While other people made themselves sick on too many candied hearts and caramel-filled chocolates, and ruined their noses with smelling too many flowers and their own perfume, the Reading Hedgehog and I made ourselves sick on books. And while they made dates with their beaus and peer sadly into their now-depleted pocket-books, we hung out with a ton of books in my library, staying up to ungodly hours and whispering sweet good-nights when the clock finally announced that I was being ridiculous - did I want to look like a nocturnal creature in the morning? This didn't bother the hedgie, of course, since he is a nocturnal creature. There were a few book-dates that I would rather have canceled, but there were quite a few good ones, too, and here they are!
The Beggar Queen by Lloyd Alexander (4/5)
The finale in the Westmark Trilogy, The Beggar Queen makes up completely for what minor flaws The Kestrel had. It's every bit as good as the first book, and a tremendously wonderful conclusion to this awesome trilogy. Be prepared to have your tissues on hand, girls, because this one is a real tear-jerker. Let's just say that Lloyd Alexander is not afraid to kill his characters off - at all. The characters fare their last harrowing challenge, coming face-to-face with their inner demons, and fighting to the last to protect their beloved homeland. The stakes are high, and I couldn't wait to see how everything would turn out. Girl-and-guy read (there's plenty of fighting and not much romance, thank goodness), perfect for any age.
On a Foreign Field by Hazel West (4/5)
A new telling of William Wallace's famous rebellion against the tyrannical rule of Edward Longshanks by self-published Author Hazel West. Reeve is an English knight who is proud to serve his king and country. But becoming the prisoner of Wallace's army soon makes him doubt the cause he is serving, and he begins to realize that the Scots are fast becoming more brothers to him than his own countrymen ever were. Rich in historical details, the strength of brotherhood, and memorable characters, On a Foreign Field is an exciting new adventure in Scotland's most famous time in history. Girl-and-guy read, ideal for historical fiction fans, ages thirteen and up.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (3/5)
The first in a series, Cinder is probably the most original fairytale retelling I have ever read. We all know Cinderella's story, and we've all read her story set in a medieval world, the 1700s, even the Victorian era. But this is the first time where that memorable girl-of-all-work has been turned into a cyborg, put in a futuristic Beijing, and given the occupation of mechanic rather than housemaid. Doesn't sound like it would work, does it? But Marissa Meyer pulls it off remarkably well, giving Readers a protagonist we can care about, and blessedly focuses more on Cinder's world's political and economical upheavals rather than the romance between her and her "Prince Charming." Girl-and-guy read, fourteen-and-up. I would encourage even the more devoted fairytale-retelling fan to give this one a try, even if cyborgs aren't your thing.