Children’s Book Recommendation

I have a niece that will be three at the end of February and, to my great delight, she enjoys books. As such, I’m always on the hunt for books for her. But, I’m not usually a fan of your typical, cookie cutter kids books. Don’t get me wrong, I love Little Golden books and the like, but sometimes, something else just stands out a bit more. One of the first books I got her, that she really seemed to enjoy, was Little Mist, the story of a baby snow leopard exploring his world for the first time. It had beautifully illustrated picture s of leopards, red pandas, and black bears. It’s a lovely unique little book.

When all of the Christmas decorations were coming down and everything being put back in its place in the living room, I ran across one of my own books that I loved, and am now looking for a copy for my niece.

The book is called The Rough-Face Girl, written by Rafe Martin and illustrated by David Shannon, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine. And I can promise, there’s a reason I mention that.

Every culture has some version of the “Cinderella story.” The plot is pretty simple, and relatively predictable, but when well written, still manages to be a wonderful story. That’s what this book is. It’s an Algonquin version of the Cinderella story.

Inside Summary:


The cover of my own copy

“In a village by the shores of Lake Ontario lived an invisible being. Al the young women wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and supposedly very handsome. But to marry the invisible being the women had to prove to his sister that they had seen him. And none had been able to get past the sister’s stern, all-knowing gaze.

Then came the Rough-Face girl, scarred from working by the fire. Could she succeed where her, beautiful, cruel sisters had failed?

From Algonquin Indian folklore comes one of the most haunting, powerful versions of the Cinderella tale ever told.”


Like I said, the plot is predictable, but it is beautifully written. One of my favorite passages is this:

“And the Rough-Face Girl, looking up into the night sky, said, ‘the runner of his sled? Why, it is the Spirit Road, the Milky Way of stars that spreads across the sky.”

I just think it’s a wonderful style of writing. However, if the writing doesn’t impress, the illustrations should. This image is one that accompanies the above passage.


“the runner of his sled…”

This one occurs as the Rough-Face Girl is walking through the forest on her way to meet the invisible being.


I wish these photos did the illustrations justice…

Overall, this is a wonderful book, probably best for ages 4+. But it’s also definitely a book that kids can love for many years, if not for the story, then for the beautiful way it’s presented.

I’m also working on a list of other books, and a couple of series, that I’ll be posting, that are for various ages, so there’s more to come!



Book Review: Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne


Image from Google

“After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant.

His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne.”

Genre: Fantasy

Author: David Gaider, lead writer for Bioware, whose credits include Dragon’s Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and the Mass Effect series

Publisher: Macmillan

Rating: 4/5

Comments: The Stolen Throne is the first tie-in novel to Bioware’s popular Dragon Age series. However, it’s technically written as a prequel to the series, and written in such a way that it is completely comprehensible to those not familiar with the series. Anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre can enjoy this book. However, for those who are familiar with the series, the first in particular, this is definitely an addition worth having. Loghain is given depths that were only hinted at in the game, and readers are actually shown his talent for strategy that was, though constantly commented on, never really shown. Or never shown working the way he planned. 

The issue I have with this novel is Katriel. Her presence in the story, while given justification, just felt forced. It felt more that she was just placed there to give Rowan competition, and provide a means of angst. In a book, and series, full of carefully crafted, well-rounded characters, Katriel just feels flat and cliche.  

Overall, the book is a great read, and one that any Dragon Age fan will enjoy. Maric’s development is well paced, Rowan is a wonderful character, and the situation between she and Loghain comes off as genuine and sympathetic instead of some kind of faux angst. Loghain is explored in depth, and his motivations in the game, while not commendable, become understandable.  

I Live

I have not abandoned this blog!

I’ve just been really busy the past couple of months. Coming straight off of NaNo (met the goal at 53198), going right into the Christmas season is never easy, but all of the holidays, family things and crazy work schedules are behind me. The past few days, I’ve been looking over my (unfinished) NaNo work and considering what I want to do with it. I think I’ll do a bit more writing on it, and see where it takes me. 

Also hoping to do a bit more reading this year than I did last year, so I may do some book reviews too. We’ll see.