I had randomly selected this book to read and, since it was nonfiction, decided to find out a little more about Mr. Zeitoun and his family and see how nonfiction it really was. After reading Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea, I have been skeptical of nonfiction books. I stumbled upon a news article about Abdulrahman Zeitoun stating he is no longer the man portrayed in the book. Zeitoun was convicted earlier last week of abusing his wife. However, that did not really interest me. What intrigued me was the controversy surrounding this man and the book Zeitoun by Dave Eggers about Zeitoun’s experiences during Katrina in Louisiana. Although the book was well written, I found myself annoyed by Zeitoun throughout the entire story. Eggers portrays Zeitoun as a God-like man who helps out people (and even dogs) in need who is the victim throughout the entire book. The way Eggers wrote the book almost seems as if he is sugar coating the story, so it makes it pretty hard for me to believe all the events happened exactly as they were represented in this nonfiction book.
Overall, I like that it was written in story form, not stuffy like some autobiographies and biographies can sometimes get. However, making it in story form may have taken away from the realness of it all and made the nonfiction story seem just a little bit fictitious and exaggeratory. Will never look up a person if I don’t know his or her story before reading his or her biography ever again. I think that maybe I was biased since I already thought Zeitoun was a bad man for his crimes.I have not read any other books by Eggers, but he seems like a good writer.
Oh my, what a great book. A really fast read and very memorable characters. I fell in love with Beatrice, the star of the book, immediately. Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction, where each member is expected to be selfless and think of others’ needs before his or her own. At 16 years old, citizens of what seems to be a dystopian version of Chicago are able to decide to keep with the faction they were born into or turn to another one. Beatrice, believing she does not fit into the Abnegation faction, is torn between putting her family first or embracing a faction more suited to her personality. She goes through a kind of “graduation test,” which determines what the best faction is for 16 year olds. Although her test results are inconclusive (which makes her Divergent according to members of the factions), she decides to go with Dauntless, the faction in charge of security and law enforcement. All Beatrice is able to get from her test results is she could not be honest at all times (Candor), she is not completely enthralled with learning a ton of stuff every day(Erudite), and being nice and happy 24/7 is not for her (Amnity). To top off being a Dauntless initiate, which is most definitely not easy, Beatrice also has to deal with a few bullies. On a lighter note, for readers who like romance, she has a cute relationship with Four, a top Dauntless initiate from a few years back. Looking forward to reading the second one, as this one left me hanging and begging for more.
How far are you willing to go to protect your family’s best interests? Can you justify your actions no matter how far you go or will you let it eat away at your sanity? Karen has spent the last 10 years trying to figure that out. Dark and very suspenseful, The Poison Tree is about her struggle to keep her best friends’ secrets as well as a few of her own. Even a brief summary would ruin this book. I really enjoyed the unfolding of Karen’s story and how it went back and forth between her future story and how the past 10 years got her to that point in life. The psychotic manner of all three main characters is quite unsettling. Even Karen, who I thought was the sanest one in the book, ended up having a dark side. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good psychological thriller. My husband, who reads zero books a year, said it sounded good. I could see someone making a movie out of this.
Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey wants to go to college and be a writer. Today that is reachable, but for Mattie in the early 1900’s this was nearly impossible. After her mother death, Mattie was left with 3 younger sisters to watch over and chores to do, all of which do nothing to get her closer to her dream. Her father, heartbroken by the death of his wife and loss of his son, who leaves the family after her death, becomes hardened toward everyone, especially Mattie. When her father finally decides to let her work at the Glenmore, a hotel near her farm, Mattie receives more than just money. Hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of letters for her. Just a few hours later, her drowned body is found in the lake, and Mattie decides to read her letters to find out the truth about Ms. Brown’s untimely death. The truth she uncovers inspires Mattie to follow her dreams. I found this book interesting because it was based upon the murder of a young woman named Grace Brown’s that happened in the Adirondack Mountain area. Alternating between the two time periods, each chapter focuses on Mattie before the murder and the day of the murder (Mattie’s present time). it kind of compares her before she realizes who she wants to be and how important her goals are to when she still thought she would never leave home.
Cassia and Ky are separated. At the end of Matched, Ky is taken by the Society to the Outer Provinces somewhere. Cassia and her family are transferred from their Borough to a new city outside of Oria. Heartbroken, Cassia decides to find Ky. This book focuses on Cassia’s journey to find Ky and Ky’s journey to find Cassia. Narrated from both characters’ points of view, this book was all about Cassia’s desire to find the Rising, a revolutionary group against the Society, and Ky’s battle to forgive himself and decide how important Cassia really is to her. The love triangle among Cassia, Ky, and Xander is stronger than ever as Ky has a secret about Xander he believes will change Cassia’s choice between the two of them. Ky knows he must decide whether he should let Cassia make her own choice about Xander and him, but doesn’t want to lose her.
I feel like most dystopian novels I’ve been reading lately are about the same things. The Matched series has strongly reminded me of The Silenced by James DeVita.
This was one of those books that shocked me. I got chills, teared up and learned something about the Holocaust that I was unaware of. I have always been interested in the history of WWII. I have learned quite a bit from various books, movies, and relatives about what it was like to live in the early to mid-40s. However, most of those were in America’s point-of-view, German’s POV, or Russia’s. But I never knew about the French involvement in the Holocaust. I didn’t think it existed. I assumed that the Germans had everything to do with the removal and extermination French Jews, hence occupied France, most specifically, Paris.
Sarah’s Key is a haunting tale about a young Jewish girl named Sarah living in Paris at the height of the Holocaust and Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in the same city sixty years later. Julia is assigned a story highlighting the Vel’ d’Hiv’, the tragic roundup of thousands of French Jews by the county’s own police. Her research leads her down a twisted road of painful secrets that eventually lead to Sarah and her story. The book’s chapters alternate from Sarah’s point of view to Julia’s and eventually stays with Julia’s voice. This story reveals a part of the Holocaust that seems to be brushed aside instead of learned openly like the rest of that tragic part of WWII. This was a very interesting historical book, a story I think should be read in schools to educate others about this part of the Holocaust. I remember learning about Auschwitz and some of the other well-known camps, so it would only make sense to learn about Vel’ d’Hiv’ and France’s involvement as well.
This was a really interesting book. Full of magic, illusions, and suspense it was very difficult to actually get up and do important stuff in between chapters. It is a story of love and finding out who you truly are, etc. However, the way it is written is so interesting. Morgenstern wrote The Night Circus similar to how a 3 ring circus appears. Each ring has its own act. They work independently, yet together they make sense as a whole. Thus the plot of this book. There is the past, future and present life of the circus all rolled up into one book. Each chapter is dated and mainly follows the lives of Celia, Marco, and Bailey and their role in the life of the circus. Since the time when they were very young, Celia and Marco have been trained in the art of illusion. Celia’s instructor (who happens to be her father) and Marco’s instructor, two pretty ancient illusionists with a long standing rivalry, are extremely competitive and basically use their pupils as a show of who is the best illusionist of the two. Venue? The circus. Time limit? There isn’t one. Sadly for Celia and Marco, they are unaware that they have been bound to one another through their instructors’ challenge until they have fallen in love with one another and it is too late to withdraw their feelings. In love, they need to make a tough decision: lose the circus or lose each other. The entire book was almost dreamlike or fantastical, and I was certainly disappointed when I read the last sentence.
This book was Disney’s Cinderella and Anastasia combined with a futuristic twist. Cinder, a cyborg (part human, part robot), has been an outcast ever since she can remember. Her stepmother considers her to be a filthy burden. Living in a futuristic Beijing she spends her days a lowly, second class citizen working at her mechanic booth in the city market as payment to her stepmother for living in her home. She has no one who cares about her aside from another robot and one of her stepsisters who treats her as a true friend. Ironically, her status says nothing of her talent as a mechanic for she is considered to be the best in New Beijing’s Eastern Commonwealth. This talent leads her to Kai, the heir to the emperor’s throne, who needs mechanical advice and ultimately leads her to understand who she really is. I thought this book was a fun twist on the two Disney fairy tales with a tougher main woman. Looking forward to Book #2.
A witty, intelligent story of love, The Innocents is all about accepting what you cannot change and embracing what you already have. Adam Newman has dated Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen. Now 28 years old, Adam is beginning to wonder if Rachel’s steady, constant personality is really what he wants. After thirteen years of dating, the picture perfect Jewish wedding is being planned but Adam is unsure it is what he wants. Ellie, Rachel’s eccentric and beautiful younger cousin has just returned from New York to stay in London. The black sheep of the family, her life has had its ups and downs. Staying with Ziva, Rachel and Ellie’s grandmother, Adam begins to have feelings for Ellie. He has total stability among the Gilberts, a strong, traditional Jewish family, but he has total freedom and unpredictable excitement with Ellie. Although this was Francesca Segal’s first book, it seemed so complex in thought. Each plot was intertwined into yet another plot and I felt she made it easy to fall in love with all of the characters. I felt this book was not only about Adam growing up and understanding himself as a man and husband. It was also about the value of family and how much each of us is willing to do to protect those within our own circle.
In my opinion, this book didn’t really deserve all the hype it received. However, Ree Dolly is a memorable protagonist and what she has to go through to protect her family without ratting on anyone else is pretty close to amazing. Ree’s father Jessup has skipped bail. Unfortunately no one can find him and if he does not show up for his court date, the Dolly family will lose their home. 16 year-old Ree knows the task to find her father dead or alive falls on her shoulders if her, her mother, and her two young brothers want a chance to survive.
While reading Winter’s Bone, I actually forgot what approximate time period this book took place. It is obviously set in present day, but the Dolly’s are so poverty stricken, what they have to do to do simple everyday tasks seems to put them about a century behind. Their way of life reminded me of Little House on the Prairie in the 21th Century minus the family values and plus a father in trouble for making “crank” (crystal meth). Ree, the narrator, has a rough Ozark Mountain way of speaking which I think Woodrell conveys pretty well. It drew me into the story and helped me see the grimness of her situation a little more. The dialogue is definitely what I liked most about this book. I usually dislike colloquial dialogue but if it wasn’t present in Winter’s Bone, I don’t think I would have gotten into the book. It kind of enhanced the grittiness of the story for me. Her life was certainly not all sunshine and rainbows, and her use of the English language showed that roughness. Like Charles Portis’ character Mattie Ross in True Grit, or Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games series, Ree Dolly is a tough young girl on a tough quest that someone twice her age would have a high chance of failure. Although I didn’t really think this book should have received all the rave reviews it did, I did lose myself in Ree’s world down in the Ozark Mountains and it certainly made me appreciate my clean bed in central Missouri.
I enjoyed this book. Even though it was centered on an idea that already existed (the book is exactly like Jane Eyre complete with crazy hidden wife on the third floor, young romance, Jane growing up and finding herself, etc.) it was different enough that it seemed like a branch of the original story instead of a dull retelling. In this version, Jane Eyre is actually Jane Moore and Mr. Rochester is now Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star. Jane goes to work for Nico as the nanny of his young daughter and falls in love with him. I really like Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Lindner’s version gives the story of Jane a fun, contemporary twist. I’m glad someone finally decided to turn Jane Eyre into a more modern tale like all of the contemporary retellings of the classic Pride and Prejudice. Maybe someone will publish a Jane Eyre zombies version as well.
This book was very dark. If the sun hadn’t still been shining when I read it I may have had nightmares and/or been severely depressed. Suffering from MS, the author, John Hicklenton, committed assisted suicide the day after finishing this graphic novel. I was not surprised to learn that fact after reading and looking at the very disturbing and graphic illustrations. The entire story is about death and suffering. Mara, an earth goddess, is sent by her father (a scary looking creature who is presumably Satan) to slay the swine God Longpig (presumably all the negative aspects of humanity). It centers on her journey to find the Longpig. Mara claims the purpose of her task is to ultimately avenge her friend’s death (Jesus?). Along the way, anyone she finds she punishes. She pretty much unleashes her wrath on all of humanity. The accompanying pictures are graphic but the composition and the usage of colors is quite breathtaking (if you can look past the death and destruction the illustrations represent).
I randomly came across this book while looking for another and am kind of glad I decided to read it. Considering this was Mr. Hicklenton’s final statement to the world, I almost wonder if he was trying to give people a glimpse of what he thought the world is coming to and what will happen if we don’t change. It was almost as if he believes in the whole idea of self-destruction is imminent if humanity refuses to change kind of view. Creepy but interesting book.
Based on the cover, I thought this book looked like a good summery, fun-in-the-sun kind of book. Completely wrong. The book’s timeline basically covers a group of friends’s week long road trip together after high school graduation before they all have to face the grownup world.The Disenchantments are a three-girl band (Bev, Meg, and Alexa) that pretty much stinks and their roadie/bodyguard/transportation Colby. The band was the brain child of Bev, stemming from a crazy idea she came up with their first year of high school. Sadly since they have all just graduated, (except Alexa, who is one year behind them) and they don’t have much time left together before they have to move Meg in to her new college dorm.
Colby and Bev have been best friends that go way back and he believes he has life after high school all figured out. The Disenchantments’s “farewell tour,” and then a year long trip to Europe with Bev, a trip they’ve been planning out and saving up for for years. However, just miles after the tour has started, Bev announces her decision to go to college. She applied and was accepted, and now Colby is faced with the terror of not knowing what he is going to do with his life now that he is out of high school. Everyone he knows has a plan but him.
I liked this book because it reminded me of how great it felt the summer right after high school graduation. Like the book, it is full of possibility and promises, saying goodbye to people you know and saying hello to those you have yet to know, and making tough decisions to show that you are on your way to being an adult.
16-year-old Marena is stuck in a world most teens would consider a bad dream. Ruled by a totalitarian style government, the country she lives in and its people have been beaten down mentally and physically to protect the government’s ideals. Revolutionaries are snuffed out or reprimanded quickly. Marena, whose mother dared to speak out against the atrocities of the government gives her life for the rebellion’s cause. Similar to her mother, Marena and two of her friends decide to form the White Rose, a secret effort to crush the government.
I found it very interesting that the story was based loosely on the life of Sophie Scholl and a small group of German students who formed the White Rose resistance group against the Nazi regime during WWII. The Silenced makes you think about what you would do if you knew something was wrong. Would you have the courage to stand up for what is right even if no one else was willing to take a stand with you because it meant death? This book made me think about the past governments in various countries’ history and how they failed and if maybe they might be tried again just to see if it would work.
The first book of the Dreamhouse Kings series, House of Dark Shadows was one of those creepy books that makes one a little bit jumpy – especially while reading at night or while no one else is around. The characters and the creepy situations they are made to face throughout the book reminded me of the Goosebumps thriller series from the 90’s, but only for a more mature reader. The series centers on the King family who moves into a house that seems to have portals that lead to different time periods and places throughout the world. Unfortunately for them the portals seem to have let someone in who seems to be quite a threat to the family considering he has taken Mrs. King with him into another portal. Seems exciting and will continue to read the next book in the series to see what happens to the King family next.
For me, this book was all about being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time. Blake, a 16 year old high school freshman, has everything a teenage boy could want. He has awesome parents, a great girlfriend, cool friends and a great girl friend. Blake loves Shannon, but he also cares about Marissa as a friend. Shannon has the perfect home life. Marissa has an awful home life. Marissa, more than anything else, needs a friend who can understand her. Blake finds himself worrying more about Marissa than his own girlfriend. Thus, he has a girlfriend he thinks he loves and needs and a friend who needs him. At the risk of losing his perfect teenage life, he pretty much makes it his mission to get Marissa out of a lot of sticky situations, mainly situations with her meth addicted mother. Although I thought this was a typical YA book, it was pretty interesting how Blake matures as a person through his relationship with Shannon and Marissa and how he struggles to understand what love is and what he feels is the right thing to do.
2011-12 Gateway Readers Award Nominee and Winner of the William C. Morris Debut Novel Award
Cliche but true, the Chinese proverb “One picture is worth ten thousand words” comes to life in this book. Chopsticks left my head full of questions. I found myself questioning my understanding of the story. That seemed to be the most interesting part of the book. Everything is subjective to the readers’ interpretations.
My Interpretation — It opens with pictures of breaking news stories about Glory Fleming, a piano prodigy, who has gone missing. Rewind 18 months before and Glory’s story starts to come into focus. Glory lives with Victor, her dad, piano instructor and manager (eek). She and her father have been through a lot of hard situations together, mainly the death of Glory’s mother, Maria. It almost seems like Victor used Glory and her talent as a way to escape his grief. Instead of helping Glory deal with the tragedy of losing her mother, he gets her to focus more on her piano skills, thinking that his way of dealing with death is right for Glory too. Just when you think Glory is going to be forever stuck with her father and a piano, in comes the cute Latino boy next door. All of Glory’s attention goes to Francisco “Frank” Mendoza. Her success as a prolific pianist seems to waver. Victor, thinking he is helping his daughter get over a “distraction,” sets up an international tour for Glory. She keeps in touch with Frank, but like all teenagers in love, is dissatisfied with not seeing him face to face. Glory crumbles mentally and seems drawn to playing Chopsticks during her concerts instead of famous sonatas she is so praised for playing. Her father brings her home and puts her into an institution for piano prodigies (aka. mental institution for piano prodigies gone unstable).
What really threw a wrench in my theory of Glory’s tale was the last few pages. The only thing I am sure of now is that Glory existed. She was a piano prodigy, possibly on her way to international immortality in the pianist world. She was mentally unstable. Other than that, all of my ideas are just my opinion. I think what was so successful about this book is that the authors didn’t spell out anything for you. They left the characters’ stories up to you. The message in this book was so strong I’m not sure words would be able to deliver the authors’ idea as well as the photos did. This was probably one of the most interesting books I have ever picked up. Interestingly enough, there is a digital version of this book where you can actually watch the youtube videos Glory and Frank IM to one another and see some select photos in the book through motion.
Artemis Fowl and his magical friends are back again after saving his father from a group of thugs. Fowl flags the fairies’ radar when he uses fairy technology to make a computer in an attempt to finally restore the Fowl fortune. Unfortunately, Fowl is compromised and gets his special computer stolen which he finds out could expose the entire fairy race and their location to the world. Once again, Artemis and Holly are partners fighting to keep the fairies’ secrets a secret.
Another fast paced and adventure filled Artemis book, I thought the Eternity Code was just as good as the first two.
Andi is at her breaking point. From having to deal with her parents to coping with the death of her younger brother, she is ready to give in to the sadness and anger she feels. Her pain is lessened with anti-depressants that tend to bring her life out of focus. Her grades drop as a result of the medication’s side effects and her father, concerned she won’t get into a good college, makes her come with him on his business trip to Paris in an attempt to get Andi back on the right track.
Alexandrine, a girl of the French Revolution, is torn between saving herself and saving a little boy she has grown to love as a younger brother. She too is ready to give in to the anger and fear threatening to suffocate her.
Over two centuries separate the two girls, but Andi finds an old diary of Alexandrine’s hidden in a guitar case and eventually discovers they have more in common than she thought possible. Finding solace in her words, Andi forges a connection with Alex through her diary entries, and begins to find that Alex’s life in the past can help Andi decode her own complicated life in the 21st century.
Although the beginning of this book was fairly slow to get to the point and very depressing, I grew to like Andi and Alex. I enjoyed how similar the two main characters were and how parallel their situations seemed. The story within a story writing style kept me interested in both main character’s situtations. However, the references to the French Revolution and music history were a little stuffy to me. That much detailed background (especially the names of revolutionaries and royalty) was irrelevant to the story. By the end of the book, I felt it was a good storyline. It just needed to be a little less of an historical account so it could focus more on the characters of the book.
I read this book in one day, it was that good in my opinion. It kept me wondering where the dog in this book would reincarnate to next. It was interestingly written in that the book was narrated by the dog, but to keep things interesting, human conversation and situations were added even though the dog didn’t quite understand exactly what was going on. The dog has an unabashed way of looking at life. Its undying love for pleasing its owners throughout the book is touching. I don’t really care for sappy books, but was pleasantly surprised when I found myself getting drawn into this one.
This book could actually be looked upon as a good life lesson for humans. Like the dog, everyone lives their days often wondering what his or her purpose is in life and why he or she is actually on this earth. Although our situations are much more complex than the dog’s, it also often wondered what role it played in its masters’ lives and why it kept being reincarnated. It was interesting how the dog’s story flowed and eventually came full circle. I laughed out loud in many parts and felt myself tearing up a mere paragraph later. Full of ups and downs and ups again, dog lovers would love this book. I’m not really a huge fan of dogs, but it actually made me look at them in a different light.