I decided that maybe I should read something a bit better from Hemingway, as he seems to actually be a good writer, but I may have picked his worst boI decided that maybe I should read something a bit better from Hemingway, as he seems to actually be a good writer, but I may have picked his worst book (aka "To Have and Have Not"). So I decided to read Old Man and the Sea to get a different perspective on Hemingway as a writer. Ok, I will admit that after reading the book, I am still not a Hemingway fan. I just couldn’t get into it.
The story is about a decrepit old man who has been a fisherman all his life. He used to have a little boy who helped him but since his luck has run out, the boy is working for someone else. The old man has not caught any fish for eighty-four days (equals out to about 2-1/2 months, which if fishing is your livelihood, is a bloody long time). The boy trys to take care of him and make sure he is fed. The old man goes out in the morning, determined to get a fish today and he ends up battling the father of all swordfish for about 3 days before he finally manages to skewer it. Only problem is that because it is bleeding, this attracts three sharks that eat it before he can make it to land. By the time he does, only the head and skeleton are attached to the old man’s boat. You want the old man to succeed because he has had such a hard time of it and battling this enormous fish for three days, and also slowly going a bit crazy. But at the same time, you know he is doomed to failure. It was a depressing and sad book. Recommended for ages 14+, 2-1/2 stars. ...more
It is 1888, and the British are still controlling the American colonies through the use of magic. Sixteen-year-old Verity Newton has come to New YorkIt is 1888, and the British are still controlling the American colonies through the use of magic. Sixteen-year-old Verity Newton has come to New York City to become a governess to a rich magister's (magic-users) family. She soon discovers that everything is not all as it seems, with the family and in the city. Verity finds out that there is an underground organization of mechanics and engineers called the Rebel Mechanics who are developing non-magical sources of power by creating steam-powered inventions. She ends up becoming a spy for the Mechanics due to her connections with the magisters, but she harbors a secret herself. Will she be able to help the right cause? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
I love alternative history books, especially steampunk ones, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. Add in an independent YA heroine, and I'm sold. I really liked Verity's character because she questioned everything, and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I liked that she was educated like a university student. She was very naïve in the beginning but her character definitely developed as the story progressed. I honestly would rather she have gone for Henry, than the Rebel inventor Alec (who was exciting at first until the reader found out he was just using her).
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader's copy from the publisher Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review....more
In the third book of the Metamorphoses series, seventeen-year old Tally (short for Atalanta) has got her life all planned out. She is a genius, belov In the third book of the Metamorphoses series, seventeen-year old Tally (short for Atalanta) has got her life all planned out. She is a genius, beloved by her adopted family and her best friend Shane, and will shortly graduate high school and go to college to get her Ph.D in cosmology and/or particle physics. That is until one day, while at a friend's house and she sees a picture of her mother and a famous musician and believes he is the answer to her questions about her mother, who abandoned her shortly after she was born and her as-yet-unknown father. She travels to a small Northwestern town to meet Jack, the musician, and see if he can help her unravel her past. She meets a mysterious young woman named Maddy and falls head over heals in love with her. Will Maddy or Jack be able to help her find the truth about her parents? Read this intriguing new take on a coming-of-age story to find out. Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.
If I had known this was the third book in a series, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. It would've helped to read the first book at least, as that mentioned three of the major secondary characters in this volume. First off, I'd like to say that I loved how ordered and scientific Tally was, and even if I didn't understand all the astronomy she mentions, I could tell how passionate she was about it. Tally's best friend Shane was an interesting character as he was transgendered, though the author/main character never made a big deal about it, which was a change from other YA books I've heard about. I know how hard it is to be in love with your best friend growing up (mine were boys) and not be able to talk about, or express how you feel and how frustrating it can be especially if the person doesn't return your affections. Then there is the whole mythological undercurrent to the story, which is loosely based on Jason and the Argonauts. This part was a little hard to read, and I could never quite decide if it was some giant trippy episode, some seriously vivid nightmares or actual plot points. Seems it might've been all three.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher St Martins Press in exchange for my honest review....more
The actual story is about a young Algerian man named Mersault who is ambivalent about everything. His mother dies in the very beginning of the book anThe actual story is about a young Algerian man named Mersault who is ambivalent about everything. His mother dies in the very beginning of the book and he goes to the funeral but is bored by it. When he returns home the next day, he continues with his life by starting an affair with a woman named Marie from his office and they go to see a comedy. She asks him later on if he loves her and he responds "Probably not," but they still agree to get married. He becomes friends with Raymond, an upstairs neighbor and even vouches for the man as a witness with the police he abuses his girlfriend for cheating on him. In a way, hanging out with Raymond leads to his downfall. Raymond's now ex-girlfriend's Arab brother and the brother's friends have started fights with Raymond, one of which Mersault was involved with. He and Raymond are at the beach that day, and later on as he is walking down the beach and the sun is beating down on him, Mersault sees the Arab brother and shoots him five times killing him. He is of course arrested and a trial ensues. The prosecution manages to convey that he is a heartless individual based on the way he handled his mother's funeral and his subsequent actions. He is sentenced to death by guillotine. Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.
I was not sure at all how to review this book as I wasn't 100% sure that I understood the complexities that Camus was trying to convey with this seemingly simple short book. At first glance it seems to be talking about the absurdity of life and humans in general, and how we're all going to die anyways so we might as well be happy, but I'm sure people have read/taught it many times probably think it is way more. As this reviewer (http://www.ratracerefuge.com/bookrevi...) has said: "Digesting the content will certainly take much longer [than the afternoon it takes to read it] as this little novel raises serious questions about morality, society, justice, religion, and individuality." The one part I did enjoy about the book was at the very end as he is awaiting his execution and has the encounter with the priest. As this article (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11...) says, "His only advantage, if any, is that he knows that he does not know anything except the succession of events that was his life. This certainty he cannot betray. That is why he revolts so violently against the priest who comes to console him. Consolation would mean substituting something else for the bare truth." "...more
Twelve-year old Serafina and her father live in anonymity the basement of the Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, North Carolina in 1899. Her pa has warnedTwelve-year old Serafina and her father live in anonymity the basement of the Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, North Carolina in 1899. Her pa has warned her never to leave the estate and venture into the woods, and she has never done so, although she has always been curious about the woods. Serafina is an unusual girl who can see in the dark and her father has labeled her CRC or Chief Rat Catcher. She has always been happy living alone with her father, although this is disrupted a bit after she learns the truth about her birth. She has caught glimpses of the upstairs folks, but never talked to them until the disappearances start happening. She witnesses a girl named Clara being swallowed into man with a great black cloak, but her father doesn't believe her. She decides to put her trust in Braeden Vanderbilt, the orphaned nephew of George and Edith Vanderbilt, the house's owners. The two quickly become friends after the carriage Braeden and Serafina are in is attacked by the man in the black cloak, and he sees firsthand what the man can do. As more and more children start disappearing, Serafina is forced to go into the woods to stop the mysterious man and find out why he is kidnapping all the children. Will she be able to save Braeden and the other children before the man in the black cloak strikes again? Recommended for ages 10-13, 3-1/2 stars.
I really liked Serafina as a character, especially because she wasn't like the other people in the story. I liked that her and Braeden found each other as they were both alone and in need of a good friend. I'll admit that I didn't realize the book would be so creepy/scary, but it was just enough to make it interesting but not enough to make it over the top. I have never been to Biltmore but it has been on my must-see list for awhile, so it was interesting to hear about all the different parts of the house and grounds through the story. The author lives in Asheville and has obviously researched the book very well to know all the little details about the house and its history. Plus he wrote the book for his three daughters, which is pretty awesome. I would be interested in more stories about Serafina, if he chose to write more. My biggest gripe was the ending, as it seemed a bit too abrupt and if you were paying attention, you could figure it out pretty early on (at least who the man in the black cloak was) and I would've liked more info about the mother and her family. I didn't understand the truth about her mother until the very end, so the author was good at leaving his audience in suspense in that regard. ...more
It has been a long time since sixteen year old Carly Vega's parents were deported back to Mexico. She and her older brother Julio have been working veIt has been a long time since sixteen year old Carly Vega's parents were deported back to Mexico. She and her older brother Julio have been working very hard to get them back, with her working the graveyard shift at a local convenience store. She is studious and quiet, and not whatsoever on the radar of Arden Moss, the former quarterback of the football team. That is until one night when their lives collide and they realize they have more in common than they think. Arden is still grieving over the loss of his sister Amber, whose mental illness caused her to commit suicide, something their father (the town sheriff) will not acknowledge. Arden sees in Carly a kindred spirit, someone that not only understands him and will not lie to him, but also a partner in crime for his pranks. Will Carly be able to get her family back? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
The author did a good job of portraying a small North Florida town, and especially the conservative attitudes towards immigration. Apparently she even lived and graduated high school in Niceville, Florida (a bit north of Destin) where my brother also graduated. Having lived in the South most of my life, I have sadly met people like Arden's dad. As others have mentioned, I think Carly's character was a bit too passive (despite her explosive temper), especially in agreeing to work till the point of exhaustion every day to get a little bit of money to send to her parents so they can illegally cross the border again, and I think it was wrong of her family to do this. I mean c'mon, she's only sixteen, let her be a kid a little bit longer. I liked that it wasn't your traditional romance in that Carly didn't immediately fall for Arden, only only agreed to be friends with a lot of conditions before they eventually fell in love.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author, in exchange for my honest review....more
Wow this was a hefty graphic novel. Definitely the first time I've read a over 400 page one, but it was a good read. "Templar" is about Martin de TroyWow this was a hefty graphic novel. Definitely the first time I've read a over 400 page one, but it was a good read. "Templar" is about Martin de Troyes, a French Knight Templar who has recently come back from the Crusades. King Phillipe of France wants to destroy the Templar Order so that he can claim their treasure to fuel his war in the north, so he brings the whole Order up on false charges and imprisons them. Martin and few of his comrades manage to escape and they decide to steal the Templar treasure, based off a map they intercepted from the Grand Master of the Order, before the King can get his hands on the money. Will they be able to pull of their rescue attempt? To find out, read this fascinating journey into 14th century France! Recommended for ages 16+, 4 stars.
I have always been fascinated by the Templars, so I jumped to find a copy of this book when I saw it on a great graphic novels list. I will admit that even though I kind of knew it was coming, the Templar mass burning was a little hard to read. It's sad that the Pope essentially sold out the Templars (an order the Vatican started) to placate the King of France. The story is a bit like a religious Indiana Jones mixed with a bit of "Ocean's 11", in the sense that is an impossible job that miraculously works out. The author definitely knows the period and it is well-researched, and it even includes a extensive bibliography in the back of the book. The artwork is awesome. Martin is an interesting complex character and I really enjoyed his love Isabelle as well (for her feistiness). ...more
Laia is a teenage Scholar girl living with her grandparents and brother in Serra, under the rule of the unforgiving Martial Empire. One night, the MasLaia is a teenage Scholar girl living with her grandparents and brother in Serra, under the rule of the unforgiving Martial Empire. One night, the Masks (an elite Martial fighting group) raids the house killing her grandparents and taking her brother to prison, claiming he has committed treason. Laia manages to flee and meets the Resistance, who put her in the house of the Commandant, the leader of the Masks, as a slave and spy. Elias is about to graduate as a Mask from Blackcliffe Academy, but is planning his escape from that life. The book alternates between Laia and Elias's viewpoints. Will Laia be able to get her brother out of prison? Will Elias ever escape the Martial military? To find out, read this awesome book. Highly recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.
I adored this book! I literally could not stop reading it, and it's hard to believe that this is the author's first book. The author is great at world-building and you can feel yourself totally immersed in the characters and setting. It definitely lives up to the tremendous hype it has gotten so far. The description made it sound like the Martials are Roman, and the Scholars sound Greek or Egyptian to me. I really enjoyed the writing, and even the story was fairly complex, I was able to follow along pretty easily. The violence in the book is pretty graphic, especially in the beginning,so that's why I settled on ages fourteen plus. I can't wait to see what happen next in the series - apparently it is billed as a stand-alone book, but she definitely left it wide open for a sequel and I know many people will be disappointed if she does not!...more
I enjoyed this graphic novel a lot more than the regular book version of Ender's Game. It is a lot easier to explain complicated sci-fi ideas in graphI enjoyed this graphic novel a lot more than the regular book version of Ender's Game. It is a lot easier to explain complicated sci-fi ideas in graphic form versus in print, at least in my opinion. The graphic novel is set about twenty-two years after the first book, and Ender is now a Speaker for the Dead, one that tells the truth about a dead person's life. While Ender's only aged an additional 22 years, because of light-speed travel, it is now 3500 years in the future. He is called to the remote planet Lusitania to find out the truth about the death of two Xenobiology researchers who studied the native inhabitants of the planet, the Pequeninos. They have been accused of murdering the two scientists, so it is up to Ender to figure out if that is true or not. The Pequeninos seem to know Ender's true identity and want him to leave the Hive Queen Egg (of the insect race, the Formics, which he killed off at the end of Ender's Game). What really happened to the xenobiologists? How are the Pequeninos connected? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
This was a very fascinating book. It was interesting that all the names were Portuguese sounding and that the Catholic Church was so prevalent there, and they were essentially the ruling class with the help of the Congress. The Descolada disease element was also intriguing, and that is even more true with the Pequininos (or "Piggies" as they are more coloquially known), their religion and birthing system. I hope there are more graphic novel versions of his books, if so, I would be very interested in reading them. ...more
I was hoping this was the original series but it seems to be a spinoff, following the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie (which I really enjoyed). The coI was hoping this was the original series but it seems to be a spinoff, following the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie (which I really enjoyed). The comic also features a bit of backstory and a hint of things to come for the other members of the Guardians: Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Gamora. We get a bit of a backstory on Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, which explains how his father came to Earth, what really happened to his mother (it wasn't cancer), and how the Guardians were working together with Iron Man. Peter's father, as King of the Spartax, has decided that Earth is now off limits to outsiders and this includes Peter, who is half-human himself. This of course doesn't stop the Badoon from attacking the planet and it is up to the Guardians to save it. Peter's father is up to something, but no one is quite sure what his master plan is and as a result, Peter and the Guardians are captured by his father's own men and imprisoned. Just what is the King of the Spartax up to? To find out, read this exciting first volume of the series. Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars. ...more