Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Happy New Year’s Eve! I have an awesome review for you guys today.

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That’s right. I gave this book five stars. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly is about a young girl, Josephine Montfort, from a wealthy family in 1890s New York City. She’s destined to marry another rich man just like her father. Suddenly, Charles Montfort dies, the police claiming it was an accident when the man was cleaning his revolver. Shaken by her father’s death, Jo tries to discover just how this death was NOT an accident, but a murder. Jo receives the help of a teenage reporter, Eddie Gallagher, of whom her family would be disgraced to hear she was slowly falling in love with.

It’s a young adult historical mystery romance, a crazy combination that makes for one of the best stories you could ever dream up. The love story made me swoon, my newest OTP was born from reading this book. I also cried. Don’t judge.

Something interesting I noticed was Jo’s passion of writing and dream to become a reporter. Her family being rich as it was, the women were supposed to marry, have kids, and that’s it. It was outlandish to wish to become a newspaper writer, and her family made sure she knew it. When I first saw this book’s main character was a girl named Jo who aspired to write, I immediately thought of Jo March from Little Women. You could say both these fictional characters have a lot in common with me.

Let me tell you, I got so angry while reading These Shallow Graves. I had dropped my book and lost the place, so I was flipping through the pages to find where I left off. I thought I’d found it, so I kept reading, AND I READ THE BIGGEST SPOILER OF THE ENTIRE BOOK. You would understand what I’m talking about if you’ve read it. You know how good books have a killer plot twist? It was that, times like ten hundred million!!! The rest of the book was ruined for me, but that did not stop me from loving it at all.

I found absolutely no flaws in These Shallow Graves. Jennifer Donnelly did her research, and I even learned some cool stuff. When these upper class families mourned back then, the wife had to wear black for two years, while the daughter had to for six months. Neither of them were to go out. Isn’t that crazy? Jo ended up sneaking out a lot and paying her maid to sleep in her bed.

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The cover art is what originally attracted me and made me pick up the book. Shoutout to my brother for buying me it in hardcover for Christmas!

I love this book so much, and I recommend it to all of my readers. I went crazy fangirl staying up all night to finish it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe New Years. Let me know in the comments what your resolutions are. Thank you for reading!

Review: This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

***This is Where It Ends is an ARC sent to me by Sourcebooks Publishing. It will be coming out early in 2016. 🙂 ***

Hey guys! I know I said my next review would be These Shallow Graves, but this lovely ARC came in the mail one day looking so enticing I just had to pick it up, and I ended up finishing it the same night (it was only 282 pages, and many of the pages just had tweets or text messages on them. Most of the pages were not long.).

The description on the jacket was FANTASTIC, so I thought I’d do something different and show you it.

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Doesn’t that make you want to read it right now??

Throughout reading this, I was terrified. School violence is growing despite the new securities many schools have placed. At my old school, we had to evacuate due to a bomb threat. Luckily, it was just that- a threat. Another school in my area had a stabbing, and I don’t think anyone will forget the shootings at Newton and Columbine. Books like This is Where It Ends  should NOT be banned; in fact, they can help kids. By reading this book, I learned a bit about how to defend myself from a shooter and prevent certain scenarios from happening. I’m not sure how it would affect victims of school violence, but I don’t think they should be “protected” from it. In some ways, it could help these people to move past their experience and provide closure. Trying to prevent someone from reading a book will only want to make them read it more.  If you know someone who could potentially bring a weapon to school, speak up now.

I didn’t mean to go on for so long about that! Anyways, while This is Where It Ends  was sad and scary, I loved it. I award  it

four and a half stars

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You can see the steam leaving my cup! Look how beautiful the cover art is.

I cannot say much else without releasing a spoiler, so we’ll leave it at that.

I recommend this book to anyone over the age of thirteen.

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments. Blog later!

 

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Finally!!!!)

Before I begin, please note that the sequel, Glass Sword, is coming out on February 9th, and I am internally dying. 🙂

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Look how beautiful even the cover of this book is! I’m in love.

I’m going to start out by giving this book four and a half big ole stars.

four and a half stars

After all, it was nearly perfect, and don’t worry, because I will tell you why. I’m sure some of you have read or at least heard of Red Queen, because the novel by Victoria Aveyard is quickly growing popular, especially with the next book in the trilogy coming out soon. But in case you haven’t, YOU REALLY NEED TO, and I’ll give you a brief little summary.

In Red Queen, the world is divided by blood type- the Silvers and the Reds. Silvers are gods with each having their own special power, and they live a luxurious lifestyle. Reds, meanwhile, are merely servants who live to work. Mare Barrow is a Red, or so she thinks… When she ends up at the King’s palace pretending to be the prince’s betrothed, she discovers that she, too, has an ability just like the Silvers, the gods, or even stronger. Enter the Scarlet Guard, a terrorist group of Reds determined to take down the Silvers and of course want Mare to join.

You’ll be surprised, and the only thing I can promise you is harsh betrayal.

I was generally taken aback at the plot twist in the book, however there were some things I was expecting. In contrast, there were also some things that confused me (but I have it sworn I’ll never spoil anything for you guys). To be honest, that’s the only reason I could find to not give this book five stars. It’s not worth a great deduction, because the book was freaking fantastic.

Even before I finished Red Queen, I was telling you guys how I’m going to get married to it. I was just stunned at how much I instantly grew attached to it. I’m not kidding, I’m seriously the biggest fangirl of this book. You can fight me if you think you like it more!

Victoria Aveyard is one of the most amazing authors I have read the works of this year. Mare Barrow is the new Katniss Everdeen. I’m waiting for them to make this into a movie. Who knows, maybe they already are and I just don’t know about it.

Whoops I just googled it so I don’t give out false information, and apparently there is talk of it becoming a movie!

That aside, I could rave over Red Queen forever. I can’t believe it took me this long to read it! Where was I when it came out????? I’m sure I had my nose in some other book.

My emotions went wild while reading Mare Barrow’s tragedy turn into something only slightly less tragic. Aveyard has a knack for weaving a phenomenal story. The love, the passion, the trust, all crushed. My family members heard me screaming, “NO,NO, NO,” and then, “YES, YES, YES.” I just couldn’t believe it. There was one part I was literally on the edge of my seat. My heart was crushed, deflated, but by the end it was slightly inflated.

By the way, do you like the picture of me reading it? Let me know what you think.

I’m going to have a haul of the books I got over Christmas up soon, as well as a special post and a review of These Shallow Graves, once I finish it (I found it under the tree and started it just yesterday).

Thanks for reading! Share this post with a friend.

Byeeeeeeeee xx

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: I am not trying to force my religion on anyone; if you do not celebrate Christmas, please exit this post.

I love Christmas, because… Magic is alive around this time of the year, and the aura around the holidays is one of the most beautiful, wonderful things for me. Sure, everyone complains about how commercialized Christmas is, but I think that’s because of the season it’s placed in: smack dab in the middle of winter, the most prominent of the seasons in my opinion. With winter is snow, cold, and Christmas. After the big holiday everyone’s waiting for, they want winter to end. So why not go all out with Elf on the Shelf and huge trees in big cities and decorating the outside of your house and wearing ugly Christmas sweaters? It’s all in the spirit of Christmas: the joy! The people I tend to spend time with are the positive people in my life, and they are jolly. We have Secret Santa parties and get-togethers and we bake cookies together. It’s just really something special for me. Don’t spend Christmas with people who have a negative impact on your life. In fact, don’t spend any time of the year with them; they’re toxic for you. But especially do not let them eat your reindeer cookies! Please do not be a Scrooge, just have a little fun! That’s the point.

 

Books To Read At Christmastime (just to name a few):

Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer- any version, mine is by Eileen Daly

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss

The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

Family Book Gift Ideas

Mother:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Father:

Find out what sports he likes! There are many sports-related books he would enjoy. Men also like thriller novels and mysteries! Check out some Stephen King books.

 

Older Brother:

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Younger Brother:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

(oops, you know i had to. this could be a good gift for anyone, including your sister.)

Older Sister:

Paper Towns by John Green

Younger Sister:

It really depends on her age. If she’s pretty little, try the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park. If she’s a bit older, the Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick is fantastic. I think I read it around third grade.

Grandmother:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Grandfather:

Same as Dad. 🙂

 

Where to find cheap books:

Amazon

Half Price Books

Various websites-

http://www.alibris.com/discount-books

http://www.abebooks.com/books/cheap-books-textbooks-used-new/cheapest-books.shtml 

 

Santa Clause- The different ways he is portrayed throughout literature/ the world:

Okay, this is a fascinating subject for me. I grew up with Santa Clause, dressed in red, coming down your chimney yelling HO HO HO with the help of some reindeer and elves. When I discovered that’s not how it goes everywhere else in the world, I was surprised. Customs in other countries can teach you a lot about them. Are any of you guys living somewhere other than America? If so, please comment! I’d love to have a discussion. I picked a few of my favorites to share with you guys today.

France: He’s called Saint Nicolas, and he comes on December sixth, with the aid of a donkey. The night before Saint’s Day, the children sing a song and place their shoes by the fireplace. In the morning, the shoes are filled with goodies! Bad children receive a bundle of twigs tied in ribbon.

Germany: Here, they call Santa Sankt Nikolaus, and he comes door to door (with a donkey too!) on the evening before Saint Nicholas Day. The children line up and tell him whether they have been good or bad. If they have been good, Nikolaus reaches in his sack to give them a gift. If they have been bad, Krampus punishes them (yikes! Wouldn’t want to live there).

Mexico: The jolly man is known as San Nicolás de Bari in most areas. In Mexico, there is a strong tradition called ex-voto where they paint pictures on small tins or plates and place them near a statue of a saint. The statue of San Nicolas  is carried throughout town every night from November 28th to December 6th.

Italy: In Italy, the big guy is commonly referred to as San Nicola. There are different traditions in different areas of Italy. For example, in Molfetta, children put a plate on the table asking San Nicola for gifts. During the night, he piles the plate with small gifts like cookies and candies. In Trieste, grandfathers dress up like San Nicola and bring their grandchildren gifts.

Christmassy Snacks (to munch on while you read all the classic Christmas books):

Snickerdoodles

Chai Tea

Hot Chocolate

Almond Kiss Cookies

Chocolate Chip

Sugar Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

Let me know if you want a recipe!

 

 

Okay everyone, a few announcements. First off, I am getting married!!!!!

 

 

 

 

… to a book.

That’s right, I’m currently engaged to Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Don’t worry, I’ll have the review up real soon. Promise: THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS!!!!!!!! It’s amazing, ’nuff said.

After that’s up, I’m probably going to get started reading the books received for Christmas, as well as some ARCs I have been procrastinating on..

I’m also planning to start posting more things like this, not only reviews. After all, I don’t want my blog to be all boring. So that’s something you can expect soon!

Most of all….

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

 

Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins’ books are pretty popular, and I’ve read several before, so when I saw Rumble at the library, I decided to pick it up. All the ones I’ve seen are written in prose, so while they’re pretty thick, they don’t take as long to read as expected. Most of the Ellen Hopkins books I’ve read have also been focused on more depressing matters, with characters who are struggling. This one was no different.rumbleCvr.jpg

The main character, Matthew Turner, has recently lost his younger brother, Luke, to suicide. Facts about his death are uncovered throughout the story. He’s dealing with family issues, and not to mention girlfriend issues. Matt is thinking about forgiveness when something unforgivable happens…

Rumble has a lot of thought-provoking ideas presented throughout it, like the idea of God and love. I have to say it’s made me think.

I’m not going to make this review so long, because my last blog post was practically as long as a novel, so we’ll keep this short and sweet: four stars, just because some things were really predictable based on the author’s writing style. We’re also going to end this blog post pretty quickly so you can go read it!

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I haven’t read much prose/poetry in my life, so this was quite refreshing. I think I’ll have to start reading more of this style!

Stay tuned, because I may have a special blog post up tomorrow, and a review of Red Queen up later this week, plus lots over Christmas break!

Feel free to comment. Let me know what you’ve been reading!

Review: Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

THIS BOOK. THIS. BOOK. HAS TAKEN ME A WHOLE MONTH TO READ!!! In my defense, it’s almost one thousand pages long, and it’s been a busy month for me with school and the holidays. Anyways, I felt like Coming Home deserved a much longer review, since my blog followers have been waiting forever for me to finally finish it.

 

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First of all, I must rate this book four stars.

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As Judith grows into a twenty-something year old woman, the war is on full blast and she begins to wonder if she’ll ever see her real family again, meanwhile falling in love (once or twice!). By the time I finished it, I was a sad wreck, probably because I read the last chapter in the wee hours of the night.

Overall, Coming Home is a book I would recommend to anyone. Even though the cover makes it appear like a “Grandma book”, as I first said when my mom told me to read it, the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” became truer than ever. I’ve never read a Woman’s Romance novel before, and all the stereotypes placed around that genre are UNTRUE. There’s so much more to these stories than simply that. Sure, the love will have you sobbing, but there’s layers of depth you cannot find anywhere else.

I fell in love with this book.

One criticism I do have, and it’s the reason I took one star off my rating: THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK WAS SOOOOOO BORING!!!! World War II was anything but boring, yet somehow Rosamunde Pilcher made it the most boring thing to read about ever. I’ve mentioned in preview posts how much I love reading books about this particular war, so that’s saying something.

Coming Home is incredible for its gripping tale and beautiful tone.

There’s been something I have wanted to include in a blog post for quite some time, but it never felt like the right time. With this amazing novel in mind, now is the perfect time.

I absolutely adore talking about characters, so I decided to write a brief analysis of some of my favorites in Coming Home, as well as places, because each home has a soul in the book.

Judith Dunbar: I saw Judith grow up and change, over a course of about twelve years. It was hard to envision her as a WREN for the navy during the war after spending time with her as a school student in a hideous uniform. I was always cheering her on, and I can picture her in my head. She was so smart, yet a bit cliche. It feels weird saying that about the main character of a novel, but it’s true. I imagined her as Sandy from Grease, if that helps at all.

Loveday Carey-Lewis: Loveday went a bit crazy towards the middle/end, but I had hope for her. When Judith first met her, I knew they were going to end up impacting each other’s lives. Who knew they would end up as best friends, as well as sisters? Loveday in love was the greatest thing ever.

Edward Carey-Lewis: At first, I liked Edward. He seemed to be a smart and quirky guy. His character ending up tragically, but even by then I did not like him one bit.

Diana and Colonel Carey-Lewis: Each of them probably deserves their own section, but the Colonel was so quiet and hardly ever said anything. He was a polite gentleman. Shy, but polite. He always knew the manly and gentle thing to say. As for Diana, I thought she might have been a bit trashy but I loved her anyways. A true mother figure.

Athena Carey-Lewis: Aloof. For some reason that’s what comes to my head. Athena seemed to be floating on the clouds, and quite vain too. She follows stereotypes for women.

Mary Millyway: I love Mary so so so so much!!!! She was the sweetest nanny ever. My best memory of her from the book is when she comforted Judith after a depressing heartbreak. I may even take some of her words to advice some day! I will truly miss Mary.

Nettlebed: He didn’t really seem to be that important of a character, and I got a bit bored whenever they talked about him. I know he was important to Nancherrow, being the butler, and he was a kind, trustworthy guy, but that’s about all I can say.

Ms. Catto: Headmaster goals. She was the Head Mistress at St. Ursula’s, and the way she cared so much for Judith with all the family issues made me love her.

Gus Callendar: Gus was somebody everybody loved, especially Loveday. He was especially known for his artwork, and throughout the novel I was hoping he would do something with it. Despite devastation, I was pretty happy with Gus’s character by the end.

Jeremy Wells: I first met Jeremy on the train, and he became a constant character in this book, however unexpected. For some reason, I never swooned over him like I imagined many others did while reading, but he didn’t seem like a bad guy. I noticed he was self- conscious, and I believe it must have to do with feeling like he needs to follow his father’s footsteps and be a successful doctor. Overall, I’m pretty iffy about Jeremy.

Biddy and Bob Somerville: Bob and Biddy were so kind to Judith. I know how much she loved them. I imagined them as pretty old people, even though Bob can’t have been too old, for he was a commander as well. I’m willing to love anyone Judith loves.

Nancherrow:  A place even better than Wuthering Heights. The descriptions of this home were beautiful. Once again, I fell into love. Nancherrow is a place I would love to be a part of. For so many people, it was a stable something to go back to.

Dower House: Judith was so proud to call Dower House her own. Once again, lovely descriptions. That’s something Pilcher was fantastic at.

Aunt Louise: Didn’t like her. She overlooked so much that was going on in Judith’s life. I feel sorry for Aunt Louise.

Jess Dunbar: She was only two ages: four, and fourteen. Having no transition between these ages drove me crazy, so I wasn’t able to connect them.

Molly Dunbar: Pilcher made Molly, Judith’s mother, seem like the stupidest lady on earth.  It infuriated me. I’m sure she was a good mother for the short time she had with Judith.

 

This is getting pretty lengthy, so I’ll leave you there. I just picked up a prose book from the library, and though it’s thick, there’s only like thirty words on each page because it’s a novel told in poem form. (Rumble by Ellen Hopkins). I’ve read some of hers before, and they’ve all been fantastic, so I’m excited to start it. It should be a breeze to read and highly entertaining as well. I’ll have a review up in a few days. I should also get started on some more ARCs I was sent….

 

Bye for now! Thanks for reading, if you got this far without being bored to death.

 

Review: Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore

Yesterday, I had a package in the mail from Penguin Ransom, and I was really happy to open it and find this ARC.  I’ve kind of been nonstop reading it, and just now I read the last page. So many thoughts on it…

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First off, what’s it about?

A young woman, Elsie, is stuck in the world like just about every other young woman {one of my first observations was how RAW her voice was}. She’s just come back from an awful trip to Paris, her choice to go instead of college, and met this alcoholic troll of a man. I hate Jared. Hate hate hate him. But for some reason Elsie loved him. Throughout reading this book, I kept cringing at all the bad choices Elsie made. I found myself talking to her: “NO, don’t go back to him again!” Elsie’s severely depressed, and she realizes it, except deals with it in the WORST way possible. I’m not sure what the author was aiming for here, to be honest. Probably the best part of the novel is when she up and goes backpacking in Sri Lanka. I fell in love with her newest best friend, Suriya. Suriya was the sweetest girl ever and deserved the best. She was my favorite character in the book. I struggled with Elsie, and her character sometimes made me uncomfortable.

What was great about Wreck and Order is the traveling. Hannah Tennant-Moore used fantastic descriptions and a wide vocabulary, especially in Sri Lanka. I wonder if she’s been there for the fantastic way she seemed to know the third-world country. Politics were a big part of it, and her views were fresh. It’s hard not to offend anyone with topics like that, but I would say she’s done a pretty good job, especially for her first novel.

Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, so hopefully I am not being too vague.

I suppose you could say she ALMOST finds herself by the end, but the last chapter wasn’t too great for me.  You would expect some sort of answer at the end of this type of book, but only half an answer was provided from what I understand.

However, reading this book was entertaining, or I wouldn’t have been able to read all 300 pages in under 24 hours. Elsie is intelligent, no matter what dumb decisions she makes. I understand that makes absolutely no sense, but I guess you’ll find out if you read the book. To be brutally honest, I wouldn’t recommend it to many people unless you’re older (I know a lot of my followers are teens, as am I).

Overall, I’d have to give Wreck and Order three stars.

3-stars

I’m going to have a review for Coming Home by Rosamunde Pitcher up soon, so stay tuned!