Books of 2011

>> Saturday, April 30, 2011

Books I'm most interested in and/or excited for that are coming out this year. As you can see, I'm mostly into children's fantasy.

February 2
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery-Maryrose Wood
The second book in the series. The Ashton household moves to London, where even stranger events occur.

February 8
Mr. Chartwell-Rebecca Hunt
Mr. Chruchill and Ms. Hammerhans must triumph over a humorous personification of depression.

April 29
Come Fall-A.C.E. Bauer
A group of friends must not only contend with the fairies Oberon and Puck, but also find their place in the world.

May 3
The Rogue Crew-Brian Jacques
The Long Patrol and the Rogue Crew must team up to rescue Redwall Abbey from a creature like no one's ever seen.

May 10
A Tale of Two Castles-Gail Carson Levine
A girl named Elodie becomes apprentice to a dragon, and must uncover a deadly plot.

May 17
The Fires Beneath The Sea-Lydia Millet
A group of children must embark on a quest that will take them beneath the sea, and on the front lines of good and evil.

June 1
Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom-Jenny Nimmo
In a prequel to the Charlie Bone series, a prince endowed with magical powers must seek a new kingdom.

June 7
Septimus Heap: Darke-Angie Sage
In the sixth book of the series, Septimus must enter the Darke to save the Castle and its wizards from destruction.

August 9
The Undrowned Child-Michelle Lovric
Venice is in danger from a dark, unseen force, and only the Undrowned Child can save it. But who is the Undrowned Child?

September 6
The Princess Curse-Merrie Haskell
Plot unknown, though it does involve an herbalist's apprentice in 15th-century Romania.

November 10
Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All-Jane Yolen
A modern-day retelling of Snow White imbued with magic and intrigue.



>> Monday, April 25, 2011

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling
by Maryrose Wood

Penelope Lumley has no idea what she's gotten herself into. She expected to be a governess to normal, well-brought-up children, not ones raised by wolves. But she's determined to teach them to behave, and all in time for Lady Ashton's Christmas ball.

But strange things are happening at Ashton place. And there's too many questions for Penelope to fathom.
What does the coachman have to hide?
What did that strange conversation between her employers mean?
Why is Lord Ashton's missing almanac so important?
And how can she possibly get the Incorrigibles to stop chasing squirrels?

I absolutely adored this book. Starred Review called it "Jane Eyre meets Lemony Snicket", and a truer description was never written. Penelope was a lovable, intelligent heroine who I could completely relate to. The Incorrigibles were fantastic, and the entire book was well-paced, highly addicting, and uproariously funny. I am most definitely reading the next book.

The only thing I didn't like (besides the occasional, but understandable, anti-hunting sentiments) were the unsolved mysteries at the end.
But I guess that's why it's a series.

Favorite Line: "If it were easy to resist, it would not be called chocolate cake."

Objectionable Content: It is mentioned that the Incorrigibles were naked when Lord Ashton found them in the woods.

Related Reads:
The Name of This Book is Secret-Pseudonymous Bosch
A Series of Unfortunate Events-Lemony Snicket
Jane Eyre-Charlotte Brontë


The Fellowship of the Ring Quotes II

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Picture by Alan Lee
Raising his right hand he said in a clear and commanding voice: Wake now my merry lads! Wake and hear me calling!/Warm now be heart and limb! The cold stone is fallen;/Dark door is standing wide; dead hand is broken./Night under Night is flown, and the Gate is open!

All that is gold does not glitter,/Not all those who wander are lost;/The old that is strong does not wither,/Deep roots are not reached by the frost./From the ashes a fire shall be woken,/A light from the shadows shall spring;/Renewed shall be blade that was broken,/The crownless again shall be king.

'Morning, Longshanks!' he said. 'Off early? Found some friends at last?'
Strider nodded, but did not answer. 'Morning, my little friends!' he said to the others. 'I suppose you know who you've taken up with? That's Stick-at-naught Strider, that is! Though I've heard other names not so pretty. Watch out tonight! And you, Sammie, don't go ill-treating my poor old pony. Pah!' He spat again.
Sam turned quickly. 'And you, Ferny,' he said, 'put your ugly face out of sight, or it will get hurt.' With a sudden flick, quick as lightning, an apple left his hand and hit Bill square on the nose. He ducked too late, and curses came from behind the hedge. 'Waste of a good apple,' said Sam regretfully, and strode on.

'I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he's a jester. He'll end up by becoming a wizard-or a warrior!'
'I hope not,' said Sam. 'I don't want to be neither!'
'Hurray!' cried Pippin, springing up. 'Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!'
'Hush!' said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. 'Evil things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world. We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting Dark.'
'Gandalf has been saying many cheerful things like that,' said Pippin. 'He thinks I need keeping in order.'
'If I understand aright all that I have heard,' he said, 'I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will.'
'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli.
'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'
'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli.
'Or break it,' said Elrond.
'I have it!' he cried. 'Of course, of course! Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer.'
'But this I will say to you: your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all.'
A lord of wisdom throned he sat,/swift in anger, quick to laugh;/an old man in a battered hat/who leaned upon a thorny staff. /He stood upon the bridge alone /and Fire and Shadow both defied;/his staff was broken on the stone,/in Khazad-dum his wisdom died.


Things I Learned From A Series of Unfortunate Events

>> Saturday, April 16, 2011

-The definitions of complicated words
-How to make life-saving devices with few materials
-What puttanesca is
-All about the knot called Devil's Tongue
-How to milk a snake
-What it feels like losing a loved one
-How to eavesdrop without getting caught
-At least 50 possible ways to die from a common household object
-Correct (and over-obsessive) grammar
-How to write in code
-All about lumber mills
-What an optimist is like
-All about hypnotism
-How to say 'Remember you will die' in Latin
-How to get rid of fungus using salt
-The difference between 'nervous' and 'anxious'
-What's in and out
-That the periodic table is missing the element of surprise
-How wrong newspapers can be
-The different kinds of libraries there are
-How to write couplets
-How to escape a cell using only water, bread, and a bench
-The history of the bowie knife
-How to disguise oneself
-How to make a meal using only a few items
-All about freakshows
-How fortune-telling works
-How to draw an eye using the letters V,F,and D
-The silliness of fashion
-That well-read people can usually be trusted
-That the presentation of food is as important as the taste
-How boring the water cycle is
-That he (or she) who hesitates isn't necessarily lost
-How mushrooms wax and wane
-That Edgar Guest writes 'tedious' poetry
-That wasabi is a substitute for horseradish
-La Forza del Destino cannot be avoided
-All about the Dewey Decimal system
-That is is enough to be noble
And lastly:
-There are two kinds of people in this world; those who start fires, and those who put them out.


JFK Was a Jelly Doughnut

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2011

According to historians, John F. Kennedy may have (accidentally) called himself a jelly doughnut.

In 1963, JFK addressed a crowd of millions in Berlin, Germany. On a last-minute decision, he said the final words of his speech in German.
He ended it with "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). Ein Berliner can either mean "a Berliner" or "a jelly doughnut."
Another problem is that a native-speaking German would ommit the ein and simply say "Ich bin Berliner".

So did he say he was from Berlin, or simply a jam-filled pastry?

Funny what you learn while reading a German travel guide.


I Am Such a Geek

>> Thursday, April 7, 2011

While rereading The Hounds of the Mórrígan for the second time, I came across a chapter that described the characters' journey through Galway City. And I simply had to map it.

I have now officially reached a new level of nerdyness.


The Fellowship of the Ring Quotes Part 1

>> Saturday, April 2, 2011

Picture by Alan Lee

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came as a compliment.

Her face looked as if she was in the throes of thinking out a really crushing parting remark; but all she found to say, turning round on the step, was: 'You'll live to regret it, young fellow! Why don't you go too? You don't belong here; you're no Baggins-you-you're a Brandybuck!'
'Did you hear that, Merry? That was an insult, if you like,' said Frodo as he shut the door on her.
'It was a compliment,' said Merry Brandybuck, 'and so, of course, not true.'

'I wish it need not have happened in my time.'
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such days. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'

'He deserves death.'
'Deserves it! I dare say he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.'

'I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.'

Suddenly he spoke, aloud but as if to himself, saying slowly: The Road goes ever on and on/Down from the door where it began./Now far ahead the Road has gone,/And I must follow, if I can,/Pursuing it with eager feet,/Until it joins some larger way/Where many paths and errands meet./And whither then? I cannot say.

'And it is also said,' answered Frodo: 'Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'
'Is it indeed?' laughed Gildor.

'You speak of danger, but you do not understand. This is no treasure-hunt, no there-and-back journey. I am flying from deadly peril into deadly peril.'

After a while the song became clearer, and with dread in his heart he percieved that it hand changed into an incantation: Cold be hand and heart and bone,/and cold be sleep under stone:/never more to wake on stony bed,/never, till the Sun has failed and the Moon is dead./In the black wind the stars shall die,/and still on gold here let them lie,/till the Dark Lord lifts his hand/over dead sea and withered land.


I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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