Tag Archives: Easy Reading

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Overview
Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted #1) by Gail Carson Levine

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Series: Ella Enchanted #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Book-to-film, Fairy tales, Medieval fantasy, Retellings
Dates read: 31st July 2020
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper
Year: 1997
5th sentence, 74th page: Her conversation was mostly worries that the earl would marry and have a child who would replace her as his heir.

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Synopsis

At her birth, Ella of Frell received a foolish fairy’s gift – the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day and a half or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

Thoughts

This is one of those few books that I honestly don’t know if I prefer the movie or the book… honestly, they were just so damn different from one another that it was difficult to find a clear winner. For starters, the movie has Anne Hathaway. But, it is also a lot more grown up and set in a contemporary medieval world that overlays much more closely with ours. The book on the other hand is definitely a lot less mature and filled with characters that have a much simpler, more pleasant characterisation (there really weren’t many messy emotions in this novel). Or at least, that’s how it felt to me.

This is a great, sweet and funny little book. Throughout reading this I had multiple little giggles at the different circumstances in which the characters found themselves. There was just something that was enjoyably cute and sweet about Ella’s narrative voice. Something that made all the horrible, annoying things that happen to her throughout this story seem somehow slightly less. It made them a little less intense and difficult. Which was the perfect balance between serious and playful that a good book should have.

As much as I enjoyed this novel as an adult, I know that I would have absolutely adored this as a kid. There is something light and approachable and just downright fun about this that is seriously enjoyable. Plus, in Ella, there is a great lead character who is everything that I would have looked up to as a young girl. Someone who is smart and kind, funny and independent. And definitely sure of their own mind. It also helped that there was a great little rebellious streak running through her that I find a little too familiar…

Ultimately, this is a great take on Cinderella. And it also had a great sense of “just desserts” at the end of the story. A little bit more revenge-driven than most of the Disney versions of fairy tales that I read. But, also,  a lot more fun, light and PG than the Grimms Brothers fairy tales that fill my shelves.

<- Ogre EnchantedMore Gail Carson Levine ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce

Overview
The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce

Title: The Will of the Empress
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: Circle Reforged #1, Emelan #9
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Mages
Dates read: 29th – 30th July 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: Tris made not a sound, her eyes on the hill as Chime behind her.

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Synopsis

Long-awaited…
Highly anticipated…
The Circle Reforged

Four mages. One destiny. No turning back.

This sweeping saga is the final in the Circle series. The four young mages, Tris, Sandry, Briar and Daja, are now young adults ad are back together after their years of independence.

Thoughts

I forgot how damn good this novel is. It’s been a long time since I picked it up. And a while since I reread the first few Emelan books. Now I want to pick them all up and read them again and again… I seem to pick them up every few years anyway. There is just something amazing about Pierce’s writing and this is the first of her books that really branches towards a more adult view. After all, it is about four adults reconnecting with childhood friends.

For anyone else who has read the rest of the Emelan books (and you should), in the beginning of this, you just want to smack the four’s heads together. They’re kind of silly and irritating in so many ways. Mostly though, they are just stubborn and proud. A feeling that I can completely understand. Get past those first few chapters where you just want to smack them, and it begins to just get that much better.

I love that this story has the typical spunk of the four… they’re just a little bit more difficult and attitudinal, considering they’re now adults and on their own war path. I loved that this was a full circle story. It not only bought the four back together, it also showed that the people you grow up with can change and alter, but you can all grow together. It just takes a little work to find your way back together.

Reflecting back on this, this is the first book I ever read that introduced an LGBTQI+ character. Funnily enough, throughout the entire series there is a f-f couple who feature heavily in the children’s lives. But, like the children in this story, I really didn’t pay it much heed. It’s not until it is outright mentioned that I really noticed. But that was, you know, when I was a child. I do love how seamlessly Pierce does this though. It’s a great way to show inclusion without making much of a fuss. Now I just hope that there’s another story in the future that shows each of the four finding their happily ever after person…

<- ShatterglassMelting Stones ->

Image source: Goodreads

Biting Bad by Chloe Neill

Overview
Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires, #8) by Chloe Neill

Title: Biting Bad
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #8
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: A giant soaking tub sat in one corner, and tonight, it bore a surprise.

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Synopsis

Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.

Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City, come hell or high water.

Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.

Thoughts

I remember being a bit “eh” about House Rules. It was a good book, but didn’t really grab my attention, and so I took a break from this series. I kind of expected to get the same feeling from Biting Bad, but figured I’d give it a shot anyway. And boy, am I glad that I did. This was almost a revamp of the energy that I found in the first few Chicagoland Vampires books. It had all of that paranormal fun that I was hoping for, plus a number of riots and a lot of sword-wielding. What more could a girl ask for?

Ethan and Merit have taken a long, long time to find their happy-place in their relationship. At first it was supremely frustrating… stubborn and stubborn just constantly clashing and butting heads. But, as this series has evolved, that stubbornness has had a truly endearing quality. And I love that in Biting Bad, they’ve finally found their sweet-spot with their different character quirks and managed to find their happily ever after. Or at least, the beginnings of it.

There is something a little more unique about Chicagoland Vampires in the genre of vampire stories. Probably because it deals a lot more with the inter-politics between humans and vampires – most stories they are not political stories which are discussed between the two races. In fact, they are largely separate. I love that there is a hugely political spin to not just all of the character interactions, but also huge aspects of the storyline. Right down to where the different branches of the police are called in.

I really wasn’t expecting the ending to this story. I thought that some aspects of this novel would carry on until the next and some would cease to exist in this story. I was pretty much 100% wrong on both aspects. Which just makes me want to read the next novel even more… I just have to dig it out of my shelves first…

<- House RulesHigh Stakes ->

Image source: Goodreads

Sunchaser’s Quest by Mary Stanton

Overview
Sunchaser's Quest (Unicorns of Balinor): Stanton, Mary ...

Title: Sunchaser’s Quest
Author: Mary Stanton
Series: Unicorns of Balinor #2
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Unicorns
Dates read: 24th – 25th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Year: 1999
5th sentence, 74th page: She got on her knees and softly stroked the collie’s ears.

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Synopsis

A DANGEROUS JOURNEY

Princess Arianna has returned to Balinor – a peaceful, magical world watched over by a herd of beautiful unicorns. But a dark presence has invaded the land. And Arianna has no memory of her past or how to tend to her wounded unicorn, Sunchaser.

The unicorn’s horn was broken in battle and he is very weak. The journey to get Suncahser’s horn restored will be long and very dangerous. But it is Sunchaser’s only hope. And – as Arianna and Sunchaser soon learn – the only hope for all of Balinor.

Thoughts

This is one of those very fun, quick and easy reads. One that you can sit down and spend half hour, hour on and enjoy it. Without having to think too deeply about what you are reading and just genuinely enjoy the journey. It’s a nice journey and one that I found was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, between reading textbooks and trying to cram other information into my poor brain.

I like that the first story in this series starts with a bit of a mystery as to Ari’s past and what happened in her “accident”. In this novel, they begin to remember their horrible past and find ways to move onto the future. There are so many instances where things are nicely revealed, and you can begin to build upon the history of the story. And can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.

Probably one of the things that I really like about this novel is that it is got a world that is full of unicorns. And they’re integral to the connection between man and animal. It is such a sweet, innocent world. Something that is great in a children’s fantasy novel. The innocence that you associate with unicorns just flows off of the pages.

This is such a nice, pleasant read and I seriously wish that I was able to read it as a child. Its definitely one of those very childish, easy reading stories. But it was also cute and ridiculously innocent. Which is what all good young children books should be.

<- The Road to BalinorValley of Fear ->

Image source: Amazon

9 from the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for book cover 9 from the nine worlds

Title: 9 from the Nine Worlds
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 8th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I faced the inside of the V so I could keep an eye on the harp and the giant.

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Synopsis

How well do you know the nine Norse Realms?

Do you get all those heims mixed up? Well, this collection of rollicking short stories – each set in a different world and told by a different character from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series – will help straighten you out. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll enjoy reading about how Alex saves Amir’s pants, Samirah plucks a giant’s harp, Mallory teaches a dragon how to throw down insults, and much more. Just watch out for Thor, who is running through the whole thing and raising quite a stink.

Thoughts

This was such a nice way to round out the end of the Magnus Chase series. It’s not the ending perse, just a way to revisit all of the characters after Magnus and Loki’s final, epic battle. You get to go on a journey through each of the nine worlds with nine different, well loved characters. As I said, a nice, easy way to round out the series.

This story kind of reads like a bit of an epilogue. It tells you of the adventures that the secondary characters all have after they’ve postponed Ragnarök. I like that although the end of the world has been postponed, these characters are still constantly fighting little battles. Finding a way to carve out a better reality for themselves as they live out their (mostly) immortal lives.

I think that one of the reasons I’ve loved the Magnus Chase series so thoroughly is the fact that it has a hugely diverse set of characters. They’re part of the LGBTQI community, or the Muslim community… or… well, there are a number of minorities represented in this story. And they’re actually the ones that feature within this book. Not the lead, but all of those fantastic secondary characters that are a great way to bring acceptance and understanding into peoples’ lives.

<- Hotel ValhallaThe Sword of Summer ->

Image source: Amazon

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

Overview
Image result for book cover the ship of the dead

Title: Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Norse mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 3rd – 11th February 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Puffin Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: My ears still rang from the weird music.

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Synopsis

My name is Magnus Chase. These days, I’m one of Odin’s immortal warriors, but that doesn’t stop people trying to kill me all the time.

Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. He’s put together a crew of giants and zombies to sail Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, in a battle against the Norse gods. If he succeeds, the final battle of Ragnarok will extinguish all the worlds.

With help from Percy Jackson and my cousin Annabeth, and with friends by my side, I have to sail across the oceans to reach Naglfar before Midsummer’s Day. The only problems are the angry sea gods, hostile giants and evil fire-breathing dragon in the way.

But even if we survive the journey I’ll need more than just Jack, my talking sword, to beat Loki. I must find a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make me powerful enough to defeat Loki and put him back in chains for good… or destroy me entirely.

Thoughts

This is a great ending to a really good, fun series. I love that Riordan deals with outsiders in all of his series. But, in particular, I love that this series ends with a gender fluid person finding their happily ever after. Plus, it does explain a lot about the different “outsiders”, not just through Alex and their gender identity, but also with a great Muslim character who is devout, sweet and quite capable of kicking everyone’s butt.

Sam’s participation in Ramadan is a great storyline. There is so much fear and superstition against Muslims, so featuring a pretty major practice for this religion in a very well-loved character was brilliant. I actually wished more children’s books would feature people of different faiths, religions and identities. It’s definitely something I could have done more with as a child. And it’s a great way to help the next generation become far more accepting of differences.

Although this is the final, epic battle of the series. It really wasn’t the epic battle that I was expecting. I was expecting something with a lot of gunfire, violence and just plain, old insanity. It wasn’t like that. It was a much more entertaining, funny and unique way to stop the end of the world. All in the company of a giant boat coloured like a banana… something that had me laughing out loud repeatedly throughout this story.

The Ship of the Dead might be the conclusion to the Magnus Chase series, it’s not the end of this greater adventure that Riordan has been taking us all on. Actually, the end chapter of this dovetails perfectly into The Trials of Apollo and, luckily… that is sitting on my shelf. Just waiting to be picked up.

<- The Hammer of ThorHotel Valhalla ->

Image source: Toppsta

The Walled Garden by Michele Lang

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of time travel romance book cover

Title: The Walled Garden
Author: Michele Lang
In: The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fae
Dates read: 20th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: You already know me from class and by my sign.

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Synopsis

An attack has left her lost, confused and scared. But, a chance encounter with a polite young man might help to lead her on the way to recovery. Or a whole new world.

Thoughts

This short story was in a collection of time travel romances… yet, I spent the entire time trying to figure out where the time travelling actually was. There were bits and pieces of time travelling. But I wouldn’t put it on a shelf with that theme. This felt more about venturing into the underground worlds of the fae and the Otherworld.

I love that this story is all about recovering and finding your own way forwards after tragedy. Bouncing back is important, and we all do it in our ways. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go about it by venturing through a strange underground garden… but it was still a great way to find out how to recover and find your new reality.

There is a super surreal feeling to this entire story. Even trying to articulate what happened and why I enjoyed this is difficult. It’s like when you dream that you’re walking through a mist, and everything you experience is completely real. But it’s also entirely emotional. That’s the way that this story feels as you journey through the pages to the end.

 <- Time Trails ReviewCatch the Lightning Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Black as Ink by Tanith Lee

Overview
Image result for red as blood tanith lee book cover

Title: Black as Ink
Author: Tanith Lee
In: Red as Blood (Tanith Lee)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves:  Easy reading, Fairy tales
Dates read: 14th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Wildside
Year: 1983
5th sentence, 74th page: You hear me?

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Synopsis

When Victor sees the woman of his dreams across the lake, he becomes infatuated. That is, until he meets the uncle. Years later, he runs across the same girl. And discovers that she has become black as ink.

Thoughts

Unlike the rest of the short stories in the Red as Blood collection, this is not a retelling of any fairy tale that I recognise. Yet, there was still that lilting, fairy tale feel to the tale that made me feel like almost, almost this could be a story which I’ve read before. If I could just remember it… that’s how it felt anyway.

As with many of the stories in this collection, the ending to this was a little tragic. Actually, something about the poetic sweetness of the ending made it all that much more unfortunate. Especially since at the beginning you kind of believe that this could be a love story… hint. It’s not. It’s something… darker about our hidden instincts and desires. The ones that are black as ink.

Like the rest of the short stories in this collection, Black as Ink is kind of dark. A little bit twisted. And a really, really enjoyable read. One that I will probably pick up again in the future when I don’t want / need all those happily ever afters that tend to fill my shelves.

 <- Wolfland ReviewBeauty Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Holes by Louis Sachar

Overview
Image result for book cover holes louis sachar

Title: Holes
Author: Louis Sachar
Series: Holes #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Contemporary, Easy reading
Dates read: 26th November – 1st December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: But the last thing he wanted to do after digging all day was to dig at night, too.

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Synopsis

Stanley Yelants has bad luck (which is all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather).

When Stanley’s bad luck unfairly lands him in the juvenile detention centre Camp Green Lake (a very weird place that isn’t green and doesn’t have a lake), he and his campmates Zero, X-Ray, Armpit, Squid, Magnet and Zigzag are forced to dig holes in order to build character…

But what are they really digging for?

Thoughts

This is one of those books where I’m actually not sure if the book or the movie is better… I can remember watching the movie as a teenager in high school. It’s one of those that seems to be a staple of the Australian high school experience. But I’d never had the chance to actually read the book. I’m not entirely sure how it’s a classic – it seems a little too easy to read. But I do understand why so many people enjoy reading it.

This was such an incredibly easy read. Like, ridiculously. I ripped through it in next to no time (when I actually got a chance to sit down). Although it did flick through past and present a little, it wasn’t done in any kind of confusing way. The language was incredibly easy and accessible. And the entire story was just generally easy to follow and fun to read. I’ll be interested to see what the other books in the series are going to be like…

Holes is kind of an intense story. It is, after all, about a boy who is incarcerated. There’s not going to be sweet, innocent characters in a story like that. It is also about righting the wrongs of the past, finding yourself and, I think most importantly finding a way to like yourself. Or at least, that was the journey that I really got for Stanley. He might have lost a little weight because of his time at Camp Green, but it mostly ends with his actually accepting who he is and finding a friend who feels the same.

I absolutely adore how all of the threads of this story are interwoven. The past, the present, and the future are all weirdly interconnected. It’s hard to write like this in a way that doesn’t feel clunky and contrived. And Sachar manages to do this perfectly. All of the connected lines are completely natural and you only truly realise how they are linked at the very end of the story.

 <- Small Steps ReviewStanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake Review ->

Image source: Amazon

Burned Promises by Willow Winters

Overview
Image result for book cover burned promises willow winters

Title: Burned Promises
Author: Willow Winters
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceEasy reading
Dates read: 18th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Willow Winters Publishing
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Like it’s what I was meant to do.

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Synopsis

From USA Today bestselling author Willow Winters comes an emotionally gripping, standalone, second chance romance.

He made a promise.
And then he broke it.
That’s what happens with your first love.

I didn’t expect for Derek to fall back into my life and for me to fall back into his bed. Time changes a lot of things, but it doesn’t change everything.

It doesn’t change the way he makes my heart kip or the way my lungs stop when he stares deep into my eyes.

It didn’t change his bad boy ways either and I should be smart enough to tell him no this time around.

I should be, I know what it’s like to be burned by him. But it’s so hard to walk away when his touch begs me to stay and the pain in his eyes cuts me deeper than anything else in this world.

Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this story – but I was a bit thrown out by the little prologue. It really didn’t fit into the story – and the broken promise from the blurb… not entirely sure where that whole idea came from either. If you ignore those two teases, this is actually a really fun, cute and easy read. It’s romantic, fun and has definitely made me want to buy a few more books by Willow Winters since it was just such a pleasant experience.

I seriously recognise the feeling of falling for someone you’re not entirely sure is good for you. Or that you’re convinced is going to somehow break your heart. I’m sure most people have had that moment. Luckily, like Emma it turned out that the man I fell for was actually falling for me to – it just took him a little longer to show me. And although I started out thinking that Emma’s love really wasn’t going to work well for her and end in some kind of weird compromise, it turned out just as brilliantly as my own off-kilter love story.

I’ve read a lot of romances over the past two years (I never really got into them until recently), but I’ve never actually read one which features a drug lord. Hired killers, shapeshifters and some kind of messed up men, sure… but never a drug lord. With a cancer mother. It was certainly a new one for me. And I think that it worked beautifully. Certainly enjoyed it.

This book was just beautiful. Not only was it about second chances and finding love, but it was also about love and family. A novel that will definitely hold a happy little place in my heart.

 <- Broken ReviewCuffed Kiss Review ->

Image source: Goodreads