Monday, 30 July 2012

Clockwork Princess, Angel, Prince... and other things.

*Edit of previous post!*
My new copy of Clockwork Princess has arrived. Magically, it came in the mail just a day after I pre-ordered it on Amazon. Isn't that just wonderful? I now know what happens to Jem, Will, and Tessa, and all of my questions have been answered by Cassandra Clare.  A wonderful book, really.  Will ends up with Tessa. Jem lives.  But they all live happily ever after. Oh, and Tessa becomes a Shadowhunter. :)

My Rating of this Series: 5 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it to me: My Goodreads buddies
Who I Would Recommend it To: anyone and everyone.

So I've fooled you haven't I? Probably not, but I can dream about it, right? I can wish that it were March 19, 2013 and my brand-new copy of Clockwork Princess has just arrived fresh in the mail.  I can wish that the paragraph above were printed on the jacket of the book.  I can wish. 
       I loved Clockwork Prince. If there was one word for this book it would be heartbreaking.  I love Will and am totally Team Will but there was something I couldn't help but like about Jem now flipping through the pages of the book.  Jem is so sweet to Tessa in a way that Will is not.  But for some reason Will's personality seems right for Tessa even though Jem struggles with his sickness to the point where he doesn't think he will live.  I think Jem will end up living but Will will end up with Tessa. I both hope so and think so. 
     I posted an earlier review of Clockwork Prince that seemed 
very anti-Jem and let me tell you, I just love Will so much that I can't think of anything but him, but let me tell you I don't                      HATE Jem. I actually like him quite a lot.  He has this manner that I really like about him and maybe he would be better for Tessa in the long run but I just love Will and think that he's perfect for Tessa. There's rarely a time when I get so caught up in which character a girl in a YA novel will end up with, you'll know that from reading my reviews. For example, The Hunger Games. One of my favorite books.  Couldn't care LESS about who Katniss ended up with.  I understand why she ended up with Peeta.  But I didn't care about it.  In this one, I really care.  I want Tessa to end up with Will sooo badly, but also I can sigh and deal with it if Jem ends up with Tessa because he really is a great guy.  There were actually times in Clockwork Prince where I really loved Jem almost as much as I loved Will. Of course, it ended up with me feeling positively heartbroken for Will so I have to say that I am hard-core Team Will.  I loved the way that Jem was so secretive about his feelings, so mysterious, whereas Will showed everything he was thinking all over his face and everyone knew what he thought (most of the time).  
   Okay, now I'm going to comment on the cover of Clockwork Princess.  As you have probably noticed, I can't resist a pretty book cover.  I especially can't resist a pretty book cover with awesomeness in its pages.  So that's why I was literally jumping up and down when I saw the cover of this book.  I mean, take a look at it for a second. It is gorgeous. 
   Let me mention to you that I finished the existing Infernal Devices books in a matter of 72 hours.  I finished Clockwork Prince in less than 24 hours.  These books are amazing! Positively amazing.  I don't know why I didn't read them earlier.  Let me ALSO mention to you that if you have not read these books, you are missing out on a wonderful life opportunity that may never meet you again.  
   So go out and buy the whole series because you won't want to stop reading.  Buying Clockwork Angel alone was a huge mistake.  Within hours I was saying to random people, "This book is amazing! I need the sequel!" even after I was only 100 pages into it.  
   Well these books are amazing.  I enjoyed them so much that I suggest that everyone in the entire world should read them. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Finishing Becca: A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold

Traitors among us...
Peggy Shippen is everything Becca is not--a beautiful, rich spoiled Quaker daughter whose life revolves around the whirlwind society of 1778 Philadelphia.  Fourteen-year-old Becca is poor, and in order to complete her education, she's signed on as Peggy's personal maid.

But working for Peggy, Becca gets an education in deceit and treachery.  The conniving socialite has set her sights on Benedict Arnold, and Becca can only watch in horror as Peggy manipulates Arnold to turn traitor and join forces with the crown against the revolutionary Americans.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: No one really, just stumbled upon it one day
Who I Would Recommend it To: YA book lovers who are looking for something new and different.
The day I bought this book was one of those days that I kept staring and staring at the YA section of the bookstore and every book looked the same and none of them interesting.  Usually I just can't get enough of YA books but that day I was looking for something new, something different from the books that I usually read. Well I was right. This book was certainly different from most of the books I have read in my YA-obsessed years.
      For some reason the day I bought it I was in the mood for some good historical fiction.  I sifted through the layered shelves of the bookstore with my mom, who (unlike most moms) has a keen eye for good young adult books and seems to always know when I'll like a book and when I will not.  Some of the books I read she looks at with horror/disgust, but most of the time she has a good eye for YA books and scrapes up something I more or less enjoy.  While I did this my mom stumbled upon this author--Ann Rinaldi--read the blurb and handed it to me.  I looked at it, it seemed interesting enough so I decided to buy it.
      Anyway, about the book! I found this book really interesting because while the main protagonist and her family are fictional characters, some of the characters are real. I didn't realize this until about halfway through the book, when I was looking at the cover and the part of the title that said "A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold" made it sound like these characters were real, so I Google searched them and guess what? They are. I liked how the author combined her imagination with real historical figures and blended them together to create a good story-line.
    Another thing that I noticed was that while the story was told by Becca, she didn't seem to be the main character.  All through the book the main focus seemed to be on Peggy.  Becca made many observations on Peggy's character but in the end it was mostly left to the reader to determine what they thought about Peggy.  I for one didn't like her at all.  Her spoiled behavior and the way she acted in general were enough to make me want to hurl.  I guess it's a good lesson for people because it will show them how spoiled children are terrible.  Anyhow, I really didn't like Peggy but liked her sisters a lot, especially Elizabeth. I liked her rebellious attitude from the start--the way that she dressed like a "boy" and that was rebellious back then--and the way she laughed in Peggy's face when Peggy was being a spoiled little princess. I couldn't help but like what Rinaldi did to enhance her character.
     There were a lot of historical books by this author in the section of the bookstore, but this one caught my interest because of the title--"Finishing Becca".  I had no idea what it meant by "finishing" and how it could apply to finishing a girl. So I decided to read it to find out.  To all of you who are thinking about reading this book, it was about getting "finished" (sort of an old fashioned term).  Getting finished usually involved going to school for young girls but since Becca either couldn't afford finishing school or couldn't go to it, she works as a maid to Peggy to get "finished", which apparently consists of: learning how to paint watercolors, learning to speak and understand French, and being able to dance properly.  While these things seem frivolous to girls in 2012 they were actually quite important in 1778.
   Why, might you ask, did you not rate it 5 stars?  Well if you know me, YOU know that I never like books to be boring.  I like them to be packed with nonstop action, and this book slowed down at times and after a while I would flip through a couple of pages and see what chapter looked interesting, and then I would "skip" to the chapter (skim the book really fast until I got to the good part).  All books have their slow parts, right?
   I'd recommend this book to you if you are an avid YA reader who is looking for a different kind of YA book and appreciates historical fiction and historical writing.

What's Next?

What's Next is a meme hosted by Icey Books! It involves choosing 3-5 books that you can't decide which one to read next, and then people say which one they think you should read.  Here are my four:

1. Pure by Julianna Baggott
2. The Selection by Kiera Cass
3. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything--her family, her future--to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Peaches" comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin)

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: an employee at a bookstore
Who I Would Recommend It To: the kind of people who enjoy the dark stuff

So to be completely honest I almost stopped reading this book a couple of times right at the beginning of it. It just wasn't interesting me the way that I like books to. I'm glad that I kept reading though because it got much better. Still the reason I took a star off of my rating was because of a, the slow start, and b, a bunch of things at the beginning, such as Duval's entrance into the book, wasn't explained until much later and left me feeling confused and scrambled. I think the whole concept and idea for this book was very creative even though it's pretty dark and intense.  The whole idea of being Death's handmaiden is very intriguing, and I like books with interesting and creative ideas.
       All through the book I couldn't really get ahold of Ismae.  She seemed so bland at times and then at other times her personality came out in several different ways.  I was completely baffled by this and I'm not sure if I like that part of it.  I think the author could have articulated Ismae's personality and character a bit better.  Also another part that I didn't love about this book was that Ismae seemed to go off and on between loyalty and betrayal to St. Mortain's convent and that confused me, because sometimes she'd say something like, "But no. My main purpose here is to serve Mortain" and then she'd say something such as, "But the convent is surely wrong," so I got a little tired of keeping track of her lack of deciding whose side she was on.  I feel like it's either she was loyal or not, and that should have been that.  
       Also, Duval. What was the deal with him? At times I loved him and other times he was being a complete jerk.  He reminded me of Saf in Bitterblue from the Graceling series a bit, the way that sometimes he could be so loyal and loving and at times completely awful to everyone around him.  Another thing--the line on the top of the book says, "Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?" Pretty much that was what interested me about picking up the book and deciding to buy it after it being recommended to me.  I don't understand how that fits into everything, but that's just a minor complaint. 
      While I might seem to have a lot of issues with this book, really I liked it enough to give it four stars  because it was pretty enthralling all the way through.  I liked the way that it was a historical fantasy/romance and it's an interesting genre to me. 
     I'd recommend you read this book if you have a liking for some pretty dark stuff told in a historical way, and if you're into the YA genre but don't know what to read next. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

To-Read books!

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

After Shell's mother dies, her obsessively religious father descends into alcoholic mourning and Shell is left to care for her younger brother and sister. Her only release from the harshness of everyday life comes from her budding spiritual friendship with a naive young priest, and most importantly, her developing relationship with childhood friend, Declan, who is charming, eloquent, and persuasive. But when Declan suddenly leaves Ireland to seek his fortune in America, Shell finds herself the center of a scandal that rocks the small community in which she lives, with repercussions across the whole country. The lives of those immediately around her will never be the same again.

This is a story of love and loss, religious belief and spirituality—it will move the hearts of any who read it.

Twelve-year-old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem-solver. At her family’s struggling pharmacy, she has a line of makeover customers for every school dance and bat mitzvah. But all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the business. If only she could find a way to make it the center of town again—a place where people want to spend time, like in the old days. Lucy dreams up a solution that could resuscitate the family business and help the environment, too. But will Lucy’s family stop fighting long enough to listen to a seventh-grader?   In a starred review, Kirkus said this novel “successfully delivers an authentic and endearing portrait of the not-quite-teen experience,” and Booklist called it “a warm, uplifting debut.” Readers everywhere have responded to Lucy’s independence and initiative—not to mention her great style.

Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.
But what begins as a life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.
Ann Patchett has written a novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable. Bel Canto is a virtuoso performance by one of our best and most important writers.

Everyone's thoughts?

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A Corner of the Universe


Hattie Owen enjoys peaceful Millerton summertimes with "houses nodding in the heavy air," being in charge of Miss Hagerty's breakfast tray at her parents' boardinghouse, and drinking lemonade on the porch after supper. Yet this year, it's different -- Hattie's uncle Adam is coming home. Returning from a Chicago school that's just closed and whose existence is kept quiet by adult family members, Adam is a 21-year-old man with a child's mind, having a knack for talking quickly, a savant-like ability for remembering weekdays, and a passion for I Love Lucy. Hattie and Adam wind up spending precious time together -- including a visit to the recently arrived carnival with Hattie's new friend, Leila -- which makes her feel soulfully connected to her uncle, especially when he declares that she's "one of the people who can lift the corners of our universe." But when Hattie takes Adam on the ferris wheel one night, it sets off dramatic events that lead Hattie's family to strengthen its bonds and changes her life's outlook forever.

       A novel with a flavor similar to Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie or Kimberly Willis Holt's When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, this absorbing look at a shake-up of one family's small-town normalcy will bring you to tears but leave you feeling ultimately triumphant. Martin paints her characters masterfully, letting Uncle Adam's unsure energy carry an unpredictable foreboding beneath the story while Hattie builds a gradual rebelliousness against the denial and unspoken truths that surround her. A powerful work that presses all the right emotional buttons and touches on all-too-human themes, A Corner of the Universe is one book that should not be missed.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: My friends
Who I Would Recommend it To: Anyone! Ages 10 up

This book was not a long book, nor a challenging one, but it is one of my favourite books that I have ever read.  I have read some of Ann M. Martin's other books, such as my Babysitters Club obsession at age 8, so I wasn't expecting this one to be as good as my friends had all said.  I anticipated a great book--my friends have awesome taste!--but I wasn't thinking that it would be this good.
         Enter Hattie Owen.  I could relate in so many ways to Hattie.  She was a little younger than I am, 11 turning 12, instead of 12 turning 13 (like me).  We were so alike, though--we both love to read, we're both quiet and keep to ourselves when we don't know people very well, and a lot of other things. She was a great narrator and protagonist and I loved everything about her.  I liked how Adam let her come out of her "corner of the universe" and she helped him come out of his (sort of).
        Adam's mental problem is nameless, but we get a pretty good idea of what he struggles with throughout the book.  A popular theme these days' in children's or young adult's literature seems to be parents or loved ones with mental disabilities.  I think a lot of people make assumptions about mentally ill people, like they are crazy or messed up or are out to kill you, but they haven't taken the time to realize that it's not true.  I myself have always had a fear of "crazy" people, but reading so many books with this premise was good for me to read about.
       In the end, the inevitable happened of course, I think I kept resisting it and shooing it away in my mind throughout the entire book.  You know, like when you know something awful is going to happen at the end of the book but you're in denial so you find yourself surprised when it does happen, even though you were sort of expecting it in the back of your mind? That was what I was feeling at the end of the book.  I felt terrible for Hattie because she felt as though it were her fault but it was actually inevitable and she couldn't do a thing about it.

The Hunger Games debate

I'm a huge Hunger Games fan, and think the books are great.  But then, you hardly ever see people who aren't crazy fans of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, right? I talked and debated with my sister, Hadley, and her friend Nando about the various reasons why the book didn't have the same effect on them that it had on a lot of other people who read the book. 

Hadley: The thing I like about the books, and appreciate, first of all, I think Katniss is a pretty compelling girl, who's like kind of a badass, and that's going to be rare in books in fantasy or sci-fi. At the same time, I think the writing is not very good, and that's my first criticism. I think it's really, like, fluffy, just bad writing that's only driving the plot forward telling that. And then, I'm just not crazy about the whole premise of kids killing each other, and then I'm really not crazy about the love plot. Also, what's the deal with the names? Why are the names in this book outrageous? So, I get that it's like a dystopian future, right? Part of the reason I feel like the writing's not very good is that I feel like it's just not very fleshed-out, the details of that world, how it came into being, and  why she's writing about it. Like, why is there a breadmaker? Peeta's the breadmaker.

Annie: Hadley--

Nando: Oh my god, I hated that movie.

Annie: God! She was starving, okay? she was about to die! He saved her life! He threw her the bread. Seriously. He saved her life , she returned the deed by saving his life!

Hadley: I just like the romance plot is just- For having Katniss as this female protagonist that's pretty great and pretty strong and interesting, the majority of the plot is about these two guys, and her like choosing between them, and some of them are throwing her bread and some of them are hunting for her, I just I think it's weird.

Annie: Do you think that the idea of kids killing kids is interesting or more horrific?

Hadley: Well, I think it's both.  I  think it's really interesting that these books have taken off not just among kids, among adults too. And I think it's--people say the books are not about the killing, which I think is a really interesting distortion of a reading experience, because the books are really clearly about the killing. Pretty much driven entirely by the killing, and when they're not talking about the killing, they're talking about the guys. Those are the two plots.  It's like, "Which of these two men is Katniss going to end up with?" SO when people say it's not about the killing, I want to ask them if they actually erad the books, because it's actually all about the killing.  And I'm fine with it, I'm not going to pass judgement about why people like to read about kids killing ids, I just think it's really strange that that's what they enjoy. It's a really strange distortion.  LIke when you read Harry Potter, no one's like, "Well, it's not really like the magic." You know what I mean? it's like you took the premise of the book, "Oh lets just throw that out," and then it's like, "Then what's left of the book?" it's weird, right? I mean, what did you find compelling about that, Annie? Why did you enjoy reading about it?

Annie: WEll, in a way, you're kind of like right, because we are kind of like the Capitol because people keep reading and enjoying these books.  It's so weird because it's weirdly compelling. I don't know.

Nando: It's people dying, it's dramatic!

Hadley: What I found manipulative about that was it would be cool if the author put it in perspective of enjying the killing.  Like, If she put it in an authorial perspective. But I don't think she does that.  I think you figured out that the author didn't intend, which is cool and interesting to think about, but's it like it puts no effort into making her readers think through it and that's why people have an easy time saying it's not about the killing, because the author is casual.  I think adults reading the book are just dumb.  Kids are just so manipulated by the books.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again",
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: my sister
Who I Would Recommend it To: someone who is looking for an old-fashioned mystery

Though a long book, the book was a surprisingly fast read.  I read it in only a day and a half and I didn't feel like I was reading fast.  I was reading and then it was over.  I guess it's because when there's a really intriguing, kind of haunting type of book, you tend to not be able to put it down, despite its eeriness.  Something scared me at the beginning about Rebecca, even though for nearly all of the book she was considered perfect and flawless. 

Even though it might seem at first glance that the narrator is just an average mouse who finds herself in a creepy old mansion with a guy she's just barely met, I found there was actually something really weird about her.  We never got a clear picture of her.  All through the book, she is nameless.  She's just "the new Mrs. de Winter".  I find that decision a little odd but also very fascinating because you never see that in books, I think it was the first one I read that was like that.  "the new Mrs. de Winter" in my opinion, was kind of a creep. 

There were some really unexpected moments in the book, actually I gasped out loud at some of them.  My sister read the book before me and told me I should read it so I did and we talked about it throughout my reading it, which was cool because a lot of the books I read no one else in my family has read, so I liked that part of it.  

If you want a scary mystery that has an old fashioned aspect to it, then totally go for reading this.  

Thirteen Reasons Why


Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

        On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.                                     Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. 

My Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: As always, friends on Goodreads :) 
Who I Would Recommend it To: Everyone should read it! 

Beautifully written and articulated, but sad at the same exact time.  I always think that after you finish a book you should feel something, whether it be happiness, joy, sadness, peacefulness, or anger.  To me I felt a little bit sad, a little bit angry, and a little bit lonely.  I guess that's good, right, since it must have had a pretty strong affect on you if you feel that way.  When I ordered the book, I knew that it was going to be sad, but I wasn't prepared for serious life-lesson type things.  I talked to a couple of people who had serious issues with the book because they thought that the book concluded that Hannah's suicide was a good choice of hers.  But I think that if you are smart enough to get it, then you would understand that it obviously wasn't a good choice.  

Another thing that made this book so sad was that through the tapes, Hannah's personality and manner got so well developed that you would think that she was alive, in real life, instead of dead.  In a book. So she doesn't exist in two ways, but to me it felt like she existed in both.  Since her character was so crystal-clear from the start, it was hard to deal with the fact that she was gone. 

I'm usually not the kind of reader who likes super intense, sad, life-changing books such as this one, but  I found that I really enjoyed reading this one.  Well, I'm not going to use the word "enjoyed" because it wasn't what you would call, like, enjoyable. I think every one should read it at some point in their life because they could get a lot out of it.  

The Fault in Our Stars


Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. 

My Rating: 5.5 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: Buddies on Goodreads
Who I Would Recommend it To: Anyone. And Everyone. 
Additional notes: One of those books that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

When I give a book 5 stars it usually means that it was very very very good. But this time, I'm giving it 5 stars because it was very very very very good. (Notice the extra "very" tacked on at the end.)
       I thought everything about it was beautiful. The title, the plot, the characters,  even the cover! I'm not the type to feel sad enough to cry during books, but it was so full of feeling that I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry all during it.  This I know because some of my favorite books I have cried over-- Where the Red Fern Grows. My Friend Flicka. Black Beauty. (Notice a horse pattern here? Well, at least an animal pattern?) 
         Anyway, back to the book. I'm not the romance type. I don't think I can survive another cheesy teenage romance about some stupid girl (if you hadn't ever met a real person, only read  YA books about real people, then you would definitely think the wrong things about teenage girls)  A good example of a cheesy, stupid, overdone romance is... of course... the famous/infamous Twilight.  Puh-lease. Come on, Bella, I don't care about Edward. Get over yourself and think. This one didn't seem like the others, it was different in a way that made me think a little bit more about the YA genre. I usually stick to fantasy when reading Young Adult books but this one was a good change and i liked its unique manner.  I will definitely be reading more of John Green's books. 

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm)


Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on.  Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened.  But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk to street of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.  

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever.  They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign.  And on e of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart. 

My Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

Who Recommended it to Me: I just stumbled upon this series at a library one dayWho I Would Recommend it To: Everyone should read this series! 

Bitterblue was an extremely impressive third book in the awesome Graceling Realm series. Bitterblue is a beautiful strong heroine, though not as courageous as Katsa, of course. I find it really cool that at the end of the book, the reader got to revisit Fire (now an old woman), and get sort of a peek into what the rest of her life had been like.   Is it just me, or does Kristin Cashore's writing get even more beautiful each book she writes? Graceling was beautiful, Fire was exquisite, and Bitterblue boarded on pure perfection. I loved reading it slowly and savoring each word. 

Another thing I liked about this book was that the first chapter (was it the prologue? I can't remember) was told from the perspective of Bitterblue as a young child, before both her parents were killed.  It was nice being able to step into her world for a chapter as a child and getting a feel (sort of) what it was like to be in her position.  I really enjoyed that part of it. 

However I do think that things could have been further explained between Bitterblue and Giddon. I'm not even sure if it was anything, so I guess I must have misread it, or Cashore gave up on it and decided to just put her with Sapphire (who I totally love So, so, so so so much).  I like Bitterblue's character a lot but I couldn't help but like Katsa and Fire just a little bit better because they possessed sort of both a physical and mental strength that Bitterblue didn't seem to have as strongly as they did, which I lightly mentioned in the opening paragraph.  I still liked her wit and her thought process. 

Bitterblue and Saf went through their ups and downs throughout the book, of course, and there were times when I seriously wanted to scream at the book because Saf was being such an idiot!  Obviously they were perfect but their love seemed to be quite sudden at the end of the book, which made me feel a little hesitant towards it. 

All in all, I just loved this book.  I'm going to rate it 4.75 stars because although I loved it, there were some parts that I would have perfected if I were the author.  Awesome work, Kristin Cashore, and I really, really hope you write another one! (emphasis on the "really")