Pages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommende...morePages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 15+
SUMMARY - "Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again."
So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past their beaches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley. (From Goodreads)
MY THOUGHTS - Golly goodness I really really really love this book. It is one of the most unique, thought-out, and weirdly fascinating books I have ever read and probably will ever read. It was recommended to me by so many people and I found it for less than $2, almost brand new, at a 2nd hand store, and couldn't pass it up. I've found myself getting into the idea of Gothic novels and was quite interested...
By the end of this reading experience (for it is an experience), I had been shocked so many times it was almost impossible not to give it five stars on the spot. But not only did it shock me - it made me love it, incredibly so. I love this book; and for that, five stars in inevitable.
CHARACTER NOTES - The second Mrs. de Winter is quite extraordinary, for many reasons. One is her name in and of itself. I say this because she does not have one. As the story is told in first person, she does not introduce herself; her name is mentioned once as being hard to spell, that people usually get it wrong; and after she marries Max she is called by everyone she knows as "Mrs. de Winter". It was quite shocking for me to discover half-way through the book, that I had missed her first name, and I that I was such a terrible reader for missing such an important detail like that. I re-read parts of the beginning, asked around and discovered the truth: she has no first name because it is not important. What is important is that she is the second Mrs. de Winter. Besides that, she amazed me by totally getting on my nerves sometimes and still being a fantastic character who I could relate to and love. How did she annoy me? Her lack of ability to speak out sometimes drove me up the wall with thoughts of, "Goodness! Why won't she just say something?! After being so ill-treated!" But it was her character; she became like a friend; I could love her in spite of that fault (and whatever others to her name...or lack thereof). And in the end - well, she's quite the lioness at the end. I love books with changed heroes/heroines. :D
Besides Mrs. de Winter, the other characters are so perfectly drawn for the reader that it is hard to forget them. Frank (one of my top three favorites - he was soooo awesome), Maxim's sister, Max himself, Mrs. Danvers, and Favell especially, but there are others, and they, too, are profound.
And Rebecca, even being a mere ghost of a character, is still shockingly real. Everything about her made my skin crawl - and I didn't even know why. You won't know why either. There is no exact reason why I felt that way, and you will wonder... Oh, you will wonder.
STORY NOTES - This is such a unique story - and so weird. Everything happened in a way that made me weirded out with no real explanation whatsoever as to why. (See above comment on the character Rebecca.) And then - BOOM! There's an explosion, and you'll be holding on for dear life, because there's no possible way this could really be happening.
At least, that's how I felt. I was on an airplane when I read the climax - the EXPLOSION - and holy crud don't ever do that. Confined to a chair with quiet people all around me and flight attendants scanning the rows with narrowed eyes, searching for disturbance of any kind - yeah, don't ever try it. Best to wait until you've landed, read it when you get home, and whoop and holler and scream and stare in shocked silence as much as you want. All I could do was hyperventilate in a very quiet manner. Haha - just kidding! Sort of.
SUMMING IT UP - Shocking, to say the least. I did not expect it to be the way it was, with the writing style or the set-up or the conflict or the climax or the resolution. All of it was unexpected and perfect. Please, do yourself a favor and read this book, now. Unless you have the tendency to scream when shocked and are currently on an airplane. If this unfortunate combination applies to you, please wait until you have reached a safe environment before expression appropriate feelings of exuberance and/or show signs of sudden startled or disconcerted emotions.
FOR THE PARENTS - This is a classic, and should be treated as such (which means everyone should read it at least once). However, themes are slightly more mature, and I wouldn't recommend to anyone younger than 15. Some brief strong language and lots of...death. But I can't say anything else!! ;)(less)
Sam Kingston has lived her life fully - for herself. Her parents and sister don't ever see her; she's usually with her best friends Lindsay, Elody, and Ally; getting drunk; or making out with her boyfriend Rob. Or all three. She's at the top of her school - popularity-wise - and she doesn't plan to stop now. The other girls in her school aren't even allowed to speak to her and her friends without getting thrashed in some way or another. But when Sam dies, all that changes. She is given the chance - six chances, in fact - to relive the day she died...to make things right. And as her life and the consequences of her actions unfold in front of her, Sam must discover and do the right thing, before her life shatters - and with no meaning at all.
My thoughts - Dear Lauren, Your books make me bawl. Sincerely, Sierra It's ridiculous. You should have seen me. Sitting on the ground, head in my hands, bawling. My thoughts? Want to hear them? How about, "How in the heck am I ever going to find the words to write this review?!" So, as my brain is in a fuzz of "I love this book so flipping much!", I sit here with my notepad, and the book for reference, and I start my review. If I could write "How did she DO it?!" as my review (over and over again), I would. But I won't. I willtry tobe as coherent as possible for the sake of my readers.
1st: Lauren Oliver has a style of writing that blows me away with its awesomeness. Not only does it create perfect images of the characters/story, it's just so...enjoyable...like cold water running over your head on a hot summer day. Refreshing. Delightful. And it's also powerful. Especially powerful.
2nd: The images created in my mind during this story were so clear and intense that I couldn't help but turn another page...and another...and another. I can still see Sam, having a friend zip up her new, too-tight, strappy black dress. I can still picture the unfortunate scene with her math teacher. I can smell the nasty Asian food as she stomped in on Alex and Anna. If you've read the book, are the pictures as sharp in your mind as in mine?
3rd: I love the smell of this book. Period. End of story.
Character notes - Every single character was so visibly and perfectly etched out that it would be hard for me to forget them, even if I wanted to. Lindsay, the bold leader, the one harboring a secret. Sam, the voice of this story, changing and growing with every page. Ally, the spoiled child. Elod, the brash one. Alex, the cheater. Rob, the idiot. And Kent - Mr. Wonderful. What is it about Lauren Oliver's literature boys? I mean, really. Alex from Delirium. Kent from Before I Fall. Two of my favorite lit-boys. GAH! I just love them!!!! So basically - characters - genius. Perfect. Whether disgusting or wonderful or funny or stupid. Perfect.
Story notes - Hellooooo!!! This is one HECK of a story, from the first to the last word. Everything is so...involved. Intricate. From the moment Sam wakes up to live her last day to the last page, everything falls in beautiful harmony. Although, this is not a story for the faint of heart. It involves death, suicide, drugs, drinking, sex, fitting in, selfishness,and the meaning of life. Therefore, things can get a little intense. I recommend that everyone reads the cautionary notes below...
Sam tries to live her life better, but doesn't know how. What will it take for her to get it? How many times must she die and relive that day? As she goes from unbelieving to bitter to "I can do whatever I want without consequences" to thoughtful to, well...see for yourself - the story becomes like a path unfolding, getting lighter and lighter with each step, leaving the darkness of Sam's past behind.
Summing it up - Incredible and Devastating and Phenomenally Perfect are all words/phrases that come to mind when I think of this book. And what did it do for me, that I feel so strongly about it? It reminded me that life is short; death is often unexpected. What I do with my time - it matters. How I act has consequences, usually for others as well as me. It caused me to look a little closer at the details in life; to study others' lives and ask, "How can I serve? What can I do for you?" Lauren Oliver has written a masterpiece here (and, in my opinion, in Delirium as well), with a message for everyone. I heartily recommend, as I wipe the bittersweet tears from my eyes and live a little stronger.
For the parents - This book is definitely rated R... I wouldn't recommend to anyone under 17, as the subject matter is very intense. (No spoilers in this section.) Scenes involve smoking pot (a girl sits in an empty bathroom at school every day and smokes pot/eats lunch) and drinking heavily to the point of throwing up/passing out. The party that happens every night is full of kids making out and getting drunk and even having sex (this is only vaguely referred to). A ton of language, especially b***h. No F*** or GD, but everything else. Sam's friends spew random vulgar words, whether for shock effect or just because that's how they talk. A lot of the story revolves around the fact that Sam is supposed to lose her virginity with her boyfriend that night. It never happens (oh, the irony!), but one of the days after she dies she has the sudden urge to "get it over with". She finds an empty bedroom with Rob and they make out (a few details). However, he's so drunk that as she's asking if he wants to take off her dress, he actually passes out. Sexual jokes are made ("No glove, no love"), and a few times the girls make crude sexual gestures. One of her "second chance days", Sam seduces her math teacher. They make out and there are some details, although they are there to make you cringe at how disgusting the situation is, not how "sexy" it is, or would have been. Two teachers are secretly together and make out in an office. No details on the suicide but it happens every night and is very sad. So is it worth it, even with all this? Yes, it is. Just be sure you can handle all the nitty-gritty, disgusting details of stupid Sam's life, and you'll be blessed by selfless Sam's life. (less)
Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched #2) Pages: 367 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 8th-11th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommende...moreCrossed by Ally Condie (Matched #2) Pages: 367 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 8th-11th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 13+
SUMMARY - Cassia has been sent to work camps so she can learn submission to the Society after her love for Ky was discovered. But she is really here to find Ky, who was sorted and taken away. And she was the one who sorted him. Now it's up to her to find him; if she could only get into the Outer Provinces... She has the Compass from Ky and the blue tablets from Xander, and she will use both of them to find her way. Two boys, two worlds, and one journey that will break hearts, heal hearts, and change them.
MY THOUGHTS - I am a very expressive reader. Meaning, I jump, scream, squeal, blush, giggle, laugh, groan, and more - very openly. My poor family... ;) In any case, as far as the louder, more intense expressions of emotion go - I save those for the best of the best. So know I'm telling you the truth when I say that Crossed is one of the best of the best. I screamed at least seven times, blushed, giggled, jumped, and groaned - all in this book. And the screaming - it was loud. Just sayin'.
Even more shocking and amazing is that my sister, who is not one to show such strong emotions while reading, not only did the same as I did, but also screamed/giggled with me when I read it!
Not only did it excite me (and my sister) to extremes, but it also made me want to sit still (I know, ironic, huh?) and contemplate the beautiful, poetry-like prose, the deeper meanings, the lyrical tones.
While reading I came across the sentences -
So many beginnings. I tell myself that in a way it's good that I haven't found Ky yet, because I still don't know what to whisper to him when I see him, which words would be the very best ones to give. (Page 111)
These words are beautiful, and they portray something deeper than just Cassia thinking of what she'll say to Ky. It's about how precious speech is, how important it is to her that Ky taught her to write, to speak and give life to words. It's about not taking your words for granted. They are important, down to the very smallest word. Cassia has grown up in a world where words - your own words, spoken or written - are like diamonds.
This careful choice of words is not only portrayed in the characters, but also in Ally Condie's writing itself. Her word choices are so precise, carefully portraying the scenes and the deep emotions carried throughout. It's like poetry, but not. I don't even know how to describe the full beauty of it.
CHARACTER NOTES - Here is how well I know these characters, how distinctly they are portrayed: When the book arrived in the mail two months ago, before I knew really anything about it, I picked it up and started reading. My thoughts were, "This is great, but it doesn't feel like...Cassia. It doesn't sound like her voice at all. I like it, but I'm confused..." I put it on my shelf to read soon. My sister got to it first, and came to me, saying excitedly, "It's from Cassia AND Ky's perspectives!"
After a bit of sleuth-work, I discovered that the chapter I read was about Ky, from his perspective - and suddenly, it all fell together. When I was actually reading the book, I never had an issue, determining which voice was which. I mean, the chapters are labeled one or the other, but I didn't need that. They both had a voice distinct form the other. That amazed me, especially when both are written in first person, present tense.
Vick, Indie, Eli, Hunter, and Xander were all really well-developed side characters, and I appreciate that. I didn't love some of the characters themselves, but loved who they were for the story.
And... I love Ky. Oh, how I love Ky.
Cassia really grew in this book. She matured and did selfless things that made her radiant. Her love for Ky makes her strong, glowing. Makes her want to live to the fullest. She loves deeply, cares so much, and wants to do the right thing. She doesn't always, but that's how we learn sometimes. Cassia is just like you and me, and that's the beauty of it.
STORY NOTES - Everything about this book had me grasping for more. It's so refreshing to read this story and get lost in it. I loved the journeys the characters had to face, together and apart. There were scenes that made me scream and squeal with joy, and others that had my heart aching with sadness. The emotions were so real and big and alive.
I love Cassia and Ky's love story. I love the reality of it, how heartfelt it is. I feel like a lot of young adult love stories are full of couples whose only issue is that they're unable to be together, and other dramatic situations of the same kind. Other than that, the relationships have virtually no issues, or very small ones. I have nothing against that - a few of my forever favorites are that kind of love story. But Ky and Cassia are different. Out in the wild, they are allowed to be together - but they struggle because they have disagreements. Because they have to ask, how much will I do for you? How much do I really love you? That is one of the many things I respect about their relationship. It's perfect, with every argument, every kiss.
Everyone has to sacrifice in this story, and that builds and strengthens the story/characters in a huge way.
SUMMING IT UP - Indescribably beautiful. It's like, I can't even express my love. Please, read Matched and Crossed. Please. Please.
For the Parents - Nondescript kissing. Recommended 13+(less)
"He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad." It is with these words that Rafael Sabatini opens Scaramouche, and they are a fitting introduction. Andre-Louis Moreau has led an easy life, studying hard and becoming a lawyer, never becoming attached to anything or anyone indefinitely. Except for his best friend, Philippe, and his angel cousin, Aline. But when tragedy strikes, Andre is pushed to the edge. He becomes a public speaker for the third estate against the Privileged in France during the French Revolution. But this is only the beginning of his journey to gain revenge on the terrible, cold Marquis la Tour d'Azyr. He is swept away by politics, danger, theater, swordsmanship, and finally politics again - all in hopes of getting away with his life. But life is dangerous no matter where Andre-Louis wishes to go, and the threat of the Privileged is terrible. The Nobles, all of them, must be destroyed. And Andre must settle a score he swore he would settle - and at any cost.
My thoughts - Oh, sigh... How immensely I love this book. If I could have my way, I'd write out the whole entire book as my review, just because there is really no way to do it justice. However, I will try. I will try my hardest.
This is my third time to read Scaramouche. So, as you can imagine, I've spent a lot of time with this book. I've studied it, because it's so stinking good. I could write a whole book on this book, because it had such an intense impact on me. So much of an impact that not only have I read this book three times, but in a manner of only a year and a half. Yah, this is some intense stuff. I hardly re-read books in one year.
Basically, it's beautiful. It's emotional, tragic, powerful, dramatic, crafted like a masterpiece, and it holds some of the greatest characters and character changes that I've ever read. EVER. It's full of action, romance, betrayal, secrets, disaster, political intrigue, and (I repeat) emotion.
Character notes (favorite character) - I have a LOT to say about Andre. But let me say something quick about the others before I get into it. Every character in this story, from the beginning, has a character handle, or something you can identify him/her with. Andre, he is the actor. Philippe, he is passionate. D'Azyr, he is cold-hearted. Aline, she is an angel. They easily form to their characters and become exactly what they need to be for the story to take flight. This is an amazing thing to see as I sometimes feel like I lack character development in my own stories. Such an inspiration...like everything else about this book.
But now, on to Andre. Andre-Louis Moreau is complex. He is man, and therefore complex, as he would say. He has studied human nature for quite awhile - and yet he himself would be the most fitting example of a complex human being struggling to survive. This alone fascinates me. But let me take you a little deeper. He is an actor, always. He is Scaramouche, the aloof, witty character who wishes for none to see his true feelings. But inside, he feels. He feels deeply. There are few moments when he lets his guard down, very few, but when he does, you see the hopes, fears, and loves of a man who wants to be something more. He is also very wise and bold. In fact, his wisdom surprised me this time around. He may be jealous, act on his impulses, and manipulate his words to get his way - but there are times when he steps forward to do the right thing and he knows exactly how to make things right. Exactly how to remove himself from a bad situation.
He begins the story as a boy, searching for revenge. He is tested by love and betrayal and grows. And he comes out in the end as a man, one to be respected and trusted and truly loved. At the end of the book, I want to repeat the words of the butler Benoit, who says on page 257, "He is here....and so fine you would hardly know him. Here he is, monseigneur! Is he not beautiful?"
Favorite aspects/scenes (story notes) - My favorite scenes include chapter 6, called "Clemene"; Chapter 8, called "The Dream"; the chapter called "Madame de Plougastel", where Andre-Louis vividly remembers his childhood - it produces a lot of emotion in the reader; any of Andre's rousing speeches.
But these are just some of my favorite scenes. My all-time favorite resides in the chapter called "Spadassinicides", Chapter 7 of book 3. It is laugh-out-loud funny, with politics, wit, danger, fencing, and something of a mix between shock, reverence, and love for Andre and his genius.
Throughout the second book (the Buskin), Andre is confronted by a wall...that wall, being M. Binet, the theater troop's director. Andre has the brains, Binet has the power. Andre is witty, Binet is tyrannical. Who will gain the upper-hand? And what of Andre's love for Binet's daughter? This aspect of the story is a neat example of human nature and the lies we believe when we want something...
And of course, I love that Scaramouche is about the French Revolution. The facts, turned into a story, are interesting to read and really give you a hard-core example of what it was like during that bloody time in France. You see the revolution from both sides - the Nobles and the Peasants. Who is right, and who is wrong? It is a complicated war, but Sabatini lays it out so it is easy to understand.
One word to sum up this book (final thoughts) - Triumphant. When I finish this book (all three times) I want to throw my fists into the air, jump out of my seat and let out a shrill war cry of "TRIUMPH!!!" Because the book takes you on a journey, the journey of a destitute man looking for happiness amongst a bloody revolution. But more importantly, he goes through a Revolution of his own, one so profound and personal that you cannot help but feel the story for yourself. Almost every emotion known to mankind can be found in this book. As the reader, I feel these emotions along with each character - and very strongly, as though they were my own. Each time I read it, it shocks me and I fall in love all over again. And I know that soon, very soon, I will want to read it again. (less)
Grand Fenwick is a little known country near France, a small duchy that has flourished for centuries because of their popular wine company. Recently, however, the wine business has failed to bring in enough money to live on. There are those who wish to dilute the wine, and others who are against this notion. Both parties continue to argue over the outcome until a grand scheme is devised: small, itty bitty Grand Fenwick will declare war on the U.S. - attack, lose, and then receive all sorts of benefits for their trouble, as they had seen happen to every nation who lost a war to the U.S.
But of course, this isn't at all what happens. In fact, Grand Fenwick, the smallest nation in the world, wins this war. And becomes the most powerful nation in the world.
My thoughts - I looked forward to reading this book for nearly 9 months before I finally got to read it for school. It most definitely did not disappoint and I want to say right off the bat that everyone should give this a try! :)
For one, this book is hilarious. Everything about it - the characters, story line, and dialogue - has some sort of humorous tinge to it. I laughed and giggled through the whole thing.
Yet, at the same time, there is a strong sense of seriousness and peril, as well as great honor, throughout the entire story. I couldn't help but follow along to discover what would happen, knowing I wouldn't be disappointed.
Character notes - I loved all the characters in this book. From the Duchess of Grand Fenwick to Tully Bascomb; from the President of the U.S. to the Russian Commissar. Even if they weren't the most in-depth characters in literature (because this story wasn't exactly meant to focus on character), they were fascinating and realistic all the same. I actually think the U.S. President is my favorite, with Gloriana (the Duchess) coming in at a close second. I respected them both and loved the way they handled the sticky situations they were put in.
Story notes - This story really focuses a lot on politics - with a mixture of action, silliness, romance, and character history on the side. I was quite taken with the story line from the start of the book. I cared about Grand Fenwick and their financial struggles and wanted them to find the solution. Then, when they proposed war, the action started. Then more politics...then suspense...and so on. I loved the perfect trap the U.S. walked into, and the perfect set-up to win the war that the warriors of Grand Fenwick had. And neither side knew it. Quite a way to set up an unexpected ending to an already hilarious (and intriguing) story!
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - Uproarious! I loved it all, even if it wasn't super deep or life-altering. A bit of silliness, romance, and war mixed in with political disagreements of all different kinds makes for a lovely story and enjoyable read!(less)
As the third book in a series, there's not much I can say without giving away important details from the other books. So I won't go into detail. Instead, I'm going to rave.
Ummmm....HOW did this happen??!! All of a sudden, Paolini is a genius. The writing, the story, the characters, the incredible visuals and personal depth. I mean - where in the heck did it come from?!
For one, I was taken away by Roran's incredible role for this book. He's one heck of a man: hammer-weilding, Katrina-loving, brave, courageous, honest, and just plain awesome! All the scenes including him in Brisingr absolutely shock me into awe. I can't wait to see what happens to him in Book 4! "Insubordination" is my favorite chapter in the whole book...the WHOLE book.
Nasuada lived up to expectations, and actually surpassed them. The chapter about the knives and the tribal leaders was chilling and gross and fantastic. WOW. Elva, Arya, and Eragon were also wonderful. I enjoyed everything about them so much more this time around!
Oh, and the laughing dead... OOOHHHH.......
The story holds much more depth and just the right amount of detail. (Except for the sword scene...it was like 80 pages and kind of grueling, but interesting if you skim...haha!) The writing surprised me this time around, in such a good way that I can't recommend this book enough!! Everything about it blew me away...
So I'm thinking, if you haven't already, you need to give this series a try. Today. (less)
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own Ratin...moreThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - When Jason wakes up on a bus headed toward the Grand Canyon, he has no memory. What he does have is a beautiful girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They are a part of a school for troubled children; everyone knows who Jason is and has memories about him - except their coach. Then things get even worse - the school hottie turns into a monster, and storm spirits attack them on the Grand Canyon. Jason knows he has training for this, but from where? They barely defeat the storm spirits when a chariot pulled by flying horses appears on the scene to take them to Camp Half-Blood, where demigods reside. The girl, Annabeth, needs Jason's help. A very special Hero has disappeared, and Jason is the one to lead the Quest to find him.
MY THOUGHTS - Oh, Rick Riordan, you have quite tortured me with this book. First you steal away my first and an only true demigod love and put him in possible danger - again! And then you create a new demigod who comes to a close second and make me love him! Oh, it is just too much!
What drew me in from the first was that my dearest Percy Jackson was missing, and I must go on a quest to save him! But I learned - this book is more than that. Riordan has created a new series, yes, but it is a continuation of the story of the Olympians, and I believe big plans are in store. (If you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you don't need to in order to read this book. But honestly, I'd start there. If I hadn't had the knowledge I did, or loved the characters I loved, it would have come across as less amazing, in my personal opinion.)
It was very interesting to read Riordan in third person, as well as from three new perspectives (Piper, Leo, and Jason). But he nailed it. Really nailed it. I'm incredibly impressed.
CHARACTER NOTES - Let's start with Jason. He was wonderful. Kind of hardened by a past he doesn't remember, by his frustration, but he still made an effort to be a friend and help the camp. And when I found out whose son he was, I about died of excitement. Over the course of the book, I found myself more and more drawn to him. By the end, I was hooked. I want more Jason! I also want romance between him and Piper. It's mandatory.
Speaking of Piper... Dang, I love that girl. She's a heroine who is drop-dead gorgeous and kicks butt. I don't want to compare or anything but I liked her better than Annabeth. Of course, Annabeth is the perfect other half for Percy (who is my one true love), so for that I love her, but I was able to relate to Piper more as far as personality and real-life-outside-of-camp go. (Definitely not the drop-dead gorgeous/kick-butt stuff...haha!) She made my laugh, she was strong, and she loves unconditionally, even when she has to make hard choices between friends.
Leo definitely amazed me. He possesses great skill, is sensitive to those around him, and has a past he wants to bury. He was a crack-up and had the funniest one-liners of the group. He made the team on the quest complete!
The other characters were all up to par, especially the hilarious Gleeson Hedge, wise Thalia, and adorable Mellie. I want more of all these fantastic characters!
STORY NOTES - This is a crazy story, in all the best ways. Nonstop action, intense physical and emotional struggles, and a lovely new budding romance. Then there's the mystery of the new villains, and how to defeat them. Who's behind it all?! I also really like how the POV changes added to the atmosphere, giving a different perspective to everything and everyone.
There are quite a bit more visions, dreams, and prophecies in this book, which I really enjoyed. new gods are introduced, some good, some funny, some evil. I loved the Roman aspect of the story (brings up a lot of questions); Roman/Gladiator training = definitely amazing. It's a great way to learn mythology, even the lesser known stories. Let's just say - I love Heroes. Wanna know who my favorite is? Duh! Percy! :D
SUMMING IT UP - Lightning. It's fast, bright, and awe-inspiring. (And let me give you a sneak peak at my review for #2, Son of Neptune: it was even better than this one!!) I'm already impatiently awaiting book three, The Mark of Athena, due out this fall. You really can't go wrong with Rick Riordan!!(less)
Oh my goodness...so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It's 200 pages full of pictures and large font, and is the story about an arrogant china rabbit. How...moreOh my goodness...so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It's 200 pages full of pictures and large font, and is the story about an arrogant china rabbit. How did it grasp my attention so? How did it make me feel like it did?
Requiem by Lauren Oliver Book 3 in a trilogy 5/5 stars Some spoilers!
Can I just cry right now???? This book was epic. (It was my Best of the Bunch choice...moreRequiem by Lauren Oliver Book 3 in a trilogy 5/5 stars Some spoilers!
Can I just cry right now???? This book was epic. (It was my Best of the Bunch choice for March!) I know it received a lot of questionable reviews...I saw some where the reviewer said, "5 stars for the first 3/4th, 1 star for the last 1/4th." I had NEVER seen that in all my 3 years of book blogging, so I was really nervous to start this.
Fortunately for me, I'm one of the people in this world who believes it deserves 5 stars from beginning to end. I don't really know how to describe what it did for me - my heart was broken and whole all at once. Everything made sense. If it had happened any differently, I don't know...maybe I would have liked it, but it wouldn't have had that shocking, real-life kind of feeling it gave me.
By real life, I mean this: Things happen. Our stories are played out in our lives. Once one battle is won (or lost) your life doesn't just stop. It keeps going. It's not the end. Some things are left unsaid. Some things aren't finished. Some questions you won't have the answers to. Sure, that sucks sometimes, but it's life. Requiem earned my absolute respect and all my love because of this: It doesn't "end". I feel like there is more that will happen, so much more. I also think that...it had to stop sometime. There was sooo much work to be done after the climax that it could have gone on and on and on.
Basically, I loved where she left it. It had me gasping. For those of you who have read it, highlight this: OMG I'M SO HAPPY WHO SHE ENDED UP WITH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! That was ALL I ever REALLY wanted for this series!! ;) (End spoiler.) And on top of that ^^ the character development left me breathless, and the gorgeous prose was like a lullaby. And Hana...a;sldfkja;slgj;askldjf!!!! I just. I mean. UGH. It was, to say the least, beautiful.
Anyways. If you loved the first two, PLEASE give this one a try. Sure, it's a daunting one to pick up, but trust me, it's WORTH IT. And I feel if you're prepared for the ending, it won't be as much of a bummer as it was to some people.
This book reminds me of... Forests Rivers Danger Sacrificial love (my favorite kind) Growth in character Searching for beauty, especially in the unexpected LOVE (because that's really what it's all about)
Summary (Spoilers for the first 2 books!) They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past. But we are still here. And there are more of us every day. Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it. But we have chosen a different road. And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose. We are even free to choose the wrong thing. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.(less)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars Recom...morePandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium.
SUMMARY - Lena Holoway is old, dead, and buried. Lena Morgan Jones is new, reborn, and ready to fight at whatever the cost. The memory of Alex, of Grace and her mother, are all she has left of her life before. Her new life is with Raven and Tack, after a grueling time in the Wilds; she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a student, a cured, a Zombie. She has been charged with trailing Julian Fineman, son of prominent leader of the Deliria Free America. When the two are thrown into an adventure they never bargained for, they must put aside their differences - and fight a forbidden love that can never be fostered.
MY THOUGHTS - I read. I cried. I threw a fit.
This book makes me want to pull a squirt gun on the publishers, Dick Harper style , and yell, "GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S! GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S!"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's something that never gets old, and I don't believe it will ever change.
Lauren Oliver is Brilliant. With a capitol "B".
And because of that Brilliancy, we have Before I Fall, Delirium, and now Pandemonium. (I'm sure Liesl & Po is just as wonderful, but I have yet to read it.) If I had to pick a favorite between Delirium and Pandemonium, I'd pick the first book, but its sequel is so excellent I cannot deny my love for it. It is a Forever Favorite and will stay there for all time.
Once again - Lauren's writing is freaking GORGEOUS. It envelops you in warm, comforting arms and feeds you inspiration by the spoonful. Even after the story is over, it sticks with the reader for a long, long time.
CHARACTER NOTES - Lena Morgan Jones is my new hero. She's my role model. If I could be half as brave as this young woman, then I'd feel like a superhero. In Delirium, Alex is the one who causes her to bud into a beautiful, brave young woman. Pandemonium shows the continued growth, the building of a new Lena who strives to do right by her memory of Alex, of her mother.
Now, ahem, ALEX. No, he is not exactly in this book as a character, but his memory shines for him, real and encouraging - to the reader as well as to Lena. I loved the way Lena's thoughts of him, her motivation to make her life exactly what he'd died for her to have, practically brought him to life. Oh, how I miss him. I'm serious - I felt like I was Lena, aching for him, wishing for his strong guidance, but also pushing forward, fighting for another day, to live, breathe love. That is why I love Alex.
Julian Fineman. Can I just ask a question? HOW THE HECK DID YOU BECOME WONDERFUL AS WELL?!?!?! After gaining composure... Julian is...wow. I wasn't sure of him at first, but now I'm dead certain. What I'm certain of (besides his awesomeness) I have no idea. I just hope Lauren has something awesome in store for him. (Although, compared with Alex....he doesn't even compare. Ok, so, we're not comparing him with Alex right now. Sorry, I just can't help myself.)
Raven, Tack, Hunter, Sarah, etc. - these are the men and women and children of the wilds. They were all very clear and precise and consistent. I mean, come on, these are Lauren's characters I'm talking about here - what else would they be?!
STORY NOTES - I'm going to be honest: I missed 37 Brooks, Back Cove...Portland. I really did. But here, in Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has built something just as real, just totally different - Brooklyn, NY. An entirely new setting, a new structure, a strong difference in her MC - and yet everything felt as though I'd experienced it my whole life. So natural, life-like.
I really liked the then and now idea - how they were different times but they still melted into each other, seamless. Lena's contrasted self was a beautiful thing to see, to be reminded of.
Wanna know what really blows me away? The love triangle. Yep, you heard me. I flipping love this love triangle. It's not giggling teenage girls with hunky men where all they want to do is make out. It's something totally different, out-of-this-world, mindboggling: it's mature. Yes, Lauren Oliver has succeeded in creating the mature and realistic love triangle I've ever read. Now, I have my biases. I'm a "first love" fan 1,000,000%. But honestly, I trust Lauren's expertise. What she says goes. I'm placing my already fragile heart in her hands. I trust she won't crush it. (Ok, just kidding. She's already crushed it and shredded it and mercilessly pounded it into the dirt a million times but...you get what I'm trying to say, right?)
On the topic of love, I must say the love story in this one was a bit less believable, because of who Lena is and what she's been through. I mean, with Delirium's slow-progressing romance, thick and delicious and wondrous, and with the world's best lit-man, nothing really compares now. Because of this, Pandemonium's romance seemed quite a bit fast. It was definitely beautiful, and still believable, but not as much as Lena and Alex's. I sure do hope this makes sense...
And then...WE ALL DIE BECAUSE OF THAT END. WHY?!?!?!! My mind seriously threatens to burst every time I even think about it because I can't even wrap my head around Lauren's brilliance!!!! She is the Queen of Cliffhangers and Heartbreakers. WHY do we have to wait till freaking NEXT YEAR to know what happens?!?!?!
It's just....pure genius. Pure. Genius.
SUMMING IT UP - You heard me - pure genius. From first page to last. Every word in between. Everything. I'm seriously freaking out right now!! Requiem: I need you desperately, but you are worth the wait!!!
For the Parents - A handful of s**t, brief strong language (2 F's, 2 GD's). Reference to "unnaturals" (two guys are apparently a couple). A male character asks to see Lena without a shirt on. She covers her breasts but he does get a peek at the rest. A passionate kiss, some description. They sleep in a bed together but nothing happens. Recommended to 16+(less)
When Tansy's father divorces her mother and moves away, Tansy does everything she can to anger her father. She answers his questions during their phone calls with monosyllables and stops reading novels, because that had been their "thing". When she has to move to Arizona to live with her father, she does the most rebellious thing yet - she starts dating high school's bad boy, Bo. Bo seems like a great catch, and Tansy believes he's just misunderstood. But when a date-turned-wrong (that wasn't actually her fault) ends in vandalism and a trip to the police station, Tansy is drowning in an ocean of trouble, and she doesn't know how to get out of it. Enter Chrysanthemum Everstar. She's a fair godmother - not good enough to be a fairy godmother. She's been here before (taking care of the lives of pathetic mortals), and there are a whole lot of other places she'd rather be. She pushes Tansy to make her first wish - and everything goes wrong. It's the start of a chain reaction that may or may not be good for Tansy. There's Robin Hood and his Merry Men (a.k.a. runaway bandits and the city's most wanted criminals) and Rumpelstiltskin in the mix, as well as Hudson, the police chief's beautiful and smart son (who may or may not be into Tansy). In this one heck of a fairytale, not everything is what it seems, and Tansy must learn the moral of her story before she can ever have hope of getting herself and her family safely home.
My thoughts - I wasn't quite sure if it was possible. I didn't know where Rallison was going to go with this book, and while I was sure it was going to be great, I didn't exactly know how great. My Fair Godmother was an exceptional piece of literature - serious, light, fluffy, adventurous, dangerous, funny, and romantic, all in one book - and I didn't think she could do it again.
HA! I laugh at my own stupidity. To think she couldn't do it again - and then to find that she has done it better. Yes. You read correctly - better.
My Unfair Godmother was a little darker, had a bit more action, just as much mystery, and a lot more emotion. It was packed. Never once was I bored or wishing it was more like My Fair Godmother. It was completely and utterly its own book, and I must say that while My Fair Godmother is still a favorite, this second addition to Chrissy's wish-granting adventures was even more memorable.
Character notes - Tansy...oh, where to begin with this girl? I loved her from the start - cared for her, wanted her to succeed, winced when she got herself into trouble. She's trying to get back at her father for leaving them, but instead finds herself in a mess that could've been avoided. The amount of character change that happens to Tansy is realistic and wonderful.
And Hudson. Oh, Hudson. I have a thing for men in uniform, and while Hudson doesn't exactly work for the police, he does...in a way. And he is, without a doubt, the epitome of manliness (and he's a senior in high school - does it get any better for us young girls?). Strong, handsome, broad shoulders, smart, probably knows how to handle a gun... He's got his faults, too, and this only made me love him more, because what realistic guy is perfect? Hudson fit perfectly into this story - even his actions in the past had an impact on Tansy and the book's turnout. The way he and Tansy interact is perfect as well. Their fights are hilarious and the whole product of their friendship gave me butterflies.
Rumpelstiltskin. Let's just say, he had me shivering. I've always wanted to read more about his fairy tale, and I was not disappointed. He was evil, ruthless, and had a heart of stone.
I also liked Nick, Tansy's half brother. He is a sweet boy who cares about Tansy, even when she has a bad attitude. And this time around, Chrissy was altogether more likable (in my opinion) and she had a much greater impact on the story.
Story notes - Like I said before, this story is darker than the last, and has its own fuel to keep it going. The way Rallison weaves in fairy tales with modern times and actual events in the Middle Ages is just genius. Everything fell together smoothly and with a grand finale at the end that had my jaw dropping.
There were so many scenes that stood out to me (such as when Robin Hood and his Merry Men first meet Tansy, or when Tansy receives the heart), but my absolute favorites include any of the scenes involving the baby. If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that my #1 goals in life are to be a wife and mother. So when a baby was brought into this story and it tugged at Tansy's heart, my own heart did a little dance and I giggled happily and squealed and just in general couldn't stop smiling. I can't tell you anything else, but just know that this was what made the book more amazing to me than the first one. (My favorite scene would have to be the "I'm not into you" flaming hair-do scene. Don't ask - just go read. It had me bursting with laughter.)
One word to sum it up (and final thoughts) - Golden. This book is pure gold (considering its contents revolve around turning straw to gold, I'd say this is spot-on) and I don't want any of you to miss out on reading it, or its companion. Please, go buy this book. Right now. Read it (and the first one!) and then put it on your shelf and/or share it with your friends (if you can bear to let it go) and read it again and again and again. It really is one of the best.(less)
The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson (Ashtown Burials #1) Pages: 496 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, Sep...moreMore reviews at: Yearning to Read
The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson (Ashtown Burials #1) Pages: 496 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, September 6th-14th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+ Read my interview with N. D. Wilson
Summary - The Archer Motel is a place where waffles are made every day and the dried up pool outside is full of rubber tires. It is the place where Cyrus Lawrence Smith lives, with his sister Antigone and his brother Daniel, and an elderly woman named Mrs. Eldridge. It's nothing special, until a strange man calls. He knows Cyrus' full name and is vehemently requesting a certain room - a room that happens to belong to Cyrus. But it's not the Motel he's after. It's Cyrus and Antigone that he wants, and this might just be the most terrifying and fascinating thing that has ever happened to them. Cyrus and his siblings are thrown into a whirlwind of adventures and dangers bigger than anything they could have imagined...
My thoughts - Ummm... Favorite? Ever? In the whole world? Equal to Wilson's other books? The only book equal to Wilson's other books because only Wilson can match Wilson? Yes. To all of it. Say yes to this book. Say yes to Wilson. YES! You thought I loved all those other books? Wilson squashes it all with his pure amazingness.
Now. Moving on. When I was in the process of slowly picking my way through this book (I had no intention of reading fast because then it would be over...), there were quite a few times when I would just stop and stare at the book. Or more frequently, I'd jump up and start pacing, murmuring things like an idiot, saying, "Red, flying vipers. White wings. Genius. Red. Vipers. Flying." And then I'd turn to my family and say, "Do you even understand?!" I was a bit of a mess, lemme tell you. A shocked, amazed, and totally engrossed mess.
Before I head to the next thing I must say something about his writing. It is so his own style, the way he words and places his sentences. I'm pretty sure that if I opened a random book in the store without seeing the cover or any names, and read a few sentences, and it was him, that I could guess - he's that unique, that irreplaceable. There are few who equal his skill in writing, in my opinion.
In any case...
Character notes - I would write out every character and go through the list of why they're all amazing and how evil one is compared to the other, or how great and noble, and how perfectly imperfectly human they all are, and how you don't really find characters this developed in the industry very often, and it is a delicious treat to have a copy of this book on my shelf, just for the characters alone, not to mention everything else.
I would do that, and it would bore you all to pieces.
So let me use one specific example - without ruining anything for you as the reader. As my sister and I read this book together (well, she finished it way before me), we were constantly talking about the book and how amazing it is and totally going fangirly all over our dear sweet copies (we had to buy one for each - no way we're sharing these books!!). In our discussion one day, one of the aspects of the book caught us by surprise. One of the characters, a lead role, is a bit on the serious side, kind of hardened because life has not treated this character too well; sometimes this character may seem a bit "holier than thou". Not in an I-don't-want-to-read-about-this-snob kind of way, but in a very human way. However, slowly, over the course of the book, something happens: this character morphs and changes into a softer, more refined character - and all without us knowing it's happening!! By the end of the book my sister and I were both shocked, saying that the change in this character was so smooth and perfect that it was like a slow drip, each one right after the next, until you have a full pool below.
That is the extent of the character development in this book - no telling, only showing. And that's how it should be. But Wilson has mastered it. Well done!
And as for the bad guy - holy poop I've NEVER read about a bad guy like this. NEVER. He's like serial-killer-thinks-he's-a-saint type villain, and I loved it. I loved every chilling aspect that he brought to this book. What the heck.
Story notes - How can I even wait? This story is not over - and obviously, as a hook (though I'd be hooked no matter what) it ends at a very crucial part in the story, which made me gape at the page for about ten minutes.
I know, I'm dramatic. Moving on.
From the first pages there are creepy moments, fires, explosions, rather quirky characters, undying men, car chases and bullets, secret passageways, new societies, strange inventions, exploring, mysteries, etc, etc. The list goes on. And this is only 200 pages into the story - I swear. It's packed. It's a roller-coaster, always exhilarating, never stopping. It has perfect pacing, just enough to keep you drawn in for the whole 500 pages, and it still allows you the leisure of choosing how long you want to take to read it. I chose ten days, my sister chose about five. Take your pick - you won't be sorry either way. I mean, who has the ability to write a book that has it all - and still makes it so that you can personalize the pace (a pace that's still fast, no matter how long you take)?
Only Wilson, DUH.
Apart from being extremely intense and crazy and amazing, this story is really emotional. Cyrus and Antigone are exceptional characters, not only for their ability to be human, but also because they and their story creates intense emotion. Wilson's other books are all very emotional in a sense, but not "I want to cry" emotional. But The Dragon's Tooth had me shedding a few tears in some of the crucial scenes. Very sweet and sad.
Oh, and one last thing - it has X-Men like qualities. Crazy cool, huh? Don't ask - just go read.
Summing it up - Why would I even dare try to write a single word to compact this book? Such a great feat is impossible. There is no containing this story. You must feast upon it. That is the only way to understand why I love Wilson's books so much. But, granted, there will be those who dislike this book. So while I hope you will all find Wilson's books as incredibly beautiful as I do, you might not. All one can do is hope - and recommend - and push a little bit. Okay, okay, I'll stop with the book-pushing.
Recommended 12+ for some very intense scenes.(less)
Num8ers by Rachel Ward (#1) Pages: 325 Release Date: November 8th, 2008 Date Read: 2012, January 24th - February 10th Received: Audiobook from Library Rati...moreNum8ers by Rachel Ward (#1) Pages: 325 Release Date: November 8th, 2008 Date Read: 2012, January 24th - February 10th Received: Audiobook from Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 17+
SUMMARY - Jemma never wanted this gift - this curse. She never realized the Numbers meant something until her mom died - on a date that spelled out the Numbers Jem saw in her mother's eyes. now she knows - she can never look someone in the eye without knowing when they'll die. For a long time, Jem has distanced herself from the world, but now, she's found a friend in the quirky boy from school, Spider. It isn't long, however, before Jem's gift predicts a terrorist attack. Now the suspects, she and Spider are on the run for their lives, and Jem is forced to live like she's never lived before.
MY THOUGHTS - Sitting here, writing out that summary, I almost burst into tears. Yep, this is one of those books. Books that make me bawl. I swear I was hyperventilating at the end of this book. It's like a sharp knight to the gut. Actually, I take that back. It's a shock back into reality.
Most books with this much content usually aren't what I pick up or finish. But. There are a few reasons I finished this one.
1. The narrator. By golly this woman can read a book and make it come to life like nothing else I've ever seen. I don't typically do audiobooks, but I was pulled into Jem's world through the narrator's brilliant voice. 2. Jem's transformation (more on that below). 3. The thick intensity and grit of the world Rachel Ward so perfectly built. Oh, it's earth, the world we live in, but it's like nothing you've ever read. 4. Her writing. Ward has a way with worlds. Simple, to the point, but also lyrical and passionate.
CHARACTER NOTES - So. Jem. She's hard, closed-off, never budging from her comfort zone (if she even has one) - no friends, no life - nothing that could make her see people's death dates, their Numbers. Normally, a girl like this would drive me crazy. There's no way I could relate to her. But, the magic of the narrator and author worked together, and as soon as I heard Jem's story, her mom's story, her life now, I could never have walked away. I cared, I understood, I was Jem. I suddenly was experiencing life through her eyes. I hurt, bled for her, with her. If you can do that with your readers in such a severe, devastating way, you're brilliant.
When Jem meets Spider, so begins the slow, painful process of Jem's transformation. I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect and seamless the change wrought in her character was. Like, freaking brilliant. I'd say it's some of the best character development I've seen, hands down, next to classic characters such as Sydney Carton, Andre-Louis Moreau and Raskilnikov.
Spider was also excellently portrayed. He irritates the crap out of Jem sometimes, but she cares for him more than she's wiling to admit. There's so much heart and soul to his character, because he is the life in Jem. He brings her out of her shell with his fidgeting, jumpiness, loud personality, and care for her.
Besides these two, there's a cast of characters worthy of reading about. None have so much page time as the leads, but they all play their part. None were ever dull or awkward or stupid. I loved every last one of them.
STORY NOTES - I was sitting in my car with my 14-year-old sister, listening away to this brilliant narration, at the very beginning of the story, when Jem dropped the first F-bomb in a rather sudden, s hocking moment. She said it again, a few times in that scene. Startled, I turned it off, planning to proceed with caution when there wasn't such a young audience.
Proceed with caution. Yes. There were a LOT of F-bombs in this book. Probably 60 or so. Typically, this annoys me to pieces. BUT. I could understand where Jem was coming from, due to stellar writing skills on Ward's part. This doesn't make it okay, but if I was in Jem's shoes, and had lived the life she had, I'd probably cuss up a storm as well.
In any case, this book holds something very precious. It's a story about the delicacy and beauty of life. It's an adventure that takes you across London, the countryside, and the sea side. It's a thriller that keeps you on your toes till THE VERY END. It's a romance that will steal your heart away. It is not typical. The romance, the journey, the climax - I've never read anything like it. And because of that alone, it is beautiful.
SUMMING IT UP - Heart-breaking. Your heart will be broken once you've finished. Trust me. Shattered. But in all the right ways. Rachel Ward - please, never stop writing.
(Although, I do have to say - this isn't a book for everyone. Not all people can handle or like to handle books with this much content/grit/hardcore story. So look both ways before you cross this street. But I hope you do cross this street. I hope you do.)
For the Parents - Explicit language throughout. Drug use, theft, sex in a barn (some detail but more about the emotion)...death. It's a heavy book with hardcore themes. Recommended 17+
Jane Eyre, a girl of no importance and the daughter of an unapproved match, lives a troubled life for her...moreBy far one of the best books I've ever read!
Jane Eyre, a girl of no importance and the daughter of an unapproved match, lives a troubled life for her first ten years under her aunt’s roof. Her parents died when she was a baby and she was left as Aunt Reed’s charge with no other living relatives that she knew of. When her aunt can no longer stand Jane any more, she sends her to a boarding school where the rules are strict and the headmaster is every bit the tyrant Aunt Reed was. But Jane conquers, becomes a teacher, and then wishes to become a private tutor. After her ad is received and her application accepted, Jane finds herself in the home of a mysterious and strange man, Mr. Rochester, who has put his ward, Adele, under Jane’s tutelage. But then Jane finds herself falling deeply in love with Mr. Rochester, who she could not imagine would love her in return. This, and the strange happenings in Thornfield Hall, give Jane cause to doubt her future. And when Mr. Rochester’s dark secret reveals itself, Jane must question her love and discover what she must do with her life before she can find the happiness she never had.
This is one of those “Can words describe?” books. And while I feel there aren’t very many words that do an adequate job, I will try my best.
Can you believe that I haven’t read this book yet? I can’t. For years, people have been telling me, ”Sierra, you have to read this book.” ”Sierra, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.” ”Oh my GOSH! You haven’t read Jane Eyre?!” ”What are you waiting for, you, the reader, of all people?”
So here I am, having read (devoured) the long awaited book that has been loved, cried and giggled over by hordes. And I’m here to tell you people who have not yet read this book – “What. In the world. Are. You. Waiting for?!” (I know…I’m one to talk…but now I know how everyone else feels! haha!)
Throughout the course of the book, I got choked up. But there was too much ahead to slow down, stop, and actually cry. However…when I got to the last chapter, I lost it. Tears came and the two-year-old little boy I was babysitting put down his yogurt and stared at me, head cocked to the side, probably completely confused as to why I was smiling and crying at the same time. After all the heartache and sadness, and even the little bits of joy in between, the happiness of the end just overwhelmed me. It was just too beautiful to not feel that way – there was so much emotion in my heart that I felt it would almost burst.
Jane is a character I look up to – I want to be like her. Her decisiveness, her courage, her resolution, her faith…it amazed me, and amazes me still, even after the book has been set back on the shelf. She knew what she had to do and she did it – no matter the cost. And the way she loved everyone so unconditionally – especially Mr. Rochester – continually surprised me. Her kind heart, her gentle but firm manner, and her intense love… Wow. I also loved her close study of human nature and how she described and saw people – why she was intrigued by them.
Mr. Rochester himself is quite a character. Going into this story, I was NOT expecting him to be the least like he was – physically ugly and mentally independent. He was strange, but yet so perfect for the story. In all my travels through literature, I’ve never met a character like him, and I doubt I ever will again. That character will always be embodied by Mr. Rochester alone. I easily fell for him as Jane did; her love for him was pure; she never once judged him for his faults; she loved him all the more for them. The reader cannot help but feeling the same. I loved seeing his pride break down, slowly but surely, and the way he described the experience after. It was just amazing.
As far as the story line and the writing… Both were equally magnificent. The story captured me from the first, especially when I expected the novel to begin when she was older. But I loved every bit of it – every second was glorious, and painful and lovely. I cared for Jane so much that it didn’t matter what she was doing – I wanted to read about her. And Mr. Rochester and St. John and Adele and everyone else. The writing was incredible, down to the very last word. I loved how she wrote most of the time in past tense, and then sometimes slipped smoothly into present tense, showing the reader exactly what it felt like, to be doing instead of remembering. I’m actually not a huge fan of present tense, but this was so perfect I just couldn’t resist liking it.
Favorite character: Mr. Rochester because of his originality…and how much I loved his character within the first few pages of his introduction.
Favorite aspect: DUH! The love story, of course! Totally intriguing the way it was played out, the intensity of Mr. Rochester’s secret hanging over it part of the time, the rest being Jane’s own doubts about Mr. Rochester’s nature or her sadness over him being engaged to a woman who would not and could not love him – and who he had no passion for either. Oh my gosh this story had me in its clutches and didn’t let me go!!!
There are no single words to describe this book. Magnificent and heart-pounding and gut-wrenching are about the best I can do. They are true – as true as true can be – but there is something about the book that can only be felt and understood by reading it yourself. It’s not anything that can be described – it’s an experience. One that I can’t wait to relive again and again and again!!
Malva is a beautiful, strong-willed young lady, the princetta of her father’s kindgom, Galnicia. But there is one problem: Malva is being married off...moreMalva is a beautiful, strong-willed young lady, the princetta of her father’s kindgom, Galnicia. But there is one problem: Malva is being married off to the Prince of Andemark, a man she hardly knows and doesn’t love. With the help of the Archont, her tutor, and Philomena, her chambermaid, Malva manages to escape her country – but only to fall into adventures she would have never dreamed of.
A couple things about this book caught my eye. One, the name…a twist on the title “princess”. And two, the art. It swirls and twists and the colors are bright and they contrast beautifully together.
This truly was an adventure. The characters grow in such a way that makes them real and easy to understand. I could relate to most of them in different ways. They all had their own special gift or personality to give to the story to make it less and less like a book and more and more like a work of art.
If you are looking for a book that has a perfectly happy ending, don’t pick this one up. I am a big fan of books that end with sacrifice and sometimes even tragedy, because it gives the book a deeper sense of reality. Now, I don’t have anything against happy endings…in fact, I’m a hopeless romantic who just LOVES a happy ending, especially if it is involved in a love story. However, when an author goes against what everyone else is doing and creates a sense of mortality in the characters, while still giving them enough class to stay loved and adored for a long time, I cannot help but stand and applaud. This is exactly what Anne-Laure Bondoux has done, leaving me a happy reader.
Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time #3) Pages: 388 Release Date: September 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 2nd - 5th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 sta...moreTorrent by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time #3) Pages: 388 Release Date: September 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 2nd - 5th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
This review contains spoilers for the 1st and 2nd books. If you haven't read them, I suggest you do, for I highly recommend them to everyone!!
SUMMARY - Gabi and Lia have just done something unimaginable. They went into the future (or rather, the past), saved their dad before he died, and managed to talk him into going back to the past with them. Now they are reunited with Marcello, Luca, the Nine, and the Forelli household in Siena. Castello Forelli is still under the command of Paratore and Firenze - and Fortino, Marcello's brother, is still in their possession, being beaten within an inch of his life.
It is up to the She-Wolves and their men to get him back and to save Castello Forelli. What will they be willing to sacrifice to rescue Fortino and the Castello? Marcello wants Gabi to marry him, but is she ready? And will her family toss aside any future plans to give Gabi the lifestyle she so desires? There is only one way to gain Fortino's freedom and one so dangerous that none of the Betarinni's may come out of this plan alive. It will take every ounce of courage and love they have, and the help of a mighty God, to see this battle to the end.
MY THOUGHTS - Oh my gosh, I don't even know what to say. (And now watch me write a lengthy review.) I had no stinking clue the conclusion would be...this. No way. It's flipping intense. There were times when I almost cried. Then I would laugh out of sheer joy. And then I would get so pissed at some dude or another (there were some seriously annoying dudes here...) And then, guess what? I would laugh. And almost cry. And then be so happy I thought I'd burst. There was so much adrenaline pulsing through me that I felt it long after the book had finished. It was nearly 400 pages of non-freaking-stop. I can't even stand the awesomeness. I need to read the series over again - or Tribituary needs to come out TOMORROW. Or both. Preferably both.
I just can't believe how perfect this book was. It fit the series to the exact - giving me what I was expecting and yet totally shocking me with every movie. I mean, it was craziness! And I had no idea that Gabi's and Marcello's love would be so sorely tested...
CHARACTER NOTES - Gabi is amazing. She is not only a fantastic daughter and sister, but also a fierce warrior and passionate, faithful lover. And, most importantly, she grows to be a wonderful woman of God. I respect her even more than a lot of my most respected heroines because of this. And if you combine that with everything else, you get...amazing. Even with her faults, she's just the best. Anyone would want her as a friend.
Marcello...and Rodolfo. Where to begin with those two? In the last book, Cascade, I felt like Marcello was more...real. And I was fascinated by Greco. This time, Marcello was only in half of the book. The rest of it, Gabi was with Greco. And I totally fell for Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. All. The. Way. I understand why Gabi didn't, of course (she and Marcello - totally and completely!), but if I were Gabi and I hadn't already pledged my heart, making a decision between the two would have been hard. By the end of the book, I definitely (finally!) fell completely for Marcello, but I still love Greco. A LOT. I want more of his story!! I think the two men tie...or, well...Oh I don't know!
Before moving on: I loved Marcello's growling. OMG (fanning myself)! You'll only know if you read the book, so hurry up already! Marcello definitely had me blushing often... Such a MAN!
Lia, Mom and Dad are great characters - kicking butt and saving the day. I loved seeing the girls with a father figure, and watching "Lord Betarrini" observe Marcello was hilarious!
The only person who didn't seem extremely real to me was Luca. :( He felt flat. He said some funny things, helped out a bit, but he was never truly there. Or at least not for me.
STORY NOTES - Like I said before - Non-freaking-stop. Front to back, top to bottom. The ink markings between the covers of this book contain an adventure totally of its own originality and spark and element. I mean, just, wow. And wow again. So many twists and turns in the story - no end to the madness. I got to the point where I found myself asking, "Could this get any worse?!" I doubt it could have. Dang. I had no idea what the turnout would be.
And yet it was perfect. Any different would have felt...off. Ohmygosh I was just so happy with those last four or five chapters that tied everything into a giant bow of beautifulness. (And still left room for the story to take off again!)
Lisa does an amazing job describing events. There were quite a few scenes that were so dang powerful - either because of the dialogue or the descriptions. Either way there was just enough of everything to give the story the perfect touch, one that, in turn, has affected the lives of many (seriously, I view these books as life-alteringly cool) and will do so for more, I am sure.
I loved the awesome faith questions asked in here. Gabi struggles, asking herself, and others, questions about God's existence, His sovereignty, and it was incredible to see those questions answered and to see how they affected Gabi and everyone else.
SUMMING IT UP - Powerful. In every way, this book had me grasping the book for dear life. And when I set it down I found I was pumped and ready to live. I love books that make me want to jump up and climb a mountain, or bike cross-country, or swim and ocean. Or write a book. Books that inspire are always my favorite - and that is exactly what Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent are. Inspirational. Favorites.
FOR THE PARENTS - Some kissing, passionate but only a few details. Two of the characters get married, and only detail-less kissing beforehand on their first night together. So clean - and a beautiful example of healthy, faithful, passionate love. Recommended 13+(less)
Gabi and Lia are back in their own time - and boy, do they have stories to tell! But in order to get their mom to believe them, they must return to 1300's Italy to prove it. When they arrive, their archaeologist mother just can't get enough of the artifacts; Fortino is healed, based on Gabi's remedies; Lady Romana Rossi is squirming her way into things - just in a different way than before; and Gabi and Marcello's love is blossoming into something greater than they'd imagined. But when Gabi, the she-wolf, is forced to make some tough (ok, really really really hard) decisions, and some very wicked plots are discovered, will the Castello Forelli be able to hold? Will Gabi and Lia have the strength and courage to live the lives of the She-Wolves of Siena? Or will Firenze crush them all? _______________________________________________
My thoughts - OMGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kind of liked this book a lot...like, a ton...I loved it!!! To be completely honest...I mean, seriously! This book held so much more than the first book. I came in with lower expectations than I had with the first - and suddenly I was shocked! Cascade became a favorite about half-way through. The battle scenes, the escapes, the characters - they were much more real and memorable. I look back at my favorite scenes and I realize that they amount to pretty much the entire book. And now I'm thinking the release of Torrent can't come fast enough!
Character notes - Oh, Gabi. She inspires me. Lia, too, and Mom. But Gabi is by far one of my favorite heroines. Humor, strength, and courage. Beauty - inside and out. And love. So much genuine love for everyone. Her growing relationship wiht God totally inspired me - her small prayers that meant so much.
And Marcello - phew! Someone get me a fan and a fainting couch! That man became so much clearer to me in Cascade. His face, his personality. He gave me chills most the time...Gabi is one heck of a blessed girl! He's the ultimate stronghold, the kind of man any girl would want to spend forever with. The way he loves Gabi is gut-wrenching. It's not a summer fling - on either side. It's a forever kind of love.
But those are the good guys. What about the bad? The wicked men in this book are...wicked. Super wicked. They gave me chills...different kind of chills than Marcello, of course. Chills, like I want to cower in fear and hide from them. New enemies are formed, raising the old, already high stakes a level or two or three higher. No kidding.
And Lord Greco...who ARE you?
Story notes - YES YES YES YES! With action, fast and furious, danger, escape, and a love story that will melt your heart - there is no reason why you should not pick up this book this very second. Begin our journey into a world of old, where battles are fought with a sword and bow, feuds are extremely common, almost getting killed is a common pastime, and true love really comes in the form of a knight in shining armor. The escapes will have you dying to turn the page; the battles will have your blood pumping; the sweet, stolen moments between Gabi and her man (and Lia and hers...?) will sweep you off your feet. Oh, yes. This is epic story-telling at its finest. And the way it was written... I mean, must I still go on? ;)
Summing it up - Memorable, from first word to last. I want to relive it over and over again, like a good song. Let it play, again and again...
For the parents - A few kisses. Nothing inappropriate. Good for young teens. :)(less)