Archive for the 'Rants/Discussions' Category

Charmed by the Prince.

Or, the Prince Charming appreciation post that may have been inspired by ABC’s new show Once Upon a Time.

Prince Charming is an archetype that can be manipulated and remade a hundred ways. He’s more of an idea then an actual character (though I bet you that the image that comes to a lot of people’s minds is one of the two Disney animated Prince Charmings.) So I thought I’d highlight some of the memorable versions.

Since Prince Charming is most often related to Snow White and Cinderella (again, thanks Disney) I’m putting the main spotlight on those renditions. And my focus is on modern re-tellings then the stories that might appear in different fairy tale collections.

As always these grades are not a reflection on the writing quality but on the men themselves, on just how charming they actually are. And I’ve tried to refrain from major spoilers in this one but they still lurk below.

Continue reading ‘Charmed by the Prince.’

Serious Series Talk

I love series/trilogies/quartets etc.

But sometimes I hate them.

There’s a delicate balance between creating an expansive universe a reader can love living in and dragging the series on too long, leaving the reader disenchanted. I’d like to highlight how each formation works and doesn’t work and give out some recommendations if you’re craving a series at the moment.

With a flavoring of mancandy here and there, of course.

Continue reading ‘Serious Series Talk’

Pretty Little Liars: Men of PLL

Pretty Little Liars is the story of five girls who were once the best of friends. When their friend Ali died, they all went their separate ways. Three years later, the surviving four are brought together again by a mysterious figure named “A” sending them messages taunting them about the secrets they keep.

Secrets only Ali knew.

I picked up PLL because a) it’s a popular series, b) it’s spawned a tv show on abc family and c) the title of the book is hand lettered. (If your book font is hand-lettered, I am 95% more likely to want it.)

This review is going to be different. PLL is a good, intriguing read. It takes on some serious issues (eating disorders, sexual identity, divorce) in a mature way and the four main girls read like actual teenagers to me.

The men of this book however…are not mancandy to me. But I don’t want to analyze them as per usual. I just want to rant at them. Thus spoilers ahoy. I think I can justify the spoilers because the events of this book have happened in the tv show and the book has been out for five years.

If you would rather not be spoiled, go on your merry way. If not, read on. (If I happen to channel the Sassy Gay Friend while doing this…well, that happens.)

Continue reading ‘Pretty Little Liars: Men of PLL’

WSJ, YASaves and A Reading List for Teens Who Don’t Want to Read Paranormal

This response is a bit late but it needed time to germinate. At the beginning of June, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Darkness Too Visible.” You can read the article but the premise is that fiction for young adults has taken a turn into more “dark” material and the author felt this could be harmful to teens. The YA community responded in force about how teen literature needs to also include stories about the darker parts of life. About how some of the books people might deem “too dark” have actually helped teens out of some bad situations. The movement was called “YASaves”

A few things before I continue:

1) I am not a parent. I am not a teacher. I am not a psychologist. What I am is a reader, a writer and most important: someone who was a teen not too long ago with her own “dark” problems to work out.

2) I agree with YA Saves. I don’t think you’re doing kids any favors by removing media that acknowledges the darker parts of life. I think books can be one of the safest environments to learn about the bad parts of life. You learn to empathize with characters in situations far removed from your own and recognize parallels to your own life. You learn that you are not alone.

I think A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L’Engle said it best when she said:

“Our responsibility¬† to [children] is not to pretend that if we don’t look, evil will go away, but to give them weapons against it.”

3) I will concede to the author that some language and scenes are unnecessary. I think there authors who use violence/swearing/sex in a way that is gratuitous and does nothing for the plot. HOWEVER…I actually don’t come across this very much in YA. In adult fiction yes but most YA fiction I’ve read handles these things very well.

4) The one thing that did resonate with me was the beginning of the article, describing a mother and daughter leaving a Barnes and Noble, unable to find a “non-dark” book. Now I don’t know the situation, whether it was the daughter or the mother who had a problem with the books.

I do know that most bookstores have a balance but to the newly inititated, I can see why one would assume all books are “dark.” Rather then dismiss these consumers, we should try to guide them.

And I do know this: when I was younger, I was not comfortable with vampires/werewolves/the like. Which is funny because now I eat up paranormal books, be they YA or Adult. At the time though, no vampires for me. But that was okay because there were plenty of contemporary/historical/fantasy options for me and still are. With the internet, most of these books are accessible even though they’re not new releases.

(This is not at all to say that all vampire books are automatically “dark.” Not at all. That is what a lot of people assume, not what I think.)

I’d like to share a quick list with you, if you’re a teen who’s also not big on vampires (for whatever reason) and looking for some reading material.

1. Anything by Madeline L’Engle

2. The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques

3. The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot

4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

5. Anything by Patricia Wrede

6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

7. The Avon True Romace Series by Avon/Various Authors

8. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

10. The Young Royals Series by Carolyn Meyer

11. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

12. The Once Upon a Time Series by Various Authors

Honestly this list could go on and on and on and on because there are options up there. I don’t think its fair to blame publishers or writers. Maybe, just maybe, you can get away with calling out one or two individual bookstores for not stocking enough of a variety. But even that I can’t really support.

Kids are pretty discerning. Or at least I was. If something made me uncomfortable with its subject matter, I put it down. Not to say I was a perfect little child, there were times I read things that a lot of people would deem inappropriate for my age at the time. And I definitely read some dark books about issues far out of my realm.

But the thing is…I think reading about those things helped me. I struggled a lot with depression and self-esteem issues throughout adolescence. I was in and out of counseling.

A lot of books about grappling with darkness helped me during those times, because a lot of days all I could see was the darkness hovering over my life. Also music played a key role–a song from Linkin Park about dealing with pain helped me more than any cheery bubbly song. And I had parents who told me I wasn’t a horrible person for feeling the way I did. They acknowledged the darker things I was feeling. The same way a lot of books do now.

So in conclusion…I don’t want to hate on people who feel like they have no reading alternatives. That seems legit to me as someone who was raised a conservative Christian and very concerned with subject matter throughout adolescence. I think we should provide help for them, not hate.

That being said, you can’t remove the darker parts from books. Because 9 times out of 10, those dark elements are there for good reasons. You are the one to make the choices, don’t demand that the publishers and writers do it for you.

Darcy Bomb 2: The Darcy Strikes Back

It’s 2011 and even though Austen-mania has receded, I’m still finding Pride and Prejudice spin-offs. And I am still unable to not pick them up if I see them in the library. So here’s another round of Mr Darcy goodness.

Continue reading ‘Darcy Bomb 2: The Darcy Strikes Back’

The Rochester Riddle

(Before I begin I’d like to apologize for the delay that’s been a problem all year. I’m in a transition stage of finishing school and plunging into the working world. This blog is a priority however and always in my thoughts. I don’t know when the hectic schedule will end but when it does I hope to put new life into this blog. Thanks for understanding.)

No, I haven’t seen the new Jane Eyre movie yet. My only excuse is that it’s only playing in select theaters. And that’s not much of an excuse since a select theater isn’t that far away from me.

But it is one of the reasons I’m writing this. And I’m also prompted by a debate between two of my favorite authors Robin McKinley and Melissa Marr about whether or not Rochester is an attractive character. (McKinley likes him. Marr so does not. Here are the links here and¬† here )

Usually I am with you, Robin McKinley. Despite (and because) of Mr. Rochester’s “fatal flaws,” when I read Jane Eyre I am swooning for that man. But the older I get, the more I wonder if I should be twitterpated for this man. My wonderings were only compounded as I stumbled across two re-tellings of the story. So…let’s take a look and analyze this man.

Continue reading ‘The Rochester Riddle’

The Courtly Lover and The Libertine

Happy New Year! You guys better enjoy it because we’re all going to die when 2012 hits. Or this May, according to some groups. Just in case we do all perish, be sure to read some good books this year.

In my last review I mentioned my addiction to books dealing with wicked rakes. It’s a little more than that: if a character is a flirt, a playboy or a casanova…I eat it up. I’m not into womanizers or overgrown frat boys. The character I like¬† is less Barney Stinson/Joey Tribbiani and more Sir Percy meets The Goblin King.

Continue reading ‘The Courtly Lover and The Libertine’


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