Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oops

Well, I reworked another review from the Weasley Files of Past Reviews (since I am still happily reading Harry Potter) - but guess what? My computer froze and bye-bye went my review (which I stupidly had yet to save on Word). Sadly I don't have time to rewrite it so I must leave you with my apologies this week. I'll reopen the poll so y'all can do something once you so kindly visit my blog. I really don't like polls ending with tied results. Must be a Weasley family trait.

In the meantime, butterbeer is on me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pirates!


I’m still feeding my insatiable desire that is Harry Potter so here is yet another review from times past (past reviews from reader review programs, reworked book reports, etc., but still a new book review for you all the same!).

Written by Celia Rees, these 380 pages didn’t take long at all to devour. Imagine being sixteen years old and a female in 1722. Your life is really not much about more than fashion and finding a good husband. And what is there to do once that is settled? Well, have many children and do everything your husband desires, of course!

Nancy Kington is to be yet another victim to this boring, monotonous life. She is the only daughter of a widowed, remarried, wealthy merchant and though she is in love with her childhood friend, William, she is soon being linked to a rich Brazilian man who is not only much older than her but also very, um, unlikable and controlling. He is disgustingly interested in Nancy, which makes her father happy since he has a sudden debt in his business, and sees only the money that can be made out of this marriage. Don'tcha wish we could’ve lived in those cheery times? Well, at least the dresses were gorgeous.

Anyway, before Nancy can even really come to terms with this knowledge, she’s sent to one of her father’s plantations in Jamaica to start making herself at home – since it soon will be. It is there, as she tries to submit to her fate, that she sees with her own eyes the cruelty of slavery, and through a harrowing event finds herself bonded in friendship with Minerva, a black girl her own age. They have to run (I won’t tell you why, that would ruin it!) and find themselves immersed in a foreign world. A foreign, outlaw world of pirates.

Raw emotion shines through Celia Rees’ excellent writing. And the character depth is outstanding. You feel for these characters strongly and become a part of their lives. Their personalities are distinct and dynamic. Pirates! was highly entertaining, full of adventure and a little romance, as well as being touching and electrifying in it’s honest portrayal of the worst – and best – of human nature.

I definitely recommend it. This is a book for anyone and everyone, as it’s about being accepted without regard to your race, gender, or social status in the world. It’s about looking behind the scenes at what is called “wrong” and seeing that it might be more right than the one’s who judge it. It really isn’t so much about pirates (though we all love pirate stories, right?!) but about these two young women who dare to do more than sew in the sitting room (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but manage to become two of the most notorious pirates in the (fictitious) world.

Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jericho Walls


Okay, listen, I am officially back off the wagon, relapsing violently with a maniacal reread of the entire Harry Potter series (I'm on Prisoner of Azkaban already). I figured y'all already understand my obsession with those books and might not appreciate a review of each individual novel in the series. So, I delved into some past reviews I'd written (on other sites, Amazon, B&N, etc.) and reworded them a bit for your reading enjoyment. First, sadly is a negative review - but I just can't bring myself to just post positive reviews. I love some books (ahem, I point your attention to the post directly beneath this one) and I, uh, don't like others. And it's nothing personal to the authors, it's just my opinion.

Kristi Collier's Jericho Walls is a look at life in the South during the 1957 Civil Rights Movement centers around young Jo Clawson, the daughter of a preacher. She's new and town and doesn't seem to meet up to anyone's standards. She's not enough of a lady. She can't make friends.

She meets a young black boy and becomes friends - though he doesn't seem to want to at first. And she starts to realize what racism truly is and thus begins her coming-of-age story.

Sadly, I’d have to say that as much as I found the concept compelling, nothing specific in the book enthralled me enough to point out. Each character was nicely, and quietly, nuanced but there was nothing to keep me glued to the pages. I couldn't really relate to Jo or get involved in her life.

Actually, I didn't even finish the book. I hate doing that, but as I've said before - there are so many great books out there that I don't think I should force myself to finish something I'm not enjoying.

I made it to page 87 before I realized it was becoming too much of a chore for me to read it. There was nothing particularly entertaining about the book. I liked the idea, as I said, and it did have a sweetness to it, but it was very slow-moving and… I became very bored.

I do plan on trying it again in the future and finishing it. But for now, with my busy schedule and lots of books calling to me from my shelf, it was too hard to stay devoted to a book that I considered dull and sluggish.

I guess a big problem I had with the book as well was that it seemed to be trying real hard to be To Kill a Mockingbird, but far inferior. Nothing seemed extremely original or interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. But I think it was an admirable effort.

My personal taste tends to expect a lot from a coming-of-age story. They don't have the plot of a thriller, of an adventure, of a fantasy - so I feel the writing and the characters have to come to life vividly and force you to care so much about them that their every day life actually means something to you. This was not the case in Jericho Walls.

But maybe you'll disagree!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hunger Games


Exciting. Heart-wrenching. Thrilling. Horrifying. Breathtaking. Suspenseful.

Just a few words I can use to describe the insanely addictive, page-turning first volume in a new trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Katniss, a sixteen-year-old, tough, and already world-weary girl, lives in a futuristic version of North America - a cruel dictatorship separated into lonely, hungry districts. It's science fiction at it's absolute best. You know, where it kind of scares you? Yeah, this does.

See, the tyrant that is the Capitol has a certain way of keeping their firm grip on the people. Apparently there was a rebellion in the past - so they try to stave that off with the "Games". It's almost like a raffle, only your life is at stake.

Every child 12 to 18 is entered from each district, and two from each district are chosen (one male, one female) to compete and kill each other in order to be the last one standing in an arena of the Capitol's choosing (frozen wasteland, dangerous jungle, burning desert, etc.). And not only do the families have to know that their child (if chosen) will most likely die - but they have to watch. That's right - it's shown on live television all day. And made out to be a ton of fun.

Suddenly, Katniss finds herself the female "contender" for her district. And in order to survive? She needs to kill 23 other kids, some possibly only 12 years old. And all of whom want to kill her, too.

But I can't say more than that - every twist and turn of this novel is like a crazy, but wonderful, roller-coaster ride.

Not only does this book make you care immensely for Katniss and every other character - but it offers up searing romance, touching loyalty, and plain and simple thrills.

Let me just tell you, the atmosphere is vivid, the adventure is scary, and the overall novel? Fantastic! The intricate details of the opening ceremonies, interviews, and general strangeness of this reality TV "competition" is altogether impressive. I take my hat off to you, Ms. Collins. You caused me some pretty gory, bizarre dreams. And it was worth it.

Honestly. You'll be crying with relief there's two more to come. I know I was.

(It's coming out on Sept. 14th.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Bibliophile's Confession

Hello!

I've been really busy and tired this week and I'm unable to get a new book review posted. But I should get one up next week (on the thrilling The Hunger Games). Unless I am maimed by a hippogriff or invited onto the Hogwarts Express between now and then.

I'm sorry! I hope you take the opportunity to look at some of my reviews you may not have read yet in the archives.

No worries. The therapy will continue soon enough! :)