Blah. Just blah. I have been wanting to read this series, and after reading the first book, that's how I feel. I never could really get into the story...moreBlah. Just blah. I have been wanting to read this series, and after reading the first book, that's how I feel. I never could really get into the story or book. I liked the characters alright, but it was just ok. Some of the story, especially at the end, just didn't work for me. The whole necklace part was weird and random. Funny thing, I thought a lot of the story reminded me a lot of the Covenant series by Jennifer Armentrout, but I liked those books better. (less)
I was excited to read is book, and I'm so glad that it didn't let me down. The idea of it was what got me interested. I think the whole series is goin...moreI was excited to read is book, and I'm so glad that it didn't let me down. The idea of it was what got me interested. I think the whole series is going to be good. This is a seven book series, with each book focusing on one of the seven deadly sins. Each book is written about a different character, and they all will be loosely connected/know each other. Each book seems to be a standalone. This one was on vain, obviously. :-) And boy was Sophie vain! I'm glad that the author didn't spend too much time delving into the excesses of this sin. She gave you just enough to paint a vivid picture of Sophie, and then she was sent to Africa to work at an orphanage. The orphanage was for children whose parents had been killed during village attacks and the aggressors also maimed the children. Sophie was thrown into extreme cultural shock and eventually a transforming redemption (I know, such a surprise!). The author did a great job painting the bleak picture of the horrible life altering experiences the children at the orphanage had gone through. As well as the absolute unselfish and unconditional love that the orphanage's caregivers had for the children and each other. This was not a "Christian" or spiritual book, but after reading it, I wonder if the author is a believer. I loved Sophie and Ian's relationship in this story. Yes, it wasn't a surprise. And yes, it wasn't original. But it was so sweet and perfect. I loved that there was definite passion and heated scenes between the two of them, but "in the pages of the book" they never slept together or did anything risqué. Not that they were Sunday school "pure", but it was nice to not have to read every torid action in explicit detail. :-)
Now, as much as I have gushed about what a wonderful book this was, it was not without some serious flaws. I actually would probably give it 3.5 stars, but the overall story and message was so good. The biggest thing that I had an issue with, was the very odd way she used certain words/the phrases she chose to use in different places. It was almost like she had a thesaurus next to her and wanted to use an odd and obscure word to convey her point (and make the book look "smarter"), but I didn't think the words she used were quite the right words/meaning she was going for. Kinda like she wasn't writing in her native tongue and didn't quite grasp the nuances of English and certain phrases. Some examples of this: "Ian kissed at my door that night sweetly.", "Ian pulled me through the window as if I weighed a trifle.", "Her eyes blew bright....", "Ian twisted his hands through the hair at the top of my head and stayed them there.", "but we assuaged any fears" And those are just a few of he oddities.
The other thing I had an issue with was the timing in a couple of places. A couple of times the author had the characters pour out their hearts and souls to each other, but what was going on when they were doing this wasn't at all the time or place to be making these long declarations. Like expressing your undying love for someone when they are suppose to be sneaking up to thwart an attack. Or giving very lengthy, albeit beautiful, advise to someone after you have just been shot in the chest and are bleeding out. Really?!?! But as I said, I am willing to overlook these things that happened A LOT throughout the book, because the story itself was really good.
In the book, this was one of the parts that I thought was very touching and true.
"No one can know happiness, Sophie, without first having known sorrow. One can never appreciate the enormity and rareness of such a fiery bliss without seeing misery, however unfair that may be. And you will know honest happiness. Of that I am certain. Certain because it's why you are here and also because here is your inevitability."
"Promise me you'll give it all to God and let Him decide it for you. He'll gift you no regrets."(less)
I love Junie B. Jones! I love all the books in this series. The quirky way she looks at the word is priceless! As a primary level teacher, I have seen...moreI love Junie B. Jones! I love all the books in this series. The quirky way she looks at the word is priceless! As a primary level teacher, I have seen many "Junie B.'s" over the years, and they are always my favorite kids!
My favorite quote from the book is at the beginning when Junie B. and Jim get their scissors taken away. She says, "And we didn't get to decorate the valentimes box. 'Cause our cutting days were over, that's why. And our pasting days never even got started." :-)