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Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Dark EnergyDark Energy by Robison Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Parental guide: Minor swearing, some violence, nothing explicit.

Holy moly, this book was SO GOOD. It’s a fairly quickly read, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Alice is one of the best protagonists that I’ve read about in a loooong time, and I felt that the author did a fantastic job of writing from a female perspective. Also? I loved the fact that she had such a great relationship with her father. I feel like too many times in YA literature, the parents are either absent for one reason or another, or they’re portrayed as idiots. All parents were teenagers at one point in time or another, so it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume that some of them remember what it’s like. Alice’s father was a good mixture of protective and supportive, which made their interactions that much more fun.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood for a quick sci-fi, give this one a chance. I’m off to go check out some of the author’s other books now, don’t mind me.

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Just a tad bit past nearly forever ago, a friend of mine tagged me on Facebook with a fun meme. I thought it sounded great and started it…and then I became distracted and only recently discovered the half-finished product. Whatever the case, I have since completed my answers and thought it might make for an interesting blog post. These are the authors and books that inspired my own writing.

10 Books That Stayed With Me:

1.) The Bible – It may not be obvious to all, but this book has been the number one thing that has changed my life and my perspective over the years. I have indeed read it cover to cover and various translations, and every time that I read its passages I get something new from it.

2.) Beverly Cleary series – I’m kind fudging on this one, because it’s way too hard to narrow down which specific Cleary books spoke to me most. I grew up reading about Beezus and Ramona, Ralph S. Mouse and all the rest. They were instrumental in cultivating my passion for the written word, even in grade school.

3.) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – One of my best memories is the year that my mother read the story of Tom Sawyer to me while I ate breakfast every morning. I’ll confess that I was really hesitant to this at first, but Mom insisted and I am very glad she did. I got so caught up in the story that I quickly forgot why I hadn’t wanted to hear it in the first place.

4.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – I read this one while I was in high school for a book report. Basically I just needed to choose something from the list that the teacher gave us. I picked it at random, thinking that the title sounded interesting, and discovered an amazing world. This story was part of what really piqued my interest in the fantasy genre as a whole. It opened up a whole different set of doors, as far as reading went.

5.) The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – Probably not much surprise here either, but this is another series that I’ve always adored. I read The Silver Chair in high school (another book report project that turned out very well for me). While The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has probably remained my favorite of the series, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle are right up there.

6.) Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer – This still remains one of my all-time favorite YA series. I loved Colfer’s twist to both modern and ancient fairy tales, and the storyline, while not always what I expected, was fantastic. Great character development, great villains…in fact it’s been long enough that I’m probably due for a re-read.

7.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson is a semi-new author to me, but so far I have loved each book that I’ve tried. This was the first story that I read of his, which also happened to be his first attempt at YA, and it’s difficult to pinpoint just why it stuck with me so much. I tend to be very character driven when it comes to movies and books, so all I can figure is that I loved the character of Steelheart so much it wedged in my brain and wouldn’t let go. Whatever the case, this was one of my favorite books of the year. And so far, the rest of the series hasn’t disappointed either.

8.) The Oath by Frank Peretti – It’s been a looooong time since I last read this one, but it was another book that always stuck with me. I originally read it in high school and loved it. This was the first book of Peretti’s that I had read, and while it was a little slow in the middle, the primary storyline kept a quick pace and kept my attention through it all. Not your typical dragon story, but still a well-crafted plot for an author of his particular genre. As a “Christian author,” he pushed boundaries with this book and might have even made people a little uncomfortable. Not necessarily a bad thing, in this case.

9.) The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – Yes, he gets to be on my list twice because he’s just that amazing. I won’t lie, The Way of Kings is definitely a commitment at nearly 400,000 words, but I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who love epic fantasy. The worldbuilding, the characters…all of it is just too amazing for words. It has become one of my all-time favorite stories ever. (It was one of the few books where I literally read the last sentence and wanted to go right back to the beginning and read it again because I loved it so much.) And Words of Radiance, the sequel, is just as fantastic as the first.

10.) The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – This was the first non-fiction work of Lewis that I read, again while in high school, but it’s always stuck with me. Lewis really stepped outside the box of his time by writing this book, and it made you really think about your prayer life and the spiritual battles that continuously rage on everywhere. While definitely an older book, I can still recommend it. (Actually, it’s another one I need to re-read…)

So there you have it. This is a basic glimpse of my all-time favorite books and authors, and though many others have made impressions with me, these are the ones that I will never forget.

What are your top ten faves?

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The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine, #2)The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While several things were resolved (somewhat) in this book, I felt that it dragged in the middle just a bit. I realize that Michael had to cope with a lot since the revelation of the previous book, but that also slowed the story a little bit. Thus why it took me so long to finish in the first place.

It picked up more towards the end, but that semi-cliffhanger at the end told me there is definitely still more to come. However, it looks very promising and I enjoyed the twists in the storyline. Just when we think we’ve figured out what might be going on, Dashner throws another wrench into the machine.

All in all, it was another enjoyable ride and I look forward to finishing the series.

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The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was honestly ready to give this book five stars pretty much from the very beginning. It was amazing. I loved the characters. I loved how the author made the reader really think about the difference between good and evil. This is saying a lot from me, because I don’t normally read much middle grade.

Then we got to the ending. And I hated it. Despised, even.

The first three quarters of the book reminded me greatly of A School for Villains, which I LOVED. I thought for sure that this book would follow right along with that sort of storyline. But I simply couldn’t get past the ending.

Still, I did love the first part of the book and the writing style. I enjoyed all of the characters and the premise in general. I also have to factor in that I didn’t know this was a series when I first finished it. Thus I only docked one star because of the ending. Others may love it. I just didn’t happen to be one of them.

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Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing. That’s the first word that pops into my head after finishing “Divergent.” Followed closely by heartbreaking, action-packed and incredible.

This was one of the books that I’d heard so much about. In fact, it had been mentioned to me so many times that I was sick of hearing about it. I ignored it for a while, then I saw it for a good price at a Barnes and Noble. I figured what the heck. I would see what all of the fuss was about.

Two chapters into it, and I couldn’t put it down.

I devoured this story in a matter of days. It brought about such a conflict of emotions. Half of the time, I didn’t know whether to admonish Tris for her pride or praise her for her bravery. She was a flawed heroine, but a strong one. I admired her for that. The plot was fast-paced and character driven and kept me riveted until the end.

Four was probably my favorite character. I loved his quiet strength and back story. I enjoyed watching his and Tris’s relationship develop. Yes, my heart was ripped to shreds at times. No, it won’t be for everyone. But my only regret was that I didn’t pick up book two when I bought book one. Altogether a fantastic read.

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The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A haunting, coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a dystopian future.

There are everyday ups and downs in middle school: bullying, peer pressure, discovering your first love and suffering through the awkward changes your body is going through. It is a difficult enough age without having to think about the end of the world as well. But that is exactly what Julia has to deal with, as she and the rest of humanity discovers that the world has start to spin slower. Days and nights become longer and longer. Chaos and panic fill the streets.

Amongst all of this, Julia still has to learn about first kisses and what it feels like to lose your best friend to another. Ms. Walker’s illustrious writing style perfectly captures the feelings and longings of an almost-teenager, and her descriptions of the world’s end were at times almost *too* real. Heartbreaking and bittersweet, this story won’t leave your mind for a long time.

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My friend and I are avid movie freaks. Specifically, we’re scary movie freaks. We don’t enjoy slasher movies or disgusting horror that doesn’t do anything but create shock value, but a genuinely creepy storyline with a great twist or a psychological thriller is totally up our alley. And nothing thrills us more than when we get to see our favorite scary movie special guest, Mr. Creepy Door.

Creepy Door has played a variety of roles in his lengthy career. Who could forget his eerie, menacing glow in Hide and Seek? Or his brave performance in Paranormal Activity? Yes, my friend and I decided that we are the official “Creepy Door Fan Club.” When you hear that signature squeak, you know that Creepy Door has made his grand entrance.

Photo ©IMDB

Photo ©IMDB

We just finished watching The Woman in Black the other night, with Daniel Radcliffe. (He’s in the movie, we didn’t actually watch it with him. Although that would have been really cool. Now I’m going to have to add that to my bucket list. [scribble scribble] Watch…movie…with Daniel…Radcliffe…) It was surprisingly creepy in a non-gore sort of way, with a few really good hair-raising moments. It even had a little bit of a twist at the end, which was an added bonus. All in all, not a bad flick. We’ve seen so many scary movies at this point that we’ve earned the right to be picky, in my humble opinion, so two thumbs up from us means that it must be pretty good.

Daniel Radcliffe surprised me. I’ve not actually watched any of the Harry Potter movies except the first one. *gasp* Truth be told, I didn’t care for it. That’s weird for me, an avid fantasy lover. But what can you do? Give me Hellboy II or Lord of the Rings any day. (Have I mentioned that I love elves? I have? Really? Huh.) Ahem. Uh, where was I? Oh yeah, Daniel. Yes, he was quite good. Talented little actor, he is.

Now I’m distracted by thoughts of Prince Nuada. [Brain reorganization in process.]

So now that we’ve finally seen The Woman in Black, I’m not sure where to go next. It seems like the scary movie/horror genre, especially when it comes to cleaner horror, is extremely hard to come by. The classics will forever remain the classics, and Creepy Door will remain an icon in our hearts. But if the trend of horror continues the way I think it will, I might actually have to start turning to more books to get my scary story fix. (Truth be told, they’re probably the best anyway.)

What do you think? Are you a scary movie fan?

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