Once Upon a Time IV Challenge

I told myself I wouldn't enter any other challenges this year (except the R.I.P. in the Fall), but I couldn't resist this one!

Quest the Third: Fulfill the requirements for Quest the First (at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the criteria) or AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream OR a viewing of one of the many theatrical versions of the play.

1. Wildwood Dancing by: Juliet Marillier
2. The Blue Sword by: Robin McKinley
3. The Hero and the Crown by: Robin McKinley

I plan to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream on DVD since I own THIS version already.

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Sunshine by: Robin McKinley

Published: 2003

# of pages: 416

I read this in 2007 and it became one of my all time favorite books. I put it on my Christmas list this past year and someone gave it to me. I decided it was about time to re-read it!

Unfortunately, I was disappointed the second time around. I remember the first time I read it it took me awhile to get into it. I was a little confused about the world it was set in since it differs so much from the other books I read by McKinley. But I loved it by the time it was over. The second time I read it it seemed to drag so much. Like Chalice, there was so much rambling and little dialogue. I can't think why I didn't notice that the first time I read it. To be fair, I don't read so much these days and when I do read it's in bits and pieces. I read while I nurse Evan, during commercials, in the bathroom, and maybe (just maybe) I will sit and actually give my attention to a book for awhile in the evenings. So it's really hard to "get into" a novel and I think that Sunshine is one of those that you have to read all at once to really appreciate the characters and story.

What's good about this book??? There's a lot of great stuff! I can still see why I loved this book so much the first time I read it. It's a great story that has flavoring from one of my favorite fairy tales (and, I suspect, one of McKinley's favorites as well), "Beauty and the Beast." It's about a human (well, we think she's human anyway) who meets a vampire, the most feared creature of the Others.

The world is an alternate Earth which has been transformed by the Voodoo Wars and in which magic and "Others" (vampires, weres, demons, etc) exist. Sunshine is the main character and she works at a coffee shop that is owned by her stepfather. She is abducted by vampires at the beginning of the novel and ends up meeting Constantine (Con), a different kind of vampire. The two form an alliance, one that forms a lasting bond between them. Sunshine spends the novel trying to balance her life as a low key baker with her family and boyfriend, Mel, and as a friend to a vampire and a magic handler.

Con and Sunshine form a plan to strike back at the vampire who abducted Sunshine and although she is scared, she makes preparations and strengthens her relationship with Con before they take action. The last part of the novel is my favorite part. Even after not enjoying the book the second time around, I still loved this last part! Con is one of my favorite characters, I just love him! He actually reminds me a lot of the master in Chalice and from what I can remember, the beast in Beauty. I guess I just all around love McKinley's male characters!

Anyway, I definitely recommend this to lovers of fantasy and fans of McKinley! I wish I could say I loved this book just as much as I did before, but that wouldn't be the truth. However, I hope it's because of my bad reading habits these days. There's some bad language and sexual content, but it doesn't overwhelm the novel. However, I wouldn't say it's appropriate for young adults.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.


The county has announced that 12 branches of our local library system will be closing in a couple of weeks. That's half of the total number of branches we have in our county!! I'm shocked that this is happening. Not only will 12 branches be closing, but 148 employees will be laid off.

Now I'm thankful that the branch I visit regularly will remain open, but I'm still upset about the other closings. I have joined the library's facebook fan group and read some of the discussions about the closings. Someone made the point that the branches that are closing are in lower income sections of the city. They pointed out that the branches in the most affluent sections of the city are ALL safe.

People are trying to raise awareness and hopefully receive enough money in donations to save the branches. However, I don't think it's organized enough and I'm afraid it won't help in such a short amount of time. I wish that they could post "if this much money is raised, this branch will be saved" and let people see where the money is going and that they are making a difference. I feel that people could donate and donate and then the county could claim it wasn't enough to save the branches or the employees' jobs and then where would the money go?

HERE is a link to our library's announcement about the closings. I actually wrote an email to the Board of County Commissioners!! I never do things like that, but I feel very strongly about this. Charlotte is a city that has progressed so much the past several years. We experienced growth even in the midst of an economic recession. People have been pouring into the county from all over the nation. The closing of so many libraries seems like the opposite of positive progression.

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Last Light

Last Light
by: Terri Blackstock

Series: Restoration Series, Book 1

: 1st in a Series Challenge

Published: 2005

# of pages: 381

My grandma gave me this series when I visited her for Christmas. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I rarely read Christian fiction these days. However, this series looked like it would be easy to read, so I decided to give it a try.

However, I wasn't terribly impressed with the first book. I'll go ahead and mention what bothered me about the book and then what I liked. Last Light follows a family of 6 who live in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama. I can't remember all of their names, but the mom is Kay and the 21 year old daughter (the oldest of the 4 kids) is named Deni. The story begins with a city-wide electrical and power outage. Planes fall from the sky, cars stall, watches stop, and mayhem ensues. The family struggles to survive as they realize that the power won't be returning anytime soon.

What I didn't like was the repetitive sermons that are (unfortunately) all too common in many Christian fiction novels. Also, the characters aren't well written. They aren't consistent or realistic. The parents are Christians and yet they are unwilling to help their neighbor, a young single mom of 3 toddlers. Seriously, what kind of "good" people (people who wouldn't automatically prey on others in these circumstances) would be that selfish that they couldn't even spend a little time helping out or spare something that they weren't even using to begin with? I mean, I can see that some people would act like that in a life threatening situation, but I don't know too many people who would behave that way in the situation this family is in. I believe Blackstock was going a little too far with the selfish stereotype and that she should have either found another downfall for the family to be involved in, should have made the progression to selfishness more natural, or had the situations be more dire (like the family having to give up their last bottle of medicine or the rest of their food, etc). She wants to show that the family changes for the better and so makes them unnaturally selfish to begin with.

The thing I liked about this novel - the concept of the storyline. It was neat to think about what I would do if put in that situation. How would the world be if all of our power went out? Also, the story was very suspenseful. I kept reading to find out what would happen next. I plan on reading the next book in the series. Even if I didn't already own it, I'd probably go out of my way to get it because I am interested to see how the story continues.

I recommend this to Christian readers or people who don't mind Christian fiction. I would like to say this is a book non-Christians could enjoy, but I think there are too many sermons and vague Christian phrases.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.


As you have probably noticed if you regularly read the Book Nook, I'm making yet another change to the template! I changed from the first template because the images were having problems. Then the last template I chose had a lot of Spanish in the code which made it hard for me to edit (but it was 3 columns!). So this is a different version of the first template, which seems to "go" with this blog. Hopefully the images won't have problems.

So bear with me as the blog is under construction, hopefully I'll have it good as new in a few days!

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A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones
by: George R.R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

Challenges: Read Your Name Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge

Published: 1996

# of pages: 835

If you haven't already discovered this from reading my blog - I love fantasy! For the past couple of years I've been meaning to start the series "A Song of Ice and Fire," which I've heard is a classic for fantasy lovers. The first book in the series is A Game of Thrones. And what a beginning it is!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. For some reason I was thinking this would be one of those fantasy books. It's hard to describe, but it seems like so many fantasy series out there aren't written very well. It's like the authors just wanted to crank out a series to make money. Either that or the series is SO detailed and the world is so unfamiliar that it loses me. Anyway, I figured this book would be the first of one of those types of series. However, I was wrong. This was a very well written book and although the world Martin created is intricate, it's not too "out there" for me to follow. It is similar to medieval Europe actually.

The chapters alternate between different narrators. Ned and his wife Catelyn, who live in a castle in the northern part of the kingdom; their children Bran, Arya, and Sansa; Ned's illegitimate son Jon; Tyrion, the king's brother-in-law; and Daenerys, who used to be the princess of the kingdom and is now an outcast on an eastern island.

Ned is chosen to be the "Hand of the King" and has to move south to live in the capital of the kingdom. He takes his daughters Arya and Sansa with him so they can experience court life. Bran was going to go along, but an "accident" prevents him from leaving his home. Catelyn ends up following her husband and daughters to warn them of treachery as Jon heads farther north to help defend the kingdom's border from otherworldly darkness. Tyrion is a sarcastic dwarf who is caught up in his family's plots to overthrow the kingdom. And Daenerys (the most fascinating character) is married to an eastern lord and goes from being a timid girl to a confident queen who has her own ambitions.

There are so many storylines, but this gives you an idea of what goes on in the book. There's another story about the wolves that are found at the beginning of the book. Each of Ned's children receives a wolf for a pet. They all play a part in the story, but not a major part. However, I feel as if they must still be significant. Wolves and dragons are two major symbols in A Game of Thrones and it will be interesting to see if that continues in the following books.

The only negative to the book is that it is SO LONG. It's very detailed and interesting, but it wasn't easy for me to take the time to read it at this point in my life. I think it would be a great vacation book, something to read when I have large chunks of time. So it will be awhile before I pick up the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings. Yeah...I really do wish it was shorter because I think this is a book my husband and brother would enjoy, but I know neither one will be able to stick with it because of its length!

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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