I always like to get some Sherlock Holmes in during the R. I. P. Challenge–by which I mean Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though I’ve enjoyed some adaptations too. This year I read The Sign of Four, which I’ve been meaning to read ever since I went on the Sherlock Holmes walking tour in London (in 2012, so it’s been a while). The guide talked about the plot, and I realized I didn’t remember a story about a one-legged man and a chest of jewels. I bought a Complete Holmes years ago, and have now completely lost track of which parts of it I’ve read…
Now that I’ve read The Sign of Four, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t read it before. I might have forgotten the one-legged man, but I would have remembered the novel that introduced Watson’s wife! She comes to 221B Baker Street because of a mysterious letter relating to her father’s disappearance. The disappearance is quickly solved, but in the process, Holmes and Watson are set on the trail of a murder, a vanished treasure, and a one-legged man. Continue reading
“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”
― Stephen King
I wonder this too…I always carry a book around!
Posted in Quotable
Last year I was approached with a review copy of Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist–and this year I made good and sure I got hold of a copy of the sequel, The Opal Crown! As I said about the first one: a fairy tale retelling with gorgeous masks and strong heroines? Could a book be designed any more brilliantly to capture my interest? :) This second book stems directly from the events of the first, so there will be spoilers for the first one…
I offer the official book description:
In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.
But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father’s death, and he reveals the girls’ deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.
In the first book we met Wilha, who grew up in the Opal Palace, forced without any explanation to always wear a mask; and Elara, who grew up in a Cinderella-like life that has made her wary of trusting others. The first book ended with both girls embarking on new lives they had each chosen. As the second book opens, it quickly becomes apparent that those new lives are unraveling around them. Continue reading
Today we’re onto our second dance for The Storyteller and Her Sisters’ Blog Waltz, with a guest post on A Library Mama, blog of Katy, “public librarian, bookworm and mother of two, among other things.” You may remember she guest-posted here a few months ago, sharing some of her favorite fairy tale retellings. I took that as my inspiration to send her a guest post about my favorite retellings of “The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces,” the Brothers Grimm story that inspired Storyteller.
I recommend all the books in my guest post, and I recommend Katy’s blog too. :) We have similar reading taste, with a fondness for fantasy and historical fiction, and for kids books that adults will enjoy too.
Read my guest post on favorite retellings!
I feel like I talk about Tamora Pierce and her wonderful Song of the Lioness Quartet fairly often…but it was a long time ago that I actually reviewed the books! Since I’m a little occupied this week with releasing my new novel (which happens to be about a strong heroine in a magical world), it seems like an appropriate time to dust off this review about one my favorite strong fantasy heroines!
I’m going to try–I really am–not to wax too enthusiastic today. But it’s hard when I’m talking about a favorite series–when it would actually not be inaccurate to use phrases like “changed my life” and “favorite character ever.”
Am I talking about some great inspirational work? Well…not a traditional one. I’m talking about the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.
The first book is Alanna: The First Adventure. Alanna is a girl who wants to become a knight, except that girls aren’t allowed to become knights. So she disguises herself as a boy and sets out to become one anyway. Alanna is an incredible character. When I was younger, I basically wanted to be her when I grew up. She’s stubborn, determined, and incredibly brave, but also human–she makes mistakes, she has struggles, and she’s not always sure of herself. She was my favorite character when I was a kid, out of any book I’d read. Continue reading