Best book I have read this year! Such incredibly believable characters, writing that made you laugh out loud at some moments and crying from a brokenBest book I have read this year! Such incredibly believable characters, writing that made you laugh out loud at some moments and crying from a broken heart in others. This one is a must read. ...more
THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS is Claire Legrand’s debut novel. I'm still blown away by that fact and in awe of Ms. Claire Legrand because it iTHE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS is Claire Legrand’s debut novel. I'm still blown away by that fact and in awe of Ms. Claire Legrand because it is THAT GOOD.
CAVENDISH (which is how it will henceforth be shortened because I am lazy) is the perfect middle grade novel. It is narrated by this great voice that had me chortling and nodding my head profusely; it has a unique plot that pulled me in from the beginning; it is eerie and at times down right frightening; and the ending had me shutting the book with a final “I LOVE THIS”.
I can’t rave enough about how much I loved this book. Victoria, the main character, is this girl that is completely my opposite while at the same time me as a kid. I STILL remember when I got my first B. I was heartbroken and locked myself in my room and there may have been tears involved (you can unfollow me, I’ll understand). But when Victoria got her B and was so incensed and angered by it, I couldn’t help loving the girl. Claire Legrand did an amazing job of bringing the character of Victoria to life—she is flawed but she is instantly loveable and relatable. She is intelligent and quirky and I loved her.
Lawrence, Victoria’s best friend, is equally lovable. He is the catalyst that causes the change in both the story and Victoria. I loved the scenes of them together because you can tell that they truly care for each other and play off of one another. Again, Claire Legrand knows how to do VOICE.
Which leads me to one of the most sinister villains I have read in a middle grade novel, or any novel for that matter. Mrs. Cavendish. She is spectacularly evil and I was blown away by just how many times I genuinely was creeped out. The Cavendish Home itself is scary enough (seriously, I’m never again looking at closets and nooks and crannies the same way again) but Mrs. Cavendish takes evil to a whole new level with the way she treats the children in the Cavendish Home by tearing them down to being nothing of who they once were. Seriously, one of my top 5 literary villains, y’all.
As much as I was creeped out by the House, I also loved it. The setting was Pleasantville meets Mrs. Trunchbull’s school. In other words, sheer PERFECTION. Even when I wasn’t “supposed” to be creeped out, I was (because, really, Pleasantville is FRIGHTENING). Once Victoria steps foot in the Home, all hell breaks loose and I am in awe of the girl for not peeing her pants because I definitely would have.
I can't wait to get a finished copy because I have been stalking Claire's twitter feed and it looks gorgeous! So I will be going TODAY to buy it because it is finally out! Trust me on this one, it's going to be worth every penny.
TL;DR: Claire Legrand has created an impressive debut novel. Not only is her writing on point but she had me staying up late with all my lights on as I finished this spectacularly spooky book. Plot, setting, and voice had me swooning and I can’t wait to push this book on everyone I know.
I can't write a review for this book because I was left in tears and feeling emotionally raw. I just have to say: read it.
(Update 9/21/14) I never thoI can't write a review for this book because I was left in tears and feeling emotionally raw. I just have to say: read it.
(Update 9/21/14) I never thought that a second reading of a book would leave me more raw than the first time I finished it. Jellicoe Road, though, is a story that is told in layers and each layer is unfolded in a different, more beautiful way with each reading. Knowing how Narnie, Jude, Webb, Tate and Fitz story ends and how Taylor, Griggs, Raffy, Santangelo, and Ben grow into these wonderful people made my second reading that much more powerful.
I still can't speak eloquently or wax poetic when I talk about Jellicoe Road, but it will forever be stitched into my heart and soul. It's a story that will break you into little pieces and leave you unsure if you want the pieces put back together.
I love high fantasy novels but I never seem to have time to read them. It’s not that fantasy novels are tough to get through, it’s just that they ten I love high fantasy novels but I never seem to have time to read them. It’s not that fantasy novels are tough to get through, it’s just that they tend to be pretty massive compared to other genres. That’s why I jumped at the chance to take part in Bookalicious Pam’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE readalong.
A GAME OF THRONES, the first in George R.R. Martin’s series, is the epitome of high fantasy novels. It has amazing, thought-out, well-planned world-building; a wide array of believable and incredible characters; and a plot that has you holding your breath, crying, and excited to find out what will happen next. It was a relish to devour this book, chunk after huge reading chunk.
Martin is known for packing a huge emotional punch. You can’t trust that your favorite (even main) characters will survive the series and don’t for a minute think you know where the story is going to go. He breaks your heart and causes you to ugly cry but you can’t help but love him and the stories he weaves. The ending of A GAME OF THRONES may have been spoiled for me by the first season of the HBO television show (Game of Thrones) but that didn’t mean it hurt any less. It is impossible to not care for these characters and root for them.
The cast of characters in A GAME OF THRONES seems pretty daunting when you begin the novel. I was worried that the fantasy-esque names would throw me off from remembering who was who but I soon became entrenched in the story and thought that George R.R. Martin did a great job of bringing the characters to life. I quickly found my favorites (Tyrion and Arya!) and those that I loved to hate (Joffrey can die in a fiery pit of sulfur, STAT).
Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view (mostly Starks), which I found to add a lot more to the story than if it was from just one POV. I could see what was going on with the children, in the king’s council, at the Wall, and in the Dothraki fields. The different POVs allowed the world-building to spread and come to life and I ate it up. George R.R. Martin vividly creates the world of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. I could feel the bite of the cold and fear of The Others in the North, the open vastness of Esteros, and the close, leering quarters of King’s Landing. I’m a sucker for world-building and great characters and George R.R. Martin has to be one of my favorites in creating both.
As I have seen both season one and two of Game of Thrones, I had a face to the names, which helped at times but I also wish I had waited on seeing the show because Peter Dinklage definitely does NOT fit the absurdly grotesque physical characteristics of Tyrion and Maisie Williams does not have a “horse” face like Arya is described in the books. I would like to have come up with my own idea of what the characters and setting looked like and seen how it differed from the show but I can’t really complain because I LOVE the show just as much as I loved the book. I was pleasantly surprised, though, by just how closely the first season follows A GAME OF THRONES. Even the dialogue seems to be taken verbatim from the novel, which had the lit geek in me grinning.
TL;DR: I loved A GAME OF THRONES. It was the perfect fantasy escape for first time fantasy readers or fantasy aficionados. George R.R. Martin is a master at world-building, believable characters with dynamic personalities, and reeling you in, shaking you around, and never fully letting go. I’ll definitely be reading the rest in the series.
I LOVED this book! It starts with a bang and keeps going till the very end. I haven't read a book that was this intense and action-packed since The HuI LOVED this book! It starts with a bang and keeps going till the very end. I haven't read a book that was this intense and action-packed since The Hunger Games. I never felt bored and the action and twists kept coming. You're left stunned even by the very last page. I loved the characters, the writing, the pacing, the story, EVERYTHING. I can't wait for the sequel, especially with that ending! It is A MUST READ! ...more
I absolutely loved this book! I want more of it, and I want Noah Shaw to be real! Beautiful writing, great characters, and amazing plot. Michelle HodkI absolutely loved this book! I want more of it, and I want Noah Shaw to be real! Beautiful writing, great characters, and amazing plot. Michelle Hodkin is perfect!...more
I want everything in this book to be real! I want the summers, Cousins Beach, Beck's Boys, Susannah, and Belly to be tangible so I can live in their wI want everything in this book to be real! I want the summers, Cousins Beach, Beck's Boys, Susannah, and Belly to be tangible so I can live in their world. I want to be friends with Belly and talk about boys and how being on the beach and in the ocean makes you feel alive, I want to struggle between liking both Jeremiah and Conrad, I want to spend whole summers in that beach house that is perfect and feels like home. I didn't want to leave the world. Maybe that's why I didn't go to bed until 5 AM because I started reading it around midnight. And. I. Couldn't. Stop. Reading. I just want to gush and gush some more over everything that this book chooses to be but I need to tone it down some so I sound at least a little coherent.
Okay, let's break this up in pieces to explain my infinite love for this book.
Characters: They are REAL. They have to be. I saw Belly and her freckles and her desire to be more than just the awkward little girl that she had been growing up. I felt like I was her, trying to show everyone that she could hang with the boys and be grown up. And the boys, oh the boys. Conrad--the dark, moody, and just-so-unattainable Conrad. The one that Belly has wanted forever, the one that she can't pull herself away from. I can't put into words how much I've been there--being in love with the boy that you felt, and possibly knew, you couldn't have. Jenny Han described the years of crush on that one boy perfectly. I've been there, I think everyone has been there. And there is Jeremiah...
Jeremiah is the type of boy that I would go for now. The one that is charming, sweet, funny, caring. The good guy. The one that knows how to make you happy or comfortable. And he's cute! But when I was Belly's age? I was all for the Conrads. I wanted the dark and mysterious and aloof. And reading this book, I wanted both. I wanted Belly to have both. But that's, sadly, not possible.
I loved the mothers--Laurel (Belly and her brother, Steven's, mom) and Susannah (Conrad and Jeremiah's mom). Laurel didn't seem to be as developed in the same way that Susannah and the other characters were but I think that was more to show Belly's perspective. Her and her mother's relationship is normal, especially for a teenage girl. Everyone thinks they know everything when they are teenagers, and Belly is no different but she was stubborn in an endearing way. There was not one thing about her that I didn't like.
Setting: Perfect for summer! The beach and smell of sea water and feel of sun and sand--absolutely perfect. I could see all of them never getting out of their swimsuits, always ready for a dip in the pool or ocean. And I loved the house and the memories associated with it. The food, the music, the everything.
I loved that even though Belly felt like her home was at Cousins Beach she realized that there was another side of it that she didn't realize she had been missing while growing up. I don't know how Jenny Han captured the awkwardness and excitement and anxiousness of growing up and changing but she did and I'm in love with every bit of how she did it.
Pacing: At times, I admit, I would get a little annoyed with the flashbacks but I soon fell in love with how everything about Belly's life really came down to summers. How every important memory she had was placed there, with those boys and her brother and their mothers. I loved learning how both Conrad and Jeremiah had affected her. And I especially loved trying to decide which boy was the "right" boy for her. (Full disclosure: I still don't know! Well, a teeny tiny part of me is saying one name but I think I'm way too invested in this story to really make a decision.)
Overall, LOVE LOVE LOVE! Read it, NOW! I want to reread it as I type this up. And I *just* finished it. Perfect summer read but let's be honest, it will be perfect whenever. It will just make you crave summer if you read it in winter. ;) ...more
I can't get enough of the Fuentes brothers! I haven't read a book in a day in a long time but as soon as I bought this, I started reading it and couldI can't get enough of the Fuentes brothers! I haven't read a book in a day in a long time but as soon as I bought this, I started reading it and couldn't stop. I didn't even mean to buy it so soon! I saw it at Borders and just HAD to buy it. Talk about obsession.
Although Rules of Attraction is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry, it is about Alex's younger brother Carlos and the girl he falls in love with-Kiara. I kept hearing mixed reviews on Rules of Attraction. But I loved them both equally in different ways. Just like I love Alex and Carlos but for different reasons.
I loved Kiara and Carlos' story. Kiara seemed like a girl that I could be friends with and Carlos would definitely be a guy I'd be crushing over. And I LOVE them together! Some people have said that they didn't see the falling in love moments in Rules of Attraction like they did with Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry but I didn't think that was an issue at all. I felt like I was seeing the two fall for each other while they were trying to resist it.
And I LOVE this cover! Definitely better than Perfect Chemistry. And what makes the cover even better is that this exact scene happens in the book! SWOOON!
It was also nice to see Alex and Brittany but every time one of them were mentioned, I felt a pull to hear what they were thinking. I wanted to read more about them while also reading about Carlos and Kiara. I think this might have been because Brittany seemed less fleshed-out in this book when she was mentioned but that might have been the way that Carlos saw her- just a Barbie look-alike with no personality.
All in all, love this series! I just know I'm going to be rereading them in the not too distant future. And I'm hoping the next in the series (which will be about the youngest Fuentes brother, Luis) will be just as good as the first two! ...more