Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Former Favorites: Little House on the Prairie

Former Favorites is a relatively new blog feature in which I highlight my favorite book series as a child. This week's series is:

Little House on the Prairie 

I ADORED this series as a kid and I still do. It definitely stood up to the test of time for me and I look forward to sharing the series with my future kids.

My mom bought me the complete set when we took a road trip to Florida to go to Disney World. I was skeptical of it, but after reading a few chapters of Little House in the Big Woods, I was hooked. I read all of the books as quickly as I could and loved every single one (although Farmer Boy was my least favorite).

The Little House series was the starting point for my love of historical fiction. Reading about how life was back in the 1800's was/is fascinating for me. When I was younger, life back then seemed so much more interesting and I often wish that I lived in that era. I'd venture to say that I was slightly obsessed :)

As I've gotten older, I've learned more about Laura and her life and realized that a decent amount of the Little House series was fictionalized, but that didn't change my feelings about the books. Learning about Laura's actual life compared to the books is really interesting and I even own a biography about her. I really don't think I'll ever get tired of the books and look forward to rereading them again and again, especially These Happy Golden Years, which is one of my very favorite books.

Anyone else still love this amazing series?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Legend

Author: Marie Lu
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets."

This is another one of those books that slipped under the radar for me when it came out, even though it sounds like something I would love. I am a big dystopian fan and have been reading as many of them as I can. Legend is another great one, but I didn't like it as much as others like Delirium and Divergent.

One aspect of Legend that I really liked was the dual narrator format. The point of view switches between Day and June every chapter, which gave a glimpse into what each character was going through. I thought the format worked really well for most of the book, although I do wish their voices had been more different. The font type and color helped though.

The plot itself was fairly predictable, but still fun to read. It's not a very long book, which I counted as a plus. Ms. Lu was straight to the point in her writing and included lots of action scenes, which were exciting to read. That said, the fighting and knowledge that the characters displayed throughout the book made them seem much older than 15. As I was reading, I imagined them more around 17-18.

Although not my favorite dystopian, I still enjoyed Legend and look forward to its sequel.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: North and South

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Publish date: 1855
Source: Library
"When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature."

Toward the end of last year, I decided to take part in the Back to the Classics Challenge, hosted by Sarah at Sarah Reads Too Much. I read North and South as my 19th century classic and read it first because I bought a copy in 2010 but never picked it up. I liked it for the most part, although it did drag in some areas, as do most books. I think I'd love it as a reread later this year or next year.

I haven't read a classic in a few years, so it took me a little while to get used to needing to read slower since Gaskell's writing style is different from what I normally read. Not a problem, though, as I really liked the story. The main character, Margaret Hale, is eighteen years old at the beginning and lives with her parents, who soon move to Milton, an industrial town, and not exactly what Margaret is used to. It was interesting to read about her getting used to her new living situation and meet people from town, who are all very different from her old neighbors.

I liked that North and South wasn't just a love story. A good chunk of the novel was about the employer vs employee relationship, striking, work conditions, etc. I found it all pretty interesting, especially anything with Mr. Thornton (of course). Everything was going pretty smoothly, taking me a while to read, but that was fine...then everyone started dying. Way too much death and I definitely wasn't expecting it. I really was pretty sad and think that's part of the reason it took me so long to read it. WHY IS EVERYONE DYING???

Anyway, despite all the sadness, I did enjoy the book. I liked Margaret, Mr. Hale, and Mr. Thornton a lot, and think that Margaret is in the running for one of my favorite female characters from classic literature. Reading a classic again is also getting me in the mood for a Jane Austen book. I plan on reading Persuasion for the romance category of the challenge soon!

Friday, February 24, 2012

TGIF: Required Reading

TGIF is a weekly blog feature hosted by Ginger at G Reads. Each Friday, she proposes a question for her followers and recaps the week's posts. This week's question is:

Required Reading: Which books from your school days do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

This is a definitely a question that I am very familiar with since I teach high school English, as some of you might know. When I was in school, we read a few books that I loved, including: Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry; The Great Gatsby; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Giver; The Great Gilly Hopkins; and The Outsiders.

There are tons of books that should be in every curriculum, but unfortunately, there are time and budget constraints to think about, not to mention cramming in preparation for standardized testing (but that's another story). I love when we can add YA books to our curriculum and think every school should strive for a mix of classics and YA, which we do. Classics are great, but too many of them can be overwhelming.

In terms of actual books, I wholeheartedly think every ninth grade student should read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, not just girls, as is often the case. I think historical fiction really reaches kids too, especially ones that take place from World War I to the 60's. Right now, my freshman English class is reading a YA book that takes place during the Great Depression and they love it. In that vein, Maus by Art Spiegelman would be a great addition to a curriculum, especially since it is a graphic novel and as teachers, we need to explore all genres of literature. Students in my district's middle school also read The Hunger Games, which I think is pretty bold and interesting. The kids love it, of course.

I know I just wrote a book, but as you can tell, I feel very strongly about this subject! I could talk curriculum and literature for hours :)

This week's posts
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: The Future of Us (audio book)

Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Narrators: Mary Ellen Craven & Steve Kaplan
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

I love the concept of this book. Facebook is huge, of course, and the idea that someone can see into their future is cool. Add that to the 90's nostalgia and you have a recipe for a great story. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me despite many other great reviews.

I thought the best part about The Future of Us was the fact that it took place in 1996. The book was FULL of 90's references and although I was in grade school at that point, it was still fun to read about things that I remembered from that era. It was especially funny to read about the sound of a dialing modem or the fact that people had beepers. I appreciated the references, but I'm not sure that teenagers today would. I feel like my students would be more attracted to something set now, but that's just me.

Out of the two main characters, I definitely liked Josh the best. I could not STAND Emma. She was selfish and shallow for most of the book. The only thing she seemed to care about was whom she was married to in her Facebook future and she continually made decisions without thinking about how they'd affect others, namely Josh.

I listened to this as an audio book over a week and thought the narrators did well in terms of getting the teenage voice down. The woman who narrated Emma's chapters had a bit of a babyish voice, which is exactly what I would imagine Emma having. It was fairly short too, only 7 CD's. Easily could be finished in a couple days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak
Publish date: 2006
Source: Library
"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. 

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

You guys...I wanted to LOVE this book. I've known about it for a while and everyone in my little world of blogging adores it and cries at it...but I didn't and I feel bad for not enjoying it that much. Allow me to explain my thoughts.

I am all for experimenting with narrative styles, but unfortunately, Zusak's fell flat for me. I liked the drawings and some of the lists, but I didn't like the writing style itself. It felt like the author was trying too hard to be literary, although I know that in Australia, where this book was published, it was originally marked as an adult novel and not YA. I get the feeling it should have been an "adult" book here too.

At 550 pages, this book also was too long (in my opinion, of course). I don't shy away from longer novels, but this just seemed way too long. Some parts dragged on and on while others seem to go by too quickly, like the more major events at the end.

Like I said, I wanted to like the book and I thought and still think the premise is fascinating. Death as the narrator? Cool, but just didn't mesh with me. I am a big fan of historical fiction, but not this one, unfortunately. Any thoughts?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Beginning of After

Author: Jennifer Castle
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss--a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways."

This book has been on my radar since it came out, but I never wanted to read it badly enough to check it out from the library. However, yesterday I stopped at the library after work and saw it while perusing the YA section, so I decided it was finally time to read it. I read the whole thing today, but it unfortunately wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.

Obviously, the book starts out on a sad note with the death of Laurel's family and David's mom. I knew it was coming, but wasn't expecting it so quickly. We don't really get any introduction to the family before they are gone, which would have been nice instead of getting hit with their deaths so soon. I also wish the reader knew more about David. I wouldn't label this book as having a case of insta!love, but it would have been nice to see their relationship developed more. Also...David wasn't a very likable person. I know they were both going through a lot, but he just wasn't a nice guy to me.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was that it showed grief from a few different points of view. Obviously, we know what Laurel is going through, but since she lives with her grandmother afterward, we can see how an older person deals with the death of her son. Meg was also a good BFF for Laurel: very supportive, although understandably angry sometimes.

I enjoyed the book overall, although it probably could have been a bit shorter (432 pages!). Fans of Sarah Dessen would probably like it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: The Help (audio book)

Author: Kathryn Stockett
Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell
Publish date: 2009
Source: Library
"Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

I will forever bow down to this book from now on because it has completely changed my mind about audio books. I LOVE THEM NOW. I wasn't sure if I could do fiction without seeing the words, but April from Good Books & Good Wine recommended this one, so I gave it a try and I loved it! Now I can't wait to listen to more!

The best part about this audio book for me was the different narrators. It offers variety while listening, yes, but also offers such a distinct voice for each of the three narrators, Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. After one chapter from each narrator, I was instantly hooked and associating that character to that voice. I was so used to listening to the book that I even started thinking in a southern accent (yeah, I am from Michigan and have a flat accent). Thankfully those stayed thoughts and didn't escape.

In regards to the book itself, I found it to be interesting and very readable. I kept trying to think of chores or tasks to do that didn't require concentration so I could listen to more and find out what was going to happen. All of the main characters were really likable and it was so easy to HATE some of Skeeter's "friends" like Hilly and Elizabeth. Sad to think that people were/are actually like them.

I was happy to confirm that this book was not a "white person solves racism" kind of story, but still ended on a hopeful note. It's easy to understand why The Help is so popular: it's enjoyable and covers an important part of history/life, albeit employing fairly stereotypical characters. I'm glad I finally read it and wholeheartedly recommend it as an audio book!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Former Favorites: Animorphs

I recently decided that I'd like to start my own weekly feature for the blog called Former Favorites in which I highlight series or standalone books that I loved as a child. Today's favorite:


I believe that I first discovered the Animorphs series, written by K.A. Applegate, when I was in 4th grade. After a couple years of reading Babysitters Club and the like, I cautiously gave this weird looking science fiction book a chance AND MY LIFE WAS NEVER THE SAME. I thank this series for turning me on to science fiction/fantasy books and making me feel like it was perfectly fine to like them and other non science fiction at the same time.

The whole concept of Animorphs blew my mind. Teenagers who could morph into an animal after touching it once? Only 2 hours before you are stuck as that animal forever? Parasites? Aliens? I was immediately sucked in. I loved the diverse group of kids: Jake, Cassie, Rachel, Tobias, and Marco. I had a little crush on Jake and thought Rachel was a bad ass. Each book had a different narrator, which I loved as well. Oh and Ax! Can't forget about our alien friend!

When I was in 4th and 5th grade, there were three other kids in my class that also loved Animorphs, two boys and another girl. We would constantly talk about the books at school and one of the boy's mom always bought him the newest book, so he would read it and then pass it around to the rest of us. Of course, everyone read it within one or two nights. I remember the four of us trying to figure out when Jake and Cassie would finally kiss (you know, that 13 year old sexual tension). I can't even imagine overhearing that awkward conversation.

Nickelodeon tried doing a TV show version of Animorphs; it sucked. I try not to let it get in the way of remembering these awesome books. I still have a bunch of them back home and plan to pass them on to my hypothetical future children (who will be nerdy and awesome). Hopefully they will spend some time bemoaning the fact that they can't morph into animals, just like I did.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Where Things Come Back

Author: John Corey Whaley
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"In the summer before Cullen's senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone's eating "Lazarus burgers." But as absurd as the town's carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen's sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.

Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful. It's about a lot more than what Cullen calls, "that damn bird." It's about the dream of second chances.

Where Things Come Back recently won both the Printz and Morris awards at ALA midwinter; an author has never won both in the same year before. Honestly, I would not have picked this book up had it not won the awards and had Ginger at G Reads not told everyone of her love of it. After finishing it, I'm not positive on my feelings, but I'll give it my best shot.

Ok, let's be frank here: I hate the cover. Definitely would not have picked this up based on the cover. I don't think it appeals to a YA audience (or me, apparently), and I honestly don't think the synopsis makes it sound that interesting, so this is a prime example of me reading a book because others loved it. Up until the last 40 pages, I really had no idea how everything was going to come together. There are a lot of characters and a few different storylines throughout the novel, and at first, they all seemed so different, but of course, everything was intertwined.

I enjoyed learning about most of the characters, especially Lucas, Gabriel, and Cullen. Even though there were a lot of simultaneous narratives, they were all pretty interesting, especially toward the end when I could tell that something big was going to happen (since the book was ending soon). I'll admit that it could be confusing sometimes, but I know that the story couldn't just focus on Cullen. I liked the story's themes and am curious to see what else Mr. Whaley will produce in the future.

I'll be giving a book talk on WTCB this week to my freshmen; I'm curious to see what they think of it! I'm hoping the small town atmosphere will appeal to them since we are a very small town too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: The Coffin Quilt

Author: Ann Rinaldi
Publish date: 2001
Source: borrowed
"Fanny McCoy has lived in fear and anger ever since that day in 1878 when a dispute with the Hatfields over the ownership of a few pigs set her family on a path of hatred and revenge. From that day forward, along the ragged ridges of the West Virginia-Kentucky line, the Hatfields and the McCoys have operated not withing the law but within mountain codes of their own making. 

In 1882, when Fanny's sister Roseanna runs off with young Johnse Hatfield, the hatred between the two clans explodes.As the killings, abductions, raids, and heartbreak escalate bitterly and senselessly, Fanny, the sole voice of reason, realizes that she is powerless to stop the fighting and must learn to rise above the petty natures of her family and neighbors to find her own way out of the hatred."

I saw this sitting on the bookshelf in my coworker's classroom the other day and picked it up, despite never having heard of it before then. I've read a couple other Ann Rinaldi books, but this one particularly seemed interesting because it is about the Hatfield-McCoy feud, which is pretty fascinating. It ended up being a quick and interesting read.

I love when I read historical fiction and it makes me want to go spend hours doing research to learn more about the book's topic. Case in point here: I now want to know all I can about the Hatfield-McCoy feud and what led to it. From what I gathered while reading, it was very violent and involved a lot of people. The McCoy family from The Coffin Quilt is huge and according to the author's note, she didn't even include all the kids! Crazy. But anyway, yes. Must satisfy my knowledge thirst soon. I love history.

Even though the novel isn't long, it takes place over about 10 years. The narrator and youngest member of her family, Fanny McCoy, goes from 7 to 16, and it was neat to see how her understanding of the feud and her family changed as she grew. It was hard to be hopeful for anyone in the story, though, including Fanny, since it seemed like people just kept dying every other chapter. I didn't dislike the book, but I think I would have like it more had I known more about the feud before reading it.

Anyone else a fan of Ann Rinaldi or this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Former Favorites: The Baby-Sitters Club

I recently decided that I'd like to start my own weekly feature for the blog called Former Favorites in which I highlight series or standalone books that I loved as a child. First up:

The Baby-Sitters Club (Say hello to your friends!)

I read my first BSC book in second grade at the recommendation of my teacher, Mrs. Jones, who always encouraged me to read as much as possible. I was in an advanced reading group at school and she told me that even though the BSC books were meant for older kids, she thought I could handle them. As a second grader reading books with a reading level of fourth grade (or RL 4), I thought I was the shit.

Those books were like crack to me and soon an obsession was born. My elementary library had a ton of the BSC books and I read them all very quickly. My mom bought me a few but since I read them so fast, she started refusing the spend the money on them, so I got a lot from the library and used book sales, or would just read them in an hour at the bookstore. Side note: my elementary school that I attended from first to third grade did a book fair every year in which students and teachers brought in used books to sell. Paperbacks were 25 cents and hardcovers maybe 50 cents. My mom used to give me five dollars and it was essentially the greatest day of my life. I could get 20 paperbacks for five dollars! I loved it.

Anyway, I loved those books and those characters. I loved that the girls (and Logan) would write a journal entry for each job. I memorized everyone's handwriting and used to write down their names and club position all the time, in each person's specific handwriting. Honestly, I could probably still do it. Those girls were my bookish life for probably three to four years and I worshiped at the altar of Ann M. Martin. I wanted to be Dawn and Stacey, who were so effortlessly cool, while I was a nerdy kid who wore denim overalls and giant t-shirts.

Looking back, I'm grateful that I read all the BSC books, mysteries, Super Specials, and the autobiography books (not to mention the Little Sister series, but let's save that for another post). Not only did they begin my obsession with reading, but each book has its own little lesson about growing up. We learned that it's ok to just be yourself and that your friends will accept you for who you are. The BSC taught me that it was ok to be a little bossy and headstrong like Kristy, sensitive like Mary Ann, artsy like Claudia, fashionable like Stacey, healthy like Dawn, a graceful dancer like Jessi, a writer like Mallory, an opposite of your twin like Abby, and then whatever Logan and Shannon were supposed to be.

So thanks, Baby-sitters Club, for starting my journey to becoming the bookish person that I am...although I could have done without the chapter in every book about how the club started. Always skipped that one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday 2/7

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books you'd hand to someone who says he/she doesn't like to read. Great topic and one I frequently come across as a teacher. Lots of reluctant readers out there (or as I like to think of it: ones who haven't found books they like yet)!

1. The Hunger Games trilogy: This is HUGE at my school and we can't keep the books on the shelves. EVERYONE wants to read them, which is AWESOME.

2. The Outsiders: I read this in 8th grade and loved it. My coworker recently read it to her middle school class and they loved it too. Some even checked it out from the library after to read it AGAIN.

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series: These are really addicting and great for both high school and adults. We can't keep these on the shelves either.

4. Harry Potter series: Fantastic stuff. I even got my "Tolkien is the only author I read" boyfriend to read them.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird: Usually required reading, but the only one I know of that everyone enjoys.

6. Bossypants: I loved this one. Super easy to read and hilarious.

7. Perfect Chemistry: This is a great one for more reluctant readers, especially after reading Romeo and Juliet (like I'll be doing soon!).

Friday, February 3, 2012

TGIF: Book Appeal

TGIF is a weekly feature hosted by Ginger at G Reads! Every Friday, she proposes a question and recaps the week's posts. This week's question is:

Book Appeal: When browsing Goodreads, the library, or another blogger's reviews, what grabs your attention and makes you want to read a book?

Interesting question! I love dystopian stories, so anything that takes place in the future will always grab my attention and I will most likely want to read it. Same goes for most science fiction and historical fiction; contemporary novels have to sound really interesting or have rave reviews for me to look into reading it.

Ever since I started blogging and reading other book blogs, I have added a TON of books to my TBR list that I'd never heard of before. If a reviewer absolutely LOVED a book, I will probably try to read it as well. Sometimes browsing a library or bookstore's shelves isn't enough or a synopsis doesn't give justice to how amazing a book might be, so thanks, everyone, for highlighting books I may not have read!

Posts this week
Review: Nickel and Dimed (audio book) by Barbara Ehrenreich

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Review: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare
Publish date: 2011
Source: Purchased
"In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart."

What a great book! I don't even know where to begin! This was my second Cassandra Clare novel, after Clockwork Angel, of course, and it was fantastic. I feel like I definitely need to read the Mortal Instruments series now that I love the Infernal Devices!

I love that this series is a combination of historical fiction/ paranormal/ steampunk. I love historical fiction and really need to read more of it, so reading this was a great way to get my fix. All the descriptions of the buildings and clothing is lovely. I noticed that some events would take place in some great library, which makes me wonder why more houses don't have rooms just for books. I would love a library in my home.

There were lots of plot twists in Prince, much more than Angel. There were characters turning on other characters, surprises around every corner, and the usual humor that was introduced in Clockwork Angel. I really have grown to love these characters after reading the two books and can't for loose ends and love triangles to continue and wrap up in Clockwork Princess.

Despite being quite a hefty book (almost 500 pages!), it was definitely a page turner. A must read for Cassie Clare fans!