Synopses & Reviews
Catherine Gilbert Murdocks talents for storytelling and creating strong female characters take a fresh turn in this spirited and sophisticated fairy tale.
Benevolence is not your typical princess.
With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castles highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Bens private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from foul tyranny?
*[A] deliciously frothy fairy tale.”Horn Book Magazine, starred review
*The wild adventure, intricately imagined setting, memorable characters, and romance will charm readers, especially fans of Gail Carson Levines Fairest.”Booklist, starred review
"A delightful kernel of a story sinks from the weight of a complicated format in this fairy tale from the author of Dairy Queen. Told in letters, scenes from a play, and extracts from memoirs, diaries, and encyclopedia entries, the tale revolves around the scheming duchess of Farina, who conspires to grab power by marrying her son to the neighboring kingdom's Princess Wisdom. Into this main thread enters Trudy, an orphaned, clairvoyant kitchen wench who longs to reunite with Tips, whose acrobatic skills have earned him an apprenticeship with a flashy swordsman. As Wisdom travels through Trudy's village to her wedding, Queen Mother Ben notes Trudy's talents and drafts her as a lady-in-waiting. Palace intrigue and a tension-filled romantic triangle enliven the pace by midpoint, but the shifting points of view and encyclopedia entries, in particular, act like stop signs to narrative momentum. It's a pity, as the clever allusions to fairy tales, wordplay, and an original take on 'happily ever after' leave the impression Murdock had fun writing this. Despite its flawed start, readers who get halfway through will find incentive to reach the finish line. Ages 12 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Finally, a football book a girl can love. . . . With humor, sports action and intelligence abundant, this tale has something for everyone." —Publishers Weekly,
"A fresh teen voice, great football action and cows--this novel rocks." —Kirkus Reviews, starred
"This extremely likable narrator invites readers into her confidence and then rewards them with an engrossing tale of love, family, and football." —Horn Book
"In her debut novel, Murdock skillfully captures the messiness that comes with learning to open up to others and deal with life and love." —Columbus Dispatch
"Packed with double entendres, humorous dialogue and situations, and a black cat that will capture the readers imagination, this is a joyful, timeless fantasy that teens will savor." --Booklist
Wichita Eagle, Great Gift Recommendations 2008
"The particulars of farm life, high school relationships, and college decisions are imparted with uncommon realism, and Murdock showcases the unexpected drama of everyday characters making mundane but essential life decisions. D.J.s voice is intimate and compelling, her story both universal and unique, familiar and eye-opening. Here is a worthy send-off for a one-of-a-kind character." —Horn Book
"[D.J.'s] self-deprecating and humorous voice is still as fresh the third time around.." —Booklist
"Murdock successfully integrates fresh trials and pressures, well-developed primary and likable peripheral characters, and amusing introspection into the backstory. . .D.J. is ultimately a responsible, realistically flawed, funny, endearing, and strong heroine worth rooting for whether on the court or on the page." —School Library Journal
"Front and Center is a perfect coming of age story and a completely satisfying conclusion to the three-book series." —Jen Robinson's Book Page blog
"This was a great novel with a lot of humor, but also a lot of serious situations, and relatable characters that I loved reading about." —BookDivas.com
"A fantastic end to a terrific series...A+" —Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf blog
"You won't want to miss it." —Abby the Librarian blog
"Front and Center by Catherine Murdock is a satisfying conclusion to the Dairy Queen trilogy with a message that lasts long after you've read the last page. By emphasizing the importance of family, friendship, and support, all of which are sometimes overlooked in young adult literature, this book will motivate its reader to reach out and take risks. —Feed Your Imagination blog
"I havent read the first two books in this series, but I had no problem falling in love with DJ, her family and her friends." —KISS THE BOOK blog
"This funny, touching follow-up to Dairy Queen (2006), a 2007 Best Book for Young Adults, succeeds whether read on its own or as a sequel. . . . D. J. is an easygoing, likable narrator, full of self-deprecating humor and insight, and her struggles, whether they are everyday or life altering, will resonate with teen audiences." —Booklist,
"More ambitious and wide-ranging than its prequel, The Off Season provides an insightful glimpse into the rewards and challenges of the culture of middle-American farm families. At the same time, it's a broad-strokes portrait of a quintessential tomboy. D.J.'s voice is all her own--strong-minded but insecure, unstructured but witty, practical but emotional--and she is easy to cheer for, whether she's accosting a bully or awkwardly trying to understand the people and relationships that so often confuse her." —Horn Book
"Though D.J. is an enormously likable character, the impact of this book is carried through the action.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The main character is likable…[She] has qualities uniquely her own that readers can relate to, sympathize with and ultimately admire.” —KLIATT
"D.J.'s self-deprecating, down-to-earth voice will draw readers in, even if they have yet to read 'Dairy Queen'." —Minn. StarTribune
"There is action as well as introspection in this story of overcoming adversity...attracting and inspiring...Murdock has another winner." —VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"The tragicomedy is powerful." —Columbus Dispatch
"A delicious confection for fans of the previous operettas, reminiscent in tone and content to Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles."
"An upbeat fairy-tale adventure, this final installment in the trilogy is sure to entertain fans of the first two books."
—School Library Journal
"Ferris leisurely combines elements of adventure, fantasy, romance, and humor."
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of the Dairy Queen trilogy and Princess Ben. Princess Wisdom
, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure beyond the staid old
kingdom of Montagne. Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true identity a secret. Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
These three souls might possibly attain their dreams while preserving their empire from ruin — if only they can bear one anothers company long enough to come up with a plan.
When you dont talk, theres a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. cant help admitting, maybe hes right.
When you dont talk, theres a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isnt so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers wont even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.
When you dont talk, theres a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of the Dairy Queen trilogy and Princess Ben.
“Packed with double entendres [and] humorous dialogue, this is a joyful, timeless fantasy that teens will savor.” -Booklist,
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne. Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true identity a secret. Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips. These three souls could attain their dreams—if only they could bear one anothers company long enough to come up with a plan. Revisit the world of Catherine Murdocks Princess Ben in this sidesplittingly funny fairy-tale romance cleverly told in diaries, letters, an encyclopedia, and even a play.
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of the Dairy Queen trilogy and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.
Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available specimen of imbecilic manhood.” Starved and miserable, locked in the castles highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Bens private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?
Kate and Cecy, now proper married ladies, are off on a Grand Tour of the Continent with far too much luggage, their adoring husbands--and, oh yes, orders from Wellington himself to thwart a magical plot to take over Europe.
Kate and Cecy and their new husbands, Thomas and James, are off on a Grand Tour. Their plans? To leisurely travel about the Continent, take in a few antiquities, and--of course--purchase fabulous Parisian wardrobes.
But once they arrive in France, mysterious things start to happen. Cecy receives a package containing a lost coronation treasure, Thomas's valet is assaulted, and Kate loses a glove. Soon it becomes clear that they have stumbled upon a dastardly, magical plot to take over Europe.
Now the four newlyweds must embark on a daring chase to thwart the evil conspiracy. And there's no telling the trouble they'll get into along the way. For when you mix Kate and Cecy and magic, you never know what's going to happen next!
The prim and proper world of Regency England . . . crossed with the wizardly doings of high fantasy--now that's
something to write home about!
A great deal is happening in London this season.
For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at Sir Hilary's induction into the Royal College of Wizards. (Since when does hot chocolate burn a hole straight through one's dress?!)
Then there's Dorothea. Is it a spell that's made her the toast of the town--or could it possibly have something to do with the charm-bag under Oliver's bed?
And speaking of Oliver, just how long can Cecelia and Kate make excuses for him? Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is!
The girls might think it all a magical nightmare . . . if only they weren't having so much fun.
This season, D.J. Schwenk steps behind the free-throw line to face the perils of love and life in this highly-anticipated final book of the Dairy Queen trilogy.
After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course Im always in the background . . .
But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior whos keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . .
Readers first fell in love with straight-talking D. J. Schwenk in Dairy Queen; they followed her ups and downs both on and off the court in The Off Season. Now D. J.steps out from behind the free-throw line in this final installment of the Dairy Queen trilogy.
Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. Shes in eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, shes reconnecting in a big way with her best friend, Amber. Shes got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, whos cute and popular and smart but seems to like her anyway. And then theres the fact shes starting for the Red Bend High School football team—the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin, probably. Which just shows you cant predict the future. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand Amber, Schwenk Farm, her relationship with Brian, and most of all her family. As a whole herd of trouble comes her way, she discovers shes a lot stronger than she—or anyone—ever thought.
This hilarious, heartbreaking and triumphant sequel to the critically acclaimed Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to a Thanksgiving football game that you will never forget.
The companion to Jean Ferris's madcap Once Upon a Marigold and Twice Upon a Marigold offers evil plot-twists, sweet romance, and the kidnapping of the royal princess.
Princess Poppy, the bouncing baby daughter of Queen Marigold and King Christian of Zandelphia-Beaurivage, is in terrible danger. The kingdoms former torturer-in-chief and poisoner-in-chief have joined forces to kidnap the baby as an act of revenge for their exile! Can a ragtag parade of rescuers—including the king and queen, the evil kidnappers mortified children, five dogs, a white elephant, and a washed-up wizard—save Princess Poppy in time?
About the Author
PATRICIA C. WREDE has written many novels, including Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and The Grand Tour coauthored with Caroline Stevermer, as well as the four books in her own series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.CAROLINE STEVERMER has written several books for adults and one other fantasy novel for young readers, River Rats. Ms. Stevermer also lives in Minneapolis.