We, the eminently knowledgeable and sophisticated staff here at Bubble Bath Books . . . O.K. There is no staff. No staph either. (That last gem was from Sissy, NOT Bubby. Just saying.) Where was I? Oh, yes. We, Bubby and Sissy, have decided that while we like to focus on newer releases in our reviews, that leaves out some of our old favorites. You know, the ones you go back to year after year because they are just THAT good. (We may have to translate some of Sissy’s picks from the original Egyptian scroll they were written on. She’s THAT old, you know). From now on, each Friday we will feature an oldie but goodie in a segment called “Friday Favorites.” (Sissy will make sure that Bubby isn’t allowed to choose the board books she still chews on!) Bubby and Sissy don’t always agree on what Friday favorites should be so Sissy threw a fit and decided she should get to choose first. We will alternate choosing a Favorite each week, starting, of course, with Sissy’s pick. Hope you enjoy!
You’ve grown up thinking that Robin Hood was a dashing, handsome young man in green. But what if he was really a she? Robin of Locksley is a headstrong young woman who is struggling to find her place in a male-dominated society when her father announces that she is to be married to the Sheriff of Nottingham. Unable to accept this fate, Robin rebels and tries to flee to the safety of London to seek aid from the King. Along the way she encounters deadly adventures and familiar characters and begins to make a life for herself among the trees of Sherwood Forest. Robin chooses to disguise herself as a boy and keeps isolated from the world until she rescues a young boy being beaten by the Sheriff’s soldiers. This incident marks the beginning of her role as leader of outlaws – soon to be known as “Robin’s Merry Men”. Robin’s endeavors to provide an honorable life for her people while, of course, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor make her beloved of the people, but enrage the Sheriff of Nottingham. She and her band are continually hunted by the Sheriff and his men, especially when she steals yet another prize from his grasp.Full of adventure and danger, bowmanship and daring robberies, companionship and romance, Robin: Lady of Legend is the exhilarating tale of the girl who became Robin Hood.
Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion,’ is a man who has a unique mental condition. He is able to generate multiple personalities that he can see and interact with just as if they were real people in the room. Each of these personalities has a highly specialized skill set which Stephen uses to solve the many dilemmas he encounters. As the story begins, Stephen Leeds and his personalities are hired to search for Balubal Razon, a missing inventor of a camera that can actually take pictures of the past. Starting in America, the book takes you all the way to Jerusalem. Along the way, Legion discusses complex questions such as the mysterious abilities of the human mind, how time works and the nature of faith.
Bubby: This is a novella from renowned Sci Fi/Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. It’s very short, only 88 pages, but well worth the $2.99 to get it as an e-book. I am constantly amazed at the diversity of Sanderson’s writing abilities. It’s amazing to think that this book came from the same mind that wrote the Mistborn series, finished Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and also wrote the young adult series Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians.
Sissy: Clever Brandon Sanderson came up with a new twist on multiple personalities in fiction. If I had hallucinations I would certainly want them to be helpful and brilliant, as these are, and not entities that tell me to kill people or blow up public buildings and such. At present I would like to have a computer genius for my imaginary friend.
Bubby: I love how the book managed to be both amusing and thought-provoking. One of the main questions was how would hard knowledge affect one’s faith? It’s interesting to think about. I have many things that I believe that cannot be proven or disproven scientifically. How would my belief, for example, in Santa Claus, change if I could photographically prove that he exists?
Sissy: Oh how Bubby doth wax philosophic today! Methinks she needs to read a comedy next. As for Santa Claus, he is real, end of story.
Bubby: But didn’t it make you have deep thoughts, Sissy? Or am I assuming too much to believe that you still CAN have deep thoughts? I love the way that Stephen relates to his alter-egos. They have to have their own seats on the airplane, their own room at his mansion and each is so completely different from the other.
Sissy: There is also an interesting sub-plot going on in this book about Stephen’s long-lost love, Sandra, which leads me to hope this will turn into a full-length novel or series of novellas. I could go for a series of Nutellas right now, and yes, I am ignoring Bubby’s hurtful insinuations about my cognitive abilities (or lack thereof). Anyway, our author has linked the two plots with a delightful clue, and I can’t wait for further mysteries for Stephen to solve and more searches for the beloved Sandra.
Bubby: It would be wonderful if this was turned into a full length novel. I would pre-order that right now! I have hope that Brandon Sanderson is leaning that way because of the tantalizing little hints about the previous romance with Sandra. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! I highly recommend all of Brandon Sanderson’s books – I own them all and they are all great. Legion gets 4 1/2 bubbles.
Sissy: Never read Sanderson before, but now I shall read more. It will not be a chore. (Bubby is grumbling in the background that this is not a Dr. Seuss blog and that I should not rhyme heretofore). I give Legion 4 solid bubbles (is that even possible?).
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch, the daughter of a non-gifted mother and a warlock. When she casts a spell at her high school prom and it goes horribly wrong , her father decides she will be punished by being exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. It just goes downhill from there for Sophie. By the end of her first day at Hex Hall she has made three powerful enemies, developed a crush on a hot warlock named Archer, and been assigned to a roommate who just happens to be the only vampire in the whole school. Just when Sophie thinks it can’t possibly get worse, she learns that someone, or something, has been attacking students and her new roommate is believed to be the culprit. As Sophie delves deeper into the mystery she uncovers the deadliest secret of all: an ancient society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Sissy: I had a love/hate relationship with this book and the subsequent two books in the series. It was one of those things where I HAD to know what happened and therefore had to buy the sequels but at times getting to the resolution made me feel fidgety and teeth-grindy.
Bubby: Pretty sure I bought all three of these and shared, but that’s not the point.
Sissy: Whatever. You know what I mean. I liked this author’s magical spin on diversity, and I liked the various twists and turns that kept things fairly interesting. The descriptions of Hex Hall and its matron were vivid and gave me anxiety, but in a good way. Plus there were some new and creepy paranormal beings introduced that could give me nightmares if I were an overly emotional person like Bubby.
Bubby: Not even going to respond to that attack on my character. (I am tender hearted, that’s all!) I did think that there was an overdose of teenage angst. I tend to lose patience quickly with kick butt girl characters who agonize over whether or not the hunky boy really likes them. On the other hand, I probably would have reacted the same way that Sophie did had I been in her situation. Cute boys still make me swoon!
Sissy: The teenage angst helps with the character development and story line, but sometimes I just want to tell the characters to shut up and own their “ness.” I was conflicted about Archer and the mysterious Groundskeeper boy. I couldn’t decide which one I thought Sophie should love, or who looked more like Zac Efron and who looked more like Chris Hemsworth in my mind.
Bubby: Own their own “ness”? I think I need to buy you a dictionary for Christmas. You keep making up words! Yes, there was too much emphasis on teenage romance issues. But I liked both boys too and overall it was a great book and a great series. It kept me interested all the way through and I can’t wait to read more by this author.
Sissy: I did like them. I did read them. I do recommend them. But, if there was a new episode of “Downton Abbey”, I would have watched that instead.
Click HERE to buy Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
© Bubble Bath Books 2012
18-year-old Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. While serving out a sentence of hard labor in the salt mines for her crimes, she is summoned to an audience with the Crown Prince, Prince Dorian. He offers to return her to full freedom if she will be his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Each member of the king’s council is to sponsor a champion- all grown men except for Celaena. If she can beat out her opponents in a series of elimination challenges, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted freedom. While she enjoys her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, she is bored and irritated by court life until suddenly one of the other contestants turns up dead. And then another. Now Celaena must find the killer before she becomes the next victim.
Bubby: This is a fantastic début by a new author. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I strongly recommend reading the four “prequel novellas”. They deal with Celeana’s life before the events in Throne of Glass and give a great look into her background. There are quite a few references in the novel to events that happened in the prequels so that might be confusing if you haven’t read them. (The novellas are The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Empire, The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Desert.)
Sissy: A bit violent. Enjoyed it nonetheless. It made me want to spruce up my assassin-ninja skills.
Bubby: It’s a book about assassins. Did you think it was going to NOT be violent? I didn’t think that the violence level was very high at all. Not anywhere near Hunger Games level, for instance.
Sissy: True that. However, what were you thinking, Bubby, when you threw me into this moral dilemma? How do I reconcile the fact that I love this protagonist and her companions when they kill people for a living?
Bubby: Yeah, I just ignored that part. I decided to assume that they only killed naughty people and so that makes it o.k. It’s not any different than a murder mystery, is it?
Sissy: I actually really liked the fact that there was a female heroine who could efficiently take out any guy. Kinda reminded me of myself.
Bubby: Umm. Yes. That’s what I was thinking all the way through. “Wow! The way Celaena just took that guy down TOTALLY reminds me of Sissy!” Not. But I did love the book and I can’t wait until the next installment in the series is published.
Sissy: If you like complex characters, intrigue and romance, do read Throne of Glass.
Bubby: I loved it. Have I mentioned that I loved it?
Click HERE to buy Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas at Amazon.com
©Bubble Bath Books 2012