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Bite-Sized Book Reviews: All about Princess Leia in PRINCESS OF ALDERAAN and BLOODLINE

BooksKristina PinoComment
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Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

If you've ever wondered what Leia's life might have been like on Alderaan as a 16-year old princess training to lead her planet as well as for her position in the senate, this is the book for you. In this book we are introduced to a Leia who hasn't gone to war yet or suffered any major loss in her life, is accompanied by her parents, and has her first kiss. Folks who have watched The Last Jedi will also recognize a few people (like Amilyn Holdo) and places (like Crait) of significance to this story as Leia starts to rise as the leader and rebel she becomes in Episode IV and beyond. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys a strong female protagonist, character exposition, and just a good story in general. I highly recommend it on audio. 

 
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Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

In contrast to LPOA, Leia is a bit older in Bloodline. This book takes place several years before the events of Episode VII, and it comprises the events leading up to Leia's ultimate decision to leave the government and become the resistance general she is in the latest films. A terrorist attack is carried out in the senate building, the government is divided between two parties that care more about opposing each other than actually making anything happen, and amid all this, Leia gets a taste of action again when she gets involved in an investigation of a crime cartel. This book also expresses the moment when the galaxy finds out that Leia is Darth Vader's daughter, something she's kept secret all this time because she simply can't reconcile it. I also highly recommend this on audio, and I recommend it for lovers of action, political intrigue, and just a little bit of nostalgia. 

Bite-Sized Audiobook Reviews: KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and THE SNOW QUEEN

BooksKristina PinoComment

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (narrated by the author):

After listening to Julie Powell's Julie & Julia, I wanted to sink my teeth into another food-related memoir, and remembered I'd been interested in Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential for a long time. His narrating is solid, though the cutting/editing in the audiobook file wasn't optimal, frequently cutting abruptly or transitioning in quality from one sentence to the next.

This book is a great collection of stories that spans decades, and there's no better person to get the humor, sarcasm, disdain, adoring, and other tones the tales evoke than the author himself, who spoke them all regardless of what he imagined would be no small amount of flak. His experiences aren't universal, but they're still a super interesting peek into the world of cooking as a career for a significant chunk of people. I wouldn't trade my life for how he described his in this book, but I got a lot out of listening.

I'm also hungry for more culinary books or other chef memoirs. I'll be checking some more out in the near future.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (narrated by Julia Whelan):

Of course, since watching Frozen I've been interested in seeing how different the original story is to the adaptation. I got this title for free from Audible, as Julie Whelan was Audible's 2014 narrator of the year.

As suspected, the book and the film don't resemble each other at all, except that there's a reindeer in both, and somehow the people affected by snow magic are total jerks. There are so many great characters in The Snow Queen I would have loved to see brought to life in the film! In this story, a little girl is separated from her best friend, who is taken away from her. She spends the book going after him, and gets help along the way from various animals and people. This cute little adventure is a quick read, and brilliantly narrated by Whelan. It's a nice story about growing up and being true to ourselves, though we sometimes go astray. And of course, the people who believe in us when we need them to the most.