Weekly Reads // Cozy Bookstores, Henna Parties, and Robin Hood

Long time no see. I am doing yet another new format on my blog to make sure I am around more often. I want to stop thinking about when I am going to get to do full reviews of books. So, I was looking at some blogs and I saw one where they did mini-reviews. This is no new concept. I've seen it on many blogs but I thought this time I would try weekly mini-reviews to keep the review pile to a minimum. I think if I keep at it this format will work for my ever-busy lifestyle. Let me know if you think it's a good idea too.

This past week I read two books for two separate Disney Princess projects. By completing The Outlaws of Sherwood I can finally present Disney Princess Merida Controls My Life which has been in the works until March. When I will have it up is another question. I got to also add one more book to my children's goal which I changed from 100 to 52 because I have to keep reminding myself that there is no stress in reading. I'm pretty happy with this reading week. I am currently 3 books behind my Goodreads Goal but I'm getting there.

The Bookshop in Wigtown is a bookworm's idyll—with thousands of books across nearly a mile of shelves, a real log fire, and Captain, the bookshop cat. You'd think after twenty years, owner Shaun Bythell would be used to the customers by now.

Don't get him wrong—there are some good ones among the antiquarian porn-hunters, die-hard Arthurians, people who confuse bookshops for libraries and the toddlers just looking for a nice cosy corner in which to wee. He's sure there are. There must be some good ones, right?

Filled with the pernickety warmth and humour that has touched readers around the world, stuffed with literary treasures, hidden gems and incunabula, Remainders of the Day is Shaun Bythell's latest entry in his bestselling diary series. 
This series by Bythell is like a warm hug. I've listened to all the books in The Diary of the Bookseller series and can't describe how much I love them. It's just the daily life of a bookseller in journal entries. There's nothing overly exciting about it but it's one of the most peaceful series to listen to on my way to work. I found the rude interactions with customers to be quite entertaining which made the sweet customers extra special. A new coworker nicknamed Granny was introduced who was absolutely hilarious. A very satisfying read.

Side Note: I happened to get invited to go to an Antiquarian / Used Bookstore while I was listening to this book and it felt like kismet!

Marya’s eighth birthday is coming up in a week, and all she wants is an over-the-top birthday party just like the ones Alexa, her rich neighbor, always throws. When Alexa parades into school with fancy invitations, Marya can't help herself—she claims that she’s having the most epic henna party ever. Now she has to convince her family to make it happen. Enter Operation Help the Khans! Marya's siblings clearly need help with their projects. Maybe she could cook dinner for her parents, or clean her grandmother’s room? Except everything Marya does seems to end in disaster. Will Marya and her family be able pull it together and throw the best party ever?!
Marya is a stubborn girl who is jealous of a neighbor's extravagant birthday parties every year. She's determined to get a just as amazing if not a better party by "helping" her family members. Needless to say, she makes lots of mistakes. I was initially annoyed with Marya because I understand being in a family that can't afford extravagant things like others. I always understood it even as a kid so her persistence bothered me. But I warmed up to her as she learned boundaries and discovered that just because someone's life seems perfect on the outside doesn't mean it is on the inside. A surprisingly profound little book that got me teary-eyed in the end - Marya Khan will be one I'll recommend to early-chapter readers.

Robin Longbow is a sub-apprentice forester in Sherwood Forest, barely eking out a living-and barely able to control his temper when he is confronted by the taunts of the Chief Forester's favorite. One careless shot, and he has killed the man. From then on, Robin is on the run-but he is not alone. Joined first by his friends Much and Marian, then by more and more people who despise the Norman lords who tax them blind, Robin builds a community of Saxon outlaws deep in Sherwood who risk the gallows and the sword for the sake of justice and freedom. 
I've had this book on my shelf for at least a decade. I decided to just give the audiobook a whirl since I am reading it for a challenge. McKinley doesn't disappoint to transport you to another time when greedy sheriffs, adventure, danger, and love are at the forefront. I got swept up in this tale of Robin Hood. I learned that there are many versions so none of them are technically right even though I thought Howard Pyle was the definitive author. I loved when characters I knew from the Disney movie were introduced, especially Little John. He was my favorite male character after Robin since it's not like he wanted to be an outlaw but had been forced when his land was basically taken from him. Robin fell into this outlaw business as well with the help of his loyal friends. I liked that he was against the whole thing from the start but proved to be a good leader and a good man. There were two standout women in the story - Marian and Cecily who both risked a great deal and showed that they can brave the forest and come out stronger. Perfectly charming, I must see the Disney version and sink my teeth into McKinley's books again since it's been such a long time since I've read her books.