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Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale

9781619634855Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy, 3)

For the first two in the series, read here.

Miri is back again! This time she is supposed to be going back to her family on Mount Eskel from her stay in the capital with Princess Britta, but the king has decided that Miri needs to tutor the three royal princesses for a potential marriage alliance to a kingdom threatening invasion. If Miri succeeds, she will win independence for her province of Mount Eskel. After she accepts, she travels to the swamp where the girls live, and is unpleasantly surprised by the terrain and their livelihood. The three girls, Astrid, Felissa, and Susanna live alone and do not have any royal privileges other than living in a linder house. Their allowance and correspondence is stolen and they’ve never even heard from the king. Miri makes them a deal. She will learn their way of life and help them get their livelihood back and in return they will learn history, literature, and etiquette. But when the kingdom is invaded and the royal family captured, Miri and the royal princesses are the only ones left to stop the possibility of conquest.

This was a great book in the series, and I liked it much better than Palace of Stone. The royal princesses were fun and very much had their own personalities. I really enjoyed Miri’s process of learning and bargaining with the princesses, as their life seemed as crazy and unappealing as Miri’s did to them!

I would write more but my first edition of this post was somehow deleted, and my second just doesn’t come close. 😦

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Dangerous by Shannon Hale

1369939042_6499_CR6 Dangerous

One of the best science fiction novels for teens since Ender’s Game. Maisie Danger could almost rival the superheroes of Marvel and DC. Shannon Hale’s new book is addictively epic and altogether a wonderful story about a smart girl who happened to be born with only one hand and, through a space program, gains otherworldly powers to save the world from alien annihilation.

When Maisie Danger fills out a sweepstakes application for a special astronaut camp, she doesn’t think she’s going to win, but reality sets in when a ton of blue cereal boxes show up at her door. Maisie leaves behind her best friend, Luther, and her parents to go to the astronaut camp. There, the winners are divided into “fireteams” and compete for the privilege of taking a trip to a meteor. There, Maisie, who scares most of the other kids because of her arm, meets Jonathan Ingalls Wilder, the son of a rich and powerful businessman who happens to be very shady. Maisie and Wilder begin to form a relationship, but when Maisie’s fireteam wins and Jonathan is selected for having the best individual score, things begin to fall apart. Life’s already confusing when Maisie and the rest travel into space, but things escalate when the fireteam handles these mysterious tokens. They embed themselves into them and suddenly Maisie, Wilder, Ruth, Mi-Sun, and Jacques become superhuman. Maisie has technological gifts, Ruth is strong as an ox, Mi-Sun can shoot blue pellets of metal, Jacques can create metal to form a human shield, and Wilder is the thinker and connects them all together for a purpose. However, having the tokens means new stresses on all of them, and Ruth is the first to break down. Though they all feel called for a purpose, to save the Earth from… something, Ruth’s deterioration causes a chain reaction that changes the fireteam and Maisie, forever.

From the first chapter, I knew I was going to LOVE this book, and it did not disappoint. Maisie is an excellent heroine as she is both strong, smart, and did not become a stereotyped version of herself just for romance. Young teens, older teens, and even adults will like this book!

YA Clean Read as this has no language, sexual situations, but does have a bit of mostly non-graphic violence.

 

 

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Princess Academy and Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

princess+academy+pb

Princess Academy

                High on Mount Eskel, a territory of the kingdom of Danland, fourteen-year-old Miri dreams of being special. She knows she was special to her mother, who clutched Miri tight in her arms as a newborn babe before she died when Miri was only a week old. But her father absolutely forbids Miri to work in the quarry, the main trade for their village on Mount Eskel. Almost everyone Miri knew worked in the quarry, including her older sister Marda. Miri feels her father thinks her useless because of her tiny size and strives so hard to show him how useful she is. When the king declares that his prophets have discovered his son’s bride is to be found on Mount Eskel and that there will be a Princess Academy for all eligible girls, Miri is stunned to find herself sent away from her family with the other village girls to learn how to be a princess from a harsh tutor. When Miri questions the severity of their treatment, like the beatings and the hours locked in a damp closet with rats and no visiting days to return home, she makes enemies of the other girls but finds she really truly loves to learn. Will Miri be good enough to be a princess even if she wasn’t good enough to work in the quarry?

Princess Academy shows us a confused girl who just wants to belong somewhere, to be valued for her own usefulness. Though she is vulnerable, she is also tough and resourceful, surprising the reader by her strong leadership qualities and desire to do her best and be as honest as possible.  This book is one of the best for preteen readers and for transitioning them into reading more YA books. There is a sequel, reviewed next.

palace of stonePrincess Academy: Palace of Stone

The sequel to the Newberry Honor book Princess Academy, Palace of Stone finds Miri and a few others from the Princess Academy attending the wedding of their friend Britta to Prince Steffan. Britta has given Miri a special chance to be a student at the Queen’s College, where all the scholars of Asland go to learn. Dissention and unrest are stirring in Asland and the girls from Mount Eskel see it firsthand when the provinces’ tributes to the king are worthless, all except theirs. Katar asks Miri to find out if she can get in with the rebellion against the king, and Miri, trying to do right by her friends and herself, lands in a sinkhole of trouble. Is this the end of Asland’s monarchy and Britta and Steffan’s happiness? Could part of it be Miri’s own fault and can she stop the rebellion before someone is hurt, or worse, killed?

Palace of Stone brings us back to a Miri who loves her home but still cannot reconcile who she is and what she will become. As her own confusion grows with the validity of the rebellion and the truth of the king’s harsh treatment of the people, Miri is swept along by her ideals into a war between friends, a war that can get very bloody quickly. She also is having problems with her romantic situation and feels she has no one to be her true friend and give her the advice she needs. Miri is truly on her own to figure out what part she wants to play and where her allegiance really lies…and her choices could have dire consequences. Any reader who loved Miri in Princess Academy will want to follow her as she heads into more trouble than she can cope with. Perhaps Miri’s tough choices will give readers the encouragement to face their own troubles and learn from them.

I love almost anything by Shannon Hale, so these are definite buys for my shelf!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Booktalking! Ella Enchanted and the Books of Bayern series

I was asked to create a book talk for a potential job interview. I thought why not do it on my blog first?

These are for preteen or younger teen readers and are well loved by girls across the nation, but perhaps are not as emphasized now that they have been out for some time. Still, they are great reads that shouldn’t be forgotten!

Do you wish your life was like a fairy tale? Maybe that you had a fairy godmother to make you feel better sometimes?

200px-Ella_enchanted_(book_cover)In Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, Ella of Frell knows fairies, even fairy godmothers, do not always bestow the best of gifts. When she was born, a fairy Lucinda gave her the gift of obedience. Ella had to obey anyone who gave her a direct order. This could be “Go to bed now, Ella,” or “Play nicely, Ella” or things a mother might say like “Help me clean up the house, dear” even when Ella didn’t want to. Ella finds that while she has to obey, she can find small ways to rebel and do things her way. Despite her curse, her family life isn’t fun either. Her mother died, her father remarried an awful woman and now Ella has two awful stepsisters, Hattie and Olive.

Her only friend is Mandy, her nurse, and Char, the king’s quiet son. When her new stepmother decides to send her off to finishing school with her horrible daughters, Ella leaps upon a chance to find Lucinda and make her take the gift back. But this leads her into an adventure where she runs into hungry ogres, trades with elves, feasts with giants, and ultimately finds out that Lucinda is practically no help at all. It is up to Ella to break her curse herself, but can she do it before all her hopes of happiness are ruined forever?

So, maybe fairies and a fairy godmother create more trouble than they’re worth. Perhaps you pretend you are a princess and your happily ever after isn’t far behind?

the goose girlIn this next book, The Goose Girl, first in the Books of Bayern series by Shannon Hale, former Crown Princess Ani of Kildenree doesn’t seem to have a happily ever after. She is sent to Bayern to marry the prince because she is…different. Her own mother wants nothing to do with her because she has a special power to speak to animals  and listen to wind. On her journey to Bayern, her ladies’ maid, Selia, steals her identity and tries to kill Ani so she can be the princess. However, Princess Ani flees and hides as Isi, the goose girl, on the palace grounds. There she makes friends and hides her past because her life is still in danger. When she discovers Selia is using her name and influence to start a war, Isi knows she cannot just let it go and live her life out as a goose girl. Brought up to be a princess and care for her people, Ani must stand up to fight for her identity, her reputation, and her new kingdom as well as her new love and her friends. Will her happily ever after come true or will greedy Selia win it all?

Both stories are ones of bravery and courage, friendship, a bit of magic, and trying to make your own happily ever after.

Tales of Ani and her friends in Bayern continue in Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Children, Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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