River Secrets

by Shannon Hale

To prevent another war with Tira, Bayern agrees to an Ambassador exchange. Captian Talone and his group of twenty soldiers have to escort Lady Megina, the Ambassador, to Tira. Razo is happy to get chosen to be part of the group, but he's surprised. He's short but funny, likes to eat a lot of food, and better with a sling than a sword. He's not the greatest fighter ever. As they're traveling to Tira, he finds the first burnt body of a Tiran. After discoveries of more burnt bodies, Talone appoints Razo as a spy because of his keen observation. Now it's up to Razo to find out who's behind all of this before another war breaks out between Bayern and Tira...

Shannon Hale did a great job writing in a boy's perspective for the first time. Razo's such a funny character! He's short and has no special abilities like Isi or Enna, but he has a great sense of humor! Some examples of his humor:

(pg. 44-45)

"You're a Bayern," A freckled serving girl gaped, a smear of something fluffy across her cheek. 

"I am?" Razo took the metal spoon from her hand and looked himself in its silvery spoon. "Nah, I couldn't be. Bayern aren't this good-looking."

(pg. 6)

"Who know what dangers you'll face?" Geric was saying. "We need boys who can keep a clear head, smart lads..."

That's two for me, Razo thought.

"...and strong, too..."


"...and good fighters."

Counts me out...

Well, there were a lot more and they were funnier too, but I can't find them anymore. These were the first two I thought of. (Oh, there's this hilarious scene where Razo accuses Enna of shrinking his pants.) Anyways, this was actually the first book where there's a mystery to be solved, and I liked that. Razo gets help from Enna and Finn and a new character Dasha, the daughter of Tiran's Ambassador, who has the power to control water. It was nice how Razo grew up throughout the book and realizes that you don't special abilites to be impressive. You can just be yourself. What I like the best about Shannon Hale's books are the characters. They're strong and they're well developed. They're believable and anyone can relate to them. Her stories are very enchanting too. :)

P.S. I adore Allison Jay's covers! They're all so beautiful but I especially like this cover!



I am at my dad's office now, dying of boredom. I brought my health textbook and papers and stuff to study, and now I'm taking a break because I'm tired of reading about eating healthy. Unfortunately, I never brought anything else to do. I left my iPod at home and I forgot North of Beautiful (I never actually got a chance to read it yet). Rishi's playing on his Nintendo DS, which he often does. He brought James and the Giant Peach to read, but I highly doubt it'll ever get opened. I took some paperclips and started making a paperclip chain, but it got bent in some weird way, so I ditched it. Since I have nothing else to do, I'll tell a funny story:

On Saturday evening, I went at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen to help out. Before we started serving, we went into the kitchen to get the drinks. I noticed on the island in the center of the kitchen, a container with some yellowish-white contents in it. It looked a lot like vanilla ice-cream. I asked my friend Grace if it was. Grace's friend, Ian, who happened to overhear my question, was like "no, it's BUTTER, not ice-cream." He laughed and said "That's not something you would want to mistake it for." Embarrassed that I mistook butter for vanilla ice-cream, I hung my head in shame and didn't say anything else. The End. 

Ok, so maybe that story wasn't that funny, but I know that's one incident I'll never forget in a long time. How I mistook butter for ice-cream, I'll never get. (But you know, it really did look like ice-cream.) I think I'll go back to studying Health now. 


A few thoughts on Stormbreaker

I watched the movie, Operation Stormbreaker, a few days ago along with my younger brother, Rishi, and a few of his friends. We had such an adventure in Blockbuster, searching for a good movie to watch. We spent at least an hour walking around, arguing with each other about movies. As I was walking past a shelf, I saw Stormbreaker. I remembered seeing the movie poster a couple of years ago somewhere and my English teacher recommending the book to us in 8th grade saying that it had a James Bond feeling to it. Out of desperation to get out Blockbuster, I grabbed the movie and showed it my young little friends, hoping that they would say yes and we could go home, finally. Just as I hoped, they took a liking to it and gave it to my mom so she could pay for it.

We went home and my brother immediately popped the DVD into the DVD player and turned on the TV.
Here's a little summary: After Alex Rider's uncle, Ian Rider, gets murdered, M16 (the FBI of England) persuades Alex to work for them and continue Ian's mission and find out the secret behind the computer, Stormbreaker and it's creator, Herrod Sayle. (Alex is only fourteen, by the way.)

The movie was a bit boring to watch. I liked Alex Pettyfer, the actor playing Alex Rider, but I thought he looked too old to play a 14-year-old. Most of the movie dragged. There were a lot of amazing action scenes though. (It looked like they cared more about the action than the script.) Rishi and his friends were staring at the screen with wide-eyes, gasping or exclaiming "woah!" whenever Alex did some cool action stunt. I like spy/action movies, but this one was not that interesting. (The best scene was probably when he crashed through the roof of the science museum at the end. There was also this part when Alex was riding a horse to Sayle's tower and getting chased by the bad guys. That scene was fun to watch.)

Even though I wasn't a big fan of the movie, I decided to get the book because usually, the books are way better than the movie. (And I love mysteries and spy stories. I didn't like the movie, but I liked the story behind it.) I got the book last night and finished it a few minutes ago. The book is a lot better than the movie. It was more suspenseful, and I loved Alex. His character was so serious in the movie and doesn't act at all like a fourteen-year-old, but in the book, he's more fun to read about. Everything has a more mysterious appeal in the book and interesting. The characters are more developed too. As I thought, there were a lot of great scenes in the book that were omitted in the movie. If script writers had stuck to the book, the movie would've been more entertaining. The movie will probably be appealing to guys 12 and younger, but the book will be a wonderful read for anyone who likes mysteries, spies, or something like that. I can't wait to read the rest of the books! I honestly didn't know this book was this interesting. Maybe I should listen to my teachers more often...


The Goose Girl

by Shannon Hale

A little summary:
While Princess Anidori is traveling to Bayern, to marry the Prince, she gets betrayed by Selia, her evil lady-in-waiting and her guards. She escapes and Selia sets of to Bayern to take her place as the Princess. Ani takes refuge as a goose girl while plotting how to get back her crown and her name.
(Ok, I know the summary is really bad. I'm horrible at writing summaries, but I'm working on it!)

A little review:
The Goose Girl is perfect in every way possible. It has a girl that can talk to birds and horses, betrayals, magic, romance, suspense, and a beautiful climax. What more could you want? I could not put this book down. Ani is a really admirable character and I loved how she grows throughout the book. She was so shy and unsure of herself at the beginning, but by the end, she turned into a courageous, independent, and strong young woman. I also loved how she could interact with the animals and the wind. (That would be really fun if I could do that.)

I just love this story so much! *sigh* Now I don't want to return it to the library!


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline

This is the story of Edward Tulane, a china bunny. He's arrogant, proud, and vain. He loves no one but himself. He stays with a girl named Abilene, who pampers and loves him very much. One day, when Abilene's family is traveling to England on a ship, he is accidentally thrown overboard. From there he meets old ladies, learns the constellations from a fisherman, travels with a hobo, comforts a dying girl and her brother and while all this is happening, he learns to love.

The story of Edward Tulane was sad but touching. His journey was truly a miraculous journey. The growth of Edward's character is beautiful. Even though he's just a china bunny and so annoyingly vain, he turns into a really cute character. The illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline were wonderful. (The cover is amazing.) They're sweet and they match the story very well. As you can see, it's a wonderful book and I recommend it to anyone who likes a pleasant and quick read.