My Novel Reviews

Edited: September 23rd, 2008
Edited: December 9th, 2008
Edited: December 22nd, 2008
Edited: December 28th, 2008
Edited: May 29th, 2009
Edited: July 26th, 2010
Edited: October 26th, 2010

The “Sweep” series — okay, so it’s a little “darker” than I usually read. My friend Katie (and now, my friend T.C. as well) are both reading a different numbered book in the series as well, but I’m ahead of them: on the fourth book. To sum it all up it is about your average girl–who meets a ravishing handsome, warm, mellow guy that moves into town a couple of weeks after school starts. Like every other girl in school, she is instantly attracted to him. Problem is, her best (and very shallow) friend Bree is interested in the tanned sweetheart as well, and because she has the body of a supermodel, is convinced that Cal (the guy) will “love” her back. Cal is a witch– and this is shown to everyone after a party they were holding out in a field under the stars winds down. He explains all types of things about Wicca, explains about the seven clans, and about how nothing in Wicca is meant to be dark, harmful, or hurtful in any way. In fact, he says, it is very frowned upon for any spells or herbs to be used malignantly. The plain girl who is narrating the story (I can’t picture her name for the life of me…) falls deeper head over heels for Cal, and it soon becomes apparent that the feeling may be mutual. How is Bree going to take that? Would their lifelong friendship be tested by the new, handsome, Wiccan boy who takes particular interested in “plain girl”? READ AND FIND OUT.  Author: Cate Tiernan

Lucas — Okay, so to tell you how captivated I get with books sometimes would be redundant, so I’ll explain it to you by example. I got this book out of our school library today, thinking the cover was nice, the description seemed awfully closed to my favorite novel scheme, so I checked it out. 420 pages, the whole book, done about an hour and a 1/2 ago. It was an easy, emotional read. It’s actually amusing in some parts because the author of the book himself, Kevin Brooks, is British, and so words like “bloody hell”, “wee bit”, etc are used frequently. The main character: Caitlin, was the daughter of an Irish Author, sister to a semi-lazy college student who comes home for the summer. This entire book, besides the last few pages are written over one summer. No, it’s not a cliffhanger, but it does leave you yearning for something. The description on the side: “I would have done almost anything to freeze that moment forever. It was so quiet and peaceful, so simple, so serene. I turned to see Lucas looking at me. His eye shone with a savage sweet clarity that took my breath away…” If you’re thinking it’s just another cheesy romance novel, think again. It’s not a romance at all. It has a few sweet scenes that’ll bring the awhh out of you, but no big relationship scenes or triangles that some authors obsess over. This book didn’t catch me in the first chapter, not even the second. But halfway through the fifth, I was hooked, and I didn’t stop reading, barely even stopped for dinner or to say goodnight to my parents. If you like descriptive novels, this would be one for you; if you like the “mysterious boy, a wanderer, an outsider  with no known family, who plays the hero on more than one occasion”, this is also a book for you. -grins-

The Lord of the Flies — I know! I surprised myself wanting to review this book, because I know when our teacher forced the reading material on us last year at breathtaking speed, I was one of the many that grumbled and procrastinated as much as possible before finally breaking down and accepting the book as necessary. I hated this book up until the climax (which was a little over halfway through), and I mean hated it. The characters, including the main character which was “Ralph” — a boisterous young…boy (like the rest of them) who was automatically elected to be leader because of his confident posture and for the way he took control in a scary situation. The book takes place on an island, where a charter plane carrying two sets of students, all boys, crashes, killing all adults and leaving the children to fend for themselves. This was during the time of a World War (doesn’t specifically name any war, because it wasn’t being based off a war we’ve had already: this is a fictional one), and the plane is forgotten amongst the chaos of a “nearby” atom-bomb explosion. In essence: the governments of their countries had other things to worry about. Jack, a stubborn, red-haired leader of the choir boys challenges Ralph for his leadership role throughout the book. And without giving anything away, he constantly looks upon the boys of his choir and the friends he makes in Ralph’s group to give him any ounce of strength and confidence. This book does not just tell a story, but symbolizes the deep savagery that all us humans are capable of under the right circumstances, surrounded by the right crowd. Or the wrong crowd, for that matter. It is a violent book, and at times it is a very sad book, but a necessary read for anyone who appreciates fine literature. Author: William Golding

The Darkest Evening of The Year — Author: Dean Koontz. Okay, I know the title sounds a bit ominous, but I promise it’s more about the power of good things rather than the bad things. Of course, as in any great novel there are antagonists who go by unknown names for most of the book, and there are the “heroes”, essentially, of the novel. Amy works for a golden retriever rescue organization, and owns two goldies herself. Dean Koontz is known for his works of literature that involve dogs –especially golden retrievers– and this is no exception to a wonderful tale for any animal lover. The story (though, not at first) centers around a dog that she rescues and nicknames “Nickie”. The household that Nickie came from was occupied by a slurring, drunken, & abusive man, who hits on his over-subordinate wife. Nickie has the most distinct eyes and calming, mellowed temper that Amy has ever seen in all her years rescuing. Her good friend Brian assists with the rescue, and plays a big role as the book progresses through it’s halfway point. This novel is a dramatic thriller, tensing, that will leave you guessing and reguessing previous theories you may have had up until the last three chapters. It leaves you with a solid conclusion; it is truly a breath of fresh air in the otherwise complicated books I’ve read. Great writing on Dean Koontz’s part.

Duma Key — This story is told from the perspective of a former building contractor: Edgar Freemantle. Weird name, I know. As with any Stephen King novel it is bound to leave you speechless with his complex, yet easily understandable writing style, and gripping, emotional scenes. It took me a while to read this book over the summer because of my many other distractions, but the prolonged experience of Duma Key only helped solidify my view on the book as a whole. It really was a great book! Stephen King portrays the life on an island just off the coast of Florida: Duma Key. It’s a private island with an intense artistic background, fairly unpopulated, mostly owned by a mentally aging old woman known as Elizabeth Eastlake. She has more significance in this book than you could ever dream, and as I neared the end, I felt myself clutching my chest as I turned each page, sure that the book was just going to disappear and leave me with a billion questions to go unanswered. After losing his right arm in a terrible construction accident (that’s where the beginning of the book kicks off), he moves from his not-so-cozy-anymore house in Minnesota, to the warm oceanfront home on Duma Key that he nicknamed “Big Pink”. After taking the advice of his therapist and developing friend “Dr. Kramer”, Edgar begins to paint. First he paints many different versions of the same Florida sunset. They are so powerful on him, that he begins to incorporate other items into his paintings; whether it be seashells he finds on his “Great Beach Walks” (a part of his personal physical therapy), or his ex-wife Pam’s gardening gloves, Edgar soon realizes that his paintings are taking a far darker, sinister turn. He soon meets Wireman, his neighbor and caretaker of “Miss Eastlake”, a Spanish fellow with a complicated past and warm eyes. This novel’s nail-biting suspense continues through the entire book, never really ending or beginning. My favorite character has to be Wireman. Maybe si, maybe no. 😉

Angels & Demons — I’m afraid it’s been about 1/2 a year since I read this gripping twist of a novel by Dan Brown (yes, the author of the Davinci Code that inspired the movie), but even now I remember how beautiful and elegant the writing became. A great scientifical breakthrough, not only fiction, but slightly nonfictional as well: the discovery and application of antimatter. I’ll admit that it slightly scared the hell out of me when I found out, “Hey…wait…this stuff is friggin real?” You have to read or study up on your science to grasp just how freaky this stuff is, antimatter, but let me tell you: it seem to be right out of a science-fiction novel. But it’s not fiction, it’s real. World-renowed Havard symbologist “Robert Langdon” is brought to a Swiss reasearch facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered father and physicist. He unveils a startling, unimaginable truth: a centuries-old underground organization known as the Illuminati have set into motion a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church. Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful daughter of the late physicist, Vittoria Vetra, to frantically hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and deserted cathedrals to stop a phenomanal catastrophe from happening, and wiping out one of the oldest and most sacred cities in the world: Vatican City. It is a poweful 450 page book; somewhat like the Davinci Code, but far more practical & interesting, in my own opinion. It has a daring plot that only Dan Brown could bring to the equation, and is still as fascinating no matter how many times you reread it. I myself have…twice.

Cell — I believe this book was made into a movie, but I’m not certain. I discovered it after my brother (and fellow Stephen King enthusiast) mentioned that I would like it. He said it was severely twisted and I soon discovered: my brother wasn’t exaggerating. Of course this only sparked my interest; I love complicated, controversial novels. Plus the author was Stephen King, so DUH, I was going to read it. The novel takes place in modern day, with all our modern technologies; our iPods, our Zunes, and iPhones, stereos and surround sound, not to mention our cellphones. An unknown (unknown throughout the entire book) terrorist organization decided that it would be a good and effective plan to wipe out people around the world by dialing into every cellphone frequency in the world (it was global, as far as we, the readers, know) and sending out a jacked-up frequency that literally altered the subconscious of each person who heard it. If you picked up a cellphone and listened to the call directly, you become one of them. One of the “crazies”. The book follows the story of Clayton Riddell, father and husband, and his desperate struggle to survive and hopefully find his son before death takes them both. I won’t give too much away on the status of the “crazies” throughout the book, although they account for a lot of the suicide and murder along the way (especially in the beginning). Clayton bands together with a small group of other survivors, fighting with all his physical and emotional strength to reach his song; all the while, praying that Johnny didn’t use the small red cellphone he had bought him for his last birthday to call for help…some dad! If you don’t like graphic violence and death, blood and anguish, fear and the gripping familiarity of humanity losing all connection to itself: (a) why are you thinking about reading Stephen King in the first place, and (b) you shouldn’t go near this book. Not even the cover. Seriously. Walk away. If you do have an inkling for any of those books, or are simply looking for something that will occupy a few days of your time, Cell is your novel. The last line of the book, in the “Epilogue” section, only consists of one sentence: “Stephen King lives with his wife in Maine. He does not own a cellphone.” WICKED. 🙂

 Vampire Kisses — I read this book recently because it was the subject of much “popularity” amongst fellow supernatural enthusiasts. I was pleased with the beginning and insides of the book; it tells the story of “Raven”, a gothic, sarcastic girl living in a very conservative, preppy town, “Dullsville”. A new family moves into the old, supposedly haunted, mansion on the hill, and it is all Raven can do not to try and get a closer peak. Which she does. It all starts with her meeting “Alexander”, or “Gothic Boy”, as she calls him. And though no one sees him (because he rarely leaves the mansion), she is completely and utterly obsessed. She wants so desperately for the crazy rumors to be true: that he and the rest of his creepy “Adam’s Family”-type family, are vampires. Raven wants to feel like she’s not alone in the world, that there is someone that might understand her morbid distaste for Dullsville and all it stands for.
She wasn’t expecting to fall in love.
Though the plotline is a little cliche` and predictable around the middle for my taste, it wasn’t a bad read. HOWEVER, I reached the end of the book, literally the last chapter, and almost every good comment I had dissolved. It ends badly, almost like a joke, not leaving the reader ‘wanting more’, but sort of ‘wanting to strangle the author & ask her what the hell her problem is.’ Though I reviewed this book, I do not recommend it.Author is Ellen Schreiber. Maybe this book is one of those that you have to read the rest of the series to really get to like. I just know that the ending to the first book sucked. I may read the rest of them and report back to you guys. 

The Host — This book was a surprising mix of the “supernatural” & teen feeling. It is not a quick read at all, and that is my only negative comment about it. Besides that, the plotline is easy to follow, and quite complex, much more complex than I’ve seen Stephenie Meyer write before. Meyer’s writing is phenomenal. The story starts with the viewpoint of a “host” creature, known amongst themselves as souls; and she is resides in the body of a human. Who is this human? Melanie Stryder, who is part of the human resistance force trying to survive the souls’ invasion. What is so special about this particular human?
Like Stephenie Meyer’s other books, a quick description would not do it justice. I can’t just say, “It’s about this alien life-form thing called a soul that…”, because it is automatically ‘frowned-upon’ by the readers, and they lose interest. But if you actually blot out your stupid bias and open the book, it is quite good. Wanderer is my favorite character, and I love another character, but you really don’t get to know the real him until the end of the book. A must read.

Gemma Doyle Series
A Great And Terrible Beauty — Wow. This book was just that. Not merely this book, but this series. I am calling it the “Gemma Doyle trilogy”, but I do not think that’s the official name. The first installment to this wonderful tale begins with tragedy, as all good stories do. The year is 1895, the place? Bombay, India. And then it is reform school for girls: Spence Academy. Gemma Doyle, sixteen and proud, must leave the warmth of her childhood home in India for the rigid Spence Academy, a cold finishing school outside of London, followed by a stranger who bears puzzling warnings. Using her sharp tongue and agile mind, she navigates the story seas of friendship with high-born and daughters and her roommate, a plain scholarship student. As Gemma discovers that her mother’s death may have an otherwordly cause, she finds that she herself may have innate powers. Gemma is forced to face her own frightening (yet exciting) destiny. And this is just the first book. Who is The Order? Who are The Rakashana? Who is the mysterious Indian boy, and why must her heart stay so out of control around her? In a successful attempt to show the gradual independent reform of woman, giving up the old English tight-lipped, tea-sipping, corset-wearing way of life, Libba Bray (author), shows a different London, a different realm entirely. It is such a powerful series, and I recommend it to women everywhere. This is most likely not a book for males at all. It’s not “romance” at all, more mystery, but only from the viewpoint of a woman can you really appreciate it. Sorry, boys.

The Southern Vampire Mysteries
Dead Until Dark — Okay, I have read a lot of books and series, but this one tops the cake as “Most Dramatic”, “Most Intense”, and “Most Sexual” I have ever read. I am a sixteen year old female living in modern society, and these books made me blush on countless occasions, so that’s saying a lot for the author right there. But the characters themselves are well thought-out, though sometimes overly dramatic, fairly satisfying.
And, ladies, the guys are the best part of these books (though in this book, it is only ONE “guy”); and believe me, there are a lot  of them. My favorite is not in this first book much, but his name is Eric Northman.
In all of his essence, this man is a god. Vampire badass, sex idol, hotness on a stick, blood-bonded hottie — whatever you want to call him, he is just RIGHT. And though all the other characters are quite nice, he and Bill Compton hold a special place in my heart….Eric’s place is just higher than Bill’s, because of Book Six. :]]
This book is actually the only one I  own and didn’t borrow from a friend, and I’ve read it twice already. It is very well-written, more so than the other literature works I’ve been reading lately, by a talented writer who knows her stuff. The story is based in Bon Temps, Louisiana. And a good friend of mine used to not live to far away from here! …Which makes me wonder about his possible immortality. Team Eric!

The Old Man and The Sea — Ernest Hemingway, the wonderful author, gives us this beautifully written piece of literature that has made its way into my top twenty favorite books. In its simplicity, there is a message and a feeling one cannot get from a pulp fiction novel (as much as  I depend on them sometimes). He has a true love for metaphors and similes – Hemingway kind of reminds me of Kahlil Gibran, author of “The Broken Wings”, another extremely well written book I read in the last month or so. This year  I’ve been looking for books like these because through their descriptions of the ocean or the striking country of Lebanon, they transport you to somewhere different. That is a skill of those authors that I am still honing, but Ernest created a cruel, unforgiving, honest world with this novel.
The old man.. I’m not sure we ever learned his name, the boy .. definitely never learn his name, he’s just referred to as “the boy”, and the Great Fish that the old man hunts and battles all come together as the three most important characters of the book. The fish itself has a voice through the old man’s out-loud musings, the thoughts he speaks out loud.
I do not know anything about fishing whatsoever. I mean the professional fishing, not the “my dad took me down to the creek” type, because that I’ve done. So all the technical terms, and the Spanish phrases used throughout the book (I think it was Spanish) were quite interesting to take in. I’m forever curious, so it helped tame my curiosity while I heard the story told of the Old man and the Sea.

The Hunger Games (trilogy)– All three of these books are well-written, dramatic tales of a country in the midst of much bloodshed, and on the cusp of change.  Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, is the main character, and she is the strongest female character I’ve read to date that just captures your heart and your mind — she is what makes you want to read more, coupled with the author, Suzanne Collins’, realistic imagery. I am so taken by this plot, that has too many twists and turns for me to begin to unfurl for you, but I’ll try to hit some key points.

There are three books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and the Mockingjay. In the first book, it describes the country of Panem (not set in a present day world, but a future one I believe) that has twelve districts and a Capitol. The Capitol. If you’re looking for a villain in this story, look to them and the causes they endorse. “The Hunger Games” themselves have been going on for decades; they are much like the gladiator matches in ancient Rome, where competitors fight to the death for either their freedom or some other reward, and only one comes out alive. Two competitors from each district, so twelve people in all, and what they are fighting for is more food and care for their district. These twelve are usually children or small adults, but not always — I say usually because many young ones will nominate themselves to save older citizens the brutal hell of the arena. Katniss Everdeen is the female nominee from District 12, and she competes in the Hunger Games through the first book.

I am not one for spoilers, and this piece of work is too magnificent to spoil for someone else. But I will tell you that, if it is common for you to express emotion from reading a book, you may shed more than a few tears. There is romance, there is a lot of loss and death for the Districts. But there is also a shining beacon of hope, a resistance and a new perspective on how Panem should be run, and how its citizens should be taken care of. If you want to find a book you’ll never put down, go pick this one up and give it a try. 100% recommendation.

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