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Review: Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien

in a sentence or so: a naughty little puppy named Rover is quite rude to a crotchety magician. the magician, needless to say, does not take too kindly to Rover's rudeness and turns him into a toy pup. will Rover be able to ever become a real puppy again?

Rover, who reminds me a lot of the Pokey Little Puppy (which is like my FAVE children's book ever), ticks off a magician. his journey then begins on finding his way back to becoming a real dog. he is put in a store window and purchased by a mom for her son, Boy 2 (her second child). Boy 2 is smitten with the toy Rover, but Rover is more concerned about become real again, not just being some little boy's toy. one day on the beach, Rover slips out of Boy 2's pocket and waits in the sand for another magician to help guide him on his journey towards real-dog-hood again.

this was a really creative story. and no wonder, i mean it is written by Tolkien and all. Rover spends equal time on earth, on the moon, and in the sea. the writing feels like a parent telling their child a story, which it is. this was written by Tolkien for his son (Boy 2) after he was distraught over losing his toy dog at the beach (Rover). Tolkien draws heavily from Norse mythology in the weaving of his story and has plenty of nods to (then) cultural references. there is a note section in the back of this edition that helps guide the reader who may not be the most familiar with the year 1925 - when this was originally written.

complete with dragons, wizards, and the stuff dreams - and nightmares - are made of, Rover remained a realistic and sweet character. he meets lots of fun people and has lots of wacky experiences along the way, as any good adventurer does. this is a cute, fun, sweet and quick read for people of any age.

fave quote: "The moon-dog did not blush, because he could not; and he did not say anything, but he went and sat down in a corner and wondered how much the old man knew of everything that went on, and everything that was said, too. Also for a little while he wondered what exactly the old man meant; but that did not bother him long - he was a lighthearted fellow." 37

fix er up: i got a bit impatient for things to be wrapped up. i don't really know why...it's all of 80 pages!

title: Roverandom
author: J.R.R. Tolkien

genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book One) by Libba Bray

in a sentence or so: Gemma Doyle wants to go to london like every other 16 year old. she finally gets her wish...after she has a vision of her mom (which turns out to be real) committing suicide while escaping a mysterious black shadow beast.

Gemma arrives to Spence Academy in the middle of the year - which means everyone already knows each other, she has last pick of rooms/roommate, and is automatically the odd girl out. as if having weird visions that she can't control doesn't make her odd enough. after some cruel-yet-typical adolescent girl hazing, she finds her way into the popular girl crowd at Spence. her condition upon entering the popular clique is that they include Ann, Gemma's pudgy, boring, scholarship roommate. Gemma and Ann, combined with Pippa (the beauty) and Felicity (the powerful one), they start hanging out in a cave on the school grounds and take to reading an old mysterious diary...and then start doing magic...

though it started off a bit blah for me, things started to build up pretty quickly. especially with Kartik, the mysterious potential love-interest, who tells Gemma to avoid the visions at all cost. which of coruse, she doesn't. there are dark forces out there that are trying to get at Gemma, and she's just trying to figure it all out before it's too late. and keep her friends safe, and her spiritual connection with her mother, and learn how to be a proper british lady all at the same time.

since this is the first book in a trilogy, i think a lot of the novel was set up. a lot of character development, loose ends, and plot development. while i did genuinely enjoy the characters and the story, overall it felt a bit blah to me. not sure if i'll read the next two. maybe if i can read them for free... to be fair, i really did enjoy the wit, creative phrasing, and the feel of the book in general. the characters and the writing were complex, but very easy to relate to and stay in touch with throughout.

fave quote: "This is how fires start. With a spark. And I see the spark catching the wind." (375)

fix er up: just felt a bit blah to me.

title: A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book One)
author: Libba Bray
genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy