My Favorite Books Through the Years

When I was really little, I imagine I devoured books faster than the Very Hungry Caterpillar could ever hope to eat.  In fact, I have distinct memories of my elementary school years being spent at the reading station, working my way through every book, audio book, and reading lesson I could get my little hands on.  However, my favorite books were always either Winnie-the-Pooh books, of which nostalgia and pure love have kept me from letting go, or Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham.  I firmly believe the fact that my name is Sam played a very large part in my adoration of that book.

In the middle years of my childhood, I started reading chapter books very early on, a fact I was immensely proud of.  Books by Andrew Clements were a particular favorite of mine.  I enjoyed Frindle and I read The School Story more times than I can count.  I loved that book because it spoke to the writer in me.  It gave me the hope that, however fictitious this book may be, I could do that one day.  Maybe not exactly that way, per se, but I could write a book and get it published.  In all honestly, that book made the whole publishing process seem so easy, but I suppose that, to a very experienced author like Andrew Clements, it seems pretty easy.

I also loved books from Haddix, which I have mentioned before.  I practically lived for her Shadow Children series.  I would save my allowance dollars and the day I had enough to go purchase the next book in the series was the best day ever.  Those books still grace my shelves to this day.

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In high school, I read as often as I could with my more rigorous academia.  I lived for Rick Riordan’s books about Percy Jackson and his friends, hated (still do) the movies that they “based” off of the books, and waited nervously for the days House of Hades and then The Blood of Olympus came out (I can do a whole other post about my feelings towards this series and that last book in particular, if anyone is interested).  Once that series came to an end, I decided to move on and discovered other authors. I read and reread Changing Faces by Wendy Lawyon, a gift from grandparents.  I fell in love with the other books by Haddix, stumbled upon the books of Jessica Day George, and was introduced to Shannon Hale’s masterpieces.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of my time reading English literature from Beowulf to Frankenstein, discovering the poems, ballads, and epics (respectively) of Marie de France, Wordsworth, Sir Philip Sidney, Milton, and John Donne.  I’ve rediscovered my love of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and found some new favorites.  That is to say, I haven’t had a lot of time to find modern fiction favorites.  Of course, I look forward to summer and more free time to return to the guilty pleasures of fiction and fantasy novels.

Those are some of my favorite books and authors over the years.  Do you have any favorites?  Have any suggestions for me to read in my coming free time (oh, how I can’t wait)?  Please let me know in the comments!

~The Wise Girl

Book Review: Dragon Slippers, Dragon Flight, and Dragon Spear

Jessica Day George (my goodness, her name is long, yet it has a lovely ring to it) has written another book that I adore.

Dragon Slippers is her very first novel for young readers, and I will admit that it is a fabulous first book.  I was a bit uncertain about it at first, for I was afraid it would be a bit too childish, but I stuck through to the end (I believe you should give a book a chance and read through to the end, or close to it) and was not disappointed.

The book touches on many of the things I so ardently love: magic, dragons, adventure, and a possibility of love.  This book also got me really interested in medieval clothing, in particular dresses.  I have come to realize, in the setting of this book especially, that dress-making (and clothes-making in general) is an art.

The main character of this book, Creel (I love her name, shortened and whole), is a poor girl from a poor family that is desperate for a bit of income.  They’re so desperate that her aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon in hopes that some brave (and rich!) knight will rescue her and beg her to marry him, thus benefiting her family.  Of course, it doesn’t go as her aunt expects it to and the book follows Creel on her amazing adventures with dragons, dress-making, royalty, and magic galore.

I loved this book so much that I didn’t hesitate to read the next two in the series.  Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear didn’t disappoint at all.  I always worry with books such as these that the sequels will disappoint and be much too similar with the same “problem” that characterized the first book.  That was not the case with this series, though.  The next two books continued to follow Creel and her friends, new and old, with the continued themes that I adore.  The “problems”, though, were entirely different and incredibly interesting.  Each book just got better and better.  In the second book I was surprised by the challenges Creel faced, and in the third book, I was even more surprised.

If you enjoy dragons, magic, romance, adventure, medieval settings, or any of Jessica Day George’s other books, I highly recommend you read this series!!  I enjoyed it very much.

Happy reading!

~The Wise Girl

Book Review: Princesses of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass, and Princess of the Silver Woods

I am thrilled to share with you another wonderful book by Jessica Day George!

Princesses of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George was lovely.  I read the book in one day and stayed up until the wee hours of the night to finish it.  It was definitely a page-turner.

This book has it all.  There is mystery and suspense, innocent romance (which is to say not Fifty Shades of Grey level), magic, and a medieval time setting, along with a bonus for myself- a bit of German!

The story follows twelve sisters, all princesses, who are wrapped in a mystery known as The Mystery of the Dancing Slippers.  This mystery is a confusing one to all the characters that have heard of it, and of course involves magic, and not good magic, either.  To defeat it, true love, more than a good dash of luck, courage, and some odd magic items will be needed.

Besides this book, Jessica Day George- bless her- brought us two more that continue to follow the twelve sisters we first met in Princesses of the Midnight Ball.  In Princess of Glass, Princess Poppy, the sixth princess, is the main character of this story that takes an entirely different approach from the first book.  This plot is just as intriguing as the first and filled with plenty more of what the first novel had to offer.  In the third book of the series, Princess of the Silver Woods, the youngest, Princess Petunia, is the main character.  The story follows her as an old enemy reawakens and threatens her and all that she loves and cares about, including her sisters.  This book is my favorite out of the entire series.  It is, in my opinion, the climax of the ongoing plot that is the lives of the twelve princesses.

What impresses me most is not how well Jessica Day George creates her world and setting, not how well she creates the story and plot (and continues it into the next books, with a fluid and coherent passing of time), and not how well she writes in general.  What I am most impressed by is how she is able to create twelve different girls, whom are all related and sisters, yet every single one of them is entirely different and has her own set of quirks, traits, and characteristics.  Jessica Day George is not only able to describe these, but also keeps them separate and recalls them clearly throughout all three books (while another author I won’t mention, for I do love his books so, was unable to remember the name of one of his most important slightly minor characters and just called her something entirely different at the end of the book). Furthermore, she also creates dozens of other very prominent characters and draws them fully with her words, and remembers them from book to book.  Personally, I feel this shows George’s art and the downfall of authors who are pressured to turn out books.  Nothing about George’s writing or books seems forced, but rather as if she lives their and knows each character as if she were her own sister.

Jessica Day George has rapidly become one of my favorite authors (if not my number one) and I look very much forward to the day when all (yes, all) of her books grace my bookshelf.

My point?  Read not only this series, but all of her books!!!  Happy reading!

~The Wise Girl

Book Review: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

I recently read a book that I really enjoyed and I decided to share it with all of you.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George is a wonderful book.  It’s a lovely take on a classic romance story and is filled with exciting mythical creatures and legends.  The story’s plot twists and turns and kept me guessing most of the way through.  I absolutely love novels that are so intricately woven, that try as I might- and I do indeed try very hard to predict what will happen in a book- I can’t figure out many of the things that will happen, and this novel was no exception.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is about a girl and her very poor family living in an area quite similar to Norway.  The story follows this daughter of a woodcutter through the adventure that she abruptly gets caught up in.  We are able watch “the lass”, as she is called, grow, mature, and change as she is faced with many interesting challenges and she discovers the crazy things love will make you do and the wonderful things it has to offer.

This story is not the typical magical type of book I read, but I enjoyed it very much anyhow.  Rather than containing wizards and mythological gods, this book contained trolls, magical spells, castles, and plenty more.  Oh, and of course it contained romance and sibling love that captured my heart.

I recommend you read this book.  I loved it cover to cover, and, I will admit, I read it in one day.  And then I read it again.

Now I plan on reading the other novels Jessica Day George has to offer.  She is a splendid author.

If you have read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, or have read any other novels written by Jessica Day George, or have any comments at all, leave them below!  Happy reading!

~The Wise Girl