Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelley


Synopsis

Mattie Gokey promised now dead Grace Brown that she will burn Grace's letters. Curious, Mattie instead reads the letters and discovers the mystery of her lifetime. This novel describes life in the early 20th century as a farmer and student. Mattie is an intelligent student that is struggling with many problems. Including dealing with her mothers death and her father's strict parenting.

Review

This is a remarkable book. I enjoyed this book, despite not usually liking the historical fiction genre, because this novel contains characters with the same feelings and motivations as my generation, except in it's set of a different time period. I can relate to Mattie because she is also a bookworm and cares for her sisters and is unsure what she should accomplish in her life. She is unsure is she should be responsible and stay with her family or do what she wants and go to college. Her fellow characters, especially her father, are against her aspirations to go to college. Mattie has responsibility to help her family because her mother is died, her only brother left and she is the oldest daughter; the one in charge.

I found this book to be pretty normal and not too exciting till the part of the novel where she realizes what really happened to Grace Brown in the present sections of the novel and starts working at Glenmore during the past sections of the novel. The first few times I read this book, I felt confused because the  narrative structure is constantly changing times and every chapter present an entirely new event. Now that I enjoyed this book enough, I figured out the secret to understanding the narrative structure. I am a little embarrassed that I never noticed before this time that each past chapter has a word of the day before it and each present chapter has nothing signally a new chapter besides a blank space.

The buildup of the novel was a bit dull because this novel was following the writing style of establishing the characters for the majority of the novel and less on plot. Still, there are many enjoyable stories in the first part of the novel. I liked the scenes where Weaver and Mattie word duel, Mattie and Royal talking each other and the story of how Mattie's father and mother eloped together. Mattie's parents are amazing foils to the love or hate relationship of Grace Brown and Chester. Sadly, at that point the novel is not amazing because it was slow and all the events blended together. None the events stood out and captured my imagination. The beginning was, to put it plainly, non-rememberable.

In contrast, the last part of the novel is moving and amazing. This part of the novel is why, I think, it won an award. In this part, horrible events take place and secrets to mysterious are revealed at perfect times. The author's writing is spot on and describes vividly all the events that occur. Mattie finally decides to stop listening to what everyone tells her to do, and starts making her own decisions based on what she deserves. I found the ending moving and felt sad when it ended. I was glad, though, because everything was not perfect, but ended well enough. This part includes a brief escape from the serious tone to a funny prank that Mattie and her friends do that is hilarious to read. I love this part because it concluded all the events into a poignant resolution that was plausible. I love how I was able to relate and care about all the characters and understand there pains. This is definitely the one historical fiction novel that should not be missed.

4 Stars!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Feature & Follow



Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. 

Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

I tend to enjoy most book genres because each genre has amazing features. I only tend to avoid the non-fiction genre because when I read books I want to discover a world that is different from my own. 



  

Everyone's a Critic by Paul Ruditis

School's out, but the drama never stops at the superposh Orion Academy. Hartley Blackstone -- the famous director, producer, choreographer, and genuine Broadway icon -- has chosen Orion to hold auditions for one lucky guy and girl to attend his summer theater program in New York City.
Naturally, every wannabe-It girl and boy at Orion is going mad, prepping to win Blackstone's approval. With any luck, it could be Bryan and his BFF, Sam, stepping onto a Broadway stage.
But Mr. Blackstone, known for his notoriously harsh critiques, is capable of crushing hearts and shattering dreams with a single word. Bryan will need more than his snarky wit and cute smile for this one. He's got to bring it!
Now if he could just figure out exactly what it is...
(Synopsis provided by GoodReads)


This is the book I always remember every time I do not get into the cast or receive a callback for a play. There is a character in this book that discovers he cannot act. Then he becomes depressed till he learns there is more to the theater business then acting; he can still be successful in the competitive world of theater as a director or crew chief.


If you enjoy theater or laughing, this is the book for you. 


Theater: All the theater stereotypes are in this book: the character actor, the natural actor, the drama queen, the goth, the evil villainess. There is a united family community contained in the club. The theater geeks all know each other, their talents and place in the community. The audition process is nerve-racking and everyone feels awful and hopeful after their audition. Negative critiques from a famous director causes anxiety and tears. 


There is a few side stories in this book. Bryan and his best-friend Sam try to reunite a recently broken up couple; one is their other best friend Hope and the other is Bryan's ex-best friend Drew. I find their strategies ineffective but amusing to read about. Another sub-plot is Bryan and his friends fighting against their enemy, the amazing actress Holly Mayflower. The animosity between the groups is obvious and realistic. 


The main reason I like this book is because it tells the true world of high school theater and is an amusing read. This book has simple plot that is based around a competition. I find all the characters special because they each have their own individual role to play. I enjoy how they fight when stressed, but always remain to help each other in the end. 





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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bad Girls Don't Die Review



When Alexis's little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends. Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.
Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey's shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister - but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?
(Synopsis provided by GoodReads)

When I was in middle school, a friend of mind told me a scary story about a family that bought a doll named Lucy. In the story, Lucy creeps up the stairs and kills the whole family.  This book takes that sort of nightmare-esque story and expands it into a paranormal mystery.

Prepare to be amazed. I read this book for the third time yesterday, and still found myself fascinated by the spooky tone of this amazing book.

The book starts out slow and full of clich├ęs. Then, it becomes more interesting when Kasey’s possessions begin and Lexi starts to lower her guard and interact more with other characters.
           
This book has great romance; I found myself eager to read the next moment between Lexi and Carter. Carter is a sweet, normal and interesting character that was a perfect match for Lexi.  The places where Carter enters a scene are random, but his scenes are amusing. I especially enjoy his entrance of opened a door that banged onto Lexi’s head.

The terror: While reading, I waited in suspense to see what Kasey would do next.  Lexi receives several spooky memories that describe the evil doll’s past treacheries and history. Kasey’s eerie possession is gradual and the stages are shown well. At first, Kasey is pretty normal and just experiencing some instances of blank memory. Then, Kasey starts hurting Lexi and scaring everyone in the town.

The realism: The book consists of a typical awkward family dinner, a teenager striving for independence, a beloved hobby and the relationship between sisters. Lexi’s family has trouble communicating at dinner. The main character’s flaw is trying to hard to solve her problems by herself. I enjoyed reading about Lexi’s photography hobby; I love how Lexi used her skills in this hobby to solve one part of the mystery. Lexi and her adorable sister Kasey fought many times in this novel, but in the end show that they are always there to help each other out.
           
I liked how the friendship between Lexi and Megan was gradual. Lexi extremely disliked Megan in the beginning, so it was understandable why it took forever for them to finally work together. They only started working together once they resolved their differences. Megan’s past was interesting to learn and added depth to her character.

I enjoyed how all the main characters ended up in the climax at the end of the novel. I admired Lexi and the other’s bravery. This was an awesome debut novel with an entertaining plot.


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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Busting The Newbie Blues


  1. When did you start your blog?
I started this blog on January 16, 2012. 
  1. Why did you start your blog?
I started this blog to share why I loved my favorite books as a child and the future books I will read. I re-read so many books during my lifetime that i finally wanted to share why I re-read them so much! I also want to get to know the blogging community.

  1. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Getting followers, finding time to review and formatting. 
  1. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Not being sure if my reviews are as good as well-establsihed bloggers and not knowing the community at all. 
  1. What do you find most encouraging?
Comments, definitely! How much advice I found on other bloggers websites. 
  1. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I like blogs that give genuine and informative reviews. I also like blogs that have fantastic backgrounds.  
  1. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
I dislike summarizing stories. I try to avoid this.
  1. Any advice for other new bloggers?
Just have fun blogging. 
  1. Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
What is the best way to get involved in Blog Tours or Author Interviews?
  1. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments. 
I spend most of my time reading and love discussing books. My blog will sometimes include a mini-fanfiction (there is one under my Secrets Review)

Thank You SmallReview for creating this event and BewitchedBookworms for the link! 

Ray

Cirque Du Freak IV: Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan



I will always remember the wintery day I discovered this amazing book at a private book store on my way to Florida. This is the fourth book of the Cirque Du Freak saga, the first book of the saga I read and my first Young Adult book. 

The previous three book of the series describes how a young boy named Darren Shan visited a magical freak show, became a vampire, fought a wolf-man and helped his sire (Mr. Crepsley) defeat a mad vampanease (Murlough). A vampanease and vampires are the two creatures of the night in this saga that are rivals. Vampires only drink a little blood people and have an old-fashioned government, while vampanease kill their victims and have no balanced government. 

Vampire Mountain chronicles an exciting trek to a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Somehow, Shan was able to keep the trip amusing to read about. I admire how well the Shan was able to go through so much time easily and only incorporated exciting events. This book’s reminders of the rigid structure of the vampire government was interesting because they were spaced out through went they were relevant to Darren’s journey. Darren’s mentors (Mr. Crepsley, Seba, Kurda and Mr. Tiny) all are interesting characters that give Darren wise advise. There is no character scarier then Mr. Tiny; he takes delight in catastrophes and deals with ghosts. The wolves were very cute and reminded me of my dog. I was as sad as Darren when he had to say goodbye to them.

I liked learning the origins of the Little People from Harkat Mulds (the Little Person Who Speaks, previously known as Lefty). The threat of the Vampanese Lord was a great addition to the plot because it provides a mysterious villain to fight that might led to the end of the vampire race. It creates a dangerous dilemma that leaves room for many more adventures that serve a dangerous purpose. Also, the fight scenes were marvelously described. Darren describes his and his opponents moves with a variety of verbs and there is funny backstage commentary.  

This book is mostly a filler that leads into the next giant arc of the saga; the trials. Shan was able to make a filler that has exciting moments and rings interesting questions that will be answered later on in the series. The plot was fast paced, the characters were all relatable and the mood was horrific. I like how the book has a frightening world of terror and danger, while still having good vampires.



Feel free to leave comments! 
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie


I just returned from Philly where I saw Mousetrap for the first time. It was amazing. The theater had beautiful red leather seats and a magnificent red curtain. The acting was excellent and the story contained an interesting plot. It was fun seeing an Agatha Christie mystery where I did not know who the murder was for the first time in ages. My favorite character was the Italian guy (Mr. Paravicini) ; I always loved hilarious characters. My favorite line of his was "With one finger". I was hoping that my guess of the schizophrenic young man (Christopher Wren) was going to me the mysterious alive brother, but not the killer of Mrs. Maureen Lyon and another character. I was completely surprised at who the killer turned out to be. My only complaint was that the seats were too small. 




Tuesday, January 17, 2012



My Top Three Childhood Books



1. The King’s Beard by Tish Rabe: This is an extremely cute book that rhymes. It has a funny story of how beards can cause war. It’s a true fairy tale that only takes two minutes to read. The illustrations are magnificent because they are very colorful and stylistic.

2. Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket: This is the fifth book in the famous Series of Unfortunate Events. I love this book because it is set in the most absurd boarding school and is the first book the Baudelaire orphans made friends. This book taught me many words like architect and my first Latin phrase Memento Mori “Remember you will die”.

3. Hidden Talents by David Lubar: Edgeveiw Alternative School is the school for rejects. And for teens with supernatural powers. It is easy to read, humorous and has a fantastic, simple plot. It has a great male protagonist who struggles through adversity, convincing his friends of the truth and discovers that everyone has a special talent.

My next unforgettable book will be the fourth in a marvelous series that tells a tale about growing up and sacrifice.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ivy: Secrets Review


There are so many reasons I cannot wait for the book The Ivy: Rivals by Lauren Kunze, coming out this year on March 6.

The Ivy sereis tells the story of the first year of college of a Californian named Callie.

The second book in this series, The Ivy: Secrets tells the story Callie's second half of her first semester in college. As she struggles with exams, her love life, black mail and a ruin friendship with her old best friend, Vanessa, she learns many life lessons.

This book contains non-stop action, hilarious one-liners, memorable scene- no matter how many times I read it the Limerick’s dinner remains amazing- and characters that each have an amazing role to play. This story is unique in its usage of literary techniques and providing glimpses on what realistically goes on at college, in this case Harvard.

Two characters that start with M are amazing friends to Callie: Mimi and Matt. I love how Mimi always there to mediate peace, her carefree nature and occasional use of her native French language. Matt was a perfect friend for Callie to choose to, finally, tell her secret too.

I love how it flawlessly transitions throughout third person point of view and incorporates allusions that relate to events learned in school. My favorite lesson the prisoner dilemma game theory that reminds me more of detective stories then economics.

The Casablanca quotes during the last chapter fitted perfectly with the plot’s dilemmas of love and how it is a series of miscommunication and rivalry.

            If you have not read this unforgettable book yet, READ IT!



A Bit of Creative Writing

The last line is amazing and I created a trillion scenarios for the beginning of the third book. My favorite of my ideas is the following:

            “Gregory!” a shrill voice cried loudly across the room.
            Callie couldn’t stop looking in those beautiful blue eyes. That look like, for the first time in a long time, friendly. Ungrudging.
            “Gregory” Alessandra came into to view. She hurriedly hugged Gregory and said “I so glad you’re finally back.” noticing Callie and Clint, she smiled warmly at Callie. ”Oh, Hi Callie, looks like you’re dreams came true!”

Theories
1.     OK is the Pudding dues hero.
2.     Gregory told Clint already what happened at Harvard-Yale after the Fainting Debacle.

My next unforgettable book will be the forth in a marvelous series that tells a tale about growing up.

Feel free to post theories, constructive criticism or talk about books in Comments.