Monthly Archives: August 2013

Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller

The Storyteller
Jodi Picoult
Adult Fiction
Rating 3.75

Jodi Picoult hasn’t fascinated me in the past, but the WWII theme does and is what drew me to this story (and the cover being gorgeous doesn’t hurt either).  The Storyteller tells the stories of an ex-Nazi, a depressed recluse, and a Holocaust survivor by weaving their tales together into a rather heart wrenching novel.

But forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself.  It’s saying, “You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.” It’s saying, “You don’t get to trap me in the past.  I am worthy of a future.”

Sage, the modern day main character, carries guilt with her everywhere she goes and she hides behind it like it is a shield.  Her life is currently a hot mess and then everything becomes even more turned around when a supposed friend of hers decides to divulge his life-altering secret of having once been a Nazi.  Honestly, Sage annoyed me and the part I liked best about her was her bread making, which invariably made me extremely hungry every time I picked up the book!

What made this story for me though, was when it shifted characters and time periods to the Holocaust survivor during WWII.  This part, I felt, was well written, if hard to stomach at times.  It was fascinating and seemed well researched.  I also enjoyed the fairytale which was weaved throughout the story tying everything together and giving some added depth.

Despite the fact I enjoyed parts of the story so much, it definitely isn’t my favorite WWII novel.  Some of the situations were just so coincidental I almost wanted to slam the book shut at parts. However, it’s worth reading for the messages and at the end I wanted to go back and re-read some of it…but not on the top of my WWII fiction stories.

Other WWII fiction I’ve enjoyed: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

Any thoughts, comments, ideas from my lovely readers?

Top Ten Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

So this was a tough one for me as I have a hard enough time remembering the main character’s names. And I realized that most of my favorite secondary characters are from Harry Potter as they are the most memorable for me and I actually cared for them and not just Harry.

Malfoy from Harry Potter

Yes, he’s a “bad guy” but his character is just so interesting (and I’ve always had a huge crush on him). There is just enough information about him to picture him perfectly, but not so much you can’t picture your own stories about his life.

Dustfinger from Inkheart

My favorite character in this series.  He is always mysterious and elusive and just awesome..

Nico from Percy Jackson series

Another mysterious character I really wish I could see more of.

Annabeth from Percy Jackson series

Annabeth is amazing and she does get her own voice sometimes, but she’s never the star…however, she is by far  my favorite female character.

Sirius Black from Harry Potter

A wonderful character I wish I found was a secret godparent…I loved the scenes wit Sirius.

Isabelle Lightwood from TMI series

Another awesome female character who isn’t the main character…strong, beautiful, and independent.

Lupin from Harry Potter

Hmm, I may have spotted a theme for this post,…Lupin is another one of my favorite HP characters. Wish there were more stories about him too…

Who are yours? Got any similar ones?

A Short Story Worth Reading! : The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan

The Son of Sobek

The Son of Sobek (eBook)
Rick Riordan
JF Fantasy
Rating 5

What would I do without Rick Riordan?  I am so amazed every time I read another one of his books that he can manage to keep the plot fast paced and interesting with so many unique characters I wish I could be friends with.  And this short story was SPECTACULAR.

Typically I never read those short stories about a specific character authors publish in between books (like the ones which are a part of the Lorien Legacies series or the Beautiful Creatures one, I think there may even be a Divergent one?) because they just seem like a waste of time to me. (If we were talking about Harry Potter I would be all over it, but hey, that’s special.) BUT, I had to read The Son of Sobek because it was about (and I so totally knew this was going to happen!!) Percy Jackson meeting Carter Kane!!  This is so ridiculously exciting because it opens up room for so much more to happen with the two mythological Greek and Egyptian worlds colliding. 

The short story itself was honestly, more than I was expecting.  It kept the same humor, the same action and pace as all of the full length novels AND gave all of us HUGE fans the promise of some awesome books to come!! In the story, Percy and Carter must work together to help save a community from a rogue monster, however, they must first get past thinking they’re each other’s enemy…if that is possible.

Book 10 and I’m Still Madly in Love: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, #10)

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
Pink Carnation #10
Adult Historical Fiction;/Romance
Rating 5!!

Who knew randomly ordering a clearance book off Barnes and Noble years ago would end up with such an obsession.  I will NEVER regret ordering The Secret History of the Pink Carnation because I liked the title and the cover looked cool, because now I’m on the 10th one in the series and I still LOVE every word of it. You would think at 10 books in this series I would get sick of it, however, the exact opposite is true…I keep falling even more head over heels in love with Willig’s Pink Carnation series.  They are just pure amazingness : ) The wit in these books is outstanding and she is one of three authors (as of yet) who can make me laugh out loud while reading on a regular basis. Gah, I want the next one is this series NOW!

If you’re not familiar with Willig’s writing style, it is one that flips between two different storylines; one in the past (Bonaparte’s time) and one in present day. All except one of her novels in this series is written in this manner. In the first few books I felt the present day storyline could have been done away with, but I now I truly care about these modern folks and do actually take the time to read their stories. 

In Passion of the Purple Plumeria we have as the main character Miss Gwendolyn Meadows, the governess of Jane Wooliston. Miss Gwen has always been an imperious and rather humorous (because she’s so blunt) character in previous novels so I was very interested (and a little nervous) to see how a book focusing on her would turn out. I was afraid I wouldn’t believe her story because of what I had already read about her beforehand…but I needn’t have worried. Willig did a splendid job of keeping the story just as believable, action-packed, humorous, and as full of passion as all of her other novels. This one in particular had great banter back and forth between Miss Gwen and her Colonel Williams.

I wish I could get everyone to read this series….is the next one out yet?

Top Ten Things That Make Our Lives as Book Bloggers/Avid Readers Easier

Top Ten Things That Make Our Lives as Book Bloggers/Avid Readers Easier

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This topic is a pretty awesome one, even though I could only think of 8 at the moment, I’m excited to peruse other lists tomorrow night and see what I’m missing out on! So leave comments if you have suggestions or links to your blog so I can check ‘em out…I love connecting with other avid bookish people  : )

Libraries! Okay, so I may be biased, but without libraries I would be a wannabe reader. There is no possible way I could afford to get all of the books, ebooks, or audiobooks I want to read without libraries.  So go utilize them…NOW! 🙂

Book Bloggers  I love meeting and interacting with other bloggers and getting recommendations from others. It’s a great way to expand my reading horizon.

Goodreads  Another great way to interact with other readers and to keep track of what/when youv’e read and whether you liked it or not.  Plus it gives you awesome recommendations.Add me on Goodreads!

Library Thing My favorite place to catalog books…Plus I love SantaThing : ) And another way to connect with others and get recommendations.

Reading Journal Before blogging, Goodreads, and LibraryThing this was the only record I kept of what I was reading and also the only way I could remember what books were about later.  (Especially helpful when continuing series.)

My newly started Quotes Journal  I love finding quotes in books and I plan on keeping this with the current book I am reading at all times.  (A tip from a fellow blogger : ) Plus I love adding a quote or two into a review.

NetGalley A great way to discover new reads…for free : ) and be able to give honest reviews about them. I’ve been finding awesome books this way!

Book Stores I don’t actually buy a lot of books, because I just can’t afford too, but I still love book stores and I find them so helpful for discovering new authors and new releases.  I love looking at all of the displays and writing down titles to add to my TBR and library list.

Stacking the Shelves!

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I always forget to do these, but I’m going to try and be better about this and do them every week or two because Stacking the Shelves is a great meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.  So for the remainder of August I’m going to be optimistic and hope that these get finished before the dreaded return to school. (Reality of return hasn’t quite hit yet. After a 4 year break, school is bit hard to fathom. Full-time online grad school and full time public library work…should be interesting!) Anywho, here are the three books and a short story I hope to start and finish in the next two weeks:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Library book)

I just really want to read this one.  I feel it will be a really fast-paced read from all the awesome reviews I’ve read.  Plus everyone keeps telling me to read it…so I will : )

The StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Library book)

I didn’t like the only other book I read which was “kind of” written by Picoult; Between the Lines, but this one sounds fantastic (but hey, so did that one). It’s about an ex-Nazi and a Holocaust survivor and I’m a sucker for WWII fiction, so we will see… I had to move this to the top of my list because I had been on hold for it since February..and there are still 45 holds on the book, so no renewals for this librarian. (Plus I really want the top that girl is wearing on the cover!)

The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis (received from publisher)The Lonely Tree

This sounds like a great historical fiction read.  Click here to read a summary.

The Son of SobekThe Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan (Amazon eBook)

I hadn’t realized this had been released…two months ago until I saw a review on Escaping Reality-One Book at a Time’s blog! So I immediately purchased it and will devour it as soon as I find the charger for my tablet…

Simply Wonderful: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini
Adult Fiction
Rating 5

So I finally read this…I put it off and put it off because, honestly, I just didn’t want to feel as depressed as I have with Hosseini’s previous novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I mean they were wonderfully written, but I felt so sad after reading them.  But, I finally bit the bullet and gave it a go…and guess what? I’m not sad! This was an amazing book, very well written…and not thoroughly depressing.  I gained something from it, which is always a wonderful feeling.

“J’aurais dû être plus gentille—I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.”

I was really confused when I started reading this because of the format it was written in. It’s not your traditional linear story, nor your flip from present day to past with flashbacks between different characters.  It tells a cohesive story from the viewpoints of different characters throughout different parts of each of their lives, but they all fit together like one giant puzzle. And at the end you’ll go ‘Ahhh!’

For me, it was amazing to see how what seemed like one simple decision at the very beginning of the story, turned out to be one huge complicated…well mess.  It made me think “Hey, I shouldn’t judge people so harshly because there is probably a lot more to their story.”  The characters were constantly changing, but it’s only because of the different sides you of them throughout the story…it’s brilliant!  And one decision can change everything and impact many, many people.

I would love to read this again someday to explore all the different aspects of the characters and how Hosseini managed to pull it all together.

Talk to me about this one!

Top 10 Books with a Fairytale or Mythological Setting

Top Ten Books with a Fairy Tale or Mythological Setting

(this may be stretching the definition of setting, but I don’t care…)

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This series takes prominent fairy tale females and puts them in a futuristic world and surprisingly it’s absolutely fantastic.

Cinder #1 and Scarlet #2

 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Modern day demigods, their immortal parents, and the never-ending quests to save the world.  I LOVE these…and continue to love them with the continuation of the characters in the Lost Heroes series.

Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

I was scared this series wouldn’t be as good as the Percy Jackson series since I was head over heels for Avalon Highthose characters, but Riordan didn’t disappoint me one bit with this series. It was fantastic getting to learn more about Egyptian mythology I wish there were more though!

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

King Arthur tales hold a special place in my heart for some reason, so I thoroughly enjoyed Cabot’s modern spin on it.

Spindle's EndSpindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Sleeping Beauty’s tale re-told in a rather unique way. This is the only one I’ve read by McKinley so far, but I really enjoyed it so I will (hopefully) be able to read another in the near future.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel series by Michael Scott

Mythological creatures and famous people who’ve become “immortal” on a chase to fight for the world.  A wonderful Abandon (Abandon Trilogy, #1)series blending modern day life with mythological creatures and amazing characters.

Abandon series by Meg Cabot

A modern day re-telling of Hades and Persephone in true Cabot form. Funny, fast-paced, and romantic.

FearlessReckless series by Cornelia Funke

Behind the mirror is another land where there are many different creatures and references to fairy tales we know (I suspect there are more references to fairy tales, but the author is German so maybe I’m not catching all of them).

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Ella EnchantedElla Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

These two aren’t re-done fairy-tales, but modern day fairy tales, which I’m sure in due time will become classics.

What are yours??? Got any suggestions?

 

Magical, Heartbreaking, but Wonderful: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
Adult Fiction
Rating 4

I shouldn’t have doubted that I would like something else by Gaiman. Stardust is so amazing, I don’t think anything else he has written can be bad (although I haven’t read anything else so don’t hold me to it!). Ocean at the End of the Lane wasn’t as spectacular as Stardust for me, probably because it took place in our world, but it was still an awesome read. It was creepy (not enough to give me nightmares though!) but with sentimentality and with passages I enjoyed reading over a couple times because they were written so well or just struck a chord with me.

I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.

The characters in this story are wonderful. The main character, a young boy, narrates for us and we see events unfold through his eyes, which at times is heartbreaking and at others insightful and uplifting. It was very interesting to view some very adult situations through a child’s viewpoint (though of course it was written by an adult, it’s still intriguing). There are also three great otherworldly ladies; the Hempstocks. A grandma, mom, and daughter who really, for me anyway, made the story…I loved them. They were mysterious and knowledgeable and the kind of people I would love to know.  Then there is this terrifying really creepy villain who scared the bejeezus out me.

As I said earlier, the story takes place in our world with the fantasy element being very blended into the real world. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving too much away…so I will just say it was magical… and a bit heartbreaking… yet still wonderful!

Top Five Books I Wish Had Sequels

 

Top Ten Five Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 

I have been missing these for far too long! And this week’s turned out to be a difficult one for me; Top ten stories you wish had sequels.  What I discovered was that most of what I have read in the past three years have all been part of or beginnings to series! Guess I found a gigantic hole in my reading… So, for now I only have five until I can remedy this situation:

 

 The Princess Bride The Princess Bride by William Goldman

 

I loved this book so, so much and really want to read MORE! (I suppose it’s been long enough since I read it last that it could do with a re-read though ; ) High adventure and some fantasy mixed with romance and humor. Perfect.

 

Avalon HighAvalon High by Meg Cabot

 

Technically this does have a sequel, but the sequel (or sequels?) are graphic novels and I’m just not into them. I loved the book and I can’t see myself enjoying a graphic novel half as well. Romance, modern day King Arthur re-telling = awesome.

 

The Night CircusThe Night Circus Erin Morgenstern

 

This story was magical and I wanted to crawl inside of it; I could do with more of this story… or at least something similar by the author.

 

StardustStardust by Neil Gaiman

 

An amazing story I never wanted to end, so yes, I would love another one in this world!

 

Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1)Septimus Heap Saga by Angie Sage

 

I love this series, but it’s over now : ( I’m hopeful there will be future books in this world though because of some hints at the end of the last book which would be great!

 

What are some stories you just wanted to see more books of?

P.S. Don’t forget that the 10th Pink Carnation book, Passion of the Purple Plumeria, by Lauren Willig comes out today!!

 

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