#866 Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle CharbonnetWitch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Whit and Wisty, siblings, are snatched in the middle of the night and thrown into a strange prison. They’re accused of being witches. This is all very confusing. Somehow the girl Whit loves is dead, but still around. There’s some weird guy who calls himself The One who is the One. There’s also the One Who Judges and the One who Orders the Pizza. The last one is fake. It also turns out that there is some truth to the witch claim. Whit and Wisty can do some magical things. They’re going to help all the other children who were thrown into prison and try to get their parents back.

What I liked

Of course I love the whimsy in this book. I love stories where woo or supernatural sit right alongside what we’re familiar with.

What I didn’t like

I feel like I missed a who bunch of stuff. I don’t know if I was zoning out or the book is written in such a way that a person can miss a bunch of stuff. I feel like I was out of the loop on so much of this book.

It reminded me of The Land of Stories series, which is for younger children. This seems like a more grown-up version of that series. There are other books in this series, which is good. I don’t know if I’ll read them. I think I’d have to read this one again to pick up on some things I missed before I read anymore books in the series.

It’s kind of a dick move to go around picking up people an imprisoning them because they’re “special” in some way. Just because they’re different, doesn’t mean you can lock them up and throw away the key.

Overall

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had special powers?

Weigh In

If you found out that you were a wizard, what’s the first thing you would do?

If someone imprisoned you because you were different, how would you feel?

#866 Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Advertisements

#803 The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

The Cold Girl by Rachel CaineThe Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

Kiley always wanted to date her boyfriend, but no one else really saw why. People flat-out didn’t like him, but she did. One night,they were going out, there was a carnival in town. There was a mix up with their phones. Kiley’s ended up smashed and she ended up with her boyfriend’s phone. She knew she shouldn’t peek, but she decided to anyway. He had been really concerned about photos and videos on the phone. She saw the photos; they were of her boyfriend and another girl. She saw that there were videos, she decided to watch one. The video wasn’t what she was expecting. The video showed her boyfriend strangling this girl and then raping her.

Kiley knew she had to get away from her boyfriend. He knew she had seen the phone. He tried to take her on a ride, but the carnie people seemed to know she was in trouble. They told her to go and see the fortune-teller. Kiley’s fortune was not good. She would die tonight. It would take her two days to die. The cold girl would come for her. Her boyfriend did catch up to her and he did kill her. She lay there, for two days, no one found her, but one boy did find her ghost. The cold girl finally came. She had been with the carnival for some time. Her touch froze skin. She told Kiley she could save her. She was a vampire, of course. She liked revenge and maybe Kiley could enact some revenge on her murdering boyfriend.

What I liked

I thought this story was interesting. I’m not all into vampire stories, but this one was kind of neat. I love how this mythology seemed to follow the cold girl, who was cold not only in temperature, but in her lack of human feeling. It seems the murdering boyfriend got what he deserved, much like Rosalie’s one-time fiance in the Twilight series. The story is a bit similar between the two characters.

I, like many people, tend to like retribution stories. If the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, we feel better about the story. We have this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong. We always feel that punishment must accompany a bad deed and we can get upset when it doesn’t. Think something like the Casey Anthony case, most of us feel punishment was not meted out. In this story though, the bad guy does get what’s coming to him.

What I didn’t like

I think I would have liked a full-length book rather than just this little bit. Who knows–I may read more from the series,

Overall

Just one more reason to think carnivals are creepy, as if the Freakshow version of American Horror Story wasn’t enough.

Weigh In

Do you find the mythology of vampires interesting?

Should evil-doers always be punished or are you the bigger person for not punishing them?

#803 The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#780 The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

The Enchantress Returns by Chris ColferThe Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

It’s been an entire year, a whole, long year since Conner and Alex have been to the Land of Stories, in fact, they haven’t even seen their grandmother. What in the world is going on? Things are changing in their lives in the regular world. It turns out their mom has a boyfriend, Dr. Bob. The children didn’t expect this at all. They thought Dr. Bob was a friend and now Dr. Bob wants to marry their mom.

The kids come to terms with this and on the night Dr. Bob is set to propose, Mom doesn’t show up back at home. Mom is late and Mom is never late. Who does show up is their grandmother, the Fairy Godmother, and a bunch of soldiers from The Land of Stories. Conner and Alex are put under lock down in the house. Their mom is gone. The story finally comes out though, their mother has been kidnapped by the most bad enchantress of them all. Everyone thought she was dead, but she’s back in full force and she wants to take over not only The Land of Stories, but also the regular world.

Conner and Alex feel that they have to get back to The Land of Stories, but they’re not sure how. They think the best place to look is their grandmother’s cabin. It’s a bit treacherous getting there, but they finally do and find a painting. If the kids from The Chronicles of Narnia can get into Narnia through a painting of Narnia, Alex and Conner decide they can get into The Land of Stories through a painting of The Land of Stories. It works, but not without sinking the house.

The two are back in The Land of Stories, but things are bad. People start getting kidnapped left and right. Awful things are happening. The twins learn that they can create a want to counteract the power of the enchantress, but they must go collect the most prized possessions of so-called villains. The quest will not be easy, nor will it be fun, especially since Red Riding Hood is along for the adventure, and we all know how she is.

What I liked

I’m still liking the series. I like that Alex and Conner go back to The Land of Stories. I was kind of hoping that their Dad would still be alive somewhere in The Land of Stories, but I guess it’s not going to happen.

I like that this series gives a back story  and second-opinion to many of the so-called villains of the fairy tales. Yeah, some of them were truly awful, but if you look at their situations, almost anyone would be awful if they were in their places.

What I didn’t like

I’m not sure about this Dr. Bob guy. What an ordinary name. I think Bi-lo has a knock-off of Dr. Pepper called Dr. Bob. Go get me some Diet Dr. Bob. We’re Dr. Pepper drinkers in this house, because it’s the drink of agnostics…that was South Park, but I do prefer Dr. Pepper. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve drunk/guzzled, a lot of Diet Cokes, but Diet Dr. Pepper  and I have a committed relationship. I’m also not an agnostic.

Getting back to the book–as I said, I’m not sure about Dr. Bob yet, maybe he’s great, or maybe he’s an evil sorcerer disguised as a doctor.

Overall

You know, in some part, if you think about it, fairy tales are very female-centric…well, at least the ones Disney likes to remake. The rest of them are quite male-centric.

Weigh In

Would you go live in a fairy tale world?

What do you think about Dr. Bob?

#780 The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#777 Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine

Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. StineNight of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine

Lindy and Kris are identical twins, who compete at everything. They try their hardest to stand out, against the other sister. One day the twins find an old dummy in some trash at a nearby construction site. Lindy takes to the dummy right away, which she calls Slappy. After Lindy starts getting a lot of attention for her ventriloquist act, Kris wants to try her hand at it as well. Her father ends up buying her a dummy as well, but this one is wearing casual clothes. Kris calls her dummy Mr. Wood, versus the more formal looking Slappy, with the less formal name.

Things are fine. The kids get some laughs. They perform at birthday parties. Some strange things start to happen though. Mr. Wood starts to do some things of his own accord. He says some awful things, that get blamed on Kris. He tears up the kitchen. One night Lindy sees Mr. Wood moving, but the girls’ parents won’t have any of it. The girls know they have to deal with the dummy alone. It starts talking to the girls, calling them slaves. They know they have to get rid of it.

Ultimately, a steam roller becomes their last hope, but have they just gotten rid of one evil to make way for another?

What I liked

I like the idea of dueling evils, just hiding out. We tend to have stories with only one villain, why not more than one villain? Maybe your villain isn’t that bad, but he’s not nearly as bad as the one that would replace him if you got rid of him.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like dummies. I don’t like ventriloquism. It’s not that it’s not kind of  cool, because it is, a little, it’s just not that cool. It’s boring. Seriously… it’s a trick. You expect me to be all impressed because you can make it look like a doll is taking? You know what, I can make a doll talk. I could put a voice box in it and put a pull string on its back and make it talk. I’d rather see Muppets, at least they’re entertaining.

I had a Furby that could talk and dance on its own, but a ventriloquist dummy has to have a person to be able to make it do those things. I’m just not that impressed. Ahmed the Dead Terrorist is funny and all, but there are funnier things I would enjoy.

An evil dummy is a bit of a gimme. This creepy wooden doll isn’t going to be possessed? Like, who believes that? If we see some creepy doll out somewhere, we pretty much assume the thing is haunted. How about a haunted tea kettle? I could go for that. It moves around the house on its on. It makes tea, without tea packets. It pours cold water on the cat.

Overall

Leave the dummy alone, if not for the threat of it being haunted, leave it alone because it’s not funny.

Weigh In

Would you buy a dummy?

Do you think dummies are funny?

#777 Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#774 The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The Wishing Spell by Chris ColferThe Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Alex and Conner have had a difficult time of things since their father died. They’re twins. They both go to the same class. Their mother is always working, but their grandmother comes by to see them every once in a while. It’s their birthday, but their mom has to work. Their grandmother comes in and helps them celebrate. She gives them a book of fairy tales; it’s a family book.

Conner starts hearing strange noises coming from his sister’s room in the night. She’s not getting a lot of sleep. She doesn’t know the answers in class. Conner finally discovers what the problem is; it’s the book. The book lights up and vibrates. What’s more, Alex has been pushing things into the book–pencils, dirty socks, other books. The things go in, but they don’t come out.

After a particularly upsetting day at school, Alex wants to see if her hand will go into the  book, and if it will come back out. She’s in the middle of the experiment when Conner barges into the room. She loses her balance and ends up falling, head first, into a book of fairy tales. Conner jumps in after her. They find themselves in a land they thought couldn’t be real. Goldilocks is an outlaw there. Red Riding Hood is real. Sleeping Beauty is real. The big bad wolf is real. It’s all real. Not everyone is good and not everyone is how one would expect from the traditional fairy tales. Some of the bad guys aren’t actually as bad as you might think.

Conner and Alex learn that there is a way to get out of the land of stories, but they must gather a specific set of items in order to make a wish. The catch is that the wish has already been used once and it can only be used once more. All of this would be fine if Conner and Alex were the only ones looking for the wish items, but they’re not. Someone else is right on their tail.

What I liked

One of my friends really likes this book series so I thought I would give it a shot. It is enjoyable. I love fairy tales, if you haven’t figured that out from reading with me for a while. I do like non-traditional takes on traditional tales. I mean, really, what if the wicked witch really wasn’t all that bad? I’ve already pointed out that the chances of Snow White becoming a well-adjusted human being are pretty slim because she was only valued for her beauty, just like her evil step-mother. Once that beauty goes away, or someone surpasses you, what are you supposed to be valued for? Think about it. All things considered, Snow White may have eventually ended up in the same darn place the evil queen was, resorting the murder and evil in order to maintain that one thing that set you apart from everyone else, because people insisted on only valuing you for that one thing.

I like the idea of a fantasy world and a real world colliding. I think it’s great. Wouldn’t it be so neat to find out that these fairy tale things were real? It would certainly make life more interesting.

I thought some of Conner’s summations about fairy tales were pretty funny.

What I didn’t like

I quite enjoyed this book, so there’s not a whole lot I didn’t like.

Ok, I did find some of it a bit predictable. So the bad guy wasn’t all bad–you don’t say. Astounding, simply astounding.

Overall

I want to fall into a book, specifically The Lord of the Rings, in a passage with Aragorn, preferably one where he’s not wearing all of his clothes.

Aragorn, it’s ok, we’ll have that sword to rights in no time. * wink, wink*

Weigh In

What book would you fall into?

If you found a fairy tale was real, how would it shape your current life?

#774 The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer was originally published on One-elevenbooks