After the death of her parents, Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle in England. Soon she becomes intrigued about stories of a secret garden, wh...moreAfter the death of her parents, Mary Lennox is sent to live with her uncle in England. Soon she becomes intrigued about stories of a secret garden, which is locked up somewhere on the grounds. There are also strange sounds in the house at night, which she is determined to discover the source of.
This story goes through some odd transitions. The story starts about Mary, but at some point it really transitions to be all about Colin. Because of this, it's hard to really feel connected to any of the characters from beginning to end. The dour demeanor of the children when you first meet them also contributes to this, although they do become happier as the story goes on.
I remember trying to read this when I was young, but I was thrown off by all the accents, which slowed down my reading pace. I still didn't care for all the accented reading, but I appreciate that it's there for authenticity.(less)
Petunia is on her way to meet a prince when she is kidnapped by a bandit. Then she finds that maybe the curse of dancing isn't behind her and her sist...morePetunia is on her way to meet a prince when she is kidnapped by a bandit. Then she finds that maybe the curse of dancing isn't behind her and her sisters.
Well, we're back to an enormous cast: 12 sisters, a bunch of husbands and fiances and boyfriends and princes and evil people. There are way too many people to keep track of. (I tried to recall name the 12 sisters, but only came up with 9; considering they are all flowers, it shouldn't have been difficult) The main character in this book is youngest sister Petunia, who has the exact same personality as her sisters Rose and Poppy--oh so spunky!
The sisters are pretty dim-witted here. Petunia is kidnapped and then falls in love with her kidnapper--Stockhom Syndrome! When everyone else realizes that "Pet" (stupid nicknames abound here) is in trouble, all 11 sisters traipse out into the dangerous lands to find her. Petunia then does something extremely stupid to get herself captured by the King Under Stone, and all 11 sisters come after her again. Did it not occur to anyone that the spells probably wouldn't work as well if all 12 sisters weren't together? Maybe some girls should stay home! They had no personality here, anyway.
Once again, the ending was super-rushed and unsatisfying, and it reminded me of the first book (although, granted, it has been years since I read the first book). While I appreciated the return to the original fairy tale, there wasn't enough there to make it super-interesting.(less)
I read this book online while in the midst of reading The 19th Wife, in order to get a complete perspective on the life of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th w...moreI read this book online while in the midst of reading The 19th Wife, in order to get a complete perspective on the life of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young. This book can be found online and read for free, but it's a long one!
Ann Eliza's pain in apparent in her book, as she struggles with her faith and her unhappiness. While there are certainly biases in this book, I believe that Ann Eliza is telling the truth as she sees it, and was truly doing what she felt was right. I actually am grateful for her account of things as they were back then.(less)
This book tells two stories: 1) the story of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, who later divorced him and denounced Mormonism and polyg...moreThis book tells two stories: 1) the story of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, who later divorced him and denounced Mormonism and polygamy, and 2) the story of Jordan, a "lost boy" whose mother polygamist mother has been charged with the murder of her husband.
This is a hard book to rate for many reasons. Although it is historical fiction, it leans heavily on true events, particularly those from Ann Eliza's book, Wife No. 19. However, the author doesn't cite what parts are true and what parts are made up, which leads to a lot of skepticism from the reader. At first I thought Jordan's story was the more interesting of the two, but I quickly changed my tune; Jordan's story began to feel more and more like filler, and then it just felt like the author made this book only to embellish on Ann Eliza's book, which could very well be the case. Only by reading Wife No. 19 can someone really get the full picture; fortunately, because it is public domain, this book can be found and read online.
Oddly, many of the names concerning the modern-day polygamist sect have been changed. They are not the FLDS, but the Firsts. They do not live in Hilldale, but Mesadale. The prophet's name is never said. But all surrounding cities are named exactly as they are in real life. It was a bit puzzling, really.
One of the best things about this book was that it did seem to paint an actual picture of life in polygamy: the happy and later jealous women, the lusting of the men as they are encouraged to take more wife, the lifestyle of the Lion House... it all seemed quite believable.
As for the audience of this book, true believing Mormons will certainly be offended by the subject material and the swearing, and may be thrown off by the actual events depicted, none of which are taught in Sunday School. (less)
It's now been a year since the eruption. Millions of people have died. Many cities have just been emptied. And yet people are still struggling to surv...moreIt's now been a year since the eruption. Millions of people have died. Many cities have just been emptied. And yet people are still struggling to survive--eating whatever (or whoever) they can.
I found this book really fascinating. There were its flaws, sure (like everyone suddenly turning to the 16-year-old for leadership), but most of it felt pretty realistic. And I wasn't bothered by the fact that answers to everything weren't to be found, because that just made it all the more realistic. I enjoyed this series quite a bit.(less)
Chloe falls asleep in study hall in May, and wakes up to find that it's November and her entire life has changed. Suddenly she's a great student and d...moreChloe falls asleep in study hall in May, and wakes up to find that it's November and her entire life has changed. Suddenly she's a great student and dating a hot boy. But why doesn't she remember anything?
I began this book with the pretense of hating it. There were some things that annoyed me, like the fact that Chloe has somehow raised her GPA to a 3.9 over six months (mostly summer), despite several years of bad grades that would drag it down. I also was extremely bothered by the way that no one would be straight with each other--always pushing off questions and telling Chloe to ask someone else; just answer the freakin' questions!
The feel of the book reminded me of Richie Tankersley Cusick's stuff, but it wasn't nearly as mysterious. There were a lot of things that happened conveniently. I feel like the "why" of the story could have revealed in a much more tense way, and it would have been better without all the fluff of people not being honest. Still, a decent read.(less)
So Juliette can hurt people when she touches them. The nature of her power is not really explained, nor what exactly her power does to her victim. The...moreSo Juliette can hurt people when she touches them. The nature of her power is not really explained, nor what exactly her power does to her victim. There's just pain. And she accidentally killed a child and so was locked up in a medieval prison for almost a year.
Then she's suddenly out and there are two men in her life. The whole book revolves around these two guys and how much they want her. Why do they want her? Well, because she's beautiful and kind and powerful, of course. At least that's what we're told. Really, she didn't have much a personality, other than how these guys fell over themselves for her. And, miraculously, both of them turn out to be immune to her power! What luck! What a twist!
The villain (one of the two men, of course) was laughable. He throws around cliches like "seize her" and evil laughing. And rather than just take what he wants, he professes his love for her and puts her in pretty dresses. This guy needs to go to villain school.
This book is so awful. So awful. I haven't even touched on the bad, hyperbolic writing, or all the freakin' strikethroughs, or the strange punctuation. The hyperbole was so bad that it was distracting at times.
I only continued to the end because I'd heard it got a little X-Men; it did, for about 5 pages at the very end of the book, when she meets a guy who can moves things with his mind and then gets a snazzy little jumpsuit. (Never mind that Juliette's power is extremely similar to Rogue's in the first place.)
I checked this book out because it was supposed to be dystopian, but it was just a really crappy teenage romance. It saddens me to think that this author not only got a book deal, but managed to squeeze a whole series out.(less)
After her family is killed, Liesel is sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Munich, Germany. She soon discovers a love for books, and steals th...moreAfter her family is killed, Liesel is sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Munich, Germany. She soon discovers a love for books, and steals them when she can--including out of piles of burned books. Then, when her foster parents hide a Jew in their house, Liesel really learns what the war is all about.
I enjoyed Liesel's journey and her love of books, but it about ends there. This story was told in such a fragmented way that I found it hard to follow and get into. The author kept trying to foreshadow events, but instead of building up the drama, I just found that it ruined any surprise that might have come later. The timeline also jumped around too much for my liking. Considering how little substance there is to the grand story, the book is just way, way too long. Still, there were some nice moments in the book, and occasionally the writing would be beautiful.(less)
Ellie is the police chief in a small town where nothing happens. One day, a "wild child" appears from the woods, unable to speak and lacking in all so...moreEllie is the police chief in a small town where nothing happens. One day, a "wild child" appears from the woods, unable to speak and lacking in all social interaction. Ellie calls in her sister, a world-famous psychologist that has recently been disgraced when a young patient snapped and committed murder. Now they are hoping to teach the young girl how to communicate with the outside world, and tell them where she's been.
Once again, the author builds a compelling story. I certainly wanted to keep reading. The town was adorable and I loved how they all got behind the little girl. There were far too many romance subplots, however, and they added nothing to the story, except perhaps add the notion that these sisters needed love and men to round out their lives.
I've done a lot of reading on "feral" children, Genie (from the 1970s) and Danielle (aka The Girl at the Window, from 2005). Genie learned some speech before being abused and traumatized back into silence for the rest of her life. Dani has yet to learn how to speak. Children need a lot of interaction and attention in those first formative years, and lacking that, they never recover. While the author captures some of the essence here of a feral child, I feel like she presented an extremely optimistic view of how well the little girl would recover--it actually distracted me from the story. But if it's your first time reading anything about a feral child, it gives a good place to start.(less)
Kate is a straight-A student who is wrapping up high school. Her college plans involve only MIT, and refuses to accept any reality where that might no...moreKate is a straight-A student who is wrapping up high school. Her college plans involve only MIT, and refuses to accept any reality where that might not be the case. But then her neighbors' house burns down and they move in with Kate and her family, and things just turn into chaos.
I didn't really care for this one. It didn't even get somewhat interesting until over halfway though. Mostly there was a lack of character development, because I didn't care about most of the characters and they all felt the same. (less)
Meredith and Nina Whitson have never really had a relationship with their cold, Russian-born mother, Anya. But when their father dies, he begs his wif...moreMeredith and Nina Whitson have never really had a relationship with their cold, Russian-born mother, Anya. But when their father dies, he begs his wife and daughter to rely on each other, and to make Anya tell a fairy tale that she has kept to herself. As the women slowly coax the story out of their mother, they begin to form the relationship that they never had.
This story moved somewhat slowly for the first half, but the second half of this book was absolutely riveting--I'm so glad I had stuck through it. I'd had little interest in the fairy tale at first, but soon it becomes the most fascinating part. There is a lot of emotion in this story, and it's easy to feel for and with the characters and all that they go through.
I also appreciated the author's imagery. Gardens, cities, and life and death are vividly described.
Due to the slow nature of the first half of the book, I'd probably give this book 4.5 stars, but since I can't do that, I'm giving it 5 because I enjoyed the second half so much.(less)