Two young cousins, Luis and Guy, are determined to someday help their country by serving in the American army against the British Redcoats. But there...moreTwo young cousins, Luis and Guy, are determined to someday help their country by serving in the American army against the British Redcoats. But there fathers, both very prominent in the US Army, don’t think they are ready. And there mother’s would never let them to enter into such danger. But when the cousins meet Morgan, a faithful American spy dressed as a Red Coat, their loyalty and bravery will be put to the test in the adventures they must face.
I honestly have no idea how anyone could truly enjoy this book. What could have been a fantastic story was too short (172 pages), unemotional, underdeveloped, unrealistic, and just plain stupid. Everything about it was boring. Nothing really happened. The cousins were sent on a journey to give some information to Morgan the Jersey spy, but I quickly forgot the information - and if I forgot the reason why they were going straight into the enemy’s camp, how important was that information, really? So what did James Otis write about? Not much.
As far as characters go… Louis and Guy did things that anyone would never do. Their actions were way overdrawn and most of the time, the conversations were cheesy and never progressed the story. Morgan was the only ”good” character, and even he was just…ok.
The story didn’t even have the feel of the time period it was set in. It was as though James Otis had his own ideas of what he wanted the war to look/feel like. I am so disappointed because I was actually really, really excited to read this book. Now I want to go pick up a classic that’s actually good to get this one out of my head… :/
Ring of Fire by P. D. Baccalario (Century Quartet #1) Pages: 304 Release Date: September 8th, 2009 Date Read: 2011, November 12-22nd Received: Borrowed Rat...moreRing of Fire by P. D. Baccalario (Century Quartet #1) Pages: 304 Release Date: September 8th, 2009 Date Read: 2011, November 12-22nd Received: Borrowed Rating: 2/5 stars Recommended to: 10+
SUMMARY - Fernando of Melodia, owner in part of the Domus Quintilla hotel in Rome, has made a huge mistake. He came to the airport, expecting to pick up a French woman and her daughter to transport them to the hotel - but now three other families are all saying they booked the same room for the same night! Fernando's daughter, Elettra, makes room for the foreign children in her own room - Sheng from China, Mistral from France, and Harvey from America. Things seem to go smoothly until the children discover they all have something extraordinary in common. When they are given a briefcase by a man who is clearly in trouble - and later killed - the four children team up to discover what this briefcase is about, before another murder is committed.
MY THOUGHTS - There are books out there that are childish but timeless. Childish in the manner of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, or in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. These books are not rare, but they are not easy to come by, either. If you think I'm going to say that Ring of Fire falls into this small category, you will have to forgive me - I will say no such thing. I wish it wasn't so - I really wanted to love this book - but it fell short in a lot of areas.
The writing is very short. Like... Oh, it's strange. It's also a translation, and some of the phrases had me cringing. For one, they often described the MC as "the girl" or the Antagonist as "the man". Soooo annoying.
In the end, I just skimmed. How sad. I don't feel remorseful at all.
CHARACTER NOTES - Elettra was a really neat character, I'll give her that. Sharp, witty, kind, and willing to work hard. My only problem? She seemed a bit too sharp. Like, too smart and knowledgeable and trained for a 12-year-old. Slightly unbelievable, don't you think?
The other children were just...meh. Harvey - serious in an unrealistic too-mature-for-an-American-teen-his-age. Sheng - I found him quite stupid (while he tried to be funny). You'd think he'd start babbling off in Chinese every once in a while in his nervousness or fear; but no, the only Chinese he ever said was, "Hao"...for everything. And Mistral - just flat.
Jacob Mahler, the villain, wasn't near enough spooky or intimidating or nasty mean. Based on his description (he carries a violin that entices people when played and makes them fall asleep; it also turns into a weapon from a horror film) you'd think he'd be amazing. But no. I mean, maybe the point-blank writing style takes away the mystery and excitement.
STORY NOTES - Too easy. Waaaay too easy. Maybe not to the typical 11-year-old who hasn't had a full taste of the world and good literature yet. But to an adult who has read nearly 500 books and who has written a few (drafts) - just, stop, ok? No more. I can't take how easy it is. There are no disappointments, setbacks, or frustrations. Even for a children's book, that's just not very good story-telling.
There was one scene in the very middle that struck me as really cool, but it was the only scene. The children are searching a professor's house and they discover something very interesting about it - and it turns into something intense and - stops. Things lull. Holes form. Beatrice suddenly gets a whim to save the girl. Why was she here in the first place? You know what, nevermind, I don't care.
SUMMING IT UP - A lull of boringness. Oh, my sister, how I wish I could have liked it. I'm sorry - I really tried.
Eugenie and her brother Armand are orphans in Paris, cared for by a guardian who is nothing like a father. Their lives are safe – until the Revolution breaks out in full swing. Aristocrats are killed every day in the streets. Eugenie has done nothing to instigate such hatred, and continues to live life glamorously. But when she and her brother are put in danger, she must reassess her way of life in order to protect herself and get out of France as fast as she can.
Oh, dear. I hate writing conflicted reviews about conflicted books. WHY does it have to be confusing? WHY are certain parts appealing and others not? WHY does part of me like this book and the other part dislike it?
These things I don’t know if I’ll ever know, so I will try my best to relay my feelings in a rational and understandable way.
The side of me that doesn’t like this book says… Ok. Bad character development. What’s with that? Armand, Eugenie, Julien, Guy, La Fantom… All had a major character flaw – inconsistency. One moment, Armand would act one way, and the next he would act another. It wasn’t all the time, but you could tell the author didn’t have a strong “relationship” with her characters. Julien and Eugenie were the strongest, and they still lacked character until the middle of the story. Belle was the most lively, but she didn’t have a huge part. On top of that, I see the writing as a glass half EMPTY. Good, but bland. A bit forced. And the story – it lacked. There were scenes I didn’t even have to read, and I would have been fine. And then all of a sudden at the very end - BAM! – there’s a love story. Sheesh.
However, there is my other side, who says this about the book… Yes, bad character development is disappointing, but I did end up liking and respecting Eugenie and Julien half-way through. I also look at the writing as good – a glass half FULL. The action scenes held a lot of substance and I felt transported. I also LOVELOVELOVE the French Revolution, so that made the read easier and more enjoyable. And the love story – who cares if it was sudden?! I realized when it happened that that’s what I’d wanted to happen the whole time. It should have developed slower and the characters should have shown more realization before they spoke about it to each other, but it was still a wonderful way to end the book…
FAVORITE CHARACTER -
Julien and Eugenie tie for first. They were both likable after I got past the beginning and they held more substance once the story really got rolling.
FAVORITE ASPECT -
The small romance at the end and the era this story revolves around (French Revolution).
ONE WORD TO SUM UP THIS BOOK (FINAL THOUGHTS) -
CONFLICTED. With a heavy sigh I write that word, wishing it could be different. I just can’t make up my mind about it. I liked it, but no, I didn’t. At least I know I didn’t hate it. I would never recommend it unless you were just DYING to read something and you’d already read all the books I was recommending. Or if you’re a French Revolution freak, like me. There are supposed to be two more books after this one. I don’t think I’ll read them unless they just fall into my hands. Otherwise, I’m not going to look for them. It’s a shame, because I think Patricia Elliott has potential, and I want the story to pick up and interest me. I want her to WOW her readers – I just hope she’ll have another chance.(less)
Ok. Wow. I was sosososo hoping to like this book. I knew I'd like the topic (Agrarian South), but would I enjoy a bunch of 30-paged essays written by...moreOk. Wow. I was sosososo hoping to like this book. I knew I'd like the topic (Agrarian South), but would I enjoy a bunch of 30-paged essays written by authors I'd never heard of before (give or take a few). I tried to like it. And it wasn't even the fact that they were essays that made me not like this book; that part I totally enjoyed. It was the writing. It was sometimes hard (and that's coming from someone who thinks Doestoevsky is easy), sometimes cumbersome, and sometimes boring. A lot of the time I would read a paragraph and not be able to remember what I just read. It didn't grab my attention and make me want to read more. (Ok, a few did that. They're listed below. But even those lacked...)
I give this 2.5 stars, but only because the topic (when I would hit parts that were interesting/written well/understandable) was worthy of being discussed. I did get enough out of this book to know that someday, maybe soon, I'd like to learn more about the Agrarian South.
The essays I liked: The Hind Tit by Andrew Nelson Lytle The Irrepressible Conflic by Frank Lawrence Owsley and Education, Past and Present by John Gould Fletcher
Magical books, a wicked Countess, three lonely orphans, funny characters, a strange wizard, and a hidden land.
What's not to like? Well, those things ca...moreMagical books, a wicked Countess, three lonely orphans, funny characters, a strange wizard, and a hidden land.
What's not to like? Well, those things can be wonderful. But whether or not they're interesting...now that depends on how the story is put together.
For me, this one didn't quite cut it. It was fascinating for a good 100 pages, funny and intense and sweet. Then it started fluctuating between interesting and boring, until around 220 pages I had had enough. I didn't care enough about the characters; one had just been seriously injured and I didn't even really care very much. The Countess turned out to be very different from her original creepiness, which actually took away the creepy in her character and, to me, made her like every other evil witch in stories. There were actually dwarves (!) which shouldn't surprise me but for some reason it did and I didn't like it. And then there was a strange time-warp that I didn't feel was properly explained.
Now, this this an entirely bad book? Most definitely not. A lot of what I read was great, and even the un-awesome parts were written well. I just lost patience with it, having read only 220 pages in a whole week... (I can normally finish a book the size of The Emerald Atlas, about 400 pages, in less than four days...) Sorry, time to move on.
Should you read this book? That most certainly depends on you, as the reader. Do I recommend it? Not necessarily, but I won't say I don't, either. There are just others I would rather see someone reading. (Such as: 100 Cupboards, Leepike Ridge, The Roar, The Clockwork Three, The Legend of Holly Claus, or Museum of Thieves.)(less)
I'm pretty sad about this book. Like, I LOVE Janette Rallison. She has been one of my writing heroes ever since My Fair Godmother. But this book...it...moreI'm pretty sad about this book. Like, I LOVE Janette Rallison. She has been one of my writing heroes ever since My Fair Godmother. But this book...it lacked so much. I don't even remember it that well. It wasn't like I hated it....it was just boring. It lacked character development and story development, too.
Giovanna, the MC, was just...ugh. Nope. She's the one thing I really remember about the book - she made me mad. She made the worst decisions and was so dramatic and just could not see past her own nose. This bothered me so much because, while I like realistic believably flawed characters, Giovanna was just....stupid.
The rest is kind of a blur. Her boyfriend seemed to be attempting to get her back the whole time, and she wanted him back but, like, I just don't understand. IT WAS SO POINTLESS. Haha!
I also remember, although I don't know the reason, that I felt like the end was preachy and there was an obvious moral to the story, which always irks me. But I've blocked it from my mind because I just don't care that much.
In the end...be wise. Read Janette's other books. Start with My Fair Godmother, and then My Unfair Godmother. Those will make you laugh until you're blue in the face and also become totally attached to the lovable characters that deserve your attention and love. Just don't read this book. Really. (If you want a book like this one, I suggest
Summary - Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the ex-boyfriend she dreams of winning back. In her trademark style, Janette Rallison delivers a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that only leaves readers wanting more.(less)
Pages: 416 Release Date: June 1st, 2008 Date Read: 2011, October 30th-31st Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Kate is done with love. She has g...morePages: 416 Release Date: June 1st, 2008 Date Read: 2011, October 30th-31st Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Kate is done with love. She has given it up - no more will she fall into its clutches. Jerome broke her heart and crushed her soul. Never again. When she wins a contest - and a trip to Italy with the other winning teens - Kate wants to spend her time properly examining the ridiculousness of Romeo and Juliet, instead of prancing around falling in love. And when the chance comes to turn the tables and play a prank on the girl who's trying to prank Kate, she more than happily seizes her chance, never expecting the snare that awaits her.
My thoughts - I'm not too much of a Romeo and Juliet fan. To be honest, even with my ridiculous romanticism, I've had my own practical statements and refutes and arguments about their love story. So while Kate was, for the most part, ridiculously practical, I admit freely that I, for the most part, agreed with her.
But anyways - apart from that...
This book was fun, but nothing special or extraordinary. I actually think it fell below the mark of ordinary or good. It had lots of issues - the writing was fun and dramatic but lacking the good stuff; the characters were all fluff and there was no personal connection; the story line had holes; the POV shifted weirdly. I wasn't expecting much, however, so I wasn't disappointed. But neither was I excited, and that is the problem.
Character notes - I really wish this book had been more personal. There were POV shifts that made no sense; but not only that, the characters themselves were choppy and inconsistent. For the most part, I saw these 16-17 year olds as 11-13 year olds. They had major maturity issues - issues usually overcome by the time you turn 13. It was awkward.
The best character was Giacomo, but even he lacked consistency. I thought of him as 14 years old for the majority of the book. He had a nice back story to add depth to his character but I thought him making up conversations between himself and a saint at the Catholic church, and then running around with a ladies' man reputation was such a strange combo. I think the author may have been trying to show the reader that he really was a great guy underneath?
I really liked Kate, but she was so poorly crafted that I didn't really get to know her, and that made me sad.
And to add to matters, at the end of the story, in the last 15 pages, all the characters just suddenly acted their ages.
Story notes - Overall, I really liked this story. It made me laugh and had a nice ring to it. The story-line twisted and turned with hilarious events and complication. However, I felt that it was poorly done and as a reviewer I must be honest...
What really bugged me was that it held no personal connection between characters or me and the book. For example - Kate and Giacomo are trying to make everyone believe they've fallen in love. They are about to kiss for the first time to throw off the spies following them - and it suddenly cuts to the POV of the spy! Therefore leaving me, the reader, with no idea of how Giacomo or Kate felt about the kiss that was supposed to be a farce. Basically, there was very little progression of feelings.
Summing it up - Playful! For the most part, this book had very little to offer when it comes to being a good book, but I did enjoy it all the same. A quick and fun summer read and it'll make you want to travel to Italy! :D
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill Pages: 160 Release Date: March 27th, 2012 DNF date: 2012, January 17th Received: ARC via NetGalley
SUMMARY - (From Go...moreSisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill Pages: 160 Release Date: March 27th, 2012 DNF date: 2012, January 17th Received: ARC via NetGalley
SUMMARY - (From Goodreads) Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother's work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she's prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.
Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father's wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.
MY THOUGHTS - I was very, very excited about this book when I first heard about it. Italy? Romance? Glass blowers? Magical, right?
I wishwishwish I'd been able to get into this book. From page, say, 5? I was lost. Where is this going? Why can't I get into it? Why do I not care? Why?!
It was a frustrating experience.
Here are my reasons for DNF-ing this book:
1. The verses themselves. They felt very complicated, too complicated. Almost like they didn't hit the right description or conversations, just flailed around uselessly.
2. Characters. Ummm...who? Who is this book about? Seriously. So flat, so unrealistic. So...not even there...
3. The romance. Or lack thereof. I skimmed ahead some when I got bored out of my mind and saw that the romance didn't come around this much too late in the book...well, to catch my interest. I was looking for some awesome love story, based on the description and what I'd read about it, but Sisters of Glass did not deliver.
So, while this could have been a great book, it was more of a chore than anything. I hope others find it fascinating, but I cannot say I recommend it.
*This ARC copy was provided by NetGalley (thanks a million!!) in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.*(less)
So bummed! My sister loved it, and told me it would get better...but no. Not for me. By the end i still didn't care at all for any of it. It had good...moreSo bummed! My sister loved it, and told me it would get better...but no. Not for me. By the end i still didn't care at all for any of it. It had good moments and funny moments, but overall definitely not for me...(less)
No thanks... got about 20 pages in and was like, "Where???? is this going?" The writing did not appeal to me and the characters were so 1-dimensional...moreNo thanks... got about 20 pages in and was like, "Where???? is this going?" The writing did not appeal to me and the characters were so 1-dimensional that it hurt my brain. :/(less)