Prada & Prejudice

You may have noticed that the titles of my last two books are very similar.  Prom and Prejudice was a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.  I thought I was in for more of the same with my latest read, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.  Alas, I was sadly mistaken.  The book was good, but, when you’re expecting Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy in a title that ends with and Prejudice, it’s a bit of a downer when they don’t show up.  That being said, our main character, Callie, does take a journey to Regency England, but not in the way you might think…

Callie is a bit clumsy.  She’s kind of nerdy.  And she’s tired of the other girls looking down on her because she doesn’t always have the best of everything.  So, when she’s on her school trip to London, she takes her “for emergencies only” credit card and purchases a stellar pair of Prada heels.  (And really, isn’t needing a pair of great shoes kind of an emergency?  Right?)  The only problem is that Callie can’t really walk in them.  (I believe I mentioned she’s clumsy.)  As she’s stumbling along in her new $400 torture devices shoes, Callie trips, falls, and it’s lights out…

…and she wakes up in a forest with absolutely nothing familiar around her.  Where is she?  What happened to the busy streets of London?  Why is there absolutely no one around her?  Well, the answers to these questions are a little more complicated than Callie counted on.  You see, she’s somehow gone from modern London to an English country estate in the year 1815!  What?  How is this even possible?  She must have hit her head harder than she thought if she really believes she’s traveled through time.

But as Callie enters this strange world and is taken in by people who believe her to be a long-lost friend, she begins to wonder if this could be real.  And if it is, does she want to return to her old life, where she was a nobody, or should she stay here with people she’s grown to love and cherish?  Does she even have a choice in the matter?  Find out when you read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.

While this was a cute book, it reminded me a lot of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and I was always searching for a connection to Pride and Prejudice.  I think a different title would have served the story better and not given any false hope to Austen fans.  That being said, this was a fun, light read that will appeal to middle grade girls on up to adult readers.  Prada and Prejudice will definitely delight those readers who have always wished to live in a different time.  (I am not one of those people…unless we’re talking about “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”)

For more information on author Mandy Hubbard and her other books, visit http://www.mandyhubbard.com/index.php/books/.  Enjoy!

Sabotaged

Proceed with caution if you haven’t read the first two books in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series.  (Of course, given how confused I was through most of the third book, I don’t know that reading the first two books really helped all that much.)  On with the show…

I may have mentioned before that the thought of time travel really messes with my head.  Too many “what if” situations pop up, and I feel like my brain will explode trying to unravel all of the possibilities.  I even had issues with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because Hermione used a time-turner to take more classes.  The potential for catastrophe was huge, and I can’t handle that kind of stress.  Well, as you may imagine, my latest read has my head spinning.  Sabotaged is the third book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series, and it is just as confusing, if not more, than the second book, Sent.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll stick with this series simply because my brain cannot take that kind of pressure.  (That’s probably not true, by the way.  Those that know me realize that I have to finish a series once I’ve started.  I need closure.)

In Sabotaged, Jonah and his sister, Katherine, are once again trying to fix time.  This go-round, they’re attempting to help Andrea, one of the missing children from history, get back to her original time to fix whatever needs fixing.  And who is Andrea, you ask?  She’s really Virginia Dare, presumably the first child born in the Americas to English parents in the “lost colony” at Roanoke Island.

Jonah, Katherine, Andrea/Virginia, and a dog named Dare begin their journey back in time with the help of their guide, JB.  Almost immediately, however, things begin to go wrong.  Their only source of communication with JB disappears, they seem to land in the wrong place and time, and things are just not going the way they’re supposed to.  What has happened?  How can they get back to the 21st century?  What are they supposed to do?

As events unfold, it becomes clearer and clearer that JB may not be the one “guiding” Jonah, Katherine, and Andrea/Virginia.  There is a more sinister plot afoot, a plot that could impact the flow of history.  Who has sabotaged this mission?  Does JB know anything about it?  If not, how can Jonah and the gang possibly get out of this predicament?  Read Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix to find out.

Like I stated previously, this book was very confusing, but the author’s note at the end did shed a lot of light on the subject matter.  (I probably should have read this first.)  Haddix really did her research on Virginia Dare, the Roanoke colony, and early settlements in North America.  For more information on Sabotaged and the other books in The Missing series, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Sent

Yet another spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read Found, the first book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series, skip this post.  This is one series where you must read the first book to understand the second (and so forth).  Proceed at your own risk!

Today, I finished reading Sent, the second book in The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  The entire concept of time travel mixed with famous missing children throughout history is an interesting one, and I think Found did an awesome job of leading readers into this series.  (I still don’t think most elementary school students will understand a lot of what’s going on, but what do I know.)

In Sent, Jonah, Katherine, Chip, and Alex are sent back to fifteenth century England.  Why, you ask?  Well, as it turns out, Chip and Alex are really Edward V, future king of England, and his brother, Prince Richard.  The two boys were stolen from this time just before their uncle, Richard III, ascended to the throne.  Why did their uncle become king instead of Edward?  Why does no one know what really happened to Edward/Chip and Richard/Alex?  It’s up to Jonah and crew to find out and make things right before it’s too late.  Can they do it without screwing up history?  I’ll leave that for you to discover.

I don’t really know what more I can say about this book without giving everything away, so I’ll keep this post short.  I will say that I spent a lot of my time reading this book in a state of confusion.  Keeping track of Edward/Chip and Richard/Alex was mind-numbing, and I’m sure I’ll experience the same thing throughout the rest of the series.  I’m a linear thinker, and contemplating time travel really messes with my head.  I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.  I may take a little break, though, before I begin reading book three, Sabotaged.  I need to give my brain a rest.

For more information on The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Found

When I started reading my latest book, I was reminded of how I felt when I watched that epic TV series, Lost.  I didn’t understand most of what was going on (much like the characters); when I thought I knew what was going on, I was proved wrong about five minutes later; and I experienced a great deal of confusion about what would/could happen when people meddled with the time-space continuum.  That’s pretty heavy stuff.  And the book I just finished reading is marketed to younger readers.  (It’s currently on the South Carolina Children’s Book Award nominee list…for grades three to six.)  This book is Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix and is the first book in her series, The Missing.  Now, I don’t know if many elementary school students will be able to grasp what is going on in this book.  I even had issues at times.  I do, however, think this book is perfect for middle grade readers and even young adults.  It’s just a good book with an interesting premise, and it will definitely make readers think.  That’s always a plus.

“It wasn’t there.  Then it was.”

Those are the words an eyewitness used to describe the mysterious plane that appeared at an Ohio airport thirteen years ago.  The plane just appeared at the gate.  There was no pilot.  There were no flight attendants.  There were no adults on board at all.  Just babies.  Thirty-six babies.  No one really knew how they got there or how a plane could just appear, seemingly out of thin air.

Fastforward thirteen years…

Jonah has always known he was adopted.  His parents never kept it a secret from him.  He knows nothing about his birth parents or his life before the adoption.  But someone does.  One day, Jonah receives a letter in the mail–no return address–that says, “You are one of the missing.”  Jonah doesn’t really know what it means, but when his new friend Chip, who is also adopted, receives one of these letters, Jonah begins to wonder if the letters are somehow connected to their adoptions.

Jonah, Chip, and Katherine, Jonah’s sister, begin investigating the mystery surrounding them, especially when a second letter is received that states, “Beware!  They’re coming back to get you.”  Who’s “they?”  Where are they coming from, and where do they plan to take Jonah and Chip?  Are they going to take anyone else?

As the mystery unfolds, it becomes clear (sort of) that Jonah, Chip, and many others, are part of something they knew nothing about.  A battle that spreads across time itself.  What does this mean?  Can they ever return to their boring, normal lives?  What is so special about them?  Begin unraveling the mystery when you read Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Found is just the first book in The Missing series.  The second and third books are now available as well.  The second book is Sent, and the third is Sabotaged.  As soon as I get these books in my school library, I plan to read them.  To find out more about The Missing and Margaret Peterson Haddix, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Well, another school year has begun, and I think I’m finally over my back-to-school reading slump.  It’s been worse this year than in previous years.  That may have something to do with the fact that, due to budget cuts, I was moved from my job in a high school library (which I loved) to an elementary school library (which is okay but will take a lot of adjusting).  Anyhoo, I just haven’t wanted to read much lately, but I think the dark times have passed a bit.  I’ve finally finished a book that should’ve taken me only days to get through instead of weeks–Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.

Courtney Stone, self-proclaimed Jane Austen addict, is in a bit of a predicament.  She’s not herself.  And when I say “not herself,” I really mean it.  She has just awakened in a body and time that is not her own.  After going a little nuts following a bad breakup, it seems she has mysteriously traded lives with a young woman in Regency England.  Who is this young woman?  How could this possibly happen?  And is there any way for Courtney to get back to her own life?

Courtney finds that she must, at least for now, live the life of one Jane Mansfield.  She knows nothing about this new life, how to behave properly, or how to deal with the horrible way women are treated (especially single women).  It doesn’t seem to matter how many times Courtney read Jane Austen’s novels.  They in no way prepared her for what life was actually like in this time period.

As Courtney begins to take on more and more of Jane’s life, including a courtship with the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth and a chance meeting with Jane Austen herself, she wonders if she’ll ever be able to return home or if she really even wants to.  Is Courtney destined to truly become Jane Mansfield?  Read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to find out.

I must admit that this book was not my favorite Austen-associated novel.  I found myself getting distracted a lot, and the book was a bit repetitive at times.  I still plan to read the sequel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, but it will probably be a while before I get around to it.  If you’d like more information about these books, visit http://www.janeaustenaddict.com/.

Now, I must get ready for the big YA novel releases coming up.  The third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay, will be released on August 24th, and the first book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel, will be released on August 31st.  Yeah, I think my reading slump is over.  Yay!