2014 – Book #33


The thirty-third book I read in 2014 was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I finished this book on 4/30/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. I didn’t know this before I went to the author’s website, but this is apparently the first in a 4 book series. This book is about a boy named Jonas who lives in a dystopian society. Jonas’ world is free from war, pain, or really any other kind of strong emotion. He lives in an extremely structured society where children are taught strict rules and are grouped by ages into groups (Ones, Twos, Threes, etc).

When the Elevens graduate into becoming Twelves however, they are assigned their jobs where they will work for the rest of their lives. When it comes to be Jonas’ turn though he is not assigned but selected. He is selected to be the next Receiver of Memories for his community. Apparently in this Society they select one person to hold the memories of the world so that those memories can assist the Elders in making tough decisions but the whole population will not be subjected to these memories. The worst part about this is that one person has to hold all the pain of the world but the Elders only ask him for advice every few years. And as Jonas learns, receiving these memories from the previous Receiver (now named The Giver as he is giving all his memories to Jonas) is extremely painful, especially when you have lived your whole life sheltered from any kind of pain. Jonas learns to truly feel things for the first time, not only pain but love, joy, and warmth. He learns about colors and begins seeing them in his daily life. This is a lonely task though as none of the other people in his life can feel anything.

This book is classified as a dystopian novel. Per Wikipedia, “a dystopia is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia) Other examples of recently popular dystopian novels include Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Ruth, and The Host by Stephanie Meyer, all of which have been made into movies in recent years as well. Dystopian novels normally portray some kind of futuristic society in which the hero/heroine is in danger because of that society. I find these books to be fascinating portrayals of what society could end up as in some future era.

One of my mini-goals for this year was to read a book from Goodread’s/Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” listing. This book was on that list as a “classic dystopia” novel. Here is a link to the listing: http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=bhp_brws_100bks?ie=UTF8&node=8192263011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&pf_rd_r=15NGNHHEHC9AP9YBWM40&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1779646742&pf_rd_i=283155. This technically was a re-read for me since I read this book in middle school as part of a Mother-Daughter Book Club. With the movie coming out soon though (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435651/?ref_=nv_sr_1) I thought it was worth a re-read to make sure I am up to speed. I always think that reading the book before you see the movie is the better way to do it. Our minds are powerful things and can create magical worlds from the descriptions on a page, but the movies tell you what is and how it should look. I much prefer to imagine it myself.

This novel was utterly fascinating, I could not put the book down. And one of the things I love about dystopian novels is that they are so thought provoking. To think that society could someday end up like this, taking away all choices and feelings in order to protect people, is astounding. This is a great novel and honestly is a great read for young adults.

Link to author website: http://www.loislowry.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Giver-Lois-Lowry/dp/0385732554/ref=br_lf_m_1002140381_2_38_clkmr?ie=UTF8&s=books&pf_rd_p=1736476662&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1002140381&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=05YZJVS9F27YVSQF866H

2014 – Book #32


The thirty-second book I read in 2014 was Till Dawn wit the Devil by Alexandra Hawkins. This is the second book in the Lords of Vice series by this author. I finished this book on 4/29/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Lady Sophia Ravenshaw and Gabriel Housely, the Earl of Rainecourt, affectionately known to his friends as Reign. When these two meet at a ball, Reign is instantly attracted to the blond angel Sophia. When Sophia’s brother storms onto the terrace to rescue her from Reign’s scandalous nature, Reign discovers that his lady is a Ravenshaw. The Rancourt and Ravenshaw names are twisted together in a number of sordid past tragedies, but Reign can’t stop himself from wanting Sophia.

After Reign finds out Sophia is in trouble he races off to her rescue, but in rescuing her from her family he doesn’t realize he’s placing her in even greater danger. When he is faced with losing the love that’s begun to bloom inside of him, he knows he must fight for his wife’s life in order to keep what’s developing between them.

My blog post on the first book in the Lords of Vice series was overall not my favorite. There was a lot of  things in the story that made me slightly uncomfortable while I was reading it. The second book in the series though was greatly improved, I liked it a lot better than the first. It was touching and interesting, sweet and steamy at the same time. Overall this was a great book and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Link to author website: http://www.alexandrahawkins.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Till-Dawn-Devil-Lords-Vice/dp/0312381255/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398817956&sr=8-1&keywords=till+dawn+with+the+devil

2014 – Book #31



The thirty-first book I read in 2014 was Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. This is the second book in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, I read the first in 2013. I finished this book on 4/28/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Connor O’Dwyer and his lifelong friend Meara Quinn.

As the cousins O’Dwyer and their friends recover from their last battle with the evil Cabhan and try to plan for their next attack, Connor finds himself attracted to his sister’s lifelong friend Meara. But Meara has scars from her past that close off her heart from Connor’s love, and leave her susceptible to Cabhan’s sorcery.

One of the things I love most about this series is the interwoven back story back to the original Three Dark Witches, children of Sorcha. The story from long ago used as a backdrop for the journey of the Three Dark Witches now is very interesting. This book was fairly riveting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started it.

Though this was a simple story, it was one full of love, friendship, and family. It was a very touching story and I think I may have even liked it better than the first in the series. I am looking forward to the third book so I can find out if Fin and Brannan are finally able to work out their issues and be together.

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/index.php

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Spell-Cousins-ODwyer-Roberts/dp/0425259862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736504&sr=8-1&keywords=shadow+spell

2014 – Book #30


The thirtieth book I read in 2014 was River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz. I finished this book on 4/25/14. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Lucy Sheridan and Mason Fletcher in the small town of Summer River.

Lucy is still ticked that Mason had the nerve to pull her out of a party and drag her home when she was sixteen, but she isn’t aware of the danger she was in at the time.  Skip forward to thirteen years later, Lucy is a woman with a job she loves but she can’t seem to find the right guy. She returns to Summer River after she inherits her aunt’s house and who does she run into but Mason Fletcher. Mason has grown up as well but he’s still got a protective streak in him and Lucy’s not one to take well to being given orders anymore. Their personalities and the compromises they make to adjust those personalities to fit well with one another was a great piece of this story.

Krentz usually writes novels with some kind of psychic or paranormal twist. However, this was a fantastic romantic suspense (with no psychic or paranormal twists)  that kept me riveted through the whole story. Overall it felt like a quick read, but the story was full of intrigue and honestly I never saw it coming who the villain turned out to be. Was a great book and if you like romantic suspense I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website: http://jayneannkrentz.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/River-Road-Jayne-Ann-Krentz/dp/0399165126/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398515120&sr=1-1&keywords=river+road

2014 – Book #29


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I only count the two novellas connected to the Beautiful Creatures series as one book so the twenty-ninth book(s) I read in 2014 were Dangerous Dream and Dream Dark by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished these books on 4/22/14.

Dream Dark takes place between the second and third book in the Beautiful Creatures series. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5, mostly because it was so short and honestly I was expecting a little more substance. It was an interesting filler story though, it tells the story of Link after he finds out that he’s been bitten and is turning into an Incubus. He begins being trained by Macon to control his new abilities. Macon asks him to deliver a message to a friend in Barbados and Link doesn’t expect to encounter what he finds when he arrives with Macon’s message.

Dangerous Dream takes place after the fourth book in the Beautiful Creatures series and leads into the Dangerous Creatures series starring Ridley Duchannes and Ethan’s best friend Link. I rated this novella 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This novella starts with Gatlin High School’s graduation ceremony and leads into Ridley’s freak out when Link tells her that he loves her. She gets herself into a bit of trouble which is where this novella ends and I’m guessing is where the Dangerous Creatures series is going to begin. (Release date May 20th!)

Overall these were both interesting stories and good additions to the overall series. Not sure about the prices though. These novellas are only available in E-Book format and one was $2 and the other $3. And considering combined they were only about 100pages, some of which is just previews for other books, the prices seemed a bit steep for what I got. However, the events in Dream Dark are referenced in the fourth book in the Beautiful Creatures series and Dangerous Dream leads into the Dangerous Creatures series so I guess its worth it to understand what’s being referenced.

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesnovels.com/

Link to Amazon for Dangerous Dream: http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Dream-Beautiful-Creatures-Story-ebook/dp/B00F3GBRBM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398219795&sr=8-1&keywords=dangerous+dream

Link to Amazon for Dream Dark: http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Dark-Beautiful-Creatures-Story-ebook/dp/B0054LDAZ2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1398219917&sr=8-3&keywords=dangerous+dream

2014 – Book #28


The twenty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/21/14. This is the fourth (and last) book in the Beautiful Creatures series by these authors. The first three books in the series were discussed in my previous three blog posts. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up where the third left off, right after Ethan jumps off the water tower. As I said in the previous post, if you haven’t read the other books yet and you plan to, then I would avoid reading this review as some items mentioned might reveal plot twists from both the first three books in the series.

Unfortunately, Ethan sacrificed himself at the end of the third book so that a New Order could restore the Order that Lena broke when she claimed herself for both the Dark and the Light at the end of the second book. In the Otherworld he gets to see his mom which is sweet. His Aunt Prue though helps him figure out a way that he can get back to the land of the living. Turns out he was never supposed to die. One of the Keepers has been going rogue for hundreds of years and has apparently teamed up with Abraham Ravenwood to try and destroy all Mortals. Ethan was getting in his way so the Keeper got rid of him.

However, after Ethan finds out how he can get back to Lena he sets off on his journey to accomplish just that. Its a multi-step process that involves getting a lot of help from people along the way, including Lena, Amma, the Greats, his mom and friends he meets along the way. I thought it was interesting that this book had sections that were from Ethan’s point of view and then went to Lena’s and then back to Ethan’s. Especially with them at opposite ends of the universe it would have been hard to jump back and forth with every chapter so I liked that there were designated sections.

While I did like this book and I thought it was a great book to end the series, I did have some unanswered questions at the end of it and I hate having items that I can’t wrap up. For example, Ethan goes through this whole journey to come back to the land of the living. But the whole time he’s doing that, his human body is decaying in the ground. When he comes back to Lena’s world from the Otherworld, did he get a new body? Did his old body get magically fixed and transported? He jumps straight back to the water tower so did it just erase everything like his whole death never happened or did he come back after Lena had to live without him still for months? I just don’t fully follow how that whole thing went down and I feel like it could’ve been explained a little better. (I also wanted to know what happened to the whole business with Ethan’s fractured soul, did he get put back together?)

Other than a few open questions at the end of the story though, this book was quite fascinating. I loved the new world that Ethan got to experience as a dead guy, it was very interesting. Great read and what a great series. I would definitely recommend.

I’ve discovered by reviewing the author’s website too that there are 2 novellas connected with this series, one of which leads into the next series starter “Dangerous Creatures.” Stay tuned for reviews of these novellas, I’ll be reading those next!

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Redemption-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/0316123536/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1398170512

2014 – Book #27


The twenty-seventh book I read in 2014 was Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/19/14. This is the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series by these authors. The first two books in the series were discussed in my previous two blog posts. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up where the second left off, after Lena’s Seventeenth Moon. As I said in the previous post, if you haven’t read the first book yet and you plan to, then I would avoid reading this review as soon items mentioned might reveal plot twists from both the first and second book.

So in the end of the second book Macon is resurrected and Lena and Ethan get back together. But as the summer turns to fall, things are turning apocalyptic in the small town of Gatlin. Locusts, extreme heat, and Ethan starts dreaming about rivers of blood. Amma is meeting with a black magic voodoo man for some reason that Ethan can’t figure out, and even worse Ethan is slowly losing pieces of his memory. Things are falling apart in Gatlin because Lena broke The Order when she claimed herself for both the dark and the light during her Seventeenth Moon. And with a best friend who is now a quarter Incubus, a wanna-be Siren trying to start trouble and find a way to get her powers back, and a 500 year old evil Blood Incubus trying to wipe out all of humanity, the End seems unavoidable.

As Lena and Ethan struggle not only through their daily high school lives but also the impending doom that grows stronger with the day, they look for a solution to the visions they’re experiencing and a way to save mankind. Abraham tears apart the town looking for John Breed, his science experiment, and after Lena and Ethan find him they try to use him to figure out what Abraham’s plans are. There were so many interesting magical twists and turns in this book, and I actually liked how the ending just left it all open. Doom and The End are coming and then it all just fades to black and we never find out what really happened.

This book was a great addition to the series. It was a little dry towards the middle but wow what a great cliffhanger ending, I can’t wait to read the next book. Great story with lots of interesting additions to the overall story over the series of books.

Link to author website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Chaos-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/031612351X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397933779&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+chaos

2014 – Book #26


The twenty-sixth book I read in 2014 is Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/16/14. This is the second book in the Beautiful Creatures series, I discussed the first book in the previous blog post. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book continues the story of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes after Lena’s Sixteenth Moon (where the first book ends). By the way if you haven’t read the first book yet and you plan to, I would avoid reading this review. There will probably be items in here that reveal some of the plot twists in the end of the first book.

Lena can’t shake the guilt that its her fault Macon is dead. Every time she looks at Ethan she’s reminded that the spell she used to save Ethan’s life is the same spell that killed a man who was like a father to her for her whole life. Riddled with guilt, she is befriended by a Dark Caster who seems to understand what she’s going through. As she drifts closer to this Dark Caster, she grows farther and farther away from Ethan.

Ethan begins his new summer job at the library and meets Marian’s new assistant, Olivia. Cute and blond and Mortal, Ethan finds that he is comfortable with Olivia which only seems to make Lena turn more towards the Dark. But after Ethan finds out the John and Lena have run away to try and find some Great Barrier where there is no Dark and no Light, just pure magic. Ethan is having visions of Macon’s past and of Lena and John’s journey to the Great Barrier, and he starts out on his own journey to find Lena and try to save her. And after Ethan meets up with Ridley and finds out that Sarafine is calling the Claiming Moon, Lena’s Seventeenth Moon, to force Lena to claim the Dark, Ethan’s journey takes on a frantic pace.

Overall this book was great. I found myself slightly frustrated in certain parts, but there were so many great plot twists I was riveted through the whole story. Can’t wait to read the next book int he series!

Link to authors’ website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Darkness-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/0316077046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397690850&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+darkness

2014 – Book #25


The twenty-fifth book I read in 2014 was Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I finished this book on 4/11/14. This is the first book in the Beautiful Creatures series by these authors. I rated this book 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, star-crossed lovers who are cursed from the start.

Lena is a Caster (fancy word for witch pretty much) who falls in love with Ethan, a Mortal. Ethan has been dreaming about Lena for months before he even met her, dark nightmares where Ethan tries to pull Lena from the Darkness. But every time he wakes up and can’t seem to remember how the dream ends, whether he saves her or not. After Ethan finally meets the girl from his dreams, he discovers that she’s been dreaming of him too. Not only that, but they can communicate through “Kelting,” where they talk to each other basically telepathically. The big issue is that Lena is coming up on her 16th birthday, when she will be Claimed for either the Dark or the Light, whatever is in her true nature. Ethan and Lena have visions of their ancestors, Ethan Wate (from Civil Ware era) and Genevieve Duchannes, who were also in love many years ago. Lena and Ethan learn of their tragic ending and the curse that fell on the Duchannes family after Genevieve used Dark Magic to try and save Ethan’s life.

Lena’s Uncle Macon Ravenwood will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. And as dangerous as loving Ethan is for Lena, it also seems to protect her in some way. The connection between them is unexplainable in the Caster world. And as their story plays out, Macon will sacrifice whatever it takes to push Lena towards being Claimed for the Light. Macon is a Dark Caster but he has chosen to be Light for Lena, even though it weakens him daily. Lena discovers though that Macon has been lying to her for her entire life by telling her that her mother is dead. Her mother, Sarafine, is alive and well. The Darkest Caster alive today, her mother will do anything to have Lena be Claimed for the Dark.

I really loved this book. I had seen the movie last year and its become one of my new favorite movies lately. So when I found out it was based on a series of books, I couldn’t wait to read them. There were many differences between the book and the movie (as there usually are) but I thought the book was riveting and all the extra intricacies in the book only made the story that much better. Was a great read!

Link to authors’ website: http://beautifulcreaturesauthors.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Creatures-Kami-Garcia/dp/0316077038/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397308531&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+creatures

The wonder of libraries


The picture above was taken at the George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Ever since I was a little girl my mom took me to visit the library. I have loved books from an early age and as I grew I found comfort and wonder in the wealth of knowledge that is stored within that one building. Anything you want to learn or read about you can find a book about it at the library. And if they don’t have the book you’re looking for in your town, the staff can find the book you need at another library and have it requested for you. Residents in Connecticut obtain their library cards from the library in the town they live in. But once you obtain that library card you can use it at any library in the entire state.

Many people do not use libraries to their full potential because they aren’t aware of the resources available to them. Most libraries in the state of Connecticut use one of two systems, Bibliomation or Connect. Though I’m sure there are other softwares out there as well, most libraries use one of the two previously mentioned. I personally tend to use the Bibliomation online site since my library uses that software and that’s where my account information is stored. The great thing about the Bibliomation system is that its so easy to use. I can look up a book and find every library in CT (with Bibliomation software) that has that book , what section its in, whether it has already been checked out by another patron or if it is on the shelf, and the exact place where I can find the book should I chose to go to that library. Here is a link to the Bibliomation site in case you’d like to check it out for yourself: http://acorn.biblio.org/eg/opac/home.

The resource librarian in your town is a great way to find what you’re looking for. If you’re doing a school project or need to read a book about a particular topic, they can find a listing of books that can help you not only in your town’s library but from libraries all over the state. And if you need a book that’s too far away to drive, the resource librarian can request it from that library for you and it will get sent to your town’s library for you to pick up. I’ve used this many times as I work through my TBR listing I’ve compiled over the years.

Using your town library is not only a great way to save money but it is a great use of your town’s public services. It’s your library, Use it!