Archive by Author

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

17 Sep

 

Wonderstruck

author : brian selznick [also wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret]

pages : [hardcover] 640

memorable quote : Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for.”

favorite character : rose

summary :

Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben’s story in words, Rose’s in pictures, come together in deafness.

review :

I was absolutely fascinated by the idea that this story was told half in words, half pictures. I read and loved Hugo Cabret before, written by the same author, and loved how what was told in the text was visually represented. Wonderstruck is different because Ben’s story is told completely in words while Rose’s is only in pictures, so her tale is a little more difficult to piece together. The two narratives also take place in different times so it was awesome to see little historical bits about the 1970s and 1920s. It was also very fun to guess at why the two of them were chosen to tell the story and to try to figure out how they may be connected. While I kind of guessed the answer by the end, it still had a little surprise!

This book is very large but it’s such a quick read! If you have a few hours one afternoon you could easily get through this massive novel. I think younger readers might be daunted, at least until they see that most of the pages are taken up by pictures or large text. I breezed through this and though I needed to stop a few times to read my actual homework, this was much more fun to page through.

What I really liked about this novel, and think that there should be more of, was the fact that prominent characters are deaf. I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a novel with a deaf person in it. While I don’t know much about Deaf culture, I would love to learn sign language, so it was also very cool to see sign language in a few of the pictures throughout the novel.

Even though I was captivated by the concept of the story, loved that there was such a fascination with museums in the novel, and really enjoyed some pieces of the plot, this isn’t one of my favorite books. I’m not sure if I’ll read it again, now that the fun of it has worn off. I definitely think it’s the kind of story that some people might like better than I could. Ben and Rose seemed hard for me to relate to and so I wasn’t as drawn into their story as I should have been. While I wanted a happy ending, there was no real excitement in the story that had me craving more. It was simply a nice story.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, interesting read. It isn’t a favorite but I’m still very glad that I read it.

3.5/5 stars

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich

14 Sep

 

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

author : louise erdrich

pages : [paperback] 384

memorable quote To love another another human in all of her splendor and imperfect perfection , it is a magnificent task…tremendous and foolish and human.

favorite character : nanapush

summary :

For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse. Now, nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda. Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda’s piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything? Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda’s wonder-working is motivated by evil?

review :

I had to read Louise Erdrich’s novel for one of my college courses and I’m very glad that it was assigned. I typically don’t end up enjoying the novels that I need to read for school; usually I don’t have the book to fault for this but time constraints in which I need to hurry through the novel or bad professors could make me dislike the book. Luckily I have a great professor for this course and Erdrich’s powerful novel withstands even the hastiest reading. Actually, the material is so well-written and dense that it’s impossible to skim through this book without missing all of the important (and interesting!) aspects of the novel.

I haven’t read many books set on Native American reservations; luckily we had a class presentation that provided us with more information on the Ojibwe but I think that anyone reading the novel could find out a bit more with a quick google search. Just looking up the background of these people, understanding what the characters have come from and what they’re striving toward, will hope you connect more fully with the novel if you find the prose to be too intense for your liking.

I couldn’t imagine this tale told in any other way. Through Father Damien’s story, narrated to a fellow priest, the reader explores gender roles, lost cultures, religious complications, and the significance of truth. It’s fascinating to see how the characters develop their attitudes throughout the novel. Father Damien is over one hundred years old and we’re able to see him from around the 1920s to the 1990s. That leaves a lot of room for change and a lot of lessons to be taught through his experiences.

Anyone looking to explore concepts of gender, race, and religion can look at this book; anyone simply searching for a thought-provoking narrative should pick this up. I’d certainly save it for when you have enough time to significantly ponder the text and fully consider every aspect of the novel. Not everything can be taken at its surface appearance.

I really enjoyed reading this book and it’s something that I might read again. I’d definitely recommend this!

4/5 stars

Blackbird by Anna Carey

12 Sep

 

Blackbird

Blackbird Duology #1

author : anna carey

release date : september 16th 2014

pages : [ebook] 256

favorite character : ben

summary :

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

review :

I haven’t read many books written in the second person so I was fascinated when I heard that Anna Carey’s latest novel was going to be written that way! Of course I needed to find a way to read it. The premise was interesting as well. Typically I believe that the waking amnesiac story has been overdone but I think the fact that it was written in second person and it seemed to be more of a thriller captured my imagination enough for me to give this a shot!

Unfortunately, Blackbird fell short of my expectations. I wasn’t a huge fan of Carey’s writing when I read the Eve trilogy but the plotline there was interesting enough to keep me reading. Blackbird contained the same sparse writing, even though I’d expected so much more substance in a second-person book. I was never fully captivated by the story nor was I wrapped up in Sunny’s tale because I didn’t feel fully connected with the characters.

I also didn’t know that this book was going to be part of a duology . . until I was fifteen pages from the end and realized that things could not possibly be wrapped up by the end of the story. I don’t know whether I’ll read the next book; I’m very disappointed because I feel like the two could have been compressed into an awesome, action-packed story, if the plot hadn’t been dragged out to fit into two novels. It’s so frustrating because I can see the potential, and think perhaps others would enjoy this book more than I would, but the extended plot combined with lacking writing has me so disappointed.

If you’re looking for a thriller, this book does have a few plot twists but isn’t as action-packed as you might hope it is. Honestly, most of the action happens when Sunny is running away from something. While her reactions make sense, they don’t exactly make for an interesting read. The plot twists kept me going for a while; some of them I could predict but I was excited to see how the characters would react once they found out what I’d already assumed to be true.

I might try another one of Carey’s books in the future but I’m beginning to believe that her writing style simply doesn’t mesh with me.

3/5 stars

Favorite Book Friday: Sarah from A Rose in the City

12 Sep

favorite book friday

Hey everyone! Today I’m so excited to share with you a post made by Sarah, blogger at A Rose in the City. She’s so sweet and her blog definitely reflects that, so please stop over there and say hello to her!

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Hi Everyone! I’m so excited to be posting here about one of my favorite books and to join in on Favorite Book Friday! The book I chose is The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

sarah1

I’d heard about Marina Keegan, the Yale student who was killed just days after graduating, when her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness was published on Yale Daily News and subsequently went viral on my Facebook newsfeed. I loved the essay she wrote for graduation and I thought it was so poignant and honest for such a young person and it really resonated with me on a deep level. I found out later that she was to have a book published posthumously and I knew immediately that I wanted to read it.

When I saw the book at my local library, I jumped at the wait list and then voraciously read it. The essays and stories inside tell of such a mature young person it’s kind of crazy. I love her style of writing and I only wish there was an opportunity to read more. There was just so much about this book that I was able to relate to and connect with. This book explains in as many words the millennial generation and I thought it was reflective of her life and the lives of millennials. I’d recommend this book to anyone at the start of their career in college since a lot of subject matter is so intriguing and personal for our generation.

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Wow. I’ve never heard of this book and I’m already tempted to pick it up; even though it’s not what I typically read, it looks like something every college-age person (and those who want to understand that age group) should pick up. Thank you, Sarah!

Want to read about more books to add to your to be read pile? Check out the other bloggers who’ve participated in FBF:

~Tiffany from Commoner Couture

~Alaska from Alaska Renee

~Leah from Leah of the Pack

~ Vanessa from A City Girl’s Guide to Life

~Erika from Bearika Rose

~Frances from Wanderlust Notes

~Chloe from Wanderlust in the Midwest

~Sophie from A Series of Tomfooleries

~Maddie from Caramel and Salt

Want to join in the fun? Email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail dot com so you can send in your own favorite book post!

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

7 Sep

In a Handful of Dust

Not a Drop to Drink #2

release date : september 23rd

author : mindy mcginnis

pages : [hardcover] 384

memorable quote They found each other’s hands in the dark, and an angel with chipped marble wings watched over them as they slept.

favorite characters : lynn & lucy

summary :

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

review :

Not a Drop to Drink is one of my favorite books and I’d never expected to love it when I first started reading it. While it’s a great book on it’s own, as soon as I heard about a companion novel set in the same world several years after the events of book one, I absolutely had to get my hands on it. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed! Mindy McGinnis delivers again with an action-filled, heart-wrenching story that’ll have you crying, laughing, and thinking of how thankful you are that you don’t need to go through the trials Lynn and Lucy do.

What makes In a Handful of Dust so different from its predecessor is how we’re shown more of the United States as it is after the devastation of the Shortage. I liked getting to see more side characters with their own stories, whether they’re old enough to remember the world before things went bad or if they’re like Lynn and Lucy, never having known anything but this harsh life.

Both books show humanity’s capacity for cruel actions but I think this second book really honed how people were willing to go to any length to survive. I thought that it was bad learning about Lynn’s upbringing, alone with her mother who taught her from a young age to shoot anyone on sight, simply so those people wouldn’t have the chance to take a little of their water. This companion book has many more horrors. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say there were a few twists that had me gagging.

In the first book, Lucy was only a little girl, so it was fantastic to get to see how her personality has developed now that she’s older. Obviously I was also excited to see Lynn; she’s had such a devastating life that she’s one of those characters I just want to hold back and protect from all of the bad things in the world. She’s such a strong woman, though, and her bond with Lucy absolutely makes the book for me. The two of them could be set in any kind of world, in any time, and I’d still love them and the little family they’ve made for themselves.

I really, really love these books and want to recommend them to everyone. Mindy McGinnis is fabulous and I want more of her writing immediately. She makes it so easy to slip into the world she’s created, so easy to fall in love with her characters. Go read her great prose for yourself.

5/5 stars

Favorite Book Friday: Maddie from Caramel and Salt

5 Sep

favorite book friday

 

Hey everyone! Today I’m really excited to have Maddie on the blog! You should all take the chance to check out her own blog and say hello to her-she’s so sweet! Check below to see her thoughts on a great book!

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On the Road

Hey! It’s Maddie from Caramel and Salt here to talk about my all time favorite book, On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I’m mostly a lifestyle (food, college life, etc.) blogger, but I absolutely love reading and am part of the A Beautiful Mess monthly book club. And I cannot wait to tell you all about On the Road!

I remember hearing about Jack Kerouac sometime in high school (I think it was sophomore year) and he really piqued my interest. On the Road is his most well-known book, but if you’re interested in him after reading my post, you should definitely check out his other books as well (Big Sur is my second favorite of his books!).

On the Road was originally written as one huge paragraph on Kerouac’s typewriter, and he taped together each piece of paper, making one long scroll in the end. I read the original version of his book, so I read over 300 pages of one paragraph and without all of his raunchier scenes and friends’ real names edited out. I definitely recommend reading On the Road this way, although it might take you a while to finish the book because it’s definitely not easy to power through one huge paragraph!

On the Road is one of the most famous pieces of Beatnik literature and really captures everything about the 1950s and 1960s. Kerouac wrote On the Road as a sort of autobiography of his earlier life when he was hitchhiking around the US. While reading through his account of his travels, you can really imagine how the US was during that time period. Everyone was so free and the Beat movement really kicked off, introducing sexual freedom, amazing literature and poetry, and most hardcore drugs. This is definitely a racy book and not for the faint of heart, but I really love Kerouac’s writing and how his love for this time period and just his general love of the freedom he experienced shines through. He mostly writes in stream of consciousness, so he can be hard to follow, but his writing is absolutely beautiful because of this.

On the Road is definitely a classic piece of American literature and since I don’t want to give too much away, you should definitely take the time to read it! (Also, there’s a movie that was recently made based on the book, but it’s definitely not as good as the book and you should only watch it after reading On the Road!)

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I’ve never heard of this book before! I guess that means I definitely need to read it. Thanks for the post Maddie!

Want to read about more books to add to your to be read pile? Check out the other bloggers who’ve participated in FBF:

~Tiffany from Commoner Couture

~Alaska from Alaska Renee

~Leah from Leah of the Pack

~ Vanessa from A City Girl’s Guide to Life

~Erika from Bearika Rose

~Frances from Wanderlust Notes

~Chloe from Wanderlust in the Midwest

~Sophie from A Series of Tomfooleries

Want to join in the fun? Email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail dot com so you can submit your own post!

Review + Giveaway: The Watchers by Deirdra Eden

3 Sep

*check at the bottom of this post for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and copies of the book!*

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

 Summary:

 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity.

Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions

 

 

About the Author

 



“My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles!

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures.”

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra’s websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

Review :

If you’ve been around my blog for any amount of time you may have realized I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of a fairy tale. Of course I adore fantasy as well. A book like this that combines prose that seems to speak of legends with a fantastical setting. I absolutely loved trying to see what might have influenced the different components of this book, knowing that a lot of it is based in known mythology. That combined with the writing style could have made the book for me; luckily, there were also fantastic characters!

I was hooked on Auriella’s story from the start. Her tragic beginnings made me feel for her and I was rooting for her against the odds. I really think that she’s relatable (in that strange way that a girl in the fictional past can be like a girl in the present) and I think that plenty of other readers will find themselves in her story, too.

If you’re into historical books and wanting to bridge the gap into fantasy I think that this would be the book for you. If you’re a fantasy fan, this’ll be right up your alley. And if you enjoy a good story, you’ll just be captivated by The Watchers. If you do read the book, let me know what you think!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! You can win a $100 Amazon gift card as well as well as a copy of Knight of Light!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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