Charming Academy Series (book 1) – Review

 

 

The Charming Academy Series is written by Jessica L. Elliott, and consists of six books, including Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming’s Search, Becoming Prince Charming, The Ultimate Prince Charming, and Prince Charming’s Quest. Yes, that is a lot of Prince Charmings. I know.

The first book, Charming Academy, is the beginning. As the title suggests, this is at an academy for young princes who are on their path to become a Prince Charming. In this fairy tale reproduction, the name “Prince Charming” is more than a name, it is an honorary title that the young men receive after completing their quest. Yes, that is not very detailed, but you can’t expect me to give everything away right now, can you?

Our main character is a young prince named Lucian. He is mainly the character followed throughout the first book, and the following books are centered around each other main character’s quest after schooling. Now to the actual book.

A little organizational information that you will learn in the book, but I can’t very well explain without describing a little (Don’t worry, I won’t give away anything super important): Prince Charming Academy for Boys is a school that works in association with Fair Damsels Academy for Young Ladies. Lucian is enrolled at the boys’ school to begin his schooling and preparation for his quest which will take place at the end of his sixth year.

Within his education, he learns about all the things a prince must do on a typical quest. He learns to fight dragons and about spell breaking, the ins and outs of hunting and survival, languages of dragons and mermaids along with his normal math, science, and language arts classes. He and his friends must overcome the challenges of being teenage boys, learning to get along with their princesses, schoolwork, and staying on the right side of the witches in charge of punishment at the school. With magic surrounding them, they must prepare as best they can to make a wonderful fairy tale out of their quest.

The Charming Academy Series is a retelling of some of our most well-known and loved fairy tales, including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Frog, and many others. I greatly enjoyed the series, as I love fantasy. The books show both the prince and princess’ views of a fairytale, with plenty of humor, challenges, and romance to keep the story rolling. I think it is a very good series for middle school kids, because of the interesting tale, the age of the characters, and length. The series shows all of the adventure that is sometimes skipped in retelling. This is so much more than the common “a beautiful princess was locked in a tower and waited and waited for a long time till her Prince Charming rode in on a majestic horse and saved her with true love’s kiss the end.” It includes everything needed to be sweet and adventurous at the same time, with lots of entertainment as the characters and their growth as individuals as well.

I do have to admit that while this series is one of my favorite reading pastime series, it does get a little boring sometimes. The plot will drag or get repetitive sometimes, which is understandable, and I also think that the copies I have at least are her rougher versions. I don’t know if the author has had more edits and publication recently, but my copies of the series do have some grammatical and spelling errors, and the detail is sometimes far too much or little given in some sections, in my opinion of course. As frustrated as I get by these errors sometimes, I also appreciate them greatly, because I think it shows that the author did not necessarily write the series to be pretty and perfect and sell for lots all over the world, but really so that she could share the basics of the fairy tales she so loved as a child that she worked to make “cool enough” for her brother (this is how the series was first created, her brother told her that fairy tales were for girls and she set out to change that). It shows that she really just wanted to share her stories. To be completely honest, the books are rather unpolished. But they are lots of fun to read as the normal fairy tales we all know take a new perspective.

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Fablehaven 5 – Review

 

Fablehaven – Keys to the Demon Prison, by Brandon Mull, is the fifth and final book in the Fablehaven series

This is it, folks, the last book in the Fablehaven series, tied for first on my favorites in the series. I’ll be honest, this and the third are my first place winners, then the fourth is my second favorite, and the first and second are my third, but not necessarily my least favorites. Even though that is technically what the not top favorites means. Oh well. You all know what I mean. Hopefully.

*For the last time this series, SPOILERS MAY DWELL WITHIN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Dun dun dun.*

Alright, the end is coming. As Kendra and Seth prepare for what they hope will not mean the end of the world, they realize that they really are among the only ones who can save this. After facing heartbreaking betrayals and emotional trauma, and time after time again escaped certain death, these two incredible kids are up against what they hoped they wouldn’t have to face. But the Sphinx has the artifacts, the power, the minions, and, as if that wasn’t enough, their parents. The Zzyzx’s opening seems eminent and the only way that they can seem to save the world now is to prepare to keep the demons in, even if it means war. Racing around the world, Kendra and Seth try to intercept the artifacts and gather allies, bargaining for knowledge and searching for weapons. They have their fairykind and shadowcharmer abilities, but fighting the Sphinx never has been and never will be easy, so all they can do is prepare as well they can and hope that all will end well.

This was the last book in the Fablehaven series and I was pretty sad, wanting to know more and have more adventures with Kendra and Seth, though I knew they deserved a break from the constant near death experiences. But, I am so happy, because Brandon Mull has started a second series about them, its called Dragonwatch and I will write reviews on those books too. I recommend both of these series all the way, for fantasy lovers who love action and build up and magical creatures.

I would give this book a 4.9 / 5, I love it, it is a great end to the series while still allowing Mull a way to add to it indirectly, and is a very good blend of action and sentiment and humor and romance and teasing all the way through.

Fablehaven 4 – Review

 

Fablehaven – Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, by Brandon Mull

This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series, and probably my second favorite. There is lots of dramatic action and danger, all happening to require Seth and Kendra’s help (wink).

*Spoilers! again. As I’ve said in the other reviews, there may be spoilers for the other books, as hard as I try to avoid them. You have been warned! … many many times … oh well.*

*Also, slight hints at what happens in this book. But it’s pretty safe to read anyway,  the back cover of the book exposes about the same amount that I do. You’ll be fine.*

Seth and Kendra have been through a lot, and then what happens in this book shows just how unfair life can be, and how awful fighting can mess up people’s lives. The emotional trauma that these two have gone through and continue to face is just incredible when you think about it, and that made me wary to keep reading each book before I started each one, because, yes, it’s really cool and all the adventures and friendships and all the incredible things they get to do, but all the awful things that these two have faced is really traumatizing when you stop to think about it. It’s amazing that they keep going. So there’s a slight foreboding hint for you.

So this book has them after another hidden artifact to get before the Society of the Evening Star does, to try and stop further mass destruction by the Society, as per usual. This time they are off to another preserve, but this is one of the seven dragon sanctuaries, Wyrmroost.  Facing danger at every turn, and constantly being painfully aware that they are just kids in a big world, Kendra and Seth set out to prove that they can handle saving the world, as daunting as the task may be.

I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely right up there in my favorite re-reads of this series, which I realize I’ve probably told you lots of times. Hey, I’m just trying to get my point across. I would probably give this a 4.7 / 5, I love the plot and adventures. I just have favorites, so I am a little biased. Oh well, I hope you are enjoying the series too if you’re reading it and/or already have.

Fablehaven 3 – Review

 

Fablehaven – Grip of the Shadow Plague, by Brandon Mull, is the third book in the Fablehaven series. This book is one of my all time favorite books to read ever, again and again.

*Again, spoiler alerts for the previous two books*

Kendra and Seth are at Fablehaven for the summer still, and the magic of the world never ceases to amaze them. When a strange plague of darkness begins to go around, turning creatures of light to darkness, Seth is able to see the problem differently.  But it is obvious that the Sorensons need help, But can they trust their usual go-to adviser? With Kendra off with other Knights of the Dawn to look for another artifact, and Seth trying to figure things out at Fablehaven, the kids are having the adventures of a lifetime, not necessarily good ones.

The plague turns the creatures from light to dark, and no one knows what to do about it. Seth has interesting abilities though, as a result from pulling the nail from the revenant in the last book, much like Kendra’s being fairykind. With Seth’s ability to trace certain aspects of the plague, he may be Fablehaven’s only hope for survival.

Kendra’s abilities as fairykind make her imperative for the Knights of the Dawn’s mission. She goes off to another magical preserve to try and get another artifact before the Society of the Evening Star does. With that daunting adventure checked off the list, she returns to Fablehaven to help out with stopping the plague. But Kendra and Seth need help, and you never know where two resourceful kids may get that from.

This is one of my favorite books in the series, because Kendra and Seth have so many adventures and so much happens throughout the book. It is action-packed and there is all sorts of drama coursing throughout, and yes, even some romance. Mull pulls together incredible ideas in this book, creating a fast-paced plot line and an intriguing base for the rest of the series. I would give this book a 4.8 / 5, it is one of my favorites, and the thickening plot that is leading up to the grand finale, I think this is tied for my favorite book in the series.

Fablehaven 2 – Review

Fablehaven – Rise of the Evening Star, by Brandon Mull

*Spoilers for the first book may be in here, and/or hints/clues about what happens in this book. Again, I tried to be careful not to put in too much information about what actually happens.*

After successfully saving Fablehaven last summer, and now knowing about magical creatures, Seth and Kendra are almost done with school, before something unusual happens. Soon they are racing back to Fablehaven – literally – and learning with three specialists all about magical relics, potions, and animals, trying to help protect Fablehaven, a hidden artifact, the other magical preserves, and the world from the hidden enemy, the Society of the Evening Star. Seth and Kendra will do all they can to help, but this is dangerous, and you can’t always trust magic to be what you think it is, and time is counting down before the Society gets the artifact first.

To be completely honest, the second book is not one of my favorites in the series. the rest of the books are great, but this one I didn’t enjoy as much. the beginning really was my least favorite part, it just dragged a little and I feel it could have been boring for a lot of people as you can’t exactly relate to it. But the excitement picked up quickly and soon the characters were enthralled in a tale full of secrets and the pressure on.

I would give this book a 4/5, probably just because I’ve read all the other books so many times and love them and this one, I simply haven’t read as much and it took me longer to become attached to. The story is great, and is incredibly important to the other books, I personally just did not enjoy some of this adventure as much as some of the others the Sorensons have.

Review of the Book “City of the Beasts” by Isabel Allende

 

Review:

Alexander Cold is a normal high school boy.  Because of his mom’s illness, Alex is forced to go to the Amazon with his grandmother, Kate.  Kate is a tough women who is not exactly the ‘loving’ type.  Alex, Kate, and a few other people go on an expedition across the Amazon in search of the Beast and the Indians who live there.  The Indians who live in the Amazon are untouched by modern civilization and are isolated.  Another goal of the expedition is to find the Indians and vaccinate them so they are immune to diseases and epidemics.  Alex makes a friend in the Amazon, named Nadia.  Her beliefs are completely different than Alex’s beliefs.  Alex goes through many adventures and trials with Nadia, where he learns things about himself, finds his spirit animal, and matures.

Rating: 7/10

My opinion:

I thought this book was good, although it did get a little confusing at times.  I thought the plot of the book was unique, but it wasn’t as interesting.  I’m more interested in action and adventure books.  But, I loved the author’s style of writing.  The author used a lot of imagery, which helped make me feel as if I was experiencing the things that were happening in the book.  I would recommend this book to a friend.

Review of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

About this movie:

(Spoiler Alert)

Lara Jean Covey has a box in which she keeps love letters to boys she used to love. No one knows about these letters except for her. This box was given to Lara Jean by her mother who died two years ago. Lara Jean has a total of five love letters. One of which is to Josh, her neighbor. They used to be close friends when they were younger, but then they kind of drifted when he started dating Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot. Before moving away to college, Margot breaks up with Josh. One regular school day, Lara Jean sees Josh and 4 other guys with love letters that she wrote. Peter Kavinsky is one of the guys who received a letter. Eventually, Peter and Lara Jean start “pretend dating” so Lara Jean can convince Josh that she does not love him in that way anymore. Peter agrees to this in hopes of making his ex-girlfriend jealous and getting back together with her. Lara Jean goes from being ‘invisible’ to ‘visible’. But after a while, Lara Jean and Peter start to develop real feelings for each other.

Rating: 10/10

My opinion:

I absolutely loved this movie so much! The plot was so interesting, especially when Peter and Lara Jean started ‘pretend dating’.  I loved how well they picked the actors for the roles of the two main characters. I was waiting for this movie to come out for a while, since I read the book first. I knew the movie was going to be great after reading the book. I was not disappointed. I would definitely recommend this movie to my friends. This movie is intended for audiences 14+.