I think my mom bought this book because God is in the title. If I were only getting this now, I'd buy it for the same reOriginal post at One More Page
I think my mom bought this book because God is in the title. If I were only getting this now, I'd buy it for the same reasons, which goes to show how I am such my mother's daughter. :)
I read this just as I was about to turn thirteen, I think. From the very start of the book, I liked Margaret. It's so easy to relate to her. She's a very normal kid with a normal family who has typical questions about growing up. She's feeling changes in her body, and she's learning about these changes from her new friends in school, and she finds that its awkward to talk to her parents about it. She starts liking guys and she wonders if the guys somehow likes her back, too. I see a lot of my teenage self in her, but the only thing that Margaret and I don't have in common is the religion aspect. While I grew up in a devout Catholic, Margaret grew up without knowing any religion because of her parents' different beliefs (her mom being Christian and her dad Jewish).
It's been a while since I last read this book, so I can't remember all the parts of it. However, I know I have fond memories of this book, so much that I re-read this books a couple of times. She's one of those characters whose normalcy makes her charming, and it's not often we find someone like that in YA books nowadays -- at least not one who is not involved in a paranormal love triangle of some sort. Her voice was real and funny, and she wasn't especially mean or beautiful or popular, and that makes it easier to relate to her.
I liked how Judy Blume was very brave to address these questions that every pre-teen girl has and answer it in a realistic manner. She didn't sugarcoat anything, no matter how embarrassing other things are because they really happen -- like stuffing cotton in training bras, or pretending to have a period already just so they're ahead of their peers. Thankfully, I didn't have the same kinds of pressure when I was Margaret's age. It wasn't such a big deal for my friends and I on who gets their period first or what. I think the only "competition" that was somewhat evident back then was who gets a boyfriend first (which I have obviously lost until now :P).
I also liked how Judy Blume made Margaret's faith a huge part of the story. I liked that the way Margaret talked to God here was like a friend, like she could talk to Him anytime, and yet still respects Him for being, well, God. Margaret's confusion over her religion felt real, and it was nice to read about someone who was actively searching for her faith and something to believe in. I think people often forget the most important thing that religion helps us build: a personal relationship with God. I liked how Margaret had the chance to see and experience the different traditions of different religions, how Judy Blume led her character through all those experiences yet still not give us a final decision. Instead, she gives Margaret a reason to believe and continue to talk to God in the way she knows how. Which I think God appreciates since it comes from the heart. :)
I'm not sure if this book is recommendable to boys (but Judy Blume has a boy version of this book entitled Then Again, Maybe I Won't), but I absolutely recommend this to girls and parents of pre-teen girls -- it's one of those books that a girl must read at least once in their lives....more
I’m not one to deny myself of chick lit books, especially Christian chick lit. I’ve mentioned it here a couple of times, but not in detail: I love chick lit. I love Christian chick lit, especially, because it’s clean, and it teaches good values that women should have, especially in a media-influenced world. Not that I don’t like secular chick lit — I still do, but I’m picky at what to read. Call me conservative, but I really don’t like reading about how a couple consummates their love, especially if they’re not yet married.
So this book from Trish Perry should just tickle my fancy: it’s chick lit, it’s Christian and it’s about dating and purity. Sounds good, right? Just right up my alley.
It sounds good alright. Kara meets Gabe just some time after she had broken up with her ex-boyfriend Paul, and decided not to date until she feels that it’s God’s will for her. This presents a problem to her since she is very attracted to Gabe, and Gabe admitted that he was attracted to Kara, too. Despite all this, Kara wanted to follow and honor her promise to God so she tells Gabe just that, who respectfully backs down. On the other side of the country, Kara’s parents received a call from their Aunt Addie, requesting a visit. However, things go awry when Kara’s dad breaks his legs, so they had now way to bring drive by Addie and visit Kara. Meanwhile, Gabe’s sister, her boyfriend and her twin brother rides to Virginia to visit Gabe without the permission of their parents so he promises to drive them back to Florida after his deli has set up. Kara, feeling the need to visit her family and pick up Addie on the way, decides to join the trip. Her best friend Ren joins them, as well as Kara’s co-worker and constant pain in the neck, Tiffany. And off they go to Florida, with lots of side trips and the ever increasing attraction between Gabe and Kara.
It’s a cute, wholesome story. If I read this a couple of years ago, I think I may have been enchanted with it and I would have been very thrilled at Kara and Gabe’s love story. But now, I’m not.
I think the main reason why I am quite on the fence with this book is how ideal everything seemed to be in the story. It’s like everyone’s so happy and everything is resolved so quickly. I’m not discounting that God puts everything in place if we follow His will and all, but I am having a very hard time believing the events in the story. It’s fiction, I know, but it just seemed to rosy and cheerful for me. In the sixty chapters of the book, I never found a lasting conflict that made me wonder what was going to happen, one that I’d expect would throw me off course and be surprised and all that. It’s not that I’m expecting so much action here, but I was expecting more complications, to add more depth in the story. For example, in Denise Hildreth’s Savannah by the Sea, Savannah thinks her romance with Joshua North is a match made in heaven…until she finds out something about his past. In Laura Jensen Walker’s Dreaming of Black and White, Phoebe had to struggle with her mother and the loss of her dad, even while trying to deny her attraction to her boss, Alex. In Kristin Billerbeck’s Ashley Stockingdale series, Ashley struggles with her family, her job, and even her best friend. I didn’t find enough conflict among the characters in The Guy I’m Not Dating — everyone just seemed to get along just fine, except for the lone villain, Tiffany. I understand that people do grow up in a nice environment — I came from one — but it didn’t feel like much of a book if everyone in the story is so darn happy and gets along well with each other.
Another thing that kind of got me thinking a bit too much with this novel is the plot. I have nothing against the concept of the story, which is mostly based on Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I agree with the idea of not dating, and pursuing friendship first before romance. However, it’s just really hard to believe that everything happened like that. I may be biased because life’s jaded me a bit. Like I said, if I read this book a couple of years ago, I would’ve been smitten with the idea and I would have been dreaming of my own Gabe. It’s not that these things don’t happen, but it just seems too clean cut. This stems back to what I wrote on the previous paragraph — everything and everyone is just so happy, that it gets on my nerves.
It’s not that I don’t believe in God’s perfect timing, or His plans for me and my romantic life. It’s just that if I were a new Christian who’s got her heart broken or is waiting for the one and I read this, I probably would follow this book like a dating bible because it seems like the perfect Christian setting. Which may be the case, but it doesn’t always happen this way. You know how we say that secular media influences our choices a lot, which makes us want to become thinner, more popular or do things that the Bible says is wrong? I kind of feel wary about this novel because to me, it presents another side of the story. We are not always surrounded by Christians. More often than not, we’re with people who do not share the same beliefs as we do, and we have to face it because it’s reality. I fear that reading books like these that present a sort of perfect Christian world and the perfect Christian romance may make women want the exact same thing, and miss out on other things that God has in store for them. I know that I would probably believe this with all my heart if I read this years back, and it would take a lot to rid me of them, especially if I have set my heart to follow that one path of romance.
I’m not saying that this is a bad book. It’s funny, romantic and a good chick lit read, but I think reading this should really involve a lot of discernment. Kara and Gabe’s story is ideal, and it’s something that we women could pray for and hope for, but we must also be open to how God wants to write our love stories....more
The Giving Treewas one of the books lined up for our book club's December discussion. It lost the face to face voting lOriginal post at One More Page
The Giving Treewas one of the books lined up for our book club's December discussion. It lost the face to face voting last Saturday, and one of my co-moderators said that this book is relevant reading now, especially to what has been happening with the floods and all that in our country in the past week. So yesterday when I got home, I decided to read it (the shortness of the book is also a factor why I decided to do that).
The Giving Treeis about a tree and a boy, and the tree loved the boy. So much that the tree gave him everything he asked for, even if the boy (who grew up to be a man) didn't seem to return the same kind of love that the tree has for him. This book is both heartwarming and sad, because there is such truth in this book. I didn't know if I would be happy or sad when I was done -- I was pretty sure I felt both.
It's interesting how a book can sum up what loving really means in less than 100 pages, and with simple words and illustrations. Yes, I think The Giving Treeis relevant to us as far as the environment goes, but I think the book is more relevant because it just shows one of the many, many aspects of true love: giving without expecting anything in return.
I think we all need a reminder of that every now and then. I know I do....more
When I first started reading fantasy by choice, I know I wouldn't be really interested in any hardcore fantasy novels, lOriginal post at One More Page
When I first started reading fantasy by choice, I know I wouldn't be really interested in any hardcore fantasy novels, like Tolkien or anything similar. I remember saying that my brain can't possibly process and visualize all the foreign worlds and creatures and such. When I came across Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series, I knew I liked that kind of fantasy -- the one still set in the real world yet has fantastical elements. Hello urban fantasy.
I was all set to read more urban fantasy after that, but alas, I fell into YA paranormal and eventually dystopia. I never really thought of actively looking for urban fantasy because of the plethora of books in my TBR pile, plus I wasn't really sure where to start.
And now I take this time to thank Chachic and Michelle for pushing me in the right direction with Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. I've told the story of how I got the books here, but if you're too lazy to click over and come back, here's the gist: we were book shopping, Chachic showed us the first book, told us all four books were available. I looked at them, listened to the two girls tell me how awesome the series was, and quickly folded, buying all four books in the series at once and starting Magic Bites that night.
And friends, I got hooked.
If you're planning to read this book, I suggest you read and try to understand the description at the back as much as you can because there are no explanations offered at the start. I was immediately dropped into Kate's world like that. There were no careful explanations or introductions; I found myself reading about Kate was sitting at her kitchen when magic "fell" and there was suddenly a vampire. All that happened before I could say "What?" and so I had to slow down with reading to really get what was happening. It was kind of disorienting at first, so if you're not too used to fantasy this may present a little problem.
But don't give up on it! You will get used to it, and like me, you'll marvel at the world building that the authors* did in this book. Kate's world is very believable despite all the magical tendencies, and after some time, I got used to how their world works. As always, there were the vampires and shapeshifters, but they're not the sparkly vampires or the imprinting shapeshifters that is popular right now. I am very, very relieved to know that these creatures in Kate's world are not like them, especially the vampires. The book may not have Dracula-like vampires, but they're written as terrifying creatures. Finally something that made sense! I am overjoyed. :P
I can't really decide what made this book awesome, but since I have three more books to review for this series, I can discuss the others in their reviews. :P For the first book, I am all praises for the protagonist, Kate. Kate is just...kick-ass. She's snarky, sassy, tough yet underneath all that, still very feminine. It's hard not to like her from the very start and love her as the story goes on. There's an air of mystery around her, too, that made me want to continue reading just to know her past...but in the end, I still don't know who (or what) she was. Even so, her personality wasn't hidden so much that I didn't get to know who she was and the lengths she would go to get what she wants as the story happens. Kate reminds me of one of my favorite heroines of all time, Thursday Next: they're both very smart and strong female characters, ones that I would love to be if I were made into a book character. :)
Of course I know I haven't really said much about this book after all that I've written in this review. This is a very solid debut from Ilona Andrews. It's dark, with lots of mystery and action (oh yes, a bit of gore, too), but still with enough snark and sass that I chuckled every now and then. It's not perfect, but it's a great start for a series that I immediately grabbed the second book just to be immersed in Kate Daniels' world.
Once again, thanks to Chachic and Michelle for pushing this one! I can't wait to find out more about Kate (and Curran! :P) in the next books. :)
* Ilona Andrews is actually the pen name of the husband-wife writer tandem of Ilona and Andrew Gordon. Awesome, yes? ...more
It's been ages since I read the first Percy Jackson book. I should have picked the next one up immediately, but I guess I was waiting until I acquired all the books before I do. Unfortunately, though, I only got to buy up to the third book, and then books 2 and 3 sat pretty on my shelf, wondering if I would ever get around to reading them.
And so I finally did. I was kind of wary because I couldn't remember much of what was in The Lightning Thief, but I had no time to reread it. I figured Wikipedia should be enough, right? Well, Wikipedia did help me a lot, but I don't think it was that hard for me to get into the second book since I still had memories (albeit vague) of the important details in the first book.
In The Sea of Monsters, we find Percy almost done with the school year in a new prep school. It was the first time he's gotten through a year without expulsion, and he was very much looking forward to spending another summer in the only place where he truly felt home, Camp Half Blood. But of course things don't go the way he planned -- an innocent game of dodge ball becomes a game of life and death against fierce cannibalistic giants which ended up with his friend Annabeth's unexpected arrival. Together with Percy's seemingly slow friend Tyson, they travel to Camp Half Blood and realize that things are not so fine and dandy: someone has poisoned the magical borders that protect the camp, and the safety of the campers are at stake. As if that wasn't enough, Percy keeps getting dreams of Grover being in trouble, and he knows he has to find a way to save him, too.
I absolutely forgot how much fun I had reading the first book in the series. Which was just as well, because the second book was also so much fun as -- maybe even more than -- the first one. As the first one, the Greek mythology elements were woven cleverly into the plot. There was still the feeling of impending doom, of course, but it was lightened up with the wittiness of the dialogues. I loved the idea of the Sea of Monsters, too, and their journey to get there. Some of my favorite scenes include the sirens and Annabeth's encounter with them, as well as the entire saving Grover scene. Somehow, it reminded me of a scene from that Nickelodeon show, ChalkZone. Anybody familiar?
The new revelations to the overall story arc was also very interesting, and it definitely opened another bunch of possibilities for the next book. It wasn't exactly surprising because I somehow had an inkling that their quest is not what it seems. Still, it was interesting enough, and I'm curious to know what would happen in the next book. Which probably means I should get to it sooner than later.
Oh, and you know what who I really loved in this book? Tyson! He's such a loyal and darling "friend" (and I use quotation marks because there's a revelation for his character in this book, too) to Percy, and he just made me go "awww" several times. :) I sure hope there's more of him in the future books?
I really enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters. It's fun and witty and magical and I think it's a good follow up in the Percy Jackson series....more
When the need to read contemporary novels hit me, it stays and it stays until the need decides it's satisfied. And whatOriginal post at One More Page
When the need to read contemporary novels hit me, it stays and it stays until the need decides it's satisfied. And what better book to fill that contemporary need than something written by John Green?
I was really planning to read John Green's books in order of publication, but Paper Towns had to come first due to an insistent friend and because I covered that with plastic first. I didn't mind, although I was kind of wary thinking of how this book would fare against the rest, or how the other books would fare after I read this one, given the John Green formula. True to that formula, An Abundance of Katherines has the usual elements: a nerdy/loserish (by popularity’s standards)/socially awkward guy, a mysterious girl, a trusty and equally nerdy/loserish (by popularity’s standards)/socially awkward sidekick, and a car. But that's when the similarities end, because this book is probably is indeed the funniest, quirkiest, and the happiest among all Green books.
Colin Singleton is an anagram loving child prodigy who has only one friend and strangely a lot of girlfriends, all named Katherines. After he gets dumped by the 19th Katherine, he sets off on a road trip with his Lebanese friend, Hassan. The two find themselves in Gutshot, Tennessee, where they meet Hollis and Lindsey, and find a job gathering stories from locals for some project. Colin finds himself consumed by trying to prove his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which would predict his relationship with the next Katherine, and along the way (just like the other John Green books), our hero finds out more about himself.
The best thing about An Abundance of Katherines is how quirky the entire book is. It's not just the characters or the story but how it was also written. Math geeks would definitely be happy about the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, with graphs and whatnot inside the book. I love the little footnotes on the pages that translates some of the words Colin and Hassan say, as well as little anecdotes about Colin and his own quirkiness. If you don't like math, well, don't worry either. I'm pretty sure you will still enjoy this book because you don't really need math to understand the graphs or equations. You don't really need to understand them, anyway, but if you're like me who doesn't really like math but want to understand things, there's an appendix right at the end of the book that explains the equations and graphs. It reminds me a bit of analytic geometry in high school, but in a more fun scale. Why didn't we have this book back then?
I love that this book not only talks about relationships and dumping, but it also manages to touch a bit on reading, books and telling stories -- three things I like. I've never actually been a Dumpee or a Dumper (that is, in a "proper" relationship sense. By proper, I mean actual real relationships where both parties are in it, and not just one pining after the other, or what I like to call "Almost there, but not quite". Okay, Dingleberries! :P), so I couldn't really relate to that, but I like how there were some parts of Colin that I could relate to, particularly in books. I really liked one of his last Eureka moments, particularly this quote:
Even if it's a dumb story, telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me. An infinitesimal change. And that infinitesimal change ripples outward - ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten, but the stories will last. And so we all matter - maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.
This really makes me wonder why I waited so long to read John Green's books. But no matter, I'm glad I read them now. This makes me want to go to the book store and search for his works (namely Let It Snow, Geektastic, 21 Proms, and Will Grayson Will Grayson). More John Green over here, please.
Oh, and in case you're wondering how this compares to Paper Towns for me? It's a tie, really. I can't pick which is better. But An Abundance of Katherines definitely has the happiest ending among all John Green books, so that's something to keep in mind if you're wondering which to read first. :)...more
I've had The Mysterious Benedict Societyin my TBR pile for years, after I bought it when I read reviews about how "smart" this book was. Back then II've had The Mysterious Benedict Societyin my TBR pile for years, after I bought it when I read reviews about how "smart" this book was. Back then I was still a series completist, so I had to start with the first book and planned to get the rest of the books later on because it was just right, right? But anyway, that didn't happen, and the book remained in my TBR pile until one day, I decided to pick it up because I wanted something else to read. And I figured it's about time to get this off there.
An ad in the newspaper appears, looking for smart kids who were willing to go through a series of tests. Out of all who took it, only four children passed: Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. The kids were brought to Mr. Benedict, who tells them of an evil plan that they need to stop and sent them as spies to the Learning Institute of the Very Enlightened, the school where all this evil seems to be coming from. Adventure follows, as well as danger, but there was too much at stake for them to just give up.
They were right. This book was fun and smart, and a lot of it made me think of just how they'd get out of the scrapes they get into. The kids were easy to like, even Constance, who started out so annoying and stubborn but later became endearing just because of those qualities. There was mystery, yes, and as a reader I had to keep on thinking, too, about just what was happening and how they would ever get out of the messes they got into.
I just think the book was just a tad long. I know all scenes worked out to the ending, but I remember being a bit impatient with this at some point that I was almost skimming. It could just be a case of reader ADD, though, but I can't deny the relief I felt when I was finally done. To be fair, the ending was pretty heartwarming, and it felt like a reward after reading the length of the book.
The Mysterious Benedict Societyis a smart and fun book, and while I was a bit lukewarm about it (Maybe that means I won't be one of those kids who will take that exam. Or pass it. Heh), I think I'd really like to keep this copy around once my nephew is old enough to read. :)