Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy December!

Hello, everyone! Can you believe it's already December? Crazy! I hope you are all jumping into the holiday spirit! How'd you guys do on NaNoWriMo? I have a confession. I didn't win this year, but that's okay! I had some other things that needed to come first so my novel got put on hold for about a week, and by then, I just couldn't catch up. Am I still going to finish the novel? Of course! I don't regret taking part in NaNoWriMo. Even though I didn't complete it, I learned some things. But that is a story for another post.

I wanted to be really cool and recommend a book with a Christmas setting this month, but I, uh, didn't read one... Every year on Christmas Eve, my family watches "A Muppet Christmas Carol." I absolutely love it! Michael Caine as Mr. Scrooge was a brilliant choice. You should all watch it yourselves this holiday season if you haven't seen it already! For awhile, I've been wanting to read the book, but I just haven't got around to it. So my goal for this month is to read it. Perhaps that will be next month's recommendation!

Instead of reading new books, lately I've been rereading some that have been sitting on my shelf untouched for quite some time. The lastest of these was Gail Carson Levine's "Ella Enchanted." (I told myself I needed to recommend more than young adult fiction too. Don't worry. I'll get some other recommendations for you.) I decided to reread the book because I remembered liking it, but I could only think of how the story was told in the movie (which was okay, but lacking in some aspects... but definitely not my favorite movie). So while I was traveling back from Colorado, I read the entire thing.

I enjoy the book much better than the movie's adaptation. There are quite a bit of differences. Don't get me wrong. I'm not comparing the two mediums to say the movie sucked because it wasn't the exact picture of the book (again, that's a subject for another post). What I'm saying is if you're decided whether to take the time to read the book or save some time by watching the movie, you should definitely go the book route.

Here's a Peek:

That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift. When I cried inconsolably through my first hour of life, my tears were her inspiration. Shaking her head sympathetically at Mother, the fairy touched my nose. "My gift is obedience. Ella will always be obedient..."

Ella of Frell must always do as she's told, for that is the "gift" that was given to her at birth. Strict obedience doesn't seem like that bad of a thing... not until you really think about it. If someone told Ella to jump, sing, dance, clean, or hold still, she must do it. She tries to get around the spell, but things still continue to get worse and worse. When her mother dies, Ella's father remarries, and Ella gets two new step-sisters, one of which discovers her need to always be obedient. At the same time, she becomes friends with Prince Char. With horror, Ella realizes that danger she is to the prince. If someone were to order her to kill him... Ella sets out with determination to find Lucinda and demand that she remove her "gift." But what if Lucinda won't take it back?

Gail Carson Levine has crafted wonderful characters just like she does in her other books. It's character is unique and you'll love each of them (even if you love to hate some of them!). It's a great story of an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary gift. Ella feels real as do her problems, making her relatable even though none of us have been cursed with the gift of obedience.

Overall, it's a delightful story. I always love to read these sort of "fairy tales revisited" stories. What's great about this story is that even though you can see the connection with the traditional "Cinderella" story, it is so completely unique that it stands on it's own. It's a completely different story, one that I feel deserves it's Newbery Honor.

As a special welcome to the Christmas season, we are going to have a free giveaway! That's right. You can get your own copy of "Ella Enchanted" right here! Here's what you have to do. Just follow this blog by hitting the follow button in the left hand margin. Then leave a comment to this post. Those who are already followers but wish to enter just need to write a comment to this post. The comment should just be something simple like, "Hi! I want to win the free book giveaway!" I will then pick a name randomly using a random name picker from That person will be the winner! I'll announce the winner at that time. The deadline to follow and leave a comment is December 31st! Good luck!

Want to write next month's recommendation?
Here's how it works. Send an e-mail to with your recommendation (put it in the body of the e-mail, not as an attachment). Make sure the subject of the e-mail is something to the effect of "Book Recommendation" so I don't mistake it for junk mail. Your review should be at least a couple paragraphs long and should include a short description of the book and why you think others should read it. Then include a short biography of yourself and a picture to go along with it. If you wish to remain annonymous, that's fine as well. I need all entries by December 28th. Depending upon how many entries are received, your recommendation might not show up right away. If I decide to use yours, you will receive an e-mail telling you so. Thank you for your contributions!