Addie: Two Months Old

Suddenly fits into all her 3-month-size clothes. Including light pink jeggings (thank you Harriet and Jessica).
Proud owner of her first plastic hair clips in pink, purple, blue, and flowered.
Still sleeps best when swaddled, but wakes up with her head jammed against the top of her little bed.
Trying out her big-girl crib during daytime naps. Slowly getting used to it.
Losing her sweet newborn cry and taking more often to blood-curdling screams and short, powerful yells.
Needs an extra bottle most nights after dinner.
Now loves every aspect of bath time, though getting into the water is still a little shocking.
Weighs 10 pounds 11 ounces and is 22 1/4 inches long.
And, if you're wondering, has a head circumference of 39 centimeters.
Sleep-time record is up to seven consecutive hours.
(The next night she didn't sleep longer than two hours in a row. We'll get there.)
Still happiest when on the move: in her stroller, in the car, in the front pack, or on Mama's hip.
Future girlfriend of every baby boy we meet, according to the parents.
Smiling up a storm, particularly first thing in the morning or when Daddy comes home at night.
Has hair that reminds her mom and dad of an orangutan or a copper penny.
Has eyes that look like those pictures of Earth from space: grayish blue with swirls of white.
The star of all FaceTime chats with her grandparents, aunts, and uncle.

Savannah, Georgia Bookstores

In March my family and I spent a week in Charleston, spending one day in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is the home of Flanney O'Connor and Forrest Gump, and the inspiration for the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It's a charming Southern city, with terrific bookstores.

Located at 6 E Liberty Street, The Book Lady Bookstore is one of those shops that is amazingly photogenic. It just looks so good, in photographs and in person. With books galore, a cafe and a reading garden, this used book store has a cozy charm that makes you feel instantly at home. 

Nearby is E. Shaver, Bookseller, located at 326 Bull Street. While my photographs didn't turn out as well in this shop, it's a bright store with tons of stock and so many original items, such as the Jane Austen doll pictured above. Like many other great bookshops, it is so much bigger than it appears. Together, these two very different shops compliment each other and provide Savannah with a well rounded selection of books, from the new to the used and rare. 

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years. That means books that have been released between 2002 and now, if you're very bad at math.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I really don't think there's any question about it: the Harry Potter books will be read for a long time. I volunteer at my library's bookshop, and if a Harry Potter book comes in it will be sold within a few hours. They're the only books I can think of that have been out for over a decade (at least the early ones) but sell so fast. I read the first book in school and I won't be surprised if other schools continue to do the same in the future.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. With the movie out for a few months, The Hunger Games' popularity is at its height. While things will die down once Mockingjay comes out, I hope people will continue to read this book for years to come. This book could also be a good book to read in schools. 

3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneggger. One of my favourite books, I think that this is a timeless love story that can appeal to anyone.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This story about the power of words and a young girl who lives in Germany during the Third Reich should be read by everyone. You can read my review here

5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This book is so well written that everyone should read it, even in 2042. 

6. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book is kind of an acquired taste, but I love it. Weird thought: what if in 2042 this book had come true? 2042 seems so far away that anything could happen. 

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I think this book could be a classic. Great book that will never feel dated. 

8. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I love this book, and since it's about 9/11 it captures one of most influential events of the 21st century, so far. You can read my review here

9. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. This is such an amazing book that I think will be ageless and always wonderful. It's also just so well written and heartbreaking that it would be a pity if it ever became forgotten. You can read my review here

10. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. This is a great book with some beautiful illustrations. That combined with the writing and the original story make it a book that should become a classic for children. You can read my review here

11. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. This is a great book for kids that's full of fun and riddles. I love the whole series, but the first book is definitely the best. You can read my review here.

What books do you guys hope never stop being read? 

Review: A Curse Dark As Gold

Title: A Curse Dark As Gold
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2008
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retellings

When her father dies, Charlotte Miller is given the responsibility of the family mill, and will do anything to keep it running. The mill and the family that runs it is rumoured to be cursed, and while Charlotte doesn’t believe that, it’s easy to see that her family has had bad luck. With no grown sons in the family for generations, the mill constantly seems to be under hardship. When her estranged uncle becomes her guardian, the pressure to sell the mill begins to be put on Charlotte. When she discovers an unknown and massive debt of her father’s, things seem direr than ever. When a stranger arrives in town promising he can help, Charlotte makes a deal against her better judgment. As her debts grow deeper, she tries to learn the truth about her family’s curse. Charlotte will do anything to protect the mill, but to what price?

A Curse Dark As Gold is a retelling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin and the Miller’s Daughter, set in a fictional world that is reminiscent of England during the Industrial Revolution. This story has many differences from the original tale, removing the boasting father and the cruel king. It also looks at Rumpelstiltskin in a different and deeper light. The story centres around Charlotte, who is a strong young woman that carries the family mill after the death of her father. While the central romance in the story was forgettable, there was a strong heroine who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. I found the story to be a bit slow moving but it was still well written. I liked how the writer created an original world that is similar to the 1700’s, only with magic. As a fairy tale retelling, this book is a unique and well thought out take on the original story. I liked how the author questioned the characters' motifs and tried to look at them in a different way. She also looks deeper at the story and at all the things the Brothers Grimm don’t tell us. It’s a retelling that is well executed and adds a lot to the original. Fans of fairy tales will enjoy this new take on a classic, which looks deeper into the hearts of the old characters. A Curse Dark As Gold is a story about desperation and the power of the past that will stay with you even after the last page.


In My Mailbox (40)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, in which book bloggers post about the books they've bought, borrowed or received in the past week.

I shouldn't be allowed to work in a bookshop, especially when I'm not even getting paid. I buy books every week. At least they're cheap, though. This week I bought three books for $2: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I bought the first two books based on recommendations and the fact that I thought they looked pretty. I've already read The Westing Game and liked it enough to buy it.

Back in March I saw a copy of Wintertown by Steve Emond in a Barnes & Noble and was very interested in it, based on the description and the cover. As an aside, I know some people have complained about how Barnes & Noble has a YA paranormal section, but I like how it's set up. They have YA fiction divided into paranormal, adventure and realistic fiction. This makes it easier to find good books (hopefully like this one) in the section that most interests you. At Chapters, all the YA books are together alphabetically. Anyways, I found Wintertown at my library and decided to take it out. Steve Emond also did the book's illustrations. Also from the library I took out Rudy Red by Kerstin Gier. I like time travel so I'm hoping it will be good.

Also from the library, I took out Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones and the movie adaptation, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Both were recommended to me by a reader named Alice- thank you! I see Diana Wynn Jones' books everywhere and this will be my first. Howl's Moving Castle will be my fourth Miyazaku film, after My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away. I loved them all! Since I read Matilda earlier in the week, I took out the movie from the library and re-watched it. As an adaptation of the book, I thought it was pretty good, aside from having it set in the wrong country. They kept pretty much everything from the book, while adding scenes that were true to the book's sense of humour. 

What new books did you receive this past week? 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Feta, and Quinoa

I have this habit of waiting too long between meals or snacks, to the point that I become a ravenous monster with low blood sugar and wide eyes.
My body needed protein. My body needed substance. My body needed healthy.
And fast!
Even further, I have pork in the slow cooker as a special treat for Chad tonight, so my body needed something vegetarian, too.

So, using the toss-in-whatever-you-have technique, I came up with this dish for my second lunch. 
And I loved it!
When I paused to bless it before diving in, I literally prayed that it would taste good.
And it did!
And there was even quinoa! (You all convinced me to keep trying it. Thank you!)

The roasted brussels sprouts and walnuts give a fantastic heartiness to the protein-packed quinoa.
And feta cheese adds a subtle and creamy saltiness.

Beautiful. Enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Feta, and Quinoa

Note: I ate most of this by myself (about two plates-full). Do yourself a favor and make more than it says here, especially if you're having it for dinner. If you're worried about it being filling enough, consider adding some roasted chicken on the side. Also: Feel free to play around with this recipe. I rarely measure things.

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water

Bring water to a boil and cook quinoa for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa has reached your desired consistency (I usually add a little more water around minute 10).
Remove from heat and cover until the other ingredients are ready.

10 brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Handful of raw walnuts

Chop off the ends of brussels sprouts, then cut them into quarters.
Toss with a good amount of olive oil and S&P.
Roast at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until they're sizzling.
Around minute 9, toss in the walnuts to roast along with the sprouts.

Toss the quinoa with the brussels sprouts and walnuts. Top with feta cheese and serve.
Perhaps with some crusty french bread?

Review: Bumped

Title: Bumped (Bumped #1)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 26th, 2011
Genre: YA, Dystopia

In 2036, twins Harmony and Melody reunite after being separated at birth and raised in two different worlds. Harmony was brought up by a religious family in Goodside, raised from a young age to hopefully become a wife and mother before she finishes her teenage years. Melody’s parents are University professors who have lead her to become a top paid professional surrogate. A newly discovered virus causes sterility by the time teens turn approximately eighteen, so girls like Melody are paid to become pregnant. When Harmony shows up at Melody’s door, it seems like these two twin sisters couldn’t be more different. Now that both girls are sixteen, more pressure than ever is being put on them. For Harmony it’s to wed and have children, and for Melody it’s to become pregnant so she can have a free ride through college. While their lives couldn’t be more different, the one thing Harmony and Melody have in common is that their paths have already been chosen for them.

This is a funny little book, but probably not as appealing for fans of dystopia. Megan McCafferty is also the author of Sloppy Firsts, and this book is exactly as you would imagine a dystopian novel mashed with Jessica Darling. Thematically, this book is similar to many other dystopian fantasies, focusing on the importance of free choice. The style, however, is lacking the seriousness of most dystopia. I’d best describe this book as quirky, with all the silly slang and the style of writing. The main characters are twins, Harmony and Melody. Apart from the horrible choice of names, I liked them and the alternating points of view. While a lot of the characters felt like caricatures, I also liked Zen, who just wants to help people. The story was well paced and easy to get caught up in, and there were a few surprises along the way. Overall, I thought this book was entertaining, but it’s so different from other dystopian fiction that I’d say it’s more for fans of books like Sloppy Firsts. I enjoyed it enough that I will probably pick up the sequel eventually. While it didn’t have the depth of so many other YA dystopian novels, I still thought it was an interesting read.


“Faith is accepting what makes no sense, what we cannot prove, but know down deep in our souls is real.”

All These Thoughts Come A Flowing

As I stood at the kitchen sink tonight, thoughts wandering and fingers soaked in suds, I thought of at least ten ways to start a new blog post.

1. Well, it's official. I cannot keep plants alive, even if they are beautiful, just-stick-them-in-a-pot-and-watch-them-grow plants. I bought them alive and thriving.
Now they are dead.
Thank goodness I'm better at taking care of a human child than I am two plant children.
And wouldn't you know, I'm trying gardening this year for the first time. Hopefully I'll have better luck when the plants are in long rows instead of tiny pots.

My little herb children before their untimely deaths.

2. My friend Jessica and I are planting a real, live garden with an herb corner and spinach and broccoli and cucumber and even edamame! Sitting on the ground, planting tiny specks that will become our future food, Jessica and I muse about the largeness of life. I learn so much from her wisdom--and from having my hands in the dirt.

3. This week I learned that buying the more expensive dish soap is worth it. My hands smell way better (like "New Zealand Springs"!), you only have to use a teeny, tiny amount of it to make the sponge nice and sudsy, and it makes dish washing all around more enjoyable. At the end of the day, my dishes are now done. I'd say that's worth the extra dollar.

4. Chad said something brilliant the other night. He said, the reason so many ideas come to us while doing the dishes, taking a shower, taking Addie on a walk, etc., is that we've given our minds permission to drift. Once we let ourselves relax, the ideas come a flowing. Creativity cannot be forced.

5. I'm writing again. With a paper and pen. Just for me. It usually happens once Chad is home, dinner is eaten, and Addie-girl is swaddled in her bed. It's exhilarating.

6. I'm four days strong doing yoga every day. That may not seem like long at all (heck, it doesn't to me either), but it's the best I've done in...hmmm...eleven months. Holy! That's almost a year. Well, I was carrying a whole baby inside of me, you know. Excuse granted.

7. I won a contest!

8. All my recipes from over the years are being collected into one place. I've been working almost constantly on it and I'm maybe halfway finished. More than cooking, collecting recipes is my hobby. (Kind of like how I seem to like buying books more than I like reading them.)

9. My weakness is bread. You know I love Eggos, but this week I made a loaf of this bread and I can't stop eating it! The only problem is that the loaf is getting progressively crumblier. Oh how I had longed to make peanut butter toast...

10. I'm going to make my own Greek yogurt this week. Wish me luck.


The ideas started coming so quickly that I got overwhelmed.
So many things to post about! How can I keep up with myself?

And then I caught myself: This is a good problem to have, because it means that I'm finally doing more than I'm posting about--I'm doing more than I'm watching other people do on their own blogs.
I'm remembering what it feels like to have a life for myself! Realizing that getting out of my house and really living is way better than scrolling through endless pins and posts.

Sometimes it's hard to feel like I'm doing anything at all.
That's what the little devilish minions would have me think.
They get inside my head and tell me I'm happier just staying inside on my computer.

But they're wrong. Watch me prove it.
Watch me exercise and garden and cook and hike and photograph and mother.

Watch me.

P.S. If you're still not convinced you'd like to tag along, try reading this article. If you've already ready it and you haven't changed you're thinking, read it again.

Review: The View from Saturday

Title: The View from Saturday
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 1st, 1996
Genre: Junior Fiction, Realistic Fiction

When Mrs. Olinksi returns to teaching ten years after she became paraplegic in a car accident, she uses a uncustomary method when choosing the four sixth grade students to represent her class in the Academic Bowl. Mrs. Olinski could have picked anyone, but instead she chose Nadia, Noah, Ethan and Julian. Nadia has an interest in sea turtles and is the owner of a genius dog. Noah is a know-it-all who recently became the best man at a wedding at the last minute. Ethan is the overlooked younger brother and is enchanted with the musical The Phantom of the Opera. Julian went to boarding school in England and doesn’t fit in upstate New York. However, it is he who brings everyone together when her invites his three classmates over for Saturday afternoon tea. Together, they make the best Academic Bowl team their school has ever seen, nicknamed the Souls. No sixth grade team has ever qualified before, beating the eighth graders, and the Souls go on to conquer the competition. Together, the Souls compliment each other and make the perfect team. When Mrs. Olinski returned to teaching she had fears about how much sixth graders may have changed over the past ten years. But did she choose them or did they choose her?

This book came out when I was a kid, and I remember constantly hearing it praised. However, I never read it, mainly because back then I usually read mainly adventure and fantasy books. I finally read it on vacation this year, while we were driving through Georgia. At first, I wasn’t too interested in this book and didn’t like the section that was from Noah’s perspective. I didn’t like how the narration switched from third person to first person is each of the Souls’ chapters. While I still feel that a third person narration for the whole book would have worked better, things picked up and I ended up loving the story. Structurally, it felt more like a short story than a novel to me, perhaps because the plot mainly focuses on a small part of each character’s background and on the competition. We get to see a part of each character’s journey and how they know the answers to certain questions. I liked the characters, especially Julian, and how they reacted to certain things life throws at them. However, as I said before, each of their sections would have been more enjoyable if told in the third person. The moment I knew I loved this book was when Julian creatively invited everyone to his tea party. I thought that the story and the characters were unique and memorable. To be honest, this is a very simple story and I’m not sure if I would have appreciated it when I was nine or so, since I preferred books with lots of excitement. Now, I can appreciate books like this one that might not be action packed but are sweet stories about friendship. The View from Saturday is a charming book about what really makes a team.


“By the time they get to 6th grade honor roll, students won't risk making a mistake, and sometimes to be successful, you have to risk making mistakes.”

Summer Salmon Cakes

I'm just checking in real quick to fill you in on the stupendous dinner we had last night.
Seriously, it was so good.
I got the recipe from my grandma Janny a few summers ago, but I had never tried it out until last night.
Can you say perfect summer meal?
Quintessential. The epitome of summer tastes.

Open a couple cans (yes, cans) of salmon, squirt in a little lemon juice, toss in some diced veggies, bread crumbs, and an egg, then stir it all together for baby and me!

We ate our salmon cakes plain with sides of red potato oven fries and grapes, but you could easily make these patties into burgers with a whole-wheat bun, lettuce, and tomato.

Happy summer.
Yes, happy indeed.

Summer Salmon Cakes

Two 5-ounce cans salmon, drained
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced (I used yellow and red)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Form into four or five patties and fry in a nonstick skillet.

Serve on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce and tomato, or just by themselves.

Great YA Books To Start Off Your Summer

Here in Canada today is Victoria Day, which is generally seen as the beginning of summer, even if it doesn't officially start until June 20th. With the temperature going up and the length of jeans going down, it's a good time to start reading books that will get you excited for summer.

Road Trip Reading
Whether you want a book to get you psyched for your next road trip or if you rather stay home and read about one instead, these books embody everything people love about road trips, minus you having to actually sit in a car for hours on end.

  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington. After the death of her sister June, Harper is confused and filled with so many questions she might never get the answer to. June had dreamed of going to California after graduation, and when Harper's divorced parents want to split June's ashes she decides to take things into her own hands. With her best friend Laney and a boy named Jake who somehow knew June, Harper takes off from Michigan to San Francisco looking for answers not only about June but about life and how she's supposed to go on after losing her sister. You can read my review here
  • Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now that her junior year is over, Amy is about to leave Southern California for Connecticut, where her mom is waiting for her in their new home. Some last minute changes result in Amy taking an unexpected road trip instead of flying out, so that the family car can be in Connecticut as well. Amy’s mom has planned the whole trip, including picking the driver. Roger is the son of an old family friend who is spending his summer with his dad in Philadelphia and needs a ride. The route Amy’s mom has planned is supposed to take four days, but Amy and Roger have a different idea. Instead of relying on the well planned out route they never chose, they decide to go on a few detours, completely abandoning the set route and taking much more time than four days. As they get to know each other while they put miles between them and California, they realize that it’s life’s detours that make the moments worth remembering. You can read my review here
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. After graduation, former child prodigy Colin decides to go on a road trip with his best friend. Colin has just been dumped by his nineteenth girlfriend. Everyone has a type and for Colin that type is girls named Katherine. In a relationship there's a dumper and a dumpee, and Colin is definitely the dumpee. He sets out find a way to create a formula that could determine how a relationship will end. But can love really be broken down into a formula? Paper Towns by John Green is also a great novel involving a road trip, and you can check out my review here
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Winner of the 1995 Newberry Award, Walk Two Moons is the story of 13 year old Sal, who is going on a road trip with her grandparents to visit her mother. To keep the drive interesting, her grandparents ask her to tell a story, and she decides to tell them about her friend Phoebe. As they pass through different States and the story unfolds, another story- Sal's story- emerges as well. 
Whether you're spending the summer abroad or at home, these books about adventure and love will make you want to hop on a plane and never look back. 
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna should be spending her senior year of high school with her friends in Atlanta but instead she'd being sent to boarding school in Paris so that her Dad can appear impressive to his rich friends. Anna knows little about France and basically no French, but she soon adapts to life at boarding school. She falls for the gorgeous and unavailable Etienne St. Clair, while getting to know the City of Lights. You can read my review here
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Just as summer is starting, Ginny receives a package in the mail from her Aunt Peg instructing her to take a flight to London where she will be lead by a little blue envelope to her next destination. This all isn't that strange for Aunt Peg, but the fact is that Ginny's aunt has been dead for months. Taking her on a trip throughout Europe with her aunt's instructions, Ginny finds herself doing things she never would have done without her aunt's guiding. 
Pool Side Reading
Whether you're spending the day at the pool, the beach or just at home, these summer loving books are the perfect companion for any day you just want to relax with a good book. 
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Belly spends every summer at her mom's best friend's summer house in Cousins. Some of the best moments of her life have been spent there, but this summer things are changing. One of the best thing about Cousins is the boys: Jeremiah and Conrad. Belly has been in love with Conrad forever, and Jeremiah is her best friend. While Belly has always been like a little sister to Conrad, this summer things could be different.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I'm sure most people who are likely to read this book already have, but I couldn't write this list on good conscience without including The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. By now you probably know the story: four best friends since birth have to spend the summer apart and find a magical pair of jeans that fits them all perfectly. They send the pants back and forth all summer to keep them together while they're apart. While I didn't like the fifth book (which came out last year and isn't really YA) I love the first four books in the series. 
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This is a quirky and original book that I'm sure some people will find strange, but I loved it! When the 50 contestants for the annual Miss Teen Dream Pageant set off on a plane ride to Paradise Cove, they expect a few days of tanning, water slides and practicing for the competition. Things do not go as planned when their plane crashes on a deserted island. The fourteen remaining girls have to fight to survive while preparing for the competition. These girls are no strangers to weird diets, but never did they imagine having to eat grubs. Or having to battle vicious snakes and catch fish with hair straighteners. Although the girls appear to be perfect and happy pageant contestants, things are much more complicated than that. Each girl has her secrets. If Miss Hampshire hates beauty pageants so much, then why is she in one? Why does Miss Nebraska wear a purity ring? Does Miss Mississippi love pageants as much as she says she does? Why is Miss Rhode Island so desperate to find her luggage? The girls work together to survive and grow close to one another. As time passes, it becomes clear that the island isn’t as deserted as the girls thought. You can read my review here.
  • Basically anything by Sarah Dessen. Her books are easy to get caught up in and full of romance. Some ones I like include Just Listen, This Lullaby, Someone Like You, That Summer and The Truth About Forever
  • Losing Forever by Gayle Friesen. Summer is here but while that should mean having fun and relaxing, it's hard for Jess to do that with so much changing in her life. Her mother is getting remarried and Jess' soon to be stepsister has come to live with them. Everything in Jess' life that she has been able to depend on so so long is changing, including her relationship with the boy next door. 
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This book doesn't seem to fit with the others on this list, since it doesn't take place in summer or have a cover featuring the beach. All the same, I think this book could be a fun summer read that touches on some serious issues at the same time. Junior's spent his whole life living on the Spokane Indian Reservation, but things change when he decides to go to the public school outside of the reservation. Junior might be smart but at the same time things aren't easy for him, since he has epilepsy, a stutter, a lisp and has little money. And it's definitely not easy being the only Native American at his new school, excluding the school maskot. All the same, Junior is a budding cartoonist and through his drawings he looks at his life with humour. It feels like people on the reserve don't get to live their dreams, and Junior wants to change that for himself.
  • Alice, I Think by Susan Juby. Aside from one disastrous day of first grade, Alice McLeod has been home schooled all her life. Now that she's 15 she's going to go to normal high school and hopefully come out unscarred. Alice's one unsuccessful try at public school ended with her having rocks thrown at her when she came to school dressed like Bilbo Baggins, after having read The Hobbit. Although Alice is still strange and doesn't fit in, she's hoping for things to change. 

10 Reasons Why I Still Read Children's Books

Anyone who reads my blog semi-frequently knows that I read junior fiction often enough, and a quick glance at my 'about me' will also let you know that I'm 22. In all honesty, there was a time in my teen years when I would never have read junior fiction, save Harry Potter, and I especially wouldn't have let myself be seen reading it. This was because a) my high school friends would have never let me live it down since, according to them, I was supposed to be smart and b) school had taught me that people were supposed to stick to their 'reading level.' Somehow I got the idea that we outgrow books like we outgrow our old jeans or our favourite Spice Girls band tee. Earlier this week I read an article for The New York Times by Joel Stein called "Adults Should Read Adult Books." Now, the author of this article actually hasn't read any of the books he mentions in his article (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight) so I didn't take his article too seriously (you can read a very good commentary on the article here.) While this article reminded me of one of my number one pet peeves (people judging others based on what they read) it also made me think about why I still read books that are written for children. Is it because I'm lazy and don't want to take the time to read an intellectually stimulating novel written for people my age? While people like Joel Stein would think so, here are the real reasons why I read kid-lit and why I will never stop.
1. I don't want to forget what it's like to be a kid. When I was a kid I was worried that I would turn into one of those adults who have completely forgotten what it was like to be a child (like Ms. Trunchbull in Roald Dahl's Matilda.) Fortunately, that has yet to really happen to me. Reading kid's books instantly helps me remember even more vividly than usual what it's like to be seven years old.  I never want to be one of the adults The Little Prince describes, or turn into a villain worthy of a Roald Dahl book. While not reading children's books definitely doesn't mean you will suddenly be unable to relate to children or become every kid's worst nightmare, I think reading children's lit helps ensure that you will never forget. It's nice to be able to read a book and find that it permanently holds a part of who you used to be and what it felt like to be that person.
2. I can learn a lot from books like The Little Prince, Peter Pan and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. And from so many other books for children. Sometimes books for kids are full of simplistic wisdom. The first that comes to mind is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which is pictured above (from PosteSecret.) In 91 pages this book can teach you about love, what's important in life and what you should never forget, no matter how old you are. When writing Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie was inspired to write a book about a boy who will never grow up based on the death of his older brother David, who died just short of his fourteenth birthday.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is about the solitary journey into adulthood, the loss of childhood and how one can never go back. While Alice's sister dreams about Wonderland after hearing about it from Alice, she can't truly go there and even in her dream she knows it's not real. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman offers a different perspective on the fall in the Garden of Eden and equates the fall with consciousness, not sin. Harry Potter is not only about the battle of good versus evil between Harry and Voldemort, but also about the internal battle within us all.
3. I don't care if people judge me. If someone on a plane sees me reading The Penderwicks or The Invention of Hugo Cabret and assumes that I'm either lazy or not very bright, then that's fine. Fortunately for me, I'm confident enough with my intelligence to be seen reading a book that was written for ten year olds. When I was younger I didn't feel this way, as I mentioned earlier, but thankfully I've grown up enough not to care anymore. C.S. Lewis wisely said "When I became a man I put away childish things, such as the fear of childishness and the desire to be terribly grown up."
4. It can be just plain fun. I read for a lot of reasons: to discover things I didn't know before, to see the world through someone else's eyes, to find adventure, to learn about what was, to learn about what could be, to escape, to fall in love or to go to places I may never get to see in reality. But sometimes I just want to read a book that's a lot of fun. While it is not true that books for kids are always just for entertainment, some of them are a lot of fun to read and sometimes that's what I need. Roald Dahl is a good author to go to when you want to read a fun book that reminds you what it's like to be ten, and every once in a while that's exactly what I'm looking for.
5. I try not to underestimate kids or the books that they read. While it is true that I liked some embarrassing books as a kid (the Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery books first come to mind) I also liked a lot of things that I'm sure adults assumed would go right over my head (like the dark humour and literary references in A Series of Unfortunate Events.) I'm sure there are people who will hear a child praise a book and patronize them, assuming that this book is much too silly for anyone over the age of twelve. You can even see this in some children's books that are condescending and talk down to the reader (another pet peeve of mine.) Believing that all children's books are subpar means believing that children are essentially silly and waste their time on less than satisfactory literature. Some kid's books are popular for a reason: they're good.
6. Just because a book is written for a younger audience doesn't mean it doesn't touch on important issues. This makes me think of a quote from Madeleine L'Engle, writer of A Wrinkle in Time: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” Dr. Seuss's books could be written off as simply being wacky rhyming books for kids, but in reality they are about a lot more than that (x). Just because the writing isn't necessarily challenging doesn't mean that it doesn't touch on some challenging issues. Remember, these books were written by adults.
7. I try to be open minded about what I read. If someone recommends me a book that they love, I'm going to read it whether it's for children, teens or adults. If I was less open minded about reading I would have missed out on a lot of amazing books.
8. I know that writers of junior fiction can be just as talented as writers for adults. A lot of people seem to think that junior fiction has no literary merit, or even that writers of children's books do so because they couldn't write for adults. Sort of like 'those who can't teach, teach gym,' but instead 'those who can't write, write for children.' This is, of course, completely untrue. Some very talented writers of junior fiction include Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, L.M. Montgomery, Lois Lowry, E.L. Konigsburg, Madeleine L'Engle, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling and Frances Hodgson Burnett. In fact, some of these writers also write for adults.
9. Sometimes I like to escape from the adult world. Let's be honest: sometimes it's nice to forget about the lows of adult life and read books about adventure from the eyes of a wide eyed child protagonist.
10. Because a good book is a good book. Who cares which section of the library it's in? You see books that are torn between the YA and the Adult Fiction section, and wherever you find The Book Thief, it's still going to be amazing.

I think people should read whatever they want, no matter what the intended age group is. While I think that there are a lot of good reasons to read junior fiction, that's all beside the point. Whether you're reading The Hobbit or a Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery novel, that's your choice and no one should judge you for reading whatever it is that you're reading. Personally, I hope that I never stop loving something just because it's not intended for my age group: what would life be like without Pixar movies, children's books, cartoons and ring pops?

Feel through to respond with your comments on children's literature and the adults who read it.

In My Mailbox (39)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, in which book bloggers post about the books they've bought, borrowed or received in the past week.

Happy Victoria Day long weekend if you live in Canada! I'm really excited about these books: Grimms' Fairy Tales and Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales. I love the covers and they were $5 each, which is pretty good for new books. I have an old copy of Grimms' Fairy Tales already but it's not the complete works, just a small selection.

From the library, I took out Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. I read Inkheart a year ago and finally decided to check out the sequel. My hold on Thumped, the sequel to Bumped, by Megan McCafferty came in. I liked Bumped well enough, but I'm not sure if I'll get to its sequel quite yet. If I run out of time before it's due I'll just read it later, if at all. In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard was recommended to me on my other blog and it looks really good. I took out The Gates by John Connolly, who also wrote The Book of Lost Things (which I loved.) I also bought books from my library: Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I read the latter a year ago and loved it. 

What new books did you receive this week? 

Review: Wildwood Dancing

Title: Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood #1)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2007
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retellings

In Transylvania, an enchanted forest brings fear to the villagers in the nearby valley, who arm themselves with amulets and garlic as protection against the Night People and the witch of the forest, Draguta. Unknown to anyone, the five sisters of the castle Piscul Draculi travel into the Other Kingdom every full moon, where they spend the night dancing with the magical creatures in the other realm. When their father must leave to recover from his illness, things became difficult for the sisters. Jena is the second oldest and the practical one, but she is having difficulty coping with the many challenges sent her way. Her elder sister is drawn into a forbidden romance that seems to be doomed from the start. Her cousin wants to rid the forest of the magic and seek revenge against Draguta, who took his brother from him. With her best friend Gogu, a frog that can communicate only with her, Jena will have to protect her family, Piscul Draculi and the entire forest.

What an amazing book! I’ve been reading a lot of fairy tale retellings lately in order to write this list, and this book was by far the best in YA that I’ve read. While reading fairy tale retellings, a common problem I found was that the books dragged on and felt a bit boring at parts, even if they were creative and had great world building. Considering these novels are usually based on stories that were written in four or five pages, it makes sense for them to feel slow moving when adapted into a 300-page book. Wildwood Dancing didn’t have this problem at all. It was well paced and impossible to put down. This book is basically what every fairy tale retelling should be; it was a creative take on the original that added so much to the original story. Set in Transylvania, the author utilized Romanian folktales, including the Night People, which we would call vampires. Wildwood Dancing is actually a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but with so much more added to the story. Jena is the second oldest sister and the heroine of the story, and I loved her character. She’s the practical one who becomes head of the family, and she felt like a fully-fledged person, which doesn’t always happen in retellings of fairy tales. I do wish we got to know her four sisters better, but I thought Cezar was a villain who could be so frustrating but I pitied him at the same time. The prose was beautiful and made me wonder why I’d never heard of Juliet Marillier before now. The plot was well planned out, with unexpected twists that took me by surprise. Wildwood Dancing introduces a magical world that is enchanting and easy to submerge yourself in. As a fairy tale reimagined, this book really has it all. With adventure, a magical world, forbidden romance, dancing sisters, vampires and a magical frog, Wildwood Dancing is a book that can keep you up all night, whether it’s a full moon or not.


“If a man has to say trust me it's a sure sign you cannot. Trust him, that is. Trust is a thing you do without words.”

Post-pregnancy Life + Chocolate Cake #1

Since Addie came into my life, there have been some major changes around here. And not just more late nights and an exorbitant amount of dirty diapers.

I have definitely changed.

Skirts and yoga pants have assumed new roles at the front of my closet. Even though I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I am definitely not back to pre-pregnancy muscle mass. I you say...soft. And strangely bigger in the hips than ever before. All in all, none of my shorts and only some of my jeans fit. But who's going to wear jeans when it's 80 degrees outside? Not I. So I wear lots of skirts.

I listen to classical music and, more often than not, can be heard humming nursery rhymes I haven't thought of since I was a young girl. I hum them because I feel silly singing what I am sure are the wrong words. (What in the world comes after "and if that diamond ring don't shine, Mama's gonna buy you a..." Valentine? Copper mine? Silver dime?)

If women or children in a movie are mistreated in any way, including being separated, I can no longer watch that movie. Silent tears turn into full-on crying as I rock Addie and hold her close for comfort. I am now well aware of what "mama bear" really means.

It is common for me to shower until well into the afternoon. Yesterday it was 8:00 p.m.

Despite my childhood vow to forever hate chocolate cake, I have been craving chocolate cake like crazy. I've made it twice in the past week and I plan to make it again before the week is through. As I said in yesterday's post, i think that in order for chocolate cake to be edible, it must be fudgy and very moist. And, because my hypoglycemia is back in full force, my chocolate cake can't have sugar in it. At least not much. 

So I decided to experiment. If you've noticed, I don't really bake--ever--so this has been a new thing for me. Cooking is easy to modify according to your tastes and nutrition beliefs because there's no chemical reaction involved. But baking? That's a whole other world.

I took chocolate cake number one directly from another baker's blog to see if cake made with applesauce and grated carrot was even worth it. It was. The result was more of a snack or breakfast cake than a dessert, which is fine with me! What little kid didn't beg their mom to let them have cake for breakfast?

The one hold-up is the fair amount of brown sugar involved with this recipe. Next time I'll try it with agave or another natural sweetener; the cake wasn't especially sweet even with the brown sugar. Only use cinnamon if you like how it tastes when paired with chocolate (I realized I'm not too keen on it, though both are exquisite when eaten separately).

Another thing to note is that the cake won't rise to fill your whole bundt pan. It's as if the cake itself is helping you to only have small portions.

So belly up to the bar with a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk, and let me know what you think! It's especially wonderful if you take a bite of cake, a bite of blackberry, a bite of cake, a bite of blackberry...

Chocolate Snack Cake (aka Chocolate Cake #1)
from Yammie's Noshery

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup applesauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini or carrot 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon (if using), cocoa powder, and salt. Add the applesauce, egg, vanilla, and zucchini/carrot and chocolate chips (if using) and mix until 
just combined. 

Pour into a greased bundt cake pan and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (for me this was 25 minutes).

Review: Second Helpings

Title: Second Helpings (Jessica Darling #2)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 22nd, 2003
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction

This review will contain some spoilers pertaining to Sloppy Firsts, the first book in the series.

It’s the summer before senior year and Jessica Darling is at a special summer camp for gifted youth. Jess’ writing for the school paper earned her a place, but in all honesty she’s only attending to help herself forget about Marcus Flutie. While Jess still doesn’t think she is a writer (no matter what her teachers say) the summer has helped her make a major life decision about her future. To Jess, deciding which college to go to is the biggest decision she will make in her young life, and she has finally settled on Columbia. But when school starts again and the unthinkable happens on September 11th, Jess isn’t sure if New York is safe anymore. As Jess and everyone else tries to move on and go back to normal, Jess is surprised by how quickly that happens. The Clueless Two are the same as always, although Sara managed to lose some weight and Manda found an unlikely new boyfriend. And, surprisingly, the one person that Jess wants to forget seems to be trying to set her up with the new and improved Len Levi. As senior year comes to an end, Jess will have to decide what she wants for her future, and who she wants to spend it with.

The second book in the Jessica Darling series takes place from the summer of 2001 to Jess’ graduation in 2002. I am often wary of sequels, but there was no need for that with Second Helpings. I liked this book even better than the first. A semester has passed since Sloppy Firsts ended, and Jess is still not talking to Marcus Flutie. Let me just say, I love Hope. We learn that she was okay with Jessica lying to her and liking Marcus, and actually wants them together. She’s the character we see the least of, but I love her to death. I also love Bridget, a former member of the Clueless Crew. While at first we see Bridget as just an insecure and beautiful girl, but we get to see her as a real person in this book. It was also sad to see how much Scottie has changed since the beginning of Sloppy Firsts. Jess is pretty much the same as ever, although a bit more sex obsessed in this book. This book was a smoother read than the first book, and it never felt like it was dragging along, unlike Sloppy Firsts. There were a lot of fun additions to this book, such as Gladie. This book takes place during the 2001 school year, and 9/11 occurs early on in the book. Jess is shocked and terrified when she finds out what happens, but it is one of the rare times that she is speechless. It wasn’t as heart wrenching as it could have been, but this book was more emotional than the last. I do think that some things were predictable, such as the identity of the writer of Pineville Low, but I suppose it makes sense that Jess doesn’t catch onto these things at first because she is pretty self involved. I’m interested in how Jess will change in the third book and what her college life will be like. Overall, this was an entertaining and quick read full of fun and drama.


“You, yes, you, linger inside my heart, The same you who stopped us before we could start.”

Green Apple-Cucumber Salsa

When you cook as much as I do--or eat as much as anyone does--you begin to realize that there are certain foods you are very particular about.

I will divulge some of mine:

Strawberries, lemons, and bananas must be in their fresh form for me to like them. I don't enjoy banana chips, strawberry jelly, banana-flavored candy, lemon bars, etc.

On the other hand, raspberry-anything is fantastic.

I don't like quinoa for breakfast, but I love it for dinner.

Most anything baked with a streusel topping will cause me to close my eyes in delight.

Red delicious apples are not delicious. I feel like this is universally true.

Chocolate cake must be fudgy and moist to be edible. Basically, there shouldn't be anything "cakey" about it.

Sweet concoctions are generally better when they are heavy on the vanilla.

Many things are better when dipped in peanut butter.

I will most likely devour and thereafter rave about anything including cilantro, lime, or cucumber.

Fresh, chunky salsa is forever better than the jarred stuff.

Which brings me to today's recipe. A chunky, non-jarred salsa that tastes so fresh you'll eat the whole bowl in one sitting (which is absolutely what Chad and I did). I don't know if green being my favorite color makes me partial to green fruits and veggies, but this combination of green apple, cucumber, and cilantro is wholly satisfying. Squirt it with some lime juice and you've got yourself a fabulous thing to serve up on a warm night.

Are you convinced yet?

Okay, go try it.

But first, tell me:

What are your favorite salsa mix-ins?

Green Apple-Cucumber Salsa
from The Food Matters Cookbook

2 Granny Smith apples, diced
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime or lemon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Scoop up with tortilla chips, a spoon, or your open mouth.

bright-eyed delicious

Bleh. For a woman who obsesses over food,
I get so bored of food.
Chad comes home from a full day at school and work, and what do I have to talk about?
What I ate that day. What we're having for dinner. And is there anything you'd like me to get at the store for next week?

This post will not be about food.

I'm sitting in my living room, un-showered, in a bright green Disneyland t-shirt, my beautiful auburn-haired baby strapped to my front...scratch that. I guess Addie isn't feeling the front pack today. Now she's propped up beside me on some pillows, hiccuping and yawning and looking around all bright-eyed.
Hold on... now she's balancing between my arms as I type, still hiccuping violently, attempting to climb me like a rock wall. She calms as I breathe into her ear and sway with her back and forth.

Addie will be two months old this week. I can hardly believe it.
(She is now asleep, breathing deeply. Hiccups are gone for now.)

Yesterday she took her first real sit-in-the-water bath. I've been so nervous to try a real bath, because she hates hates hates sponge baths. Turns out the sponge bath part was the problem. She loved soaking in the warm water (Chad found the perfect temperature) and even let me wipe her face down really well.
Happy Mother's Day to me!
I haven't felt heaven be so close since the moment Addie was born.
As Addie soaked in her pink plastic tub, piano music was playing quietly, only complemented by the soft trickle of bath water. I've never seen Addie move so fluidly and slowly when she wasn't asleep.
I'm so grateful for those moments of stillness yesterday.
They were, in a way, delicious to me.

My friend Aimee said it beautifully:
Addie's eyes epitomize the title of this blog, bright-eyed delicious.

She's right. I have truly never seen eyes so bright and curious and eager.
I'm realizing more and more every day that "bright-eyed delicious" means a lot more than good-tasting food.
It's my mantra, my life motto.
Keep your eyes bright, wide open to the world around you, and you will surely find those things that are
delicious to your senses.


Books for Fans of Once Upon a Time

ABC's Once Upon a Time finished its first season last night, in a finale full of excitement and magic. Season two won't start until October and if you're a fan like me you can always check out some of these books to help you get through the summer.

In Adult Fiction
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. After his mother's death, twelve year old David spends his time locked in his bedroom with his imagination. With war threatening his life in London, his father and his new wife move to a secluded house. With his whole life changing around him, David seeks comfort in The Book of Lost Things. When his stepmother gives birth to a son, David's feelings of frustrating are transferred to his new baby brother. When he finds himself in a strange world reminiscent of his book, full of danger and magic, he will have to decide what's really important.  
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. This book is a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz has become a modern fairy tale that everyone knows, and this book looks at the old story from the perspective of Elphaba, the Witch of the West. This book inspired the musical, but the novel is much darker. This book examines the life of the infamous Witch of the West, going much more in depth to how she became the person she she is when she meets Dorothy. 
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Tristan Thorn lives in a small village in Victorian England. His village is completely ordinary, but it sits near a wall that leads to a world of magic. When Tristan wants to win the hand of a local girl, he vows to leave his village for the other side of the wall to retrieve a fallen star. In a world of flying pirate ships and witches, Tristan's quest for true love takes him to unexpected places. 

In YA Fiction

  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marrillier. This book is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers' Twelve Dancing Princesses, in which five sisters in Transylvania travel to a magical realm every full moon. With magical frogs, forbidden lovers and magic, this book is just amazing. You can read the review here
  • Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Tracy Lynn. Set in Victorian England, this retelling of Snow White is an original take on the story everyone knows. While this book was a bit bizarre, it was an interesting take on Snow White. You can read the full review here

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The first in the series, this book combines the story of Cinderella with science fiction. Cinder is a cyborg who also works as a mechanic. With a life threatening disease and the Lunar Queen threatening New Beijing, Cinder finds herself valuable in the quest to save the world. Cinder has no memory of her life before she became a cyborg, but her past may be valuable if she wants to help protect New Beijing. As Cinder struggles with accepting who she is and being not fully human, she wonders if the Prince could ever love a cyborg. You can read the full review here
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. In this retelling of the Grimm Brothers' Maid Maleen, a brave maid is to be imprisoned with her Lady in a tower for 7 years. As Lady Saren mourns for the life she lost, her maid Dashti is happy to have enough food to live on. The girls find themselves torn between two suitors who wish to marry Saren: the kind Khan and the terrifying Lord Khashar. They soon become caught in a war, and Dashti will have to draw on her bravery and abilities to save the kingdom. You can read the full review here.
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. Gemma has always been a mystery to her grandchildren. While they know she left Europe after World War II for the United States, they don’t even know her birth name or who Becca’s grandfather was. The one thing Gemma does talk about from her old life is the story of Sleeping Beauty. After Gemma’s death, Becca finds herself wanting answers about her family’s past. Old mementos lead Becca to Chelmo, a concentration camp in Poland. As she searches for the pieces of Gemma’s past, Becca tries to find the connection to the story she loved so much. Becca has heard about Briar Rose and the dark fairy’s curse so many times she knows the story by heart. As she uncovers the story of the past, she learns that life isn’t a fairy tale.
  • Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. In this retelling of Rumpelstilskin and the Miller's Daughter, Charlotte Miller is left with the responsibility of her family mill after her father's death. When her estranged uncle comes to care for her and she learns of her father's debts, the pressure to sell the mill begins to take its toll on Charlotte. When a mysterious man appears who promises to spin straw into gold, Charlotte has no other choice but to make a deal with him. As Charlotte keeps making deals with this strange man, she finds herself with debts she could never pay. As she looks for answers about this mysterious man and his connection to her family, she will have to find the truth about the past to protect her family. You can read my review here
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley. Beauty has never liked her nickname, which has never seemed to fit her. She is the brains of the family, and when her father is supposed to be a prisoner in a enchanted castle she finds a way to protect her family by serving in his place. The castle is inhabited by a Beast, who surprises Beauty with his kindness. The castle is abundant in magic, and slowly it becomes another home for Beauty, although she never stops missing her family. Every night, the Beast asks Beauty if she will marry him, and every night she refuses. As time goes by, she finds it more and more difficult to refuse him and hurt him so. Is it possible to love a beast? 
In Junior Fiction
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. In this retelling of Cinderella, Ella is a young girl who has been cursed with having to be obedient. When her father remarries a horrible woman with two daughters, they use her curse to make her to do things she can't control. While Ella loves Prince Char, she knows that her obedience could hurt him if someone were to find out. If Ella wants to find her happy ending she will have to look within herself to break the curse. You can read the review here
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. The first in the series, twelve year old Maggie finds herself swept into something right out of a story when she learns that her father can bring characters out of the pages of books when he reads aloud. When he brought characters from a book called Inkspell, Maggie's mother was taken to the world inside the book in return. As the dangerous villains from the book come and find Maggie and her father, she learns that she shares the same ability.