that they believe she is the Dowager Empress Anastasia. She finds it hard to believe, but she goes anyway because even if she isn't Anastasia, her life will be better than if she stays a waitress at The Happy Comrades with no past and no future.
What Nadya doesn't know is that she's participating in a scam. Ivan had watched Anastasia get shot, and fully believes her to be dead. They have been trying to find a fake Anastasia to pass off to her grandmother as real so they can claim the reward money. 
During their travels from Russia to Paris, they all grow to love each other. Sergei is like a brother to Nadya, and Ivan is so much more. 
I grew up watching the animated movie Anastasia. I loved it so much. For a long time I thought it was all true (even the evil magic glowy things.) Then as I got older, I realized it wasn't true. I was so sad.
The plot was basically the same for book and movie, but I think they each had their own uniqueness about them. For example, in the book the characters don't burst out in song!
This was a cute, quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Booking Through Thursday

If you could see one book turned into the perfect movie–one that would capture everything you love, the characters, the look, the feel, the story–what book would you choose?

The Books of Bayern series. I love it so much. It's movie material, but I'm scared that if it is turned into a movie, it'll be wrecked by bad acting and directing. It would need to be word for word from the book.  

UPDATE: Silly Me sitting here in my own world thinking that everyone knows about the marvelous world of Bayern when, in fact, most of the world doesn't know it exists. So I posted some pictures of the gorgeous covers so you know what you're looking for!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I'm gonna do this a bit differently. I'm gonna spotlight books that have been released in the past year as well as books being released this year that I can't wait to read.

My Unfair Godmother
 "Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother"

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! It was released earlier this month. I'm gonna read My Fair Godmother soon. I love Janette Rallison. Her books are funny and up beat, as I'm sure she is in real life as well. Janette has been super generous lately! She has been hosting contests all over the blogosphere to win her books. I was lucky enough to win 2 signed books from her.  I'd love to win more, though. Free is always better in my opinion!

Some of the giveaways:

My Top 10 Best Heroines of All Time

10. Zita

9. Ella

8. Benevolence

7. Isi

6. Addie

5. Aza 

4. Hermione

3. The Lass

2. Katniss

1. Enna

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: A Curse Dark as Gold

Charlotte Miller's father has just died and she doesn't know what to do about the mill. It has been in her family for many generations, though it hasn't been passed down father-to-son as it normally would've, but it has been cousin to uncle to nephew to brother. The village claims there has been a curse placed upon Stirwaters and it owners. They are a very unlucky family.
Charlotte discovers that her father had left a large debt to be paid off. In frantic worry, a man claiming to be called Jack Spinner shows up saying he can spin straw into gold. To Charlotte's disbelief he does, in exchange for her ring. This saves the family for now. Many strange things continue happening to the mill, which causes lots of sorrow. During all these events, Charlotte continues to unravel the mystery of the curse and Mr. Spinner.

I really liked all the characters in their own way. I think I could relate in different ways with each of them. And the magic was very interesting.

I like Rumpelstiltskin enough. I've been dying to read "The Rumpelstiltskin Problem" but my library doesn't seem to have it.
I think he's an alright guy. He has his reasons for being the way he is. In this book he seems like he would be a nice person if it weren't for his grudge against Stirwaters.
In movies I don't think he is portrayed well. My examples are animated:
I haven't watched Happily N'ever After in a while, but as far as I remember he's doesn't have the ability to turn good, and he's goofy and stupid. He's also green. I find it disrespectful to portray one of my favorite fairy tale characters in such a way because he's the smartest character in the fairy tale!
 In Shrek Forever After, he seems to "fit the bill", but he still irritates me. A LOT. I don't have much to say about him other than HE IRRITATES ME!

Anyway... everyone should read A Curse Dark as Gold. The beginning seems a bit slow, but it's still exciting. I wasn't planning on  finishing it until Friday, but it was so captivating that I stayed up until way too late reading, and then woke up way too early to finish it. I am so glad I did. 

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
     Uncle Wheeler's green eyes narrowed slightly. "Well. And look where that brought her. I'm very serious, Charlotte. Reconsider your position. I know your father took pride in that Miller stubbornness, but it's hardly a virtue in a young lady."
     And whatever thoughts I had of confessing my latest financial difficulties to my uncle went straight out of my head at that.

page 62 of A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Dream Bookshelves!

I'm Remodeling

I hated the way this blog looked before!!! I couldn't really do anything about it, though, because in the past all the blogger templates I've used have failed in some way. Then I found this:

Lots of cute, easy to use templates that don't permanently damage blogs, so I can swap out the template whenever I want too! 
I love this blog so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  D  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! 

The Tale of Despereaux

Currently Reading:
A Curse Dark as Gold

To Read: 
The Diamond Secret 
Just One Wish

Hoppy Easter

I love Easter! I love Jesus, and Bunnies, and Church Music, and Plastic Eggs. I love the spirit of Easter. I'm a super religious person and I am proud to say so, but lets do some bookish stuff.

I have entered almost all 223 Blogs listed on I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, and then I saw that Once Upon a Twilight had some additional blogs mixed in. I didn't want to go through and find all the ones I hadn't entered, so approximately 223 will have to do. The ones I didn't enter were one's with books that I was morally apposed to/wasn't interested in. This also means all the blogs that said that content wouldn't be suitable for children, because a $5 gift card probably isn't worth some of the nasty stuff I would've seen. There were tons of fun things available. Mostly gift cards to Amazon. I hope I am able to win something. I think it would be fun to participate in a hop sometime in the near or distant future, but right now there is no way of doing that.
So anyway, everyone should hop on over to Once Upon a Twilight for the complete list of blogs so you can start your agonizingly long blog-hopping adventure.
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