I simply adored this book. From the first word to the last word I was hooked. It had everything I look for, historical detail, interesting plot, and c...moreI simply adored this book. From the first word to the last word I was hooked. It had everything I look for, historical detail, interesting plot, and characters that you can't help but care about! Simons made me feel like I was living through the siege of Lenningrad along with Alexander and Tatiana. In addition of course, you have their wonderful love story. Which, I have to admit, I'm a sucker for. I loved how they first met, it reminded me so much of my own grandparents. From there, I was pleasantly surprised, usually, I am not a fan of stories that involve a love triangle between siblings, but in this case, it's not really a love triangle at all. There is no doubt that Tatiana is the one for Alexander. These two were so in love. They would do anything for each other. They were so protective of each other. However, I also enjoyed that they were not perfect. They both had flaws. It was nearly impossible to stop reading. I simply had to know what happened to them. One night I even read until 3:30am (taking breaks to take care of Kali). Boy, was I tired the next day, but I couldn't help myself. Usually, in a book, there is something that I don't like, however I loved everything about this book.
(view spoiler)[ Favourite Character: Alexander Belov/Barrington - No explanation needed. Just read the book! :)
Favourite Quote: "When Tatiana looked up from her ice cream, she saw a soldier staring at her from across the street." - It was nearly impossible to pick, there are so many amazing ones. I chose this one, because it is the beginning of their story, and I love how they recall it later on in the novel, after so much has happened between them.
Favourite Moment: Again, nearly impossible to pick, but if I had to I would say the fight they had in the middle of the street, when Alexander found out that Tatiana was back in Lenningrad. They both so desperately want the other to be safe. They don't care about their own lives. Alexander tells her that he will gladly die, rather than be without her, and she responds by informing him that if he doesn't escape and save himself, she will kill herself. Then instead of saying anything else, they just reach for each other. It was an incredible moment. I don't think my explanation does it justice.
Least Favourite Character: Dasha Metanova - I know I should say Dimitri, but you're not supposed to like Dimitri, whereas, I really wanted to like Dasha. And I don't dislike her because she met Alexander first, I dislike her because of how she treated Tatiana. They are supposed to be so close, and Tatiana is willing to do so much for her, and yet, I found her cruel. For example, the moment when she told Tatiana that she would kill and eat her if she had more energy...I know she was starving, but honestly, that's your little sister.
Least Favourite Moment: When Alexander tells Tatia that he only married her so he could sleep with her without people calling her his whore. I know that he was upset and angry and trying to make her angry, so she would feel for him less, but I still thought this was too far. Of course, he quickly backtracks, but once words are uttered, they are out there. Even though I don't believe, for a second that he meant those words, I wish he hadn't said them. However, that being said, I think it did add to the story.
Something I Would Change: I would have liked to see what happened if Tatiana and Alexander had not kept up the ruse for so long. I know was practically impossible, but I would have liked to see what would have happened. Sometimes, I wished that Tatiana was not so dedicated to keeping their love a secret. That being said, I still loved how everything actually played out. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
So, it's December and sadly, for the first time in 15 years, I have read less than five books this year. Of course, there's still hope--...moreWow, just wow.
So, it's December and sadly, for the first time in 15 years, I have read less than five books this year. Of course, there's still hope--2012 isn't quite over yet. This year has simply been a whirlwind of activity. My daughter was born in July so instead of reading, I've been busy learning about and loving motherhood. Moreover, at the end of October, something very unexpected happened that changed all of my major life plans so again, reading has not been a priority.
I chose to mention all of this, because last week I decided to make time to get back into reading and rather than finish Outlander , which I've been slowly making my way through since August, I decided that I wanted to try something new. I am so glad I did! I don't know if I can even find the words to describe how wonderful this book is.
From the first page, Taylor had me mesmerized. If you look at my book ratings, there are a whole lot of "4 stars" because generally, I really enjoy most books I read. For a book to get "5 stars" from me though, it has to have something extra. Something that I can't really put my finger on. I guess it has to touch me in a unique way that few books manage to do. Well, this book managed it and then some.
I was surprised and pleased to find that this story is far from your typical YA romance, does it contain the same themes and devices as other books in the genre? Yes, it does. However, Taylor also goes far beyond that to create both characters and a story that are not only interesting and exciting, but also deeply moving. I won't go into specifics, because I don't even know where to start. I realize that this review is rather vague and I apologize for it. Rather than ramble on, I will conclude by saying that I think everyone should give this book a try.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. In my opinion it is a cut above the regular harlequin fare. I found both Marguerite and Callum interesting and endearing....moreI really enjoyed this book. In my opinion it is a cut above the regular harlequin fare. I found both Marguerite and Callum interesting and endearing. I was intrigued by them earlier in the series, and I was happy that they finally got the chance to have their story told. I was also pleasantly surprised by the storyline. It held my interest much more than other romance novels usually do. (less)
I did not enjoy this one as much as "The Birth House." For some reason, I did not connect with Moth the same way I did with Dora. Similarly, while the...moreI did not enjoy this one as much as "The Birth House." For some reason, I did not connect with Moth the same way I did with Dora. Similarly, while the story was, without a doubt, interesting, I was not as captivated as I was by McKay's previous novel. For me, there was something missing. The characters simply did not feel as real to me. I felt like I was merely reading a book, rather than living the story alongside the characters, if that makes any sense at all. However, all of that said, it was still a very worthwhile read that shed light on a very interesting piece of nineteenth century history. (less)
From reading some of the other reviews, I can see that many people did not enjoy this novel as much as its predecessor. I really liked "Pillars of the...moreFrom reading some of the other reviews, I can see that many people did not enjoy this novel as much as its predecessor. I really liked "Pillars of the Earth," however surprisingly, I liked this one even more. On the one hand I can see the point that people make about it, it does contain many of the same plot elements of the first book. However, I did not see this as a negative factor. On the contrary, to me, it seemed more like the characters were echoing their ancestors. I liked the effect--it spoke to the continuity of history.
I also got really involved with the characters. Some of them I adored, especially Gwenda, and others vexed me, but regardless I found myself needing to know what was going to happen to them. To me that is what makes Follett's books such a pleasure to read, sure they have small errors and inconsistencies, but those are by far outweighed by the wonderful stories and characters he creates.
In my opinion this one is worth the read, I couldn't put it down. Also as a side note, I don't think that reading the first book is necessary to enjoy this one, but I will say that it definitely added positively to my experience. (less)
I really wanted to love this book. Truth is, I think I'm too old for it. I gave it a higher rating because I think if I was a teenager, I would love i...moreI really wanted to love this book. Truth is, I think I'm too old for it. I gave it a higher rating because I think if I was a teenager, I would love it. I wanted a quick, mindless read, and I quite like the show so I gave it a whirl. I was a little disappointed, but like I said, that's probably my age talking. I probably won't read the next one.(less)
This book has been on my "to-read" list for years. I am so glad to finally be able to cross it off. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I became quite attac...moreThis book has been on my "to-read" list for years. I am so glad to finally be able to cross it off. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I became quite attached to the characters, and wanted to know what was going to happen to them. Although I have to admit that I did skim over many of the parts that only discussed cathedral building. I enjoyed the book because none of the characters are perfect, they all have flaws. Furthermore, up to his usual standard, Follett creates an intriguing plot that draws you in almost instantly.
I will say however that my favourite part of the book remains the prologue. It had a beautiful, haunting quality, that for some reason wasn't present in the rest of the book. Nonetheless, it was still an incredible story.
There were a few things that brought it down a couple of pegs in my eyes. First was the fact that there were many small errors in the story, such as mixed-up ages. Now I know it's not really a big deal, but I kept thinking, "can't you remember how old your own characters are?" The ending of the book is the other part that I'm not fond of. I won't go into specifics, because I don't feel like ruining it for others, but basically, a whole new plot line is tacked on in the last 40 or so pages, and that always irritates me in books. Why not finish what you started, rather than adding more? Also, it connects many of the characters to a huge historical event--different from the one that binds the whole story together. I just find it really hard to believe that this group of characters were all involved in not one--but two of the greatest events of the century.
The Breadwinner is one of those books that everyone should read. It's a young adult book, so it won't take experienced readers that long to get throug...moreThe Breadwinner is one of those books that everyone should read. It's a young adult book, so it won't take experienced readers that long to get through. I sat down and read it in one sitting yesterday. It opens the mind to a world so very different from the Western one. Even if you know a lot about the history of Afghanistan, Parvana's perspective still puts it in a very interesting way. What better way to explore the horrors of humanity than through the eyes of child? Especially a child forced by circumstances to fill an adult role. Another great part of the book is how it shows both sides and basically reminds everyone that all humans are the same. Young people should read it as an introduction and adults should read it as a reminder.(less)