Monday, May 20, 2013

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5/5 stars

Finally got around to re-reading this amazing novel, in time for the film to hit movie theaters! So if you're still undecided about seeing the film version of this classic novel, maybe you can read the book first and see how you like it. =)

I remember reading this book in high school, but remembered next to nothing about it. The one plot point from the end that I thought I remembered must have been from a different book because it never happened! However, once I began reading this amazing novel again, I couldn't believe that I hadn't fallen in love with it when I first read it years ago.

The story is narrated by Nick, who just moved into a modest house situated next to a mysterious Mr. Gatsby's mansion. He has a few friends in the area, namely Tom and Daisy Buchanan, but they are unhappily married, as Tom as a mistress. Eventually, Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's lavish parties, and becomes involved in a crazy, drama-filled summer once he befriends the millionaire. It turns out that Gatsby has a past even more interesting than Nick imagined, and that he lives this over-the-top lifestyle in order to try to impress the one woman who got away. The drama intensifies as all of the characters' lives become intertwined and all of their feelings come to light.

This novel is a short read: only 180 pages! The language is dated since the book's original publication was in 1925, but it's not very difficult, so it's a good classic to read if you don't normally read them. I loved the book; I thought it was fast-paced and a great classic that was still easy enough reading. I'm now super excited to see what Hollywood has done with the film and if it does the book justice! If you're undecided about this story, save yourself the $12 movie ticket, and borrow the book from your library first, and I hope you'll fall in love with it like I did. Happy reading =)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guilty Wives

Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis
5/5 stars

Wow, it's been an embarrassing amount of time since I've blogged. But I've still been reading! I absolutely ate this book up, and I wanted to share it with everyone because it's a great read for summer, which will be upon us soon!; it's a quick read, fast-paced, and perfect for the beach. It can be hard to navigate James Patterson's books, since he has about a bazillion of them. However, this is a standalone novel (not part of a series), and fairly new (2012), and definitely worth a read.

This novel starts out with a prologue that will make you wonder what the heck has happened, as it takes place with the narrator in a French prison, which is a living hell, and it seems as though her best friend, who is also there, is in major trouble. It then jumps back and tells the story of four women, wives and mothers, who went on what was supposed to be a relaxing, exciting girls vacation in Monte Carlo. However, they wake up after a wild night on a yacht to find the police everywhere, and the women are arrested! There are piles of evidence against them for a crime they did not commit, and the vacation of a lifetime definitely becomes a memorable one.

This was something different for Patterson, as he and his co-author formed a novel that is different from Patterson's usual stories of serial killers and detectives. Those are also great, but this was a breath of fresh air, as the novel focused on these women who claim to have been framed, and are helpless victims to the laws of France. The usual short chapters featured in Patterson's novels create a super quick read that is impossible to put down. The European setting was also different for Patterson, and really interesting to read about, especially when it came to dealings with the French government. There is enough ambiguity to make the reader wonder the whole time whether the narrator and her friends are truly innocent, and the stakes are sky high.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it really is a great beach (or anytime!) read. If you read this and enjoy it, I would suggest Patterson's Alex Cross series, which is awesome!

What I'm reading now...

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
5/5 stars

It's no secret that I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I admit, I did resist reading her for a while because I heard that her books were super sad, but after reading Salem Falls a few years ago, I was hooked. The Storyteller is her newest novel, brand new this year in fact. Before getting too deep into a summary of this amazing novel, I do want to give a disclaimer. This is a plot point not mentioned on the book's jacket synopsis, but I was glad that I heard whispers of this before I started reading or it would have caught me way off guard: This book deals extensively with Holocaust stories. I know not everyone feels comfortable reading about such tragedies (in fact, had this novel not been written by Picoult, I probably wouldn't have picked it up myself for that reason), so I just wanted to give fair warning. This book is beautifully crafted, but it is graphic and quite sad at times, so if you don't think that you would be ok reading this book, I understand. For those of you who are still interested though, you are in for a truly incredible, haunting tale.

The novel focuses on Sage Singer, a super shy young woman with a slight disfigurement from a car accident, who works the night shift at a bakery and tries to avoid human contact most of the time. However, she finds a friend in an elderly man named Josef, who also seems to be a loner. The two engage in great conversations, but then Josef reveals something dark about himself, and asks Sage for a favor (I will leave this ambiguous since I already gave away a bit of the plot :) ). Sage becomes caught in a serious moral dilemma as a result.

As the novel continues, about half of it ends up being graphic, tragic, yet beautifully written (and well researched!) flashbacks of the Holocaust from two characters' very different perspectives. At times it was hard to read, especially because I knew that these horrific things had really happened, but Picoult's style is so compelling that I couldn't put the book down.

The novel is also interwoven with a piece of short fiction that one of the characters had written as a young girl, which ends up being an interesting allegory for the Holocaust. This was a really cool touch and also helped give the reader a break from the tougher parts of the novel.

I wish I could say more about the plot, but since I already gave some away, I'd rather you all just read the book for yourselves and learn along the way as I did! It is truly a captivating tale about love and hate, hope, justice, family, and forgiveness. I won't lie, it was tough to get through at times, especially since I don't often read Holocaust literature because the subject really bothers me. However, I knew that I could trust Jodi Picoult to write a wonderful novel that would have a satisfactory ending that wouldn't leave me feeling upset or sick. Shocked maybe, but in a good, thoughtful way, as she always does.

Please let me know if you decide to read this, and what your thoughts are! This is a very different novel from anything I've read by this author, and in fact, different from what I normally read in general, but so worth it. Happy reading! =)

What I'm reading now...

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (sci fi) [I'm re-reading it :)]

2. Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark (mystery)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dark Tide

Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes
5/5 stars

I'm baaaack! =) And boy do I have an incredible book to share with you all. Remember my review of Into the Darkest Corner, AKA: The Scariest Book I've Ever Read?! (If this isn't ringing a bell, you had better check out that review and read that book!!) This is the second novel by Elizabeth Haynes, British author and police intelligence analyst. As soon as I finished her debut novel, I couldn't wait to read more of her work; I was so excited to get my hands on this novel a few weeks ago from my local library, as it is brand new in the U.S.! Dark Tide had a completely different plot than her first novel, but packed just as much suspense.

 It follows the story of Genevieve, a young British woman who has recently purchased and moved into her dream home: a houseboat. Named "Revenge of the Tide", the boat is a perfect escape for our heroine, who is taking a year off to fix up the boat and take a break from life. However, after her "housewarming" party a few months after she moves in, an old friend turns up at the marina...dead. We come to find out that Genevieve has an interesting past that includes being a dancer on the weekends at a gentleman's club in London, in addition to her sales job, in order to save money for the boat. Genevieve came in contact with some shady characters while working at the club, and despite wanting to spend her year off in peace and leave the past behind, it seems that this is not an option. The novel flashes from the present back to the year or so before during which Genevieve tried to balance her two jobs, as well as figure out her relationships with those at the club...who is a friend and who is a foe? Who might be worse than a foe?

Haynes impresses once again with her suspense and multidimensional characters. Genevieve is quite different from the heroine of Haynes' first novel, but that just proves that the author has more than one good story in her. I haven't read anything like this before, and I just ate it up. The flashbacks to Genevieve's time at the club were so interesting to read about, and the present day drama that she dealt with made the book a page-turner. As you get closer to the end, the suspense and danger build, until you have to stay up all night until you finish the book and find out what will become of Genevieve and those she holds dear. The idea of having a houseboat as the main setting was definitely out of the box and I loved it. While Genevieve seems to be in her safe haven, she's also so vulnerable, out there in a marina in the middle of nowhere.

Overall, this book was a fast-paced, sexy thriller and I loved it! I can't wait to see more from Elizabeth Haynes, and I will be sure to review anything else I read by her. Happy reading! =)

Note: Haynes' third novel, Human Remains, is out in England but will likely take a few months to be released here, as with her previous novels.

What I'm reading now...

1. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Friday, April 5, 2013

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”- Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm Still Reading (and Blogging)!

Hello all! It's been a slow reading month for me and I haven't really read anything worth blogging about, but not to worry, I'll be back on schedule as soon as I have something interesting to share. =) In the meantime, feel free to recommend books for me and/or send me your reviews of what you're reading!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Other 50!

Here's the list of the second half of the 100 books I read this year! For the first half, click this link: If you are interested in more information or my opinion on any of these books, just ask! The ones that I reviewed on this blog are click-able links, in case you missed that particular review. Happy reading. =)

51. 9/7 Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott 5/5 stars
52. 9/8 Go Ask Alice by Anonymous 5/5 stars
53. 9/12 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 4/5 stars
54. 9/12 Forever... by Judy Blume 5/5 stars
55. 9/15 Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle 5/5 stars
56. 9/17 Dark Places by Gillian Flynn 5/5 stars
57. 9/20 Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson 5/5 stars
58. 9/24 Keesha's House by Helen Frost 4/5 stars
59. 9/25 Stolen by Lucy Christopher 5/5 stars
60. 9/28 The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier
61. 10/1 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 4/5 stars
62. 10/4 Dare Me by Megan Abbott 5/5 stars
63. 10/9 American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang 4/5 stars
64. 10/10 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 4/5 stars
65. 10/11 The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier 5/5 stars
66. 10/22 Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge 5/5 stars
67. 10/22 Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky 4/5 stars
68. 10/31 Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 4/5 stars
69. 11/1 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 4/5 stars
70. 11/5 Every Day by David Levithan 5/5 stars
71. 11/6 A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz 5/5 stars
72. 11/15 Impulse by Ellen Hopkins 5/5 stars
73. 11/17 The Wave by Todd Strasser 5/5 stars
74. 11/19 Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume 4/5 stars
75. 11/28 The Maze Runner by James Dashner 5/5 stars
76. 11/30 Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe 5/5 stars
77. 12/2 The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez 4/5 stars
78. 12/7 Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson (an Alex Cross novel) 5/5 stars
79. 12/13 Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes 5/5 stars
80. 12/18 Boy Toy by Barry Lyga 5/5 stars
81. 12/20 The Giver  by Lois Lowry 5/5 stars
82. 12/26 Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult 5/5 stars
83. 12/28 My Point...And I Do Have One by Ellen DeGeneres 4/5 stars
84. 1/7 An Adundance of Katherines by John Green 4/5 stars
85. 1/9 The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (The Maze Runner Trilogy Book 2) 5/5 stars
86. 1/12 Teach Me by R.A. Nelson 4/5 stars
87. 1/16 The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer 5/5 stars
88. 1/17 Matched by Allie Condie 5/5 stars
89. 1/25 Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty 4/5 stars
90. 1/28 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 4/5 stars
91. 2/1 How They Met, and other stories by David Levithan 5/5 stars
92. 2/4 The Death Cure by James Dashner (The Maze Runner trilogy Book 3) 5/5 stars
93. 2/12 Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched trilogy Book 2) 4/5 stars
94. 2/15 Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson 4/5 stars
95. 2/16 Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott 4/5 stars
96. 2/19 The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres 5/5 stars
97. 2/23 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin 2/5 stars
98. 2/23 Monster by Walter Dean Myers 5/5 stars
99. 2/26 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 5/5 stars
100.2/28 Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson 4/5 stars