The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
(Summary taken from the back of the book.)  “As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini–the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik–the gentle giant; Inigo–the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen–the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.”
Wow! Do I love this book!!! I have read it before, and I will definitely read it again! My first experience with it was when my Dad read it to my siblings and me. I was hooked from the beginning. We actually read it right before the movie came out, so it was exciting to be able to watch the movie after reading it. I loved it, and as soon as I could read well enough, I read it on my own. It is a great read-aloud, for boys and girls. It has it all–action, romance, suspence, love, sword fighting, drama, ROUS’s, death, miracles, and one of the most beautiful girls in the world. Who could ask for more? I love the humor, the characters, the plot, and I think I have almost the whole thing memorized. Classic. That’s all I can say, classic! I recommend this book for about age 10 and up. I also recommend reading it out-loud for your child’s first time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the kissing parts!
Rated: PG (Kissing, I know…..ewww! Sword fighting, poisoning, and the fire swamp)
Recommendation: Fourth Grade and Up. In the book the author says he read it to his son at 10. Great as a read-a-loud or a read-to-self book.

The Lucky One

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
(Summary taken from the book) “When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck, winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph–his lucky charm. Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo–and the woman in it–out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina–Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son–to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart–destroying not only their love, but also their lives.”
The first few pages of this book definitely turned me off. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue reading it or see if it got better. The first few pages describe a creepy sherriff who takes pictures of girls skinny-dipping and is all-over a nasty guy. I kept going, and I’m glad I did. Whenever the sherriff is in the scene, you can count on his nastiness, but that is not the whole story. He is in the story, but isn’t THE story. So, rest assured, you will get more of him, but not as much as you at first think. After that first scene, I’m glad I kept reading. The story took me a minute to get into, but then kept me reading. I read the whole book in one day. There is a love scene, and talk of it after that, but it doesn’t go into any amount of detail. There are a few profane words, but the worst of it is the sherriff. This story is mysterious and intriguing. You wonder what else has happened to Thibault to make him who he is, and you wonder if he and Elizabeth will make it work. You wonder why he is slow to tell details of his life, but after you learn them you understand why. Especially at the end it is a page turner. I would recommend this book as long as you are okay with the warnings I have given.
Rated: PG-13 (For the creepy and yucky sherriff, the few profane words, and the “making love” scene.)
Recommendation: 18 and up

Brisingr (Book #3)

Brisingr (Book #3) by Christopher Paolini
   This book continues Eragon and Saphira’s adventures in saving the people from the evil King Galbatorix. Eragon and Saphira fight Murtagh and Thorn, they are reunited with Roran, and they continue their training with Oromis and Glaedr. The dwarves throne a new king and Eragon is attacked while away from Saphira. Eragon and Saphira continue to improve their skills, and Roran has his own adventures.
   This book is a very good continuation of the first two and is a page-turner for sure. I like the twists it takes, and I like where it takes the story in general. It is good, but it is very violent and graphic. This book is not for those who do not want detailed explanations of war-time happenings. There are some sad moments, but also some joyous occasions. I thought this was the last book, but apparently there is one more coming, so that is exciting! In this book you learn a lot about Eragon, his history, his parentage, and also the history of a few other characters. I liked learning that a lot, it brings things together well. I recommend this book if you have enjoyed the first two. I would recommend it for ages 15 and up. It really does have some violent and graphic moments, but they go along with the war-time atmosphere.
Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war-time graphic scenes)
Recommendation: 14 and up

Eldest (Book #2)

Eldest (Book #2) by Christopher Paolini
   (Summary taken from the back of the book) “Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall–one that puts Eragon in even graver danger.”
   This book is just as good as the first one. It is a page-turner for sure! I like how the story continues and how it brings Roran back into the stoy. I like the surprise of who is to teach Eragon. There are many twists and surprises that make you keep reading. Once again, there is little or no profanity, but there is a war going on so there are some graphic scenes. If you liked the first one, you’ll like the second one! I recommend this book, once again, for ages 14-15 and up.
Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war scenes)

Recommendation: 14 and Up

Eragon (Book #1)

Eragon (Book #1) by Christopher Paolini

   (Summary taken from the back of the book) “When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.”
   I really enjoyed this book. It is technically a young adult book, so it is a fast read and there is little or no profanity. It is a little violent, seeing how there is a war going on. There are some graphic scenes, but it is a great story. Christopher Paolini has done a very good job. It is well written, it flows well, and I would definitely recommend it. It is a little reminisent of Lord of the Rings. Some of the names and words are very similar to those in LotR, but the story is completely different. I would recommend it for ages 14-15 and up. Any younger and the violence may be too much.

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war scenes)

Recommendation: 14 and Up

The Last Battle (Book #7)

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (Book #7)
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “The Unicorn says that humans are brought to Narnia when Narnia is stirred and upset. And Narnia is in trouble now: A false Aslan roams the land. Narnia’s only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends of Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land. Their task is a difficult one because, as the Centaur says, ‘The stars never lie, but Men and Beasts do.’ Who is the real Aslan and who is the imposter? Will we be forced to bid farewell to Narnia forever?”
I loved this book! I thought it brought everything together really well. I thought the symbolism was really good in this book, and I just loved how it ended. It explained everything well, had action and symbolism, and was well written. I was sad when I finished the series, but it was so good! I highly recommed the whole series! I think it is good for everyone, as I have said before. The older kids will understand it better, especially the symbolism.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up, 9 or 10 if read as a read-a-loud.

The Silver Chair (Book #6)

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (Book #6) (Summary taken from the back of the book) “Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor…or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face to face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rilian is to be saved.”

I really liked this book. It can be hard to remember some of the instructions Aslan gives the children at the beginning when you get into the middle, but it is very good. The symbolism is very good and even though it can be sad in parts, it all comes out good in the end. There are some interesting characters in this book. I do recommend reading this book, especially if you are reading the series.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up. 9 or 10 if read as a read-a-loud.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Book #5)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (Book #5)
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, their cousin Eustace, and Caspian to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan’s country at the End of the World.”
I have to say, this book was just okay for me. It was the one I liked least out of all seven. I would still recommend reading it to go with the rest, but it was a little strange for me.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up. 9 or 10 if read as a read-a-loud.

Prince Caspian (Book #4)

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (Book #4)
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “Narnia…where animals talk…where trees walk…where a battle is about to begin–A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.”
I liked this book a lot. It has a lot of action and symbolism. It keeps with Narnian themes and is a page turner.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up. 9 or 10 if read as a read-a-loud.

The Horse and His Boy (Book #3)

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (Book #3)
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Colormene fisherman, and decides to run far away to the North–to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.”
I liked this book a lot. The symbolism is not as apparent as in other books, but it is there and almost more meaningful. I definitely recommend it.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up. 9 or 10 if read as a read-aloud.