Posts Tagged ‘Gail Carson Levine’

Mini reviews: Snow Angels, Ella Enchanted, and Big Red Tequila

April 17th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Award-Winning, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Mystery, Young Adult

I’ve been on the fence the past few days about reviewing the three—three—books I’ve read in the past week. I enjoyed all of them, but I didn’t want to write an in-depth reviews. But then I realized a short blurb for each book meets the spirit of my 52 books in one year challenge. Plus all of these books are worth mentioning.

Snow Angels is the first in the Detective Vaara series by James Thompson. (The second novel in the series, Lucifer’s Tears was reviewed on this site earlier this year.)

The scenery and climate of Northern Finland during December, aka the darkest days of the years, is as important to the novel as the actual crimes of the novel. Adding to the complexity of the story are facets of the Laestadian religion and Finnish culture. As someone who’s lived in Finland—and has Laestadian ancestors—I appreciated this book on multiple levels, including for its insight into Finnish culture. This is a good series for mystery buffs.

After reading and reviewing Fairest, I picked up Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine from my local library. There’s not much to say other than I loved it. It’s a great retelling of Cinderella. It’s easy to root for Ella as a character, and I love the idea of gifts (like Ella’s gift of “obedience”) turning into curses.

Last of all, since I’ve read all of Rick Riordan’s middle grade novels, I decided to pick up the first in his Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. In Big Red Tequila, Tres Navarre returns to his hometown of San Antonio to rekindle a relationship with his childhood sweetheart. He left town ten years before after seeing his Sheriff father gunned down in the front yard of his home. His father’s murder was never unsolved, and now it’s time for Tres to use the private investigator/English PhD/tai chi skills he honed in San Francisco.

Big Red Tequila is a fun read, and it’s definitely meant for an adult audience. Robert Johnson, Tres’ cat, is perhaps the best drawn character in the novel. The setting—San Antonio, Texas—adds color to the novel. This is a good choice for mystery fans.

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Who’s the Fairest of them all?

April 7th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Young Adult

Aza spends most of her life trying to hide her face from guests at her parents’ inn. She might not be the fairest girl in Ayortha, but she has the most beautiful singing voice. Aza also have a few unique talents. She can mimic other voices and sounds. She’s also able to illuse, or make her voice sound like it’s coming from elsewhere. No one else can do this.

Of course, these skills are taken advantage of in this loose retelling of Snow White. When Aza unexpectedly finds herself at the marriage of the king, and falls prey to the insecure new queen, will she be able to save herself and her future?

Fairest is an enjoyable read set in a fun, fairy-tale land. Some of the small details (“Oochoo answers to ‘her royal highhoundness’”) are great, and the larger world within the book is as enjoyable. The overall message, in which Aza learned to accept her strengths and weaknesses, and engage with the world bravely, is important. Aza is beautiful inside, and finds her place in the world with people who respect her mind, character, and singing voice.

Title: Fairest
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Source: Public Library
Read: April 2011




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