The Horse and His Boy

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Title: The Horse and His Boy
Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia, 3/7
Genre: Adventure, Allegorical, Classics, Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Release Date: September 6th, 1954

Note: This post reviews the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, before reading this review. 

For seven weeks, I will be reviewing The Chronicles of Narnia, a classic in my opinion. I’ve lost track of how many times I have read these books. Hopefully my reviews will give you a glimpse of why I love these books so much, and maybe even convince you to read them if you haven’t already.

The Horse and His Boy is a special book in the series because it is the only one that takes place in Narnia only, without any children traveling from our world. Separated from his family as a child, Shasta grows up as little more than a slave. His world turns upside down one day when he meets a talking horse – a Narnian horse. They escape together, in hopes of making a better life for themselves.

It is not long before they team up with another talking horse and rider, Aravis. The four of them embark on a great adventure together, encountering their fair share of struggles along the way. By the time they make it to Narnia, none of them are the same – especially Shasta, who finally learns the truth of who he really is.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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Title: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia, 2/7
Genre: Adventure, Allegorical, Classics, Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Release Date: October 16th, 1950

Note: This post reviews the second book of The Chronicles of Narnia series. You may like to read the first book in the series, The Magician’s Nephew, before reading this review. 

For seven weeks, I will be reviewing The Chronicles of Narnia, a classic in my opinion. I’ve lost track of how many times I have read these books. Hopefully my reviews will give you a glimpse of why I love these books so much, and maybe even convince you to read them if you haven’t already.

A normal game of hide-and-seek becomes so much more when Lucy Pevensie takes refuge in a wardrobe and finds herself in another world… Narnia. Here, it is eternal winter, a curse of the White Witch, who is none other than the Empress Jadis. When Lucy returns to England and tells her three siblings – Peter, Susan, and Edmund – what happened, they do not believe her. It isn’t until the four of them later enter the wardrobe as a last resort that they realize Lucy was right – and all four of them enter Narnia together.

They quickly learn that this world is not safe for them. Because of an ancient prophecy, the White Witch has been waiting for four children who are destined to become kings and queens of Narnia. But she will never let that happen. She manages to deceive Edmund, poisoning him with her words and magic, leading him to betray his brother and sisters. There is only one who is powerful enough to undo the damage Edmund has done – Aslan. And the price is greater than anyone could have ever imagined.

The Magician’s Nephew

Title: The Magician’s Nephew
Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia, 1/7
Genre: Adventure, Allegorical, Classics, Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Release Date: May 2nd, 1955

If you are new to this series, I would recommend reading the books in this order (which is also the order in which I will review the series):
1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
7. The Last Battle

For the next seven weeks, I will be reviewing The Chronicles of Narnia, a classic in my opinion. I’ve lost track of how many times I have read these books. Hopefully my reviews will give you a glimpse of why I love these books so much, and maybe even convince you to read them if you haven’t already.

During a London day of indoor exploration, Digory and Polly stumble upon a magician’s workshop. Digory is shocked to learn that his own Uncle Andrew is that magician. While he has the two children there with him, Uncle Andrew persuades Polly to try on ring – a magic ring of course. Immediately after trying on the ring, Polly vanishes. (This is the one of those times you can tell that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were good friends.) Digory, having no other option but to try to save his friend, puts on a ring of his own and follows Polly into the unknown. They arrive in the Wood Between the Worlds.

With small pools as their keys to other worlds, they cross into another world. There, the unthinkable happens – they awaken Jadis, a powerful, cruel Empress who follows them back to London. Jadis wreaks havoc on this unfamiliar world, and it is clear to Digory and Polly that she cannot stay there. Using the rings once again, they travel back to the Wood Between the Worlds, and into a seemingly empty world. Empty, that is, until Aslan the lion begins to bring it to life, creating the world of Narnia.

The Magician’s Nephew might just be my favorite book of the series. (You are probably going to hear me say that more than once as I review these books.) Not only does the idea of magic-ring traveling appeal to me, but I love the character Jadis. She appears in the next book as the White Witch, but we get to know her so much better in this book. I also enjoy seeing the creation of Narnia before all of the adventures in it take place. The Magician’s Nephew is hands down the book to begin with.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

 

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

Title: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Adventure, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, YA
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Note: This book is written as a stand-alone prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre. If you are new to the world of Bamarre, I suggest beginning with The Two Princesses of Bamarre, since it introduces us to some of the characters in this book. 

The Two Princesses of Bamarre was the second book I read by Gail Carson Levine, and it became an instant favorite. I was pretty excited when she wrote this prequel over a decade later. I had high hopes for this book – and it did not disappoint. It is also worth mentioning that this is a subtle (so subtle that I almost missed it) Rapunzel retelling. You know, stolen from her family as a baby, locked in a tower (albeit only a brief section of the story), magical hair, young man who climbs said hair to visit her… can’t believe I didn’t catch it right away!

Peregrine is born a Bamarre, the people hated and oppressed by the Lakti. Taken from her family as a baby, Perry is raised as an ideal Lakti: she runs the fastest, fights skillfully, and says it like she sees it – a trait noticed and admired by her best friend, Willem. Raised to see the Bamarre that live among the Lakti as inferior, she never gave them much thought. Until, of course, she learns that she herself is one of them.

Thrown amongst a people she does not know, Perry sees that the Bamarre are not weak and cowardly as she was taught to believe, but kind and brave. With the help of her newly discovered people, her family (including my favorite: little brother Drualt!), and her love, Willem, Peregrine becomes the reluctant hero who must deliver the Bamarre from the oppression of the Lakti before their entire civilization is slowly wiped out and forgotten.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the other in its series:

Blog Tour for Happily!

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I’m very excited to share this week’s post with you! It’s not one of my usual book reviews. Instead, I will be participating in a blog tour for Happily, a book by one of my writing friends, Chauncey Rogers. Some of you might remember seeing my review of Happily back in February. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

I have the honor of wrapping up the blog tour today! In the blurb below, Chauncey talks about a fun song he would pick for an “Ending Credits Song,” for when the book will be adapted into a movie (as we all hope it will!). I hadn’t actually heard this song before now, but I love it. It’s a perfect fit, even if the shoe isn’t!

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Thank you, Rosie, for letting me end my blog tour on your lovely blog!

I suspect that most people who write stories dream of the day that their story might be turned into a movie. I don’t know about other authors, but I particularly enjoy daydreaming about what song might be used for the “Ending Credits Song.” I’m not sure why that is. It might just be because some of my favorite songs have been used as ending credits songs, or because some of my favorite movies also have wonderful ending credits songs.

Whatever it is, it’s something I enjoy thinking about, whether or not the day ever comes.


As this is the end of the blog tour, I thought it might be appropriate to share an “Ending Credits Song” here, as well as to thank everyone who has participated.
Thank you, each and every one. This has been a great experience for me, and I hope it has been equally wonderful for the rest of you.

Now, as for the ending credits song, I will admit that I didn’t choose this song out personally. Instead, my mother happened to hear it being played while she was out shopping. She’d recently finished reading Happily, and felt that this song would make a wonderful ending credits song.

So, without further ado, I give you “I Believe in You” by Michael Bublé:

Thank you! And until next time, I wish you only the very best.

Chauncey Rogers

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Happily
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Day 13 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. See the full blog tour schedule here.

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Happily

Title: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: self published
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper.

Note: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you are a book reviewer, feel free to request a copy of your own in the comments below in exchange for a review. 

Let me begin by saying that I have read my fair share of fairytale retellings, and the timeless tale of Cinderella is no exception. I can honestly say that I have never come across one quite like this. Happily is narrated in modern-day language by the heroine of this story – and it is not Cinderella, as you might have expected, but Laure – a rough-around-the-edges girl who lives on the streets and steals to get by.

When a royal decree announces that the crown prince will marry whichever girl can fit a mysterious glass slipper, Laure sees it as her chance to make something of her lowly life. Even though she thinks the entire royal family is ridiculous and pompous, she decides to do whatever it takes to make that glass slipper fit. She embarks on her quest and teams up with Luc, a boy from her city who becomes an unexpected ally. Their quest takes them to another kingdom and back again, with no small amount of struggle and danger along the way. Though they were bent on disliking each other from the beginning, they reluctantly begin to form a friendship, possibly even something more. Will Laure make a decision to follow her head, or ultimately follow her heart, no matter the risk? And what about Cinderella anyway?

This was fun spin-off of a classic, well-loved tale. I would recommend Happily to YA fans of fairytale retellings (such as myself). Just be ready for a quirkier version than what you have seen before, with sass to spare.

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

Mistress of All Evil

Title: Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy 
Author: Serena Valentino
Series: Villains, 4/4
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

“Why must a young girl need a man to save her?
Why can’t a princess fight for her own life, break her own curse?
Why must it always be a prince?”

Note: I admit, my absolute favorite thing about this series is the beautiful cover art. The hardcover sleeve shows Maleficent, while the book cover itself shows her as the dragon. I’m in love with the concept, and these books are worth owning on your shelf simply because they are so nice to look at. All the better if you are a Disney fanatic like me.

Additional note: This post reviews the fourth book of the Villains series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, Fairest of All, The Beast Within, and Poor Unfortunate Soul, before reading this book. However, these books can be read as stand-alone stories. 

What if everything we thought we knew about this classic tale was a lie? What if Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were not as nice as they appeared? What if Maleficent was the one who was wronged, and it wasn’t her fault that she did the things she did? What if Maleficent shared a bond with Aurora that no one could have ever imagined? What if she cursed her to protect her? This Sleeping Beauty retelling answers all of these “what if’s” and invites us to take a deeper look into the Tale of the Dark Fairy. The truth behind the story you thought you knew will change your view of Maleficent – at least, it changed mine.

This was a light, easy read. I would recommend this fairytale villain retelling to my fellow fans of all things Disney (it’s the perfect book to pack in your suitcase for a Disney trip!), and to readers who are looking for something quick and fun… with a touch of magic.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: