Book Review: I'd Tell You l Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You (288 pages)
Ally Carter's book, I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill...moreBook Review: I'd Tell You l Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You (288 pages)
Ally Carter's book, I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You addicted me from start to finish. It was so action packed and the female character was easy to relate to.
The theme of her book was every girl's own struggle--finding herself amidst peer pressure and bullies. The main character isn't even a normal girl! The life lesson illustrated is still the same; be honest and be yourself, even when people don't like it.
The author, Ally Carter, has an infectious writing style. I read this book and feel like I am the main character, because her thoughts put you right into her head. I can also really relate to distinct qualities I found in each character. This puts her style above and beyond most others.
I'd Tell You I Love You... two main characters with four or five important supporting characters. The main, as mentioned, is a fifteen-year-old teenage girl named Cammie Morgan. She's a normal girl, except she happens to be a spy-in-training. What actually makes her real-life is how she states her insecurities openly; it makes a personal connection with the reader. She stated once how, when she was talking to another character, she felt afraid this boy might not find her pretty enough to associate with and she worried if she said too little or too much. It really hit home, and I'm sure other people feel that way too. The other characters are Josh (the male main), Rachel Morgan (Cammie's mom), Bex (her tough best friend), Liz (her smart best friend), Macey (stuck up bully), and more! Not only does Ally Carter give you a down-to-earth main, but the friends and the guy are even like the "kids next door". When Josh says goodbye to Cammie one time, he tells her to "tell Suzie she's a lucky cat", which is obviously a flirting attempt. I know people like that! His personality is real.
This story takes place in Roseville, a small, imaginary town set in Virgina surrounding the Gallager Academy. This all-girls private school resembles a two-sided glass--a mirror on one side, a window on the other. That's because the academy looks like a snobby rich-girl school when it is really a high-tech pre-spy school. Though most of the action in the book happens there, my favorite description is of downtown Roseville's movie theatre, that reminds me of Batesville's own Melba Theater.
The plot begins with the school year--new classes, new skill tests, old friends. The only thing missing is boys. That's probably why Cammie, spy training and all, can't be less prepared for direct conversation with a living, breathing boy while off school campus on a special assignment. What can she do? How much trouble will she be in if she gets caught? That's not the first time she asks herself that question as she follows her heart on the adventure in front of her.
Cammie is a girl with problems, big and small. She worries, like any other teenager does, about school grades, friendships, parents, and acceptence (of the real spy Cammie). This is an excellent book for girls of all ages and guys, if you dare, I'm sure you could actually get into this book. Go Cammie Morgan!
Define Christianity. Right now. What would you say? Most people when asked that question would talk about Jesus...moreBook Review: In His Steps (242 pages)
Define Christianity. Right now. What would you say? Most people when asked that question would talk about Jesus dying on the cross to save the people of the world from their sins or God creating the world and people to live in the world, with harmony, peace, and love in mind. The truth is, no matter how people may define what it means to be a 'christian', actions always speak louder than words. In His Steps was a captivating read from start to finish; it changed me and the way I think, and I hope I stay that way.
In His Steps ,by the author Charles M. Sheldon, is a book describing the life of a christian church that undergoes a change so huge, it can hardly be contained in the church itself; it soon spreads to the town, and finally to other churches in other towns. This major "change" as I'm calling is the result of one man. Early Sunday morning, Rev. Maxwell and his wife are getting ready for church. A knock raps at the door and he answers it to find an unexpected beggar. The sad man asks if Rev. Maxwell knows of a place where he could find work or a shelter where he could stay in the meanwhile. Annoyed and uncomfortable, the Rev. tells him to check downtown for a shelter and hurries him off his front steps without an offer of food or money.
About an hour later, the Rev. is preaching his sermon; it seems like the same old routine, until the man who showed up on his doorstep walks in through the church doors. He paces straight up through the center aisle, not minding the stares and looks of shock that reflect back at him from the congregation. The man stands underneath the pulpit and speaks to fill the silence that had overcome the room. He tells the church his name and apologizes for his interruption; he continues to speak and says how he feels what he has to say is of importance. His sad story told of how he lost his job, could no longer feed and support his wife and baby, and began tramping around the streets looking for work of any kind. He had been looking for five months, with no luck. The season was currently winter, and he spoke through tears as he revealed that his child had withered away and died from sickness due to poor nutrition; his wife weeks after from grief. The church was silent. The church was awestruck. The man continued speaking. He had knocked on many doors, all with the same result--being treated like the plague. He said he couldn't understand how christian people could go to church and sing songs about "carrying their cross with Jesus" or "following him all the way" since they couldn't even follow God out of their front doors to help a person in serious need. How could they go to church and sing like hypocrites? Wouldn't Jesus help him? Wouldn't Jesus give him the money in his pocket and the shirt off his own back? What would Jesus do? The beggars message was engraved in Rev. Maxwell's mind. He couldn't believe how he had failed; he had failed not only in his job to be an example for the church, but also to be a christian. Not anymore. With a prayer, he asks God to help him to work to be a true christian. He asks to help him to work to do what Jesus would do. His life is transformed, and slowly, other people see his change, and allow a transformation to occur in their life. It isn't easy for any one of them, but the sacrifices they make aren't overlooked.
The setting of In His Steps is in the town of Raymond, Illinois. The story moves with the people of the book. It follows them in their individual lives throughout the city, whether that's in the lowest, dirtiest part of the city, or the fanciest gated communities located in the suburbs. For example, the main girl character (Virginia Page) lives in a mansion owned by her grandmother; another character (Burns) is a street thug who wanders the streets with no house (the streets are his "home").
This book is a fictional story, not a true account, but it is so realistic, I began to imagine the characters as real people living out their lives. They way the author presents the story, it is easy to forget that it is not based on true events. This touched me deeply while reading. I realized I have friends, acquaintances, and family members, that remind me so much of Sheldon's Characters; A teenage girl in the story, who is well off and accustomed to going out to parties and having fun with her friends, skips a concert in the park to go listen to her friend sing at a volunteer program in the lower-class side of the city. She tells her friends what she wants to do instead of going to the concert, and they joke with her saying things similar to "you've lost your mind" and "you've got to be kidding, right?" and "gross! that's where all the (gasp) poor people live!" The girl's friends remind me of girls (and boys) outside of the story. I can honestly say that they remind me a little of myself. How many people, after all, would rather go sit through a christian service in the slums of a big city over a quaint evening concert in a picturesque park? The answer in my mind is 'not many'. It is truly inspiring that the girl would make such a personal sacrifice to help support local mission work.
In His Steps is a great book. I know that is a poor description of a book, but I can't think of better words to do so. The third meaning of "great" defined by Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/brows...) is as follows: unusual or considerable in degree, power, or intensity. That IS the novel. Great. The intensity and rawness of pure christian love and devotion should hit any reader hard. If someone is looking for a book with so much more to offer than catty drama or fantasy, In His Steps is that book. (less)
Anger and Jealousy are proven to be two of the most powerful of emotions. When these are combined by multiple pe...moreBook Review: Julius Caesar (209 pages)
Anger and Jealousy are proven to be two of the most powerful of emotions. When these are combined by multiple people coming together against one man, the result can't anything less than deadly. Julius Caesar, a play by Shakespeare, is a combination of history and tragedy that tells of friends' betrayal and political conflict.
The composition, though entitled "Julius Caesar", tells more of the people surrounding Caesar than of Caesar himself. Cassius and Brutus are angered by Caesar and decide in secret to do something about it. Caesar is warned by bad omens and his wife's odd dreams to stay home from a Senate meeting where shady members await him--will he choose to listen or follow is own will, as he does most of the time. Will his choice affect the entirety of the Roman Empire?
The setting of the play is Rome, Italy, when the center of the Western Civilization was ruled by Julius Caesar. The contrast between 44 BC, the date of Caesar's assassination, and the present time is extreme. Then, people were just beginning to have a say in the government, when now, people expect their say in the government through either voting or establishing leaders to vote for them. Then, women were looked down on; now, all people, male or female, are considered equal. Besides the obvious political differences, the physical differences are obvious. The structures such as buildings, art, statues, and roads were all build out of different materials and designed to look a different way (mostly brick roads, marble columned buildings, and marble statues).
The style of the book is standard Shakespearean script--Iambic Pentameter. The lines are organized into sets of five lines with each line containing ten syllables. Julius Caesar was written to be preformed as a play, so the story is told directly through the characters speech with no additional narration. The speech used in the play is old English from Shakespeare's time, so it is naturally more difficult to read and follow than modern day books. I didn't particularly like this, because it was not easy to read, but the way the author presented the words in certain puns and dialogue was witty and made me feel intelligent to be able to read it and comprehend.
If a person is not interested in taking time to read a challenging book, I would not recommend Shakespeare for them. Though intriguing, I had to take time to look up extra meanings to words in order to understand. On the other hand, if they are up for a challenge, Julius Caesar is an intellectual and adventurous read.(less)
Book Review: The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen (268 pages)
Everyone feels differently as they grow up and mature in body and mind. Mood swings,...moreBook Review: The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen (268 pages)
Everyone feels differently as they grow up and mature in body and mind. Mood swings, loneliness, anger, and frustration are all things that teens deal with on a daily basis. 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen is a inspirational book by Sean Covey that tries to help young adults realize they are NOT alone and give them a positive outlook on life and those "bumps" in the road. I believe this book is helpful and was very uplifting to me as I read it.
I especially liked the organization of the book. The way Sean Covey separated his main points of discussion into seven distinct sections was ideal to me as a reader. Also, the anecdotes he featured in each section were linked together in topic; it was good to read about the same, general idea for an entire chapter and let it soak in before switching the discussion to something else. It made it feel like Sean Covey was telling you that idea solely and not thrusting all the information he wanted the reader to know at me all at once.
The theme of the book, The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen, was actually several different themes--in essence, one theme per section. Though that is true, all seven habits (be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then be understood; synergize; sharpen the saw) summed up simply reflect the word balance. Habit 1: Be Proactive, for example, means to do what is healthy to be successful. Don't be too aggressive competition for your place as a respected student, friend, family member, and human being, but don't be someones doormat either. Another example would be of Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. It is good to have time to relax and renew the mind, body, and soul, but it is NOT good when all that is accomplished during the day is the "renewing" of the body in naps or the "renewing" of the mind by under-stressing it by no mental stimulation whatsoever. The theme of balance suggests that somewhere in the middle is where there is harmony or equilibrium. This book demonstrates a healthy way to think, and if the reader chooses, to be.
The style the author uses to write this book is an easy style to follow. He writes as he would speak, perhaps if he were speaking to a young adult-reader. This is apparent by some slang used, such as "sweet", "dude", "cool", and more. I liked this because it was easy to follow, but I sometimes disliked this, because it felt like Sean Covey was trying too hard. It kind of undermined me, made me to feel like he didn't take me seriously as mature reader who could understand the same ideas expressed in The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen, only written in more mature conversational terms.
While reading 7 Habits... I was reminded of other books I have read in the past. It is very similar to Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, only it isn't focused on Christianity like those books; its focus is more of positive thinking and actions. More so, it reminded me of the American Girl's Guide to (___) books. The only real difference between them is that the American Girl books are directed towards girls exclusively, while 7 Habits... is for any young reader (or old reader, really).
I really enjoyed reading The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen. It sparked my thinking on many areas of my life that I don't give a thought to on a regular basis. I don't feel like it changed my life in a huge way, but it definitely changed it on a small level. That's how change starts though, isn't it? Small changes lead to bigger changes that lead to bigger changes and POOF! A person can be changed, for better or for worse. This book changed me for better; I recommend it to someone who is a pessimist or is depressed or just bored with a normal book. Who knows? Maybe, in a small way, it could change their life for the better too.(less)
Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines (215 pages)
Clones--In today's society, that's not beyond the realm of possibility, but that's not what An Abu...moreBook Review: An Abundance of Katherines (215 pages)
Clones--In today's society, that's not beyond the realm of possibility, but that's not what An Abundance of Katherines is about. This book, by John Green, instead takes you on a wild ride (literally) through the post-graduation of a nerdy senior and his awful heart-breaks of the past.
The plot starts at the end of the school year, when the worries of a former high-school student should be out the window. Emphasis on the word should. Instead, Colin is thrust into a depression that can only be the result of one thing--a break-up with a Katherine. The last Katherine, one of nineteen. The thing with Colin, is that he has a thing for Katherines. He has dated only Katherines in his lifetime, and they had to have the spelling K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e. When his most recent Katherine fling has gone crashing down, he is effected so much that his best friend, Hassan, decides he needs a drastic rehab. This rehab takes the form of a road trip that starts in Chicago, slowly working its way south to the great state of Tennessee. Once they get to the small town of Gunshot, the duo decide to ditch the open road and rest a while. "Resting" actually turns out to include meeting new friends, staying with a small family, and getting a job. They stay in Gunshot so long, they begin to feel attached to the quaint town and its drawling people. Who knows? Maybe this is just the right medicine for a boy looking to break his mean-Katherine streak and his jolly friend. Can he do it? Read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green to find out.
The character, described by John Green, Colin, is a kid who got picked on his whole life. Not for being mean, not for being weird, but for being smart. Colin is the type of person who is the nicest person anyone could know, but for some reason, people avoid knowing him because of his level of intelligence. He struggles throughout the book to keep friends and girlfriends, except for the nice and also smart (though not as smart) Hassan. Colin changes throughout the story; he becomes a person who is comfortable with who he is for what he is. He experiences the insecurities of every teenager and prevails, happy and in one piece. Go Colin!!
The setting of most of the book, Tennessee, reminds me so much of home. The same hills, the same wonderful green outdoors, the same hot summers. I believe I've actually been to some of the same places described by the author. The fact that the setting was relatable made the scenes so easy to picture as I read.
Because of Colin's (minute) trials and tribulations, the theme of the book is "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I also think that the theme of this could be "Change is good". My thinking behind this is simple; Colin leaves the people of his past behind him and slowly evolves into a more self-confident, risk-taking person. In this process he meets NEW PEOPLE and has NEW EXPERIENCES. Under his circumstances, change is good.
I flew through this book; It only took 4 days to read. I would refer it to both boys and girls. It kept me laughing, so if you prefer comedies, this is a must-read. Enjoy:] (less)
Boys are impossible to understand. You may try to understand them many different ways. You could ask them wha...moreBook Review: Fly on the Wall (182 pages)
Boys are impossible to understand. You may try to understand them many different ways. You could ask them whats on their mind, figure out what/who they like, or observe how they act in public. These probably help, but what they do in secret, who they are when no one's watching, that would be the key to the boy code. In the book Fly on the Wall, Gretchen is searching for answers. Author E. Lockhart strives to provide them for girls a whole lot like her--the confused ones.
In Fly on the Wall the main character's name is Gretchen Yee. She is a sophomore in high-school who attends an art school for the talented (well, mostly). In a normal school, people would all strive to fit in. In hers, the more different you are, the more you are displaying your personality, making you unique and cool. Different is in; normal is plain boring. One thing Gretchen does to try to "fit-in-by-standing-out" is dye her hair fire truck red. She definitely becomes noticed for a while, but besides that, it does nothing for her. Her friend Katya still seems distant. What is coming between them? Her ex-boyfriend pays her the same amount of attention (about 2%). Why isn't he begging for her back? Her new love interest from drawing class is friendly. Why isn't he in love with her and wanting to be more than friends? Finally, her parents are still getting divorced. Did they not freak and work together to set her on the straight and narrow? Don't they care enough? When the world seems to be a confusing place, what is a girl to do? Naturally, she will want to understand it better. After Gretchen experiences the results of a wish-gone-wrong, she has a deeper understanding of what it means to not only be a boy, but also to be a human.
I am certain the theme intended by author E. Lockhart is be comfortable in your own skin. People everywhere struggle with who they are. They don't want to put the real thing out there, whether it be on the inside or the out. Why do people want to change themselves to something different than what they have? What's wrong with you that needs to be changed? I think the main character Gretchen is good at questioning society and how it treats the "image" of teenagers. There should be no ideal, because (as I learned in World History from Greco-Roman art) the human form is not perfect, and the being inside is not perfect. So what makes everyone strive to squeeze into a mold that is IMPOSSIBLE TO EVER FIT US?!?! A great question to ask, if you ask me.
The story takes place in New York City; all of the characters seem to be culturally diverse and live in different areas due to different ways of life. New York is so huge, and I have never been, but I see a slight connection to Batesville in subtle ways. Batesville has nice neighborhoods with large houses where people better off than others live; Batesville has larger neighborhoods where the houses are very close together and normal families or single people live there. New York is apparently the same way, only, you must throw in many apartment complexes. Gretchen herself lives in a small apartment near china town. I've noticed that when the city is larger, the size of space that people have to live in decreases immensely.
This book was a quick read (because it was short page-wise and it was a page turner). I feel the same way as Gretchen at times! I want to get inside someone else's head, or at least be unnoticed as they are their true selves. I really enjoyed reading Fly on the Wall, and I believe it changed the way I thought about the opposite sex. I think it made me a more secure person. The one problem I had with the book was the cursing; E. Lockhart sure loves her some wordy-dirds. I guess I don't cuss like the characters do, and it bothered me a tid bit.
Any person who feels alone or "out" should read this book. It will change your perspective on that subject. Also, it has some crude humor that is really hilarious. I would advise you NOT to read Fly on the Wall if you don't want to hear at least five cuss words per page (I know, that's a bunch) or if you are a boy. Let's face it, this is all about how girls feel towards boys and some parts may make a guy reader uncomfortable. Enough said, to be a fly on the wall of a boy's room could be every girl's dream or every girl's nightmare; only the readers can decide. (less)
Sadness. Hurt. Betrayal. Loneliness. These are four reasons for a person to become depressed. Slowly, depressi...moreBook Review: 13 Reasons Why (290 pages)
Sadness. Hurt. Betrayal. Loneliness. These are four reasons for a person to become depressed. Slowly, depression can snowball into a more dangerous form of self-destruction. What if there were more than four reasons to feel cut off from all that is good and happy and right in the world? What if a person had thirteen reasons? What if those reasons were more than reasons, but people? And what if those people drove someone you loved to the ultimate self-destructional deed...
In Jay Asher's book, Thirteen Reasons Why, an unlucky-in-love boy finally gets to get inside the head of the girl of his dreams, but it's not as great as it sounds. Clay comes home to find a package, addressed to him specifically and no one else. How awesome! A present! Right? Wrong. What he finds within the contents of that brown package will change his life forever, along with twelve others. All Clay has to do is open the parcel and follow instructions, and for him, it is so much harder than he anticipated.
There are multiple themes that fit this single book. One is that people are very mortal, very temporary, and you never know when they might leave our presence and never return. Another is to always treat people the way you would want to be treated. Very standard. Very Golden Rule, but also very effective. When you treat people the way you want to be treated, they will usually treat you with respect in return. You just never know how a negative remark or comment can alter someones bad day into their worst.
This book was one of my favorite books of all time. In part, it was because Thirteen Reasons Why was so powerful. It made me read of things that can happen to any person, but are uncomfortable to discuss. It made me realize how the actions of one person, however insignificant, can affect another. It made me question things I have done and said in the past; could I have handled that better? Is there someone I can help as I sit here typing? Thoughts flew through my mind and pages continued to turn. Once I started, I couldn't stop reading.
I would recommend this book to teenagers; It might be over young readers' heads for a couple of issues that are confronted. I feel that both girls and guys would be impacted by it. I hope, if you decide to read this novel, it changes the way you think towards people around you for the better.(less)
What will become of the earth when peace is no longer possible and human nature threatens all that people kn...moreBook Review: The Hunger Games (387 pages)
What will become of the earth when peace is no longer possible and human nature threatens all that people know and love? A lot, that's what. Suzanne Collins's novel, The Hunger Games, thrusts readers into the life of a normal girl. Well, a normal girl for her time.
In the life of Katniss Everdeen, there is one place to call home. One of twelve city-state-like districts that is controlled by those that lead the Capital, the main city that houses privileged inhabitants. In her district, number twelve, there is a plain and simple separation of people into two classes: poor, starving workers or the less poor and starving workers. Still, they are separate. Why is the known human race relenting to an awful type of dictatorship? The world almost ended when all countries entered into a full-fledged war. This "country" that consists of twelve districts is all that is left. Katniss has to support her family after her father dies. When the annual hunger games drawing commences, selecting one female and one male for each district, she takes the place of the sister she dearly loves. Competing in the hunger games may be the most threatening and dangerous task she's ever taken on. What is the hunger games and can she survive? Only readers will know...
A huge difference in the setting between Katniss's world and our own is obvious; though her country of Panem is located in fairly the same region as our United States, her surroundings are clearly not the same. A city with a fence lining the outer border is the only place she's ever been, ever been ALLOWED, that is. We, as citizens of a free country, exercise our right to travel quite frequently, though we take it for granted. We also have a relatively safe feeling when out and about; we don't often question our safety when we are in town, in a crowd, and in broad daylight. Cars are also never used in Katniss's world. Where would we be without them? I guess if you are confined to one city, walking is not as bad as it may seem. All of our modern methods of getting from place to place seem to be missing with the exception of trains, and in the place of planes, you find hovercrafts.
The main characters are Katniss Everdeen, Prim Everdeen (her younger sister), Gale (her best friend), and Peeta (an acquaintance turned deadly). Collins gives her characters attributes that you would want them to have. In this way, she makes them so that a reader couldn't not like them. I love the way she made Katniss a girl that has problems and imperfections; this made me want to talk to her, not be jealous of her and the things that I can't change about the problems and imperfections in my own life. Another character I fell in love with was Peeta, the kind and brave. He risked harm out of kindness for a stranger, then, later, when this stranger became a friend, he risked his life to save theirs. He always seems compassionate, kind, and courageous, even when he isn't strong enough to face what lay ahead. I admire his thoughtful nature; it contrasts greatly with the fierce and tough attitude of Katniss, though she can sometimes be soft and gentle.
The main character, Katniss, stands for justice. She rebels again and again throughout The Hunger Games against the Capital's forces that threaten to quench each individuals will to survive, along with their sense of humanity. When she was put in a position where she had to kill to survive, she allied herself with others in hopes of not having to harm. Her biggest stand up occurred at the end of the hunger games. Only two people were left to fight 'til the death--herself included. She and the other decided it would be better for them to both die a painless death of poison berries then for them to fight until one was left standing. This would be the ultimate rebellion against what the Capital wanted to happen, a way of proving that they could not be controlled and they would not willingly slaughter each other like animals. Righteousness could prevail; the only thing Katniss had to do was take a stand.
The Hunger Games is the second best book I have EVER read. I loved it so much! I only read it because so many others had read it and thought it was amazing. Those that referred it were boys, but I loved it, so I would refer it to both girls and guys. It was a powerful book that provoked my thoughts about the limits of human nature and compassion. (less)
Book Review: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (236 pages)
My world is crashing down around me. Rather, I'm about to crash into the world. That's what Ca...moreBook Review: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (236 pages)
My world is crashing down around me. Rather, I'm about to crash into the world. That's what Cammie, the main character in Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, thinks when two crazy, unexpected things happen to her that are out of her control. In this sequel, (to I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You) author Ally Carter brings even better mystery and adventure to Gallager Academy than the first book did; I enjoyed this book more than the first and can't wait for the third to be published!
The same characters from the first book are back from winter break, ready for their second semester of sophomore year. Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey are all girls who want, so badly, to do well in school. Macey proves this by spending less time on her appearance and more time on her aptitude. Her parents don't believe she can up her grades on her own, and she is determined more than ever to show them not to underestimate a Gallager Girl, even one who takes the eighth-grade level classes because she's not a "genius" like the other spies-to-be. While Macey is busy with her school work, the other three girls are worried about field tests (tests for Covert Operations class). These girls stress out just like girls at a normal school; that makes me feel good, knowing that I'm not the only one worrying about grades. I think the impact the characters (mainly the girls) have on me makes me like the book more. If all the characters were super smart, all the characters super athletic, or all the characters super attractive, I would be less able to relate to them. If they were perfect, they would seem less like people and more like the characters they are, because, like it or not, people aren't perfect.
The setting of this book is at the Gallager Academy, secretly located in Roseville, Virginia, but the students also take a short trip to Washington D.C. towards the beginning of the book for a "class trip" (I would say more, but that's classified information). Several times the girls also take trips to the town of Roseville, and stroll along the streets. A gazebo is mentioned and reminds me of the one in our cemetery that is white and wooden and with stones making up the base. While reading, I pictured the characters from the book having their conversations while sitting in our gazebo, because the description in the book just about matched the look of it.
In my introduction, I mentioned that two crazy and unexpected things happen to the main character, Cammie Morgan. The first is that she "accidentally overhears" one of her teachers Mr. Solomon say to her mother,the headmistress of Gallager Academy, "You don't think they know about Blackthorne, do you?" to which Cammie's mother replies, "No, but if one of them does, they all do." Cammie has no idea what to make of this! She is shocked to know her mother is keeping a secret from her. She is even more shocked when she discovers what the secret is and how she must cope with what or who she finds. I would tell, but if I did, I might just have to kill you. The other thing that happens to Cammie is seeing the only person she swore she was done with and would not try to contact again--Josh. After an information leak to her boyfriend (now ex)Josh before winter break, he had his memory of Cammie as a spy-girl erased, and she made a promise not to jog his memory. Now he remembers a girl that lied about being home schooled and is really a student at Gallager. He doesn't have to just remember her for long, though, because in the small town of Roseville, going outside means risking the sight of a familiar face. Does she call for backup? Does she need to? Most importantly, the question is: Does she want to?
The theme of Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is mainly how you can't make assumptions. Any spy should know you should make decisions based on cold, hard evidence--fact. When Cammie and her friends decide to eavesdrop, part of a conversation can be taken many different ways. How can they be sure they are really hearing what they think they are hearing. They can't. I have found this out, many times, the hard way. I connected with Cammie because I had gone through that before (hearing something, telling others, only to find out later what the truth is and to make myself look foolish).
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is a page-turner filled with mystery. Ally Carter brings together the best characters from the last book and introduces new, interesting characters into this present one. I recommend this book to young readers or old readers, girl readers or boy readers. Just remember, secrets don't make friends, but friends can help you keep your darkest secrets (just make sure they're not a double agent). (less)
The best clothes; a thoughtful, handsome, a successful husband; an amazingly close friend; a family that...moreBook Review: Shopaholic and Baby (358 pages)
The best clothes; a thoughtful, handsome, a successful husband; an amazingly close friend; a family that pries out of love. What more can a girl really need? In a book by Sophie Kinsella, one woman, Becky Bloomwood (now Becky Brandon since her marriage), will find that only having one more thing could add to her lovely life--a baby. This book made me laugh, made angry, and made me tearful. I love Shopaholic and Baby and all of the previous books in this series!
The plot of the story begins with the shopaholic working her shift in the shop in which she's employed. The shop is in trouble of closing and only lots of publicity and personal connections could ever help to keep it open. Besides the stress of possibly losing her job, she also has personal matters to worry about. She reads an advertisement about about a famous obstetrician and decides to change doctors mid-way through her pregnancy, against the advise of her husband, Luke. The famous doctor, Venita Carter, turns out to be extremely nice and intelligent and all seems to go great until Becky brings Luke along for an appointment. Luke recognizes Venita and Venita recognizes Luke; they dated in college! What is the chance of that? Becky decides to stay with Venita as a doctor, even though this fact makes her uncomfortable. Nothing is wrong...or is it? When Venita starts putting the "moves" on Luke, what will Becky do? And in the midst of this awful situation, can she also save her work?
The main characters are Becky, Suze (her best friend), Luke (her loving husband), Venita (her doctor/home wrecker), Jess (her sister), and Danny (her quirky designer friend). I love all of the characters; they all have very easily defined personalities that are simple, yet complex. It is easy to forget they are figures of Sophie Kinsella's imagination and not real people. The character I can associate myself with most is probably Luke. He is hardworking, intelligent, and very kind. He always comes up with a solution to the problems Becky causes without hassling her for them. I also find that he is good at handling sticky situations presented in the novel (I won't go in to detail so you will have to read the book and find out for yourself).
I liked this book a lot. Probably because I know how Becky feels. I love to shop! Who doesn't? I feel that it is a great book for girls of any age. Shopaholic and Baby is the fifth book in the Shopaholic series; the books listed in reading order are Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, and Shopaholic and Sister. I have read them all and hope if you read them you will think they are as fun as I thought they were. (less)
Can you imagine waking up one morning and remembering things that happened the day before, the night before, and sud...moreBook Review: The Host (619 pages)
Can you imagine waking up one morning and remembering things that happened the day before, the night before, and suddenly, you realize that those memories don't belong to you? Those memories are in fact some other beings and everything you are has changed in the blink of an eye; I certainly can't. In Stephanie Meyer's book, The Host, no one is what they seem, and trust is worth more than one person can imagine.
The setting of the story is in present time, in and around the major cities of Arizona (like Phoenix). When I say around, I mean that most of the action in the book happens in the deserts, described in-detail as being hot, dry, hotter, and drier. This is something the people of our temperate town don't know much about. The characters suffered, it seemed, from heat exhaustion and lack of water. I personally cannot relate to this aspect, thought I have been to Arizona and can say for myself that it is a very hot, dry place.
The plot starts by following a young woman named Melanie and her younger brother Jamie as they work to evade the "intruders" that are replacing all humanity that inhabit the Earth. It started out small, but slowly, people are changing. They leave home themselves, only to return strange. Melanie and her younger brother are the only people to make it out of their home town still themselves, and they escape to find their uncle who gave them a map embedded in a puzzle, a map to where he would be hiding in preparation for the invasion that was to come and did come. The unexpected happens when Melanie and Jamie are separated while Melanie is in a city scavenging supplies and information; she is captured and taken to become changed. Later, it is revealed that the changing is internal. Aliens called souls that are small, silver, bug-like creatures are embedded into a person's brain while unconscious and take over their body and with it, their being. The host who is taken over doesn't die, but is just unconscious, unaware in a type of coma. That has been true for all other hosts, but not Melanie. Melanie wakes up, only its not Melanie that does, but her soul. Her soul is in her body, and feels what Melanie feels, loves who Melanie loves, and remembers what Melanie remembers. Her soul is conflicted with the need to care for Melanie's brother, and her job of being a soul--making Earth pure. After all, the non-violent souls living on the planet instead of evil humans is a step toward utopia. What can the soul do? Melanie is happy to give her input, speaking through her thoughts. The soul is disturbed; why is there two people living in one body? Clearly there is something wrong. Can this duo exist? Can they work something out in order to save the boy they both want to protect from all harm? The answer lies with Melanie's uncle, where all family is hiding and all future hope lies. Let the search begin.
I think a theme that Stephanie Meyer is trying to portray in her novel is the very essence of humanity. What faults make humans human? People are not perfect, physically or consciously. People do not always know the right thing to say or do. People get hurt, sick, angry, jealous, stubborn, and selfish. These traits and more make the Earth a place of grief, but also a place of great happiness and love and especially hope. When people who can have such faults find it in themselves to also be charitable, kind, or peaceful, it is a wonderful thing that gives hope for mankind to all. Earth would be boring and plain if everything and everyone were perfect. Another theme is bias. It shouldn't matter what the person looks like on the outside or what group they come from; all that should be of any importance is what the person is like on the inside, though in our world, people are too quick to be judged based primarily on their appearance or posse, no words spoken. For example, in The Host, though Wanda is an extremely timid and considerate soul, the settlers view her as dangerous and threatening. This is a biased opinion based on her species as a whole and the way some of her kind are. Her judgement has nothing to do with her self.
Another story this book reminded me of at first was The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, because like that classic movie, this book does feature aliens that essentially "snatch" bodies. The difference occurs in the character of the "invaders" from both stories and in the genre of the stories. While the invaders from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers were evil, mind-eating alien pods, the invaders from The Host are kind spirited aliens who want to end violence. Yes, that includes taking out the human race, but in a sense they aren't throwing people away, just recycling. The genre is different because The Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a horror story and film, while The Host's genre seems more complex. It features all the elements of a good novel--science fiction, adventure, mystery, and romance.
The Host was a thrilling read. Once I got into the storyline, I didn't want to put it down. It was an exceptionally long book though, so for readers who are slow-going or get bored easily, I would not recommend this. I would suggest this to either a girl or a guy for a read; it is so fun and exciting, I don't know who wouldn't want to read it.(less)