Once Upon a Prince (Book Review)

16164030“It’s amazing what we can see when we take the time to look.” (Hauck 87)

Once Upon a Prince is a new romance novel by Rachel Hauck; it puts most other love stories to shame by bearing a wonderful, gripping, and realistic (well, mostly) tale of love without any raunchyness found in many others. To begin, this love story starts with the ending of a relationship. It starts with Susanna Truitt being told by her boyfriend of twelve years–yes, you read right–that he had found someone else and they both were more in love with the idea of them, than the actual relationship. Unlike most other cliche stories where the story starts with a meeting of two people, this one has truth to it: the fact that relationships do end, quite often too. Susanna copes, looking to prayer to help her through this difficult time. Then she meets Nathaniel. No, they don’t fall for each other instantly. Nope. They become good friends, little does Susanna know he is a prince–of a kingdom in Europe–on his last vacation before becoming king. Well, she eventually finds out. Nathanial teaches through his words and actions what a true loving relationship should be about and emanates chivalry by saying heartfelt things like, “A girl in love has a right to believe her man would lay down his life for her.” (Hauck 97)

The story continues, and feelings eventually develop (as they should in a love story), the full truth of Nathaniel comes out, and he brings up an obstacle that would prevent a marriage between them: a marriage act set in place to prevent the prince/king from marrying a foreigner, not to mention the cruel, lying media is pushing the king to marry a specific lady of royal blood. But, I won’t spoil the ending.

But, seriously, this novel is an enjoyable breeze to read through. I read it in a couple days. Do not judge this book by the slightly questionable cover (is she even wearing clothes?) because it’s far better. It proves that love stories do not have to be invested with raunchiness to be good. For ages, I’d say 12 and up, but probably more enjoyable for 15 and up. Really though, pretty much anyone (mostly girls though) would enjoy this charming novel. I know summer’s almost over, but if in need for a summer chick-lit, I suggest this one.

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Time and Its Passage

The last time complied well,
Right before the tower fell.
Traveling without a mount,
Carrying pains more than one can count.
What is it to leave?
To think indifferent and believe.
Dark invaded the space,
Bringing an insecure face.
What is rewinding time?
To fix the renowned crime.
Nostalgic and memorizing your past,
Perfection disappearing fast.
Who can define life?
Not one below the golden knife.
Are there any who think like me?
Few stay unseen to me.

–Erin Servey

Breaking Book Stereotypes

We all know in the world outside of books–What? A world outside of reading? I know, might be hard to grasp, but it’s true–we have social stereotypes. Jocks, Band Geeks, Nerds, Cheerleaders, Ect. But, a realization whacked me the other day. (Realizations should be nicer, but they always just spring upon you when you’re not looking) Book stereo types exist and they should be broken, or at least tried to be broken. What are these “book stereotypes” you may ask? It has to do with people who ONLY read ONE KIND of book and NOTHING ELSE. Some of these include: Romance novel fanatics, Science Fiction junkies, The Classics snobs, Non-fictions stiffs, and Anime addicts. To clarify any confusion, I’ll go through them in order. (Be warned these are explained to the extreme. Some descriptors may not always apply)

romance 1. Romance Novel Fanatics:
These people are the ones who often hesitate to share what they are reading for fear of appearing unintelligent, because, let’s face it, Romance books are all they read; not to mention they may be embarrassed by the cheesy cover. You see, most of the time these people really aren’t all that into the whole “reading thing”. They just like dramatic soap-operas or heart-felt chick love stories. This way, wrapped up in a portable book, they don’t have to wait for their show to air; they can transport their portable package of happy sap along with them where ever they go, look smart, and reach happily ever after without even having to know anything past basic 4th grade English skills.
Geek 2. Science Fiction Junkies
I’m pretty sure we all know someone like this. The people who are constantly getting into debates about the logical physics of worlds set in the future and often gather in large legions to have LAN parties or watch Star Trek (the original, obviously). If you find someone who knows how to speak Klingon, likes to watch Firefly, knows who J.J. Abrams is, fights over which doctor is better, and has read any or all book by Orson Scott Card and/or Douglas Adams they are most likely a Science Fiction Junkie.
book snob 3. The Classic Snobs and Non-Fiction Stiffs
I figured both of these fit into the same type of category. One main point they have in common is that both feel they are better than the average person because they’ve read more Classics than you, look down upon you for not having read Count of Monte Cristo or because their understanding of the real world excels that of a fiction reader who spends his/her time mesmerized by silly fantasies. Heaven forbid you tell one you dislike Shakespeare. Or only read fiction.
anime Anime Addicts
Then there’s the anime addicts who are forced by the power of the anime and or manga "books" (yes, they still are books despite the abundance of pictures) to stay up till three AM reading them. They usually and enthusiastically discuss the books speaking with words so foreign, it seems almost like a different language. Unless of course they are actually speaking a different language like Korean, Japanese, or Chinese, which many do. Often times their discussions deal with figuring out whether a seemingly gender neutral character is a guy or girl or ravishing in the drawn out love triangles.

But, what’s the essential point here? It’s: why be a stereotype? Why read only one type of book or media? It only limits people’s perspectives on things. I also believe where book stereotypes begin, real life stereotypes follow. Maybe more readers should stray from their comfortable section of the library, grab a new book and break their book-stereotype. Besides, Who wants to only be one color in a world of black and white? Who wants to only read one book?

The Last Bullet

I was standing there in the lonely shadows so I could be hidden from view when I saw it happen. The only other person in the Hall of Mirrors was a rotund, middle aged man, breaking the no food rule by eating a banana. He had a mustache and wore a bowler hat; I figured he was a tourist having a noon snack and would soon continue to tour Versailles. Everything else appeared to be normal; except that no guards were visible, which, having been here before I knew something was off.
Then as I watched the man, he started making choking noises, having obvious trouble breathing. Before I had time to reveal myself to help him, he dropped over dead like a fallen tree. I had been told by my boss—who I’d been working with for a while now, and dreaded disappointing—to watch for suspicion as a key clue to finding my target. I found suspicion, which meant no good Mr. Mort was not far behind. Exiting my hiding place for further investigation, I checked the man’s mouth to find the cause of his death. Opening his limp mouth I found the evident smell of Cyanide; one of the poisons I had been trained to recognize. Bending down over the corpse, I searched through the pockets of his grey trench coat to find a green and gold German translation book, two Hershey’s chocolate bars, and a Blackberry. Interrupted, I heard the light echo of footsteps coming from my right, I looked and saw a tall male silhouette. The sun shone through, hitting off the mirrors, making it near impossible to see who was approaching. The footsteps continued, suddenly the light dimmed, my surroundings became darker. The silhouette morphed, revealing a man. This blonde haired man who entered wore a red bandanna around his head and a muscle-suit, revealing his large biceps as well as a large abstract tattoo covering his neck.
“So Jack, everything here seems flammable. We can rid the evidence before anyone finds out”, he said. Then recognition hit me. I had seen his face from the countless hours spent analyzing photos of him, I was certain. Maybe, just maybe, the man who stole my Victoria and he are the same person. Though, his features seemed slightly changed from my memory of the man who took her. Maybe my suspicions were wrong about this George Mort being the same man who took Victoria several years ago. People could change their names. Either way, he matched the criteria of the man I was sent to kill: George Mort, age 32, height 6ft 1, weight 210, born in London and hired by the boss of the famously known Bloody Gang of Paris. Currently he thought that I was on his side, which benefited me.
I contemplated how he did not recognize me. Silence continued. Though neither of us shot there was a loud bang! A gun fired, coming from who knows where, bullets ricocheted around us; all was confusion. George yelled muffled swear words, which were covered by the smashing sound of the mirrors as they shattered; the broken shards hit the stone hard floor in slow motion. The shooting ceased and the shooter became visible. He said,
“George, it’s me, Jack. Looks like we have a dirty mole on our hands. Probably works for them: Barnes Co.” Then George looked me straight in the eyes and said with a tone of voice, which would frighten small children—and even adults,
“Who are you then, my sneaky friend?”
As I, Thomas Benson, placed my thumb on the smooth metal trigger of my 1895 silenced revolver I replied,
“I’m just a dirty little mole,” Before he had time to react, I pulled the trigger; the bullet hit him right in the heart: I wanted him to have a slow painful death because this—I was sure now—was the man who had caused all my suffering. It was revenge for myself and revenge for my Victoria because she was incapable now of getting revenge. I could tell his blood had started flooding his lungs because he had trouble speaking, but I still heard him say,
“You, I think you should know something.” Taking his last breaths he said faintly, but clearly,
“I am not the real George Mort”
I just murdered the wrong man. Shit, I thought. This is the end. But, that was not the end because I had not planned on George (real or fake) to have a friend. Both Jack and I gripped our guns, and our fear; shooting back and forth, aiming to kill. Then, out of nowhere came the sound of two distinct gunshots. The first one flashed, killing Jack: he fell. My mind never had enough time to process what was happening or who was shooting before I heard the second shot. It hit me: I fell. The shooter: George Mort, age 32, height 6ft 1, weight 210, born in London and hired by the boss of the famously known Bloody Gang of Paris.

A Thousand Emotions of A Thousand Splendid Suns

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, the same author of The Kite Runner, evokes a multitude of feelings through his story set in the rough, late 90s in Afghanistan. The book follows a couple female characters in their struggle to deal with the overbearing control of not only the Taliban, but the brutal control of their husband/husbands who often treats them worse than anyone could ever treat an animal. Raw truth and emotion permeates throughout the story; some parts a little too raw for sensitive hearts, which is why I think this book should not be read by anyone younger than 14 and even so the reader should take caution if they wish to refrain from harsh scenes. But, that’s really what makes this book great, because the cruel, real-life experiences illustrate what actually happens in the world we live in and gives us an awareness of these horrible misfortunes we may not be knowledgeable of. The characters truly make the best of their circumstances and rise above them. This brings me to some of the emotions I felt reading this, to name a few: anger, sorrow, hatred, comfort, admiration, guilt, happiness, fear, hope. To name a few. The flowing crafted language of the book, never cuts or chops from emotion to emotion, but weaves together shocking elements of a female’s perspective on life in the this region and time period, while holding true to the beautiful heart and culture as well. There isn’t much I can tell you, since it may give away parts of the book. I feel to really get the full experience (of not only the book, but of anything) you must go in without knowing a lot about it, without a strong preconceived notion. So, I’m leaving you with that. Whether or not you choose to read this book, I hope you don’t regret it.

How you can tell if you’re kinda-slightly-a-bit of an optimist. (by reading)

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So maybe the term “optimism”, the way I’m going to be using it, should be tweaked. I don’t mean someone who’s ALWAYS happy or ALWAYS sees a positive outcome at the end of the road, but someone who generally has a positive attitude and sees the good in people even when they may not be so good. How do you tell if you are optimistic? Reading of course! You will know when you read a book about a character who has a multi-personality and murders a woman or two (coughcough Crime and Punishment cough), but in the end is redeemed;you will know because you will not be bashing this character like everyone else who read the book. He only made one mistake. Then you will go on to write an extremely cheery and hopeful essay about how the character deserved to be redeemed and how everyone deserves a second chance. You may also know you are “optimistic”– sort of– when you read a story set in a time period coinciding with a brutal war, many people die a horrendous death, and you STILL adore the book because it had one tiny semi-uplifting part and so, on your opinion, didn’t end completely bad. Lastly, you can tell when you read a story and events keep getting worse and worse. But, no matter how close the story comes to having a tragic ending, as you approach the last couple chapters and the foreshadowing radiates sorrow like the sun radiates heat, you can’t help but tell yourself it will end well.

Why Gatsby is Great (sorry to have been gone so long)

So, last year I read The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald and I absolutely loved it and I loved the character Gatsby. Now, the first day of discussion I came into class to find the hugely opposing opinions of my classmates, who many of thought Gatsby was too naive in his love for Daisy. Those who haven’t read this book, Gatsby finds this girl he loved and still loves after years of not seeing her. Unfortunately, she has been married to a jerk. But, being a good christian girl refuses to divorce him. Anyways, when I realized there were some people who did not find Gatsby as adorably–and hopelessly– romantic as I did, my brain just imploded. I didn’t and still don’t understand. Is it naive to hold on to your dreams even when they seem impossible to reach? He’s in love for goodness sakes! He can’t just stop loving Daisy. You want to know how this book would have ended had Gatsby been “The Realistic Gatsby”? He would have found Daisy and said, “Well, she’s out of my league, and it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.”(Liz Jarvie) THE END. In my opinion, that doesn’t make for much of a story. So I will go on admiring Gatsby as the character I can relate to (being a slight bit of a hopeless romantic) and love for his unwillingness to give up on his dreams.