“Alanna: the First Adventure” by Tamora Pierce

I love this cover!
I love this cover!

Alanna: the First Adventure is a wonderful bildungsroman about a girl who wants to become a knight. Since she lives in a medieval-like society, such things are forbidden. Luckily, she has a twin brother with whom she can switch places. Alanna switches with her brother Thom who wants to study to become a great sorcerer and their plan goes off without a hitch since they have a father who’s too caught up in his work to care much about his children. With the help of their village healing woman, Maude, and a reluctant Coram, the sergeant-at-arms, the twins are able to continue on their chosen paths.

A girl she may be but that does not mean she is unable to keep up with the boys in her training. She is easily accepted as one of them despite her dispute with a bully and she proves herself to be their equal as she works tirelessly to become a knight. Alanna’s body does get in the way at times, such as the growth of her breasts (she ties them down with a band) and her period popping up but luckily, again, she has made friends with the King of Thieves, the amiable George, who helps her in such tough situations. She seems to have everyone on her side, even the gods. In the first few years of her training, Alanna has done some great feats for her age. She heals the Prince, who is a great friend of hers, when he succumbed to a sorcerous fever, she got a magical sword, and she defeated an ancient power with the help of her prince. She isn’t chummy with everyone, though, and is wary of the Duke of Conté, the prince’s cousin, who she suspects of making a move for the crown. He is also a great sorcerer.

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“World History for Dummies” by Peter Haugen

Available on Amazon and at your local book store.
Available on Amazon and at your local book store.

I wasn’t planning to write anything on this book but I read it as part of my Goodreads 2013 reading challenge and since I blogged about every other book thus far I thought, why the hell not. This one was a re-read. I loved World History for Dummies the first time I read it and enjoyed my re-read too.

Now, the popular question: WHY read a book called World History for Dummies??

The answer: I was craving history. I wanted a quick run-down of history. I wanted to know what happened without it being boring and stuffy. I wanted it all to be fun. (Textbooks tend not to be fun.)

It’s not because I am unfamiliar with world history that I decided to read this book. It’s because I wanted a refresher without being bogged down. I wanted to read a book that would leave me wanting to know more, not turn me off the subject. World History for Dummies did that. It is written for the everyday girl who has a passing interest in history. Like, she woke up one morning and said to herself, “I want to learn world history today. What should I read?”

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“The Dragon Reborn” by Robert Jordan

Paperback edition cover of The Dragon Reborn
Paperback edition cover of The Dragon Reborn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing that jumped out at me in this installment of the Wheel of Times series is that Rand is no longer the leading voice. He is still the protagonist of the story, however, the story is told from the perspective of other characters—mainly Perrin, Egwene, and Mat. Though this book begins with the original group split up and at different parts of the land, they are all pulled to the same place; similar to book two, The Great Hunt.

Quick summary:

In one spot—a valley in the Mountains of Mist—is Moiraine, Lan, Perrin, Loial, Min, and Rand. Feeling a bit trapped and thinking that he is a threat to his friends, Rand runs off. When she learns of this, Moiraine sends Min to Tar Valon to inform the Amyrlin Seat. The Shienaran army she sends to Jehannah to await her instructions (I think Jordan did this to get them out the way, for now). Meanwhile she, Lan, Perrin, and Loial pursue Rand, who is heading for Tear. Rand is such a strong ta’veren, a person who is strongly connected to the Wheel of Time, that he leaves evidence of his presence in his wake. There are villages where nearly everyone gets married and others that are destroyed. Along the way, Perrin learns that he can enter Tel’aran’rhiod, the dream world, and he meets a pretty but annoying girl called Faile (which means falcon), who attaches herself to the group.

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