This book is most definitely my favorite of all time. It is absolutely amazing. It's scandelous, it's...moreAn amazingly harsh view of the hardships of life.
This book is most definitely my favorite of all time. It is absolutely amazing. It's scandelous, it's real, it's intriguing, it's just plain -good-! MacDonald's writing style creates an interactive world that pulls you in to first person view of the characters' lives.
The story follows the Piper family, a unique little set up of father and four daughters. Mr. Piper's wife has passed, leaving him to fend for himself in a home bursting to the seams with the drama of being a young girl growing up with three other sisters. Kathleen, the eldest of the girls, has been sent away to live out her father's vision of fame and perfection with her glorious voice. Left behind are Frances (a fiesty middle child who lives by her own rules), Lily (the youngest of the four, living with a crippled leg and a strong desire to please and do good), and Mercedes (the second eldest, longing to take the place of their late mother and following her faith closely and fiercely). Each girl has their own story which is brimming with secrets that are both outrageous and real. Mystery is around every corner, and controversy hides behind each one. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be "intense". Every story is intertwined in surprising and unexpected ways. It's difficult to not fall in love with someone in the novel because there really is somebody for everyone to relate to.
If you can stomach some harsh reality with believable characters in a world covered with a dark veil of the unexpected, then this book may be the right way to go.(less)
I first read this book in eighth grade (age 14 or so), and took it in simply as a work of fiction (as that is how the copy I had rented f...moreI enjoyed it.
I first read this book in eighth grade (age 14 or so), and took it in simply as a work of fiction (as that is how the copy I had rented from the library was marked). I didn't know, nor did/do I care, that JT Leroy was not a real person. I still loved the book in all its scandal and insensitivity. I enjoyed reading about a sad and difficult childhood while I myself was going through difficult times. I found it very enjoyable in general, although I am one who tends to lean towards more controversial reads at times. One of my favorite things about reading is witnessing so many different styles of writing. This particular style I found to be very engaging and entertaining.
I've since read it again, and I don't regret purchasing my own copy. I've lent it out so many times, and have had people ask for it again because they also liked it.
The book really just follows the life of Jeremiah. Although his life is anything but ordinary. He is a young, and very abused, boy; born of the very young Sarah, a prostitute who drags him around wherever she goes. He begins to look up to her, and adopt her habits and lifestyle. The book covers many undesirable topics (like rape and pedophilia) as well as some more controversial subjects (like homosexuality and prostitution). It's not a very long read, and if you don't have a weak stomach or an overly sensitive heart, I'd say give a whirl. (less)
I think "romantic fantasy" is a good tag to put on this book. It was light, sweet, relatively cliche - but in a charming sort of way. The pacing was a...moreI think "romantic fantasy" is a good tag to put on this book. It was light, sweet, relatively cliche - but in a charming sort of way. The pacing was a little bit wonky, a few of the plot points were pretty weak, and I don't think the characters were all that deep, but I honestly enjoyed it as a whole. The world itself was interesting, even if its details weren't delved into too much, and the basic story was intriguing. It was pretty dramatic, with many a plot twist. I feel like, if Lifetime were to tackle a fantasy (and did it well), it would be something akin to this. I would recommend this for a casual read or to anyone who wants to get into fantasy, but wants something simple to start with. I feel like I would have adored this book if I was in the YA range.
A point I feel is worth mentioning: Angarred was a pretty awesome female lead. She was strong-willed, intelligent, wasn't afraid to fight for what she wanted, and didn't panic when it really mattered. However, the fact that her one desire becomes "power" in court put me off a bit; and when it comes to the few points where her romantic feelings are addressed, she becomes this immature, jealous child which put me off quite a bit more. That's the feminist in me talking, but I can't let that make me not like her. I plan to continue on to The Divided Crown. Like I said, there is a certain charm that makes me want to keep reading to see what happens next.(less)
I first stumbled upon Red Dragon at age 14, and was amazed by it all. I had never read anything even remotely similar. In fact, the closest I had come...moreI first stumbled upon Red Dragon at age 14, and was amazed by it all. I had never read anything even remotely similar. In fact, the closest I had come was King's Carrie. It was my gateway into the world of psychological thrillers, and at this point I simply cannot turn back. Harris did an excellent job in capturing the horrific and violent genius that is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The movie adaptations, in all honesty, did no justice, and that is why I recommend the quartet of books in even higher regard. My personal favorite is Hannibal.
We essentially follow the life of Hannibal Lecter, a cannibal of high intelligence and refined taste. He is captured (trust me, it's no spoiler) and placed in a heavily guarded hospital for the criminally insane. However physically secluded, he still keeps contacts with the outside world through published articles and columns in a number of psychological journals. His opinions are still regarded in high esteem, despite his "insanity", even by the FBI. To the bureau, Lecter is viewed as a complex tool to delve into the minds of serial killers who have yet to be captured. However, he's no fool, and finds ways to be payed for his time in the most conniving of ways.
Certainly a must read for any thriller fans out there.(less)
I watched the anime first, and wrote a review for it because I just adored it so much. I then went on to read the manga, which I adored even more! For...moreI watched the anime first, and wrote a review for it because I just adored it so much. I then went on to read the manga, which I adored even more! For simplicity and organization's sake, I am going to copy/paste that review here since it would essentially be the same.
Within the first few minutes of the show, I felt bombarded with clear signals of mental instability within almost every main character. I immediately started getting annoyed, thinking that my decision to watch a seemingly corny high school anime at age 23 was going to be as bad a decision as I had warned myself it would be. I thought, "Oh great, it's going to be another unhealthy romance all dolled up to make it look like stalking is cute." But.... as I kept on going (because there was just something about this relationship that I needed know) I started to realize that that was the theme. It was supposed to be about those kids. The ones who were a little off, or didn't seem to have any friends. Among all other shows I've seen, this one (in my opinion) did the most accurate job at successfully creating an anime for the outcasts. It's about feeling normal for once amongst a sea of people who think you're weird or strange.
These kids are all so lonely, so awkward, so goofy, socially unacceptable (whether for good or bad reasons) that it had me thinking about my own judgements on others, and especially about myself. What was really wrong with these kids? Why were they not accepted? They have the same worries and fears as the others. Once they find each other, we start to see them learn the same lessons as their peers, only they seem to be more aware of the fact that they're experiencing something simple (such as happiness, jealousy, and friendship). I think a lot of these psychological aspects are often overlooked, but they're part of what makes it so great. In their own clumsy way, the main characters stumble through lessons of love, friendship, growing up, and some important life lessons. It's absolutely adorable, completely relatable, and it's quite funny.
Another majorly refreshing plus is the fact that the main female, despite the main dude's attempts to control her actions, remains a strong and independent individual. Instead of the average anime girl who falls head over heels for the bad boy and would do anything he asks without question, Shizuku tells Haru straight-up that he has no right to tell her what to do. I love it!
And I know, I'm totally over-thinking this... but I just felt something so deep in watching this anime. If you have ever felt like you were not accepted, or like friendship could never be possible for you, I can almost guarantee you will find something relatable in here. Whenever I think about my own social awkwardnesses I just tell myself, "Haru would be my friend" :3 I just want to stress that this isn't your average romance story. It's about being a little bit weird (or, in some cases *coughHarucough* a lot-a-bit weird), and figuring that out yourself, and then learning that it's ok. That's what I like most about it. They don't look at Haru's violent outbursts as normal. They know it's wrong, he knows it's wrong, but they recognize the fear in him and stand together and help each other out. It truly is about friendship and getting to know those friends. The fact that there's a cute romance story on top is just an added bonus!
Final verdict: It's a great anime about friendship for the socially awkward, and it's officially one of my favorites of its genre. :)(less)
I loved it. I've been playing WoW for six years now and have always loved what little (compared to how much of it there actually is, anyway) hints of t...moreI loved it. I've been playing WoW for six years now and have always loved what little (compared to how much of it there actually is, anyway) hints of the story I got from reading the quests and listening to the NPCs talk, but I wanted to learn more. That's when I decided to begin reading the novels, and I don't regret a moment of it. This book really brings you closer to orcs and draenei alike (read: I re-rolled an orc shaman right afterwards). Golden does an excellent job at bringing their brutal, and often tear jerking, struggles to life.
The story recounts back to the days of Durotan, Thrall's father, and the trials the orcs go through to eventually reach Azeroth. Evidently, Thrall has acquired much information through an old friend of his father's (Drek'Thar), and has decided to put the story of the orcs down on paper. He tells us of the life of the orcs before their corruption by the Burning Legion and what little was known of the mysterious draenei. But he also recounts the tale of how the two races became enemies, despite their previously peaceful coexistence.
It is an amazing tale of strength, determination, and knowing when to keep your mouth shut to save those you cherish most. If you've played any Warcraft games, this book will give you that, "Oh, I know that guy!" feeling that tends to keep us wanting to fill in the blanks and learn more. Even if you haven't played, this is a good place to start.
If you're going straight into a low/non fat diet, or straight into a plant-based diet, you might be rather unpleasantly shocked with this book. The re...moreIf you're going straight into a low/non fat diet, or straight into a plant-based diet, you might be rather unpleasantly shocked with this book. The recipes are easy to make and easy to acquire the ingredients for, but they don't exactly pack on the flavor you might be used to. Of course, as the years go on, I noticed that my taste-buds have become more sensitive. I don't enjoy a candy bar as much as I used to - it just tastes fake, and I would take a dish from this book over something from the gas station any day. It's something I continually look in on, and I regularly prepare meals from it or just use it as a reference. That said, I've only been plant-based for about two years now, and I really like this book in particular. If I'm feeling a little less health-conscious, usually a dash or two of salt will add some more flavor. (less)
I read this book multiple times as a kid. My mother had given it to me, saying I would like it and she was definitely right. At nine, I was fascinated...moreI read this book multiple times as a kid. My mother had given it to me, saying I would like it and she was definitely right. At nine, I was fascinated and appalled that something like slavery existed in my country, but this book actually helped me understand the whole horrid incident more. Learning Cowslip's story was both educational and entertaining. As I recall, there were somewhat harsh times in the book (which is to be expected) but it was overall a happy tale. Any young reader would be a great audience. I wish I hadn't lost my copy so I could lend it to my youngest sister.(less)
I was among the millions of children who became captivated by the ugly hunchback and the beautiful gypsy who climbed the towers...moreA classic for a reason.
I was among the millions of children who became captivated by the ugly hunchback and the beautiful gypsy who climbed the towers of Notre Dame in the Disney adaptation of this book. After reading it, then watching the cartoon multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that it was (brace yourself!) a nearly perfect adaptation (although I strongly disapprove of the all-too-happy ending). Personally, I could not think of a better way to interpret the novel, in all its brutality, in a way that children can enjoy its originality. It was this movie that led me to search out the novel, and I recently found and bought it. It was really the first "classic" that I had ever read, and I am absolutely amazed and delighted. It was a frightening and overpowering tale of humanity and lust; and it gives a very real view of the shifting morals of the ages. I shamefully admit that I was rather set back when I came upon the chapters that described the cathedral in extreme detail. I'm sure Hugo would turn in his grave to know that someone read the novel with such a one-sided mindset: to learn the story of the people, rather than both the people and the amazing cathedral. The story was amazing though, and very unpredictable.
I could understand why someone would be intimidated about reading a book of this size, but it really does just flow by once you start. If you aren't a fan of very detailed descriptions, then maybe Hugo isn't the author for you. However I found it to be very, very intriguing and would recommend it anyway.
The book centers around the feelings, emotions, and actions of the [people of the] city of Paris. Every event that occurs is in the sights of Notre Dame. Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Frollo, Phoebus, and Gringoire are among the most pronounced characters. We follow the naiveté and the lust of each of these characters and more. The main character can easily be left up to the interpretation of the reader as the book is long enough to allow this. If I had to choose, I would say all emotional focus seems to point in the direction of young Esmeralda. Her sad tale is slowly revealed throughout the novel, and is cleverly intertwined with those of the other characters in interesting and unexpected ways. Hugo executed this tale in the best of ways, and I would change nothing about it. (less)
I almost feel like I should thank Hosseini for writing this novel. I'd never previously been exposed to anything relating to Afghan culture, but I'm g...moreI almost feel like I should thank Hosseini for writing this novel. I'd never previously been exposed to anything relating to Afghan culture, but I'm glad to say that I have now. It's great to learn of the diversities of different people, and to see how even moving to a completely new country can't change who we are. It was crazy to read of how Amir was struggling with things I would personally not even blink at as an American. I have a better understanding of Afghan culture now, and I'm happy to say that. Even if Hosseini's depiction wasn't accurate (and I admit that I have not double checked), it's a nice starting point for someone who has literally never given a second thought to how things are carried out over there.
Cons first! At times, the pace of the book seemed to be speedy and rushed; but even at those times, I felt myself at the edge of my seat, rushing through the words just to see what would happen next. There were times where some things were unnecessarily elaborated on, but these instances were never prolonged. A few of the descriptions were a bit repetitive, but it is usually used as effect. One thing that really, actually irritated me: the foreshadowing was highly excessive. I think these small flaws are the result of being a first novel, and even so, I've definitely seen it done worse. That in mind, he did brilliantly. It’s hard to criticize something that embeds itself into your mind, but these were the only things I noted.
As for the plot: Amir is our main protagonist and narrator. Immediately, he introduces us to his servant and (not openly admitted) friend, Hassan. Hassan's loyalty for Amir is astounding and touching, to say the least. It becomes clear that Hassan would do anything for Amir, who’s name was his first word, and that serves as a breaking point for both of them early on. Heavy foreshadowing attempts to persuade against any deep attachments to Hassan, but it's so hard not to fall in love with someone as innocent and pure as he is. Amir lives alone with his father, Baba, in a generously sized house. Baba's high social status keeps Amir under constant watch of his fellow Afghans, who, I have learned, prove to be as gossipy as any group of old ladies in a knitting circle, and twice as critical. As such, Amir must choose what is more important to him: his father's reputation and love, or his happiness and friendship with Hassan.
There is a lot of heartbreak and many emotional struggles within these pages. Even for someone who did not initially understand many of the Afghan traditions and morals, it is easy to become immersed and forget that these values may not be your own. Overall, this book has changed the way I view the world. It has opened my eyes to the way other people see things, the effect our surroundings have on us, and how my carefree American lifestyle has nearly numbed me to things that could be important to any individual.(less)
Watchers really is a classic Koontz novel: good vs evil, damsel in distress, and an above average intelligence canine. Had I read it at any other time...moreWatchers really is a classic Koontz novel: good vs evil, damsel in distress, and an above average intelligence canine. Had I read it at any other time I may not have liked it so much; but as fortune has it, it was my third Koontz book (after Odd Thomas and False Memory) in a long line of progressively disappointing novels (after a while, his nearly word-for-word repetitiveness starts to take away from the magic of his attractive writing style). What I found most enjoyable about it was the main female protagonist: Nora. I related to her on a very personal level, so my love for this book is more on the biased side. However! I would still recommend it to anyone who expresses an interest in thrillers. The basic concept of the story is, as I mentioned, good vs evil. "Good" is in the form of Einstein, a dog who has been genetically altered to be incredibly intelligent. "Evil" is a monster known as the Outsider, and he's after Einstein out of a pitiful feeling of rejection and hatred as the dog is the favored of the two experiments. As Nora and Travis, the male protagonist, flee with Einstein, they are also being tracked by a corrupt man named Vincent. The book really does have a wonderful ending, and I think that alone could easily make the story worth it. Highly recommended!(less)
While I really enjoyed reading this book, I think Maguire could have gone into a lot more detail. He left a lot to be pondered over, and not in the mi...moreWhile I really enjoyed reading this book, I think Maguire could have gone into a lot more detail. He left a lot to be pondered over, and not in the mind-provoking "Hm... this could mean this" kind of way. There were just things he simply did not explain, or only scarcely touched on only to later entirely abandon without so much as a hint that it was brought into his world. I also found it difficult to accept his "if you've heard anything different of this tale, it's just because it's so old" excuse as to why some of his story differed from the original tale (Wizard of Oz).
Criticism aside, the world he did explain was absolutely magical. Magical enough for me to give it four out of five stars, despite what I see as huge flaws (see above). I adored the writing style, and found it hard to put it down. He blends the beautiful fantasy world we all (an over exaggeration, but it sounds nice!) know and love from The Wizard of Oz with something more tangible. He rubs out some of the goody-two-shoes fantasy, and etches in his own colorful ideas that blend in something more real (ie: political troubles, racism, etc).
The title really sums up what the story is about: the Wicked Witch of the West, aka: Elphaba. She is a shy, green girl who is struggling with her views of the world, and the views the world has on her (because, even in Oz, being green is a strange thing). We follow her from a young and frightening child, to a politically active and hateful woman. That's the basics, because I just don't want to give away anything that will take away from the beauty of reading it on your own.(less)
We were assigned readings from this book for my English 101 class this semester (we read all of them, I should say). Some stories, to be truthful, wer...moreWe were assigned readings from this book for my English 101 class this semester (we read all of them, I should say). Some stories, to be truthful, were so depressing that I had to place the book down and come back to them at another time (I will admit that this is because they hit too close to home, particularly the first story - A Temporary Matter). That is just how deeply moving Jhumpa Lahiri's writing is. That said, they are mostly solemn stories, with harsh events that tug at our heartstrings. Lahiri writes about the things in our lives that we often find hard to admit, even to ourselves. From being unable to leave a lover due to personal weakness, to the difficult struggles suffered by immigrants (specifically those of Indian heritage).
The writing was amazing, the stories were short and quite sad, and it all combines to be a surprisingly good book if you are the kind who likes that sort of thing. (less)