Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

 Crocus's are know to be resilient little flowers that can often be seen blooming in the coldest of climates. Their bloom last long even after it's been cut down, just like the characters of, Ibrahim's book.

 Yellow Crocus is  moving, historical fiction novel set in the mid 1800's in Virginia. Mattie is a young slave and when her mistress gives birth, she is forced to leave behind her 3 month old son. She moves into the "big" house so that she can care for and nurse, Lisabeth.

Lisabeth and Mattie for an unbreakable bond . As, Lisabeth grows she is forced to learn her place in society and with comes the awareness of inequality. Inequality between slaves and their owners. Inequality between women and men.

Lisabeth grows into a lovely young women, who is expected to marry for prestige, money and upward mobility rather than love. An, unprecedented event takes place, putting her on a different path in life.

This is an emotional read, covering a array of subjects matters such as, attachment parenting, slavery, abuse, longing and love. The character's are well written and the plot is captivating.

Grade: A

Monday, August 25, 2014

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska has been on my bookshelf since it first came out in hardback. I'd been putting other books before it but I finally decided to take the plunge and read it.  I was neither terribly impressed or disappointed in it.  It was just another run of the mill novel.

Looking for Alaska takes place at Culver Creek Boarding School. Miles or Pudge as he is later nicked named is the main character. Pudge is a new student as Culver Creek and quickly makes friends with his roommate 'The Colonel" and a quirky girl named, Alaska. They form a strong intense friendship, very reminiscent of youth and teen years.

Then a tragedy takes place that changes the lives of characters. The emotions the characters display are the saving grace of this novel. They are realistic and grief fueled. It is the most believable part of the story. The book is split into "before" and "after". Before gives clues and is clearly an important part of the book but you won't realize it until you get to the after.  This book was clearly well planned out well written but it didn't hold up to all the hype.

Grade: B-

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Enders (Starters) by Lissa Price

Enders is the sequel to Starters and from what I understand it also the conclusion to this short lived series that had to much to offer! Starters is perhaps one of the best dystopian novel's I've read and I was hoping that Lissa Price would expand on the series. You absolutely must read, Starters first or you will be completely lost.  My Review of Starters, can be found HERE.

 Callie, Tyler and Michael are finally free from, Prime Destinations and are living as normal of a life as possible until ... Another, Starter blows up in front of Callie and she starts hearing the Old Man's voice in her head.

This does not bode well for Callie and other Starters, like her. This means they can still be controlled by the chips buried deep inside their brains. Callie wants hers removed but her chip is special and has been altered, making her a valuable commodity to the "Old Man".

The "Old Man" is watching and waiting, His plans are diabolical and Callie has plans to extinguish them but can the voice of a man claiming to be her father who died in the spore wars.....deter her?

Enders has some excellent plot twists, with a high creep factor but it fails to sizzle the way, Starters did. The ending felt a bit  anti-climatic. I'm also annoyed that, Price didn't expand further on the, Spore Wars. What was it?  How did it get started? When did it end? Was it a war? Was it a disease? I needed more information on an event that was so pivotal it changed the world. If you have read and loved Starters, I suggest that you take the time to read Enders but if you haven't forewarned that the this sequel is slightly disappointing.

Grade: C+

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

Four is a collection of novellas based on, Veronica Roth's carefully construced, Divergent Trilogy. The are titled, The Transfer,  The Initiate, The Son and The Traitor. These short stories are told from, Four's perspective. Four is perhaps the most interesting character in the entire trilogy and if you want to know more about him, pick up this book.

The Transfer is about, who, Four was when he was in abnegation and why he chose to transfer into, Dauntless. It centers around the choosing ceremony. This one is perhaps the most powerful of the novellas since it deals with the abuse, Four, endured at the hands of his father.

The Initiate is all about Tobias' (a.k.a Four) initiation into the, Dauntless faction. It expands the story on how he got his tattoo and name.This is the story of how Tobias became Four.

The Son deals with, Fours struggle to find himself amongst the Dauntless leadership. In this novella, Four trains to become a leader and you will find out why he chooses not to become one.

The Traitor conicides with the first novel, Divergent. It is Four's point of view on things rather than, Tris'. 

This is an excellent companion novel. I wasn't planning on reading it but I'm glad I did. It was interesting to see Tobias become Four. I also enjoyed getting some background information on minor characters.

Grade: A-

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fury: Book One of the Cure (Omnibus Edition) by Charlotte McConaghy

Imagine a world in which anger ceased to exist due to a mandated governmental vaccine.  A world in which you have not been cured but everyone else around you has. This is, Josephine's life, her world however her life is further complicated because once a year, she wakes up covered in blood and with little to no memory of what she has done.

Luke enters, Josephine's life and they form an intense relationship that slowly builds into more. Luke is desperate to help, Josephine. He wants to find out what happens to her on the same day every year. Luke also harbors a deep secret that could unravel the relationship, he has built with Josephine.

Josephine is in an institution and her therapist is convinced that, Luke is a figment of her imagination. He also doesn't believe that she becomes someone or something else once a year. She is desperate to prove that she needs to be isolated before she kills others and that Luke is real. In order to do so, she tells him her story and it is quite interesting.

The character's are well developed and the book ends on a cliffhanger, leaving you anxious for the next installation.

Grade: B+

Monday, August 11, 2014

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

A conversation brought up the term "Tiger Mother."  It wasn't something, I was familiar with and since the conversation was of a serious nature, I didn't want to interrupt and ask for an explanation. This sent me on a quest to find out what this term was. What it meant. As a result of this, I came across, Amy Chua's novel, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

Amy Chua is a self proclaimed, "Tiger Mother." She wants nothing but the very best for her two daughters and will sacrifice anything to make it happen. She has a list of rules, that must be followed, no exceptions. She expects dedication and hard work. She pushes her daughters to practice harder, study more and be the very best

Chua's parenting style is at times extreme. She yells and demands perfection, she makes her children practice their instruments for hours, even while on vacation! They aren't allowed to go on play dates, sleepovers or participate in school activities, such as plays. Amy pushes her daughters to excel, sometimes to the extreme, yet someone how she has managed to form strong bonds and put them on the path to success.

Amy Chua is brutally honest and casts herself as the villain. She is intelligent and at times humorous. Her book is well written and easy to read. I don't necessarily agree with many of her parenting styles but I think a lot of western parents could learn from some of her techniques. You don't need to be Chinese or a parent to appreciate this memoir.

Grade: A 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

The Longest Ride is told in alternating points of view. It is a story about love. Two love stories, one that spans decades.

The story of Ira and Ruth is by far the sweetest of the two. Ira is nearing the end of his life and a car crash has left him isolated and buried in snow. As he awaits rescue or eventual death he slips back into time. He revisits moments in his life. Memories and visitations from his late wife tell their sweet story of love, life and death.

Luke and Sophia are young and as different as two people can be. A chance encounter brings them together. Sophia is a college student at a nearby university and Luke is a farmer and professional bull rider. Their story builds and while sweet it simply doesn't compare to the beauty of, Ira and Ruth's.

As, the story reach's its conclusion, it becomes predictable. Despite this the read is fun and entertaining. A perfect summer read.

Grade: B

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Silver Shadows: A Bloodlines Novel by Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows in the 5th book in, Richelle Mead's, Bloodlines series. Do this book if you haven't read the previous four books and The Vampire Academy series. In order to have a full understanding of plots and characters you need the background information! It is vital that you've read all the books leading up to this or you will not grasp the full impact of the plot and characters lives.

Beautiful, smart, Sydney Sage has been captured by, The Alchemists.  She is in a re-education camp and what goes on in there is.....unimaginable. She has no contact with the outside world, The Alchemist have made sure of this.

She is put into deep slumbers by gasses pumped into her room and then more gasses are pumped into her room to put her in an agitated state. Her time in a dark, enclosed cell with little to no food has weakened her and eventually she gives into them and says what she needs to in order to get out.

Getting out only proves to be slightly better. They put her into circulation with others like her, whom have disobeyed the orders, rules and laws set forth by, The Alchemists. Re-education that takes place on the outside of her dark cell has its own horrors and Sydney is just biding her time in hopes of escaping or being released.

Adrian is on the outside. He is shattered. His attempts and wielding spirit in hopes of making contact with his beloved, Sydney are proving to be fruitless. In true, Adrian fashion his life spirals out of control. His wild days of excessive drinking, partying and melancholy return.

In order to find a way back into one another arms, they will have to overcome many obstacles. They can only hope that their plans to reach one another come to fruition.

Expect twists and turns, expect the unexpected.  The ending will leave you wanting so much more, unfortunately the next book won't be out until, February of 2015.

Grade: A+

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mortal Danger (The Immortal Game) by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger will be released, August 5, 2014

Mortal Danger is the first novel in, The Immortal Game series. Having read and loved, Ann Aguirre's Razorland series, I naturally assumed that this too would be a spectacular book. I couldn't have been more wrong!

This book had so much promise. After years of being bullied, Edie attempts suicide but Kian, a handsome, dark, mysterious figure stops her and offers her a chance of a lifetime.He will grant her three favors and once the favors have been redeemed she will be tied to the company he works for.

Edie signs up and the first favor is granted. In once short summer, Edie becomes everything she ever hoped. When the school year resumes her new founded beauty gets her into the inner circles of popularity and soon revenge will be served and the costs will be a lot more than Edie ever bargained for.

 Mortal Danger has romance, revenge and urban legends, my favorite being Blood Mary. The beginning and end of the book are quite interesting but the middle is slow paced and leaves little to be desired. The plot is dark and twisted (which, I liked) but I feel as though I've read/seen better version of the story. I will be skipping the rest of this series.

Grade: C+

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman is a librarian, a "nerd" and enjoys being casual and comfy. Her twin sister, Ginny is an famous instagram conte...