Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Handmaid's Tale Review

The Handmaid's Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood
Average Rating: 3.98/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 311
Finished Reading: October 
Published: 16 March 1998

According to Goodreads:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

My opinion:

My English teacher from sophomore year recommended that I read this novel, however I haven't had time to pick it up until this year. The only reason that I did pick it up was due to the fact it was a book I had to read for my English class this year. It's kind of intriguing how we have certain books that we do want to read, but push out of the way to make room for another book instead. BUT I digress. 

Atwood creates a dystopian world that is freakishly realistic. The book shows how people can strip others of power when everything is electronically transferred. Everyone in the book's society use cards that are similar to our credit cards. Paper cash has no value anymore. Every single woman's bank account has been frozen, and many are labeled "unfit" to be a mother anymore. Families are ripped apart, and suddenly women aren't allowed to have a job, access to money, read, and write. 

Throughout the novel, the reader is taken back through flashbacks of Offred. Through these flashbacks and the present accounts we are able to put two and two together about why and how the society has taken this turn. As we read, we watch as Offred becomes brainwashed and begins to accept her position in this new society of Gilead. 

Atwood alludes to the Old Testament quite a lot for the names of stores, towns, and people. She communicates the message that this society and time period could repeat itself in the future. That future may also be closer than we think as we become more dependent on technology and electronic transactions. I would recommend this book to everyone, because it isn't the typical teen lover dystopian that we have grown used to lately. It's raw, classic. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

How to Read Novels Like a Professor Review

How to  Read Novels Like a Professor

Author: Thomas C. Foster
Average Rating: 3.58/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 312
Finished Reading: August
Published: July 1st, 2008

According to Goodreads:

Of all the literary forms, the novel is arguably the most discussed . . . and fretted over. From Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote to the works of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and today's masters, the novel has grown with and adapted to changing societies and technologies, mixing tradition and innovation in every age throughout history.

Thomas C. Foster—the sage and scholar who ingeniously led readers through the fascinating symbolic codes of great literature in his first book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor—now examines the grammar of the popular novel. Exploring how authors' choices about structure—point of view, narrative voice, first page, chapter construction, character emblems, and narrative (dis)continuity—create meaning and a special literary language, How to Read Novels Like a Professor shares the keys to this language with readers who want to get more insight, more understanding, and more pleasure from their reading.

My opinion:

I wouldn't normally have picked up this book, but alas it was one of my summer reading requirements. However, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

The reader learns about the origin and history of the life of the novel. You also will learn about various things to look for in the novels you have read, are reading, and will read. Foster talks about the importance of the first page of a novel, the various different narrative perspectives a book can include, and much more. 

The main reason I enjoyed this book was due to Foster's enthusiasm about the novel. You can tell and picture his passion for writing, and all the components that go into writing a piece of work. He gives you a tip, and then shows several examples of how writers have used that tip in their own writing. The works he takes examples from can be from the oldest of classics to more modern ones. So in a sense, you are technically getting two things in one. First thing you are getting are the tips to better your comprehension while you read future novels. Second, you are getting more books to add to your TBR list, because you and I both know that our TBR lists are still not long enough. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is searching for some help in better understanding the components that go into reading a novel. I found this novel to be quite helpful in that department. There are parts that tend to be on the drier side, but it's a book where I felt like I could personally connect with the author. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Average Rating: 3.94/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 288
Finished Reading: August
Published: 1st Time: 1963/My copy: 2006

According to Goodreads:

A Special Paperback Edition to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of Sylvia Plath's Remarkable Novel

Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

My Opinion:

I was pretty hesitant going into this book in the beginning. Two things prevented me from starting it way sooner:

1.      1. I had to read it for summer reading (let’s be honest with each other) who seriously wants to be forced to       read books? BUT. We must. Unfortunately. Otherwise, we will all fail those tests and papers that are          given on the first day of school that destroy our grade for the rest of the semester it seems like, because we    didn't read a book.
2.      2. All my friends who had already completed their summer reading kept saying how terrible and dreadfully       boring this novel was.

As you can see, I had my reasons that I felt allowed me to procrastinate.

Finally, about a week ago I picked The Bell Jar up around 3 A.M. As you can imagine I fell asleep about 15 minutes later. The whole next day I procrastinated till about 5 P.M. where I had to force myself to sit down in my desk, and read this novel. (At least try to…) Fast forward three hours, and you would see me fully emerged in the story.

It’s definitely not my favorite book of all time, but the concept is what enthralled me. We have this book that is written by a woman who has experienced all these things that the main character is experiencing. There’s not too many like this one out there today.

Side-note: Sylvia Plath was married to Ted Hughes, who became extremely jealous of all of her success as a writer. She suffered from depression, and eventually committed suicide. However, what made her writing be set apart from all the others at the time was her…uniqueness for a lack of a better word. During this time, nobody really knew how to deal with depression. You were locked up, and put out of mind. Obviously, our medical knowledge has come very far since then with new medication and such. Her writing showed her depression in a way that it made (and still does) readers pause, because it was so different from all the lovey-dovey murder mystery writings of the time. She showed people a different side of the human mind.

Anyway, we follow Esther through her journey of dealing with her depression. We see how people around her act. Her mother doesn't understand why Esther doesn't want to be just a secretary, but wants to be more than what a secretary requires. We see how the roles of men and females have changed since Esther’s time. We also get to see what a psychiatric hospital was like then.

The Bell Jar is a haunting and depressing novel, but believe it or not it’s a book that you should read. This novel puts you in the place of a young woman who is spiraling downwards in a world and a society that doesn't know how to handle it properly. It’s a raw book, but it gets you to think.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lost Cause Review

Lost Cause

Author: J.L. Simpson
Average Rating: 4.5/5.0
Personal Rating: 5.0/5.0
Page Count: 312
Finished Reading: July 
Published: July 3rd, 2014

According to Goodreads

Daisy Dunlop loves a challenge but heir hunting is supposed to be easy. She can deal with anything her new job throws at her, except the bullets, bombs and working with P.I. Solomon Liffey. Her husband's best friend is supposed to be looking out for her, but when she uncovers Solomon’s biggest secret he's the one who needs protection.

My opinion:

I received an electronic copy from the author to review, but in no way does that have an influence on my opinions and views. 

I felt like the first chapters were rocky with me. My interpretation of Daisy was rather weak, but as the plot line progresses you can definitely see how Daisy becomes a stronger character. 

Once I got passed chapter two I was drawn into the action. No one could get me to stop reading until I had finished this novel. I would be literally walking around with my face in my Kindle trying to absorb every word. I was constantly on the edge of my seat after each chapter. The suspense and the friendship that grows between Daisy and Solomon immersed me into the story.

Oh my golly gumdrops!!!

Solomon melted my heart. He was so mysterious and guarded, which made my tear through the pages just to see what he was hiding. I had my theories, and then I got to the end to only have them ripped into tiny pieces when I read what he was actually hiding. I loved his protectiveness, and his whole sense of confidence. I wouldn't mind having my own Solomon in my life hahaha! 

I recommend this book to all of you. This is a great novel that is filled to the brim with wit. I can guarantee you'll fall in love with Daisy, Solomon, and Daisy's husband. They all play major roles throughout the novel, and if one wasn't there then the novel would be a bust. I'm going to encourage you to get your hands on this novel, so I can have someone to swoon with over Solomon! 

More Info:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dark Eden Review

Dark Eden

Author: Chris Beckett
Average Rating: 3.83/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 441
Finished Reading: July
Published: April 1st, 2014

According to Goodreads

On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. 

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return. 

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty--rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.

My opinion:

Have you guys ever read a book where you feel like your brain loses all feeling and coherent thoughts, because the book left you so con-fuddled? Dark Eden, my dear friends, is one of those books.

I started reading this book about three weeks ago. I remember getting it in the mail, and being so excited to dive right into it, because the world that was created seemed so different and thought provoking. Unfortunately, life got in the way so I really didn't get into the story until earlier this week. 

The world that Beckett created in this story makes you question some things. Is there life, like you and me, on planets in our solar system? How far will we go for something we believe in? Who will be with us every step of the way? You all know that I love to read, but I love reading even more when I get something from it. This book opened up questions that ordinary people don't really think about, unless you are a scientist or an astronaut. 

This book touched on arrogance, sadness, power going to people's heads, hope, and coming of age. Here is a group of young teens and tweens going against their Council in order to prove a point. To be honest, I don't think I would have done the same thing if I lived in their society. While I was reading I kept thinking about how a couple characters rose to a leadership position throughout the progression of the book. In each situation, the power consumed the individual. We are all taught to take the lead, and be the one who takes action first. As a result, those who follow are criticized for not being the first to do it. I wished there would have been more collaboration between the leader and the people of the group. A more of a group effort. 

The chapters went between four characters' perspectives, which I didn't mind. I was fine as long as I looked at the name before I started reading the chapter. The characters didn't have a lot of development, which kind of surprised me. I felt like from the time the journey started to the time it ended there should have been some type of change in the way the characters had strengthened. 

I recommend this to anyone who is open to thinking about questions that aren't thought about on a daily basis. The world that is real in Dark Eden could someday become our reality. It's scary, but intriguing at the same time. 

For More Information:

DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Murdermorphosis Review


Author: Jeffrey A. Apostol
Average Rating: 4.67/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count:  76
Finished Reading: July
Published: May 29th, 2014

According to Goodreads:

A police detective, adopted at birth, pursues an enigmatic killer, responsible for the death of a beautiful yet troubled woman. Unknown to him, his own true identity holds the key to solving the case. When the murder becomes something else, the detective spirals down a path of self obliteration. Will he survive the Murdermorphosis?

My opinion:

I received a copy to review from the author, but in no way does that have an impact on my views and opinions. 

Let me start off with saying that this novel isn't for the young ones out there. There are some graphic descriptions and language that is included that are not appropriate. 

This novel was a pretty easy and quick read to get through. I found myself flying through the pages to find out what would happen next. There were times that I was completely taken back with surprise, because I didn't see the event coming. I would definitely define this novel as a psychological thriller. I really felt this book get into my head...if that makes sense.

As far as the characters went, I really didn't feel any connections with them. They lived completely different lives than I do. But they were also very one dimensional. There was no development throughout the book with them, so connecting with them on a personal level was quite a task. 

The only major problem I had with this novel was the ending. It was extremely abrupt and rushed. I felt like there were quite a few questions left unanswered.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. I would definitely recommend it to all those thriller, suspense, and crime lovers out there. It is definitely a quick read, so if you're interested in the genres and are looking for a quick read you  have found a winner! 

More Info:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hope At Dawn Review

Hope At Dawn

Author: Stacy Henrie
Average Rating: 4.53/5.0
Personal Rating: 5.0/5.0
Page Count: 384
Finished Reading: July
Published: June 24th, 2014

According to Goodreads:

In a Time of War, Love is the Inspiration.

With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents' farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home—and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country's struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy—and dark secrets from the past—threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what's right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

My opinion:

I received an electronic copy of this book to review from the publisher through NetGalley, but in no way does that have an impact on my views and opinion. 

Hope At Dawn is one of those books where you wish you could travel back in time, even if the time period is during the midst of World War II. I loved this book so much!! I don't truly know how explain it to all of you in a way that will inspire you to pick it up when you have the chance. There wasn't any action throughout the novel, but it portrayed a romance between two people that literally made me wish I was in the girl's place. 

Friedrick Wagner has been definitely added to my list of fictional characters I would date. He's protective, gentle, and chivalrous. He doesn't overdue it, but he just encompasses the whole picture of a gentleman. It's a miracle in itself if a guy holds a door open for a woman now. I know it's just not the men, but it's always nice to see an act of chivalry every once in awhile to remind us that we shouldn't stereotype every guy that we see as a rude, arrogant human. 

I felt like I really connected with Livy throughout the novel, because of her love for teaching. Some of my favorite scenes to read were the ones that she was teaching her class. It's one of my hopes that time travel becomes a thing, because I would travel back in time so I could teach in a wooden schoolhouse. I have no idea why that setting has been intriguing to me throughout the years. I guess it has a sort of charm to it. Who knows. Of course, I am not a teacher yet. I still have to earn my degree, but I know the day will come when I will have a turn at teaching. 

The author made the struggles of German Americans during World War II prominent as the plot progressed. She wrote about the language laws that were created that forbade them from speaking German. She also briefly included how family businesses were vandalized, and had to close due to lack of business. These particular scenes opened my eyes. Why were these American citizens being treated like trash? What did they do to deserve this? Escaped Germany for a better life? They are humans. What really matters is what is the inside, not the faults of their ancestry. Sounds a bit cliche, but it's true. 

I found no faults while I was reading the novel. It went along at a nice steady pace, which I felt matched what the author was trying to portray about the time period and the struggles endured. I highly recommend this book to all of you. This book isn't some romance where two main characters fall in love over night. This romantic relationship is about a romance that I think we all secretly long to experience. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Review

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Author: John Boyne
Average Rating: 4.04/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 224
Finished Reading: June
Published: September 12th, 2006

According to Goodreads

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

My opinion: 

I'm not going to say that this novel has become one of my all time favorites, but it is a book that brings a bit more awareness into people's lives about the Holocaust. Not a huge amount, but there's some there. I felt like the book started off extremely slow. Literally at page 100 the pace picked up, but I just felt like the writing was too simplistic. 

The simplicity of the writing was actually spot on, because the author created the main character to be nine years old. So of course this nine year old wouldn't be throwing out eight or nine syllable long words. However, by page 50 I felt like I just wanted the book to end so I could be done with the simplistic style of writing. 

I was reading the interview with John Boyne that was at the end of my version of the novel, and he talked about how the book came into existence when an image of two boys separated by a fence popped into his head. He made it his goal from there to portray the naivety of many people during the events of the Holocaust. I feel like people today assume that everybody knew what was actually happening as the Holocaust unfolded. In truth though, many did not know. They knew that their leader, Hitler, was strict and maintained control with fear. They knew that if they publicly gave an act of kindness towards the prisoners they would be severely punished. However, they did NOT know about the gas chambers. They did NOT know about the ovens that many were forced into. They did NOT know about the large ditches that the prisoners were forced to dig, and then be shot one by one into the ditch once they finished. They did NOT know that millions were being starved and forced to work from dawn to dusk. All these horrific actions were kept away from the public.

Today, we have first accounts from the people who experienced these atrocious inhumane acts through interviews and books. We know so much more about the Holocaust than the ones who lived it. I try to read as many articles and books about the Holocaust as I can, because I feel like it's my own way of honoring those who lost their lives. We know most of the truth today, which leads us to tough questions. 

Would you risk your own life to help one of the prisoners? Give them food? Shelter? 

Or would you sneer, spit on them, and say that they deserve everything that they get?

How do you think you would have acted if you had lived during that dark period of time?

Personally, I would like to believe that I would have tried to figure out how to sneak food to them or help them find a way to sneak out. But who knows. Fear causes us to become selfish. 

The fence plays an essential role in the book, and in many of our lives. In the interview, Boyne talks about various "fences" that have erected in our own time. He talked about various wars in Africa and the Middle East, and how war victims were placed in camps to work to death. However, I interpreted that the fence doesn't have to be physical. Maybe you are experiencing some financial struggles or the loss of a beloved family member. Those particular struggles may be temporary, but it's a fence all in the same. Everybody has their fences. Some may have them longer than others, but we all have our fences. I'd like to add this quote from the interview: 

"Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to reach such a fence." (Boyne)

I highly recommend this book, because of its portrayal of the naivety of the people who lived outside of the fences. This book will open your eyes a bit more about the Holocaust resulting in losing your own naivety of that awful period of time. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Tragedy Paper Review

The Tragedy Paper

Author: Elizabeth LaBan
Average Rating: 3.76/5.0
Personal Rating: 3.0/5.0
Page Count: 312 
Finished Reading: June
Published: January 8th, 2013

According to Goodreads:

Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their love.

My opinion:

I wasn't too impressed with this book. I dived into the book with extremely high expectations that ended up not being met. I still remember the first time that I read the summary on Goodreads before the book had been published. It sounded amazing, no, it sounded spectacular. Looking back though, I think I fell in love with it because it wasn't about vampires, werewolves, and faeries. I always tend to drift towards books that aren't the current trend. I had my vampire and werewolf fix with Twilight, so at the time I was looking for books that did not even mention those two words. 

In the book the current senior class has to write a long thesis paper or they refer to it as The Tragedy Paper. Throughout the year, their teacher Mr. Simon would drop hints about what to include if they wanted extra credit on it. The students truly had free reign with this paper, because the guidelines Mr. Simon did give were quite frank but specific. Reading about the stress and anxiety given by this paper brought back memories of a research paper that I had to complete my eighth grade year. Although, we just had to stress about it for a semester, not a whole school year. I found the two assignments quite similar. I could choose what ever topic I wanted, as long as I followed the few specific guidelines that were given. 

My favorite character out of the whole novel is Mr. Simon. He, himself, attended Irving School, and now is the teacher for Senior English. He's one of those teachers who you want to dislike, because he is the giver of a difficult and lengthy assignment. However, he teaches the material in a way that makes you want to pay attention, and do well. He is charismatic, highly intelligent, gentle, and a bachelor who can bake amazing food. Do I need to say more? 

I was really hoping that The Tragedy Paper would be a winner for me, but it just didn't capture me enough to lose myself into the world of the characters. The writing was boring, and if it wasn't for my curiosity about what happened the year before I probably would have started reading something else. This is a fine example about how I hate reading books that I and others have created hype around. (That's why I haven't read The Fault in Our Stars yet - too much hype especially now that the movie is out.) 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear John Review

Dear John

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Average Rating: 3.96/5.0
Personal Rating: 5.0/5.0
Amount of Pages: 276
Finished Reading: June

According to Goodreads:

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. 

But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. 

Dear John, the letter read... and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

My opinion:

Oh my goodness gracious THE FEELS! Nicholas Sparks has done it again ladies and gentlemen.

Like every Nicholas Sparks book that I have read, Dear John started out slow. The whole first chapter was a major information dump. The information that was given was a necessity for the rest of the story to unfold, but it just seemed tedious to read about it. Once Savannah came into the mix the novel took off. 

One thing I loved about this particular novel was watching the changes in the relationship between John and his father. When John is confronted with the possibility that his father may have a mental disorder, anger and denial quickly become prominent. He knows that he and his father never had the typical father son relationship, but he just thought his dad was quiet and socially awkward. Then John notices the symptoms in his dad more and more, but he doesn't let them destroy their relationship even more. John learns more about the disorder, and learns how to connect with his father. The relationship that blossoms between them literally brought tears to my eyes. John turns his remorse for being such a difficult teenager into pure love for his father. 

I found it extremely frustrating how John wouldn't be open with his feelings with Savannah. He would rave about how much he loved her, but once she asked why he was angry or sad he wouldn't tell her. He would take the easiest way out and say "I don't know." Communication is one of the biggest keys in a healthy relationship. There are two parts that go along with communication: speaking and listening. John would listen to everything Savannah had to say about her feelings, but when it was his turn it was "I don't know." You have to give something before you can take. 

The writing was very simplistic. Not to the point where you felt like you were drudging slowly through it. Sparks incorporated real life events that brought back memories like 9/11. I know I was only in preschool when it happened, but I don't think I will ever forget the panic and tension in the air. Nor the expressions that were worn by the adults in my life. Sparks did a wonderful job in portraying how difficult it is for an intimate relationship to stay strong between a military member and a non-military member. 

I have loved all the books that I have read by Nicholas Sparks. He knows how to write a romance that isn't filled with sex or is so cheesy that I feel sick to my stomach. He knows how to pull the right strings in our hearts that send us on an emotional roller-coaster with the characters. If you are looking for a novel that is filled with a romance that is reality for many people out there today, then I would highly encourage you to pick up Dear John

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bittersweet Review


Author: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Average Rating: 3.68/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.5/5.0
Amount of Pages: 400
Finished Reading: May

According to Goodreads

Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of  an American dynasty, and an outsider's hunger to belong.

On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it's the kind of place where swimming boldly is required and the children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with the midnight skinny-dips, the wet dog smell lingering in the air, the moneyed laughter carrying across the still lake, and before she knows it, she has everything she's ever wanted: wealth, friendship, a boyfriend, and, most of all, the sense, for the first time in her life, that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes an insider, she makes a terrible discovery, which leads to shocking violence and the revelation of the true source of the Winslows' fortune. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and redefine what is good and what is evil, in the interest of what can be hers.

My opinion:

Before we continue we must all give a round of applause for "Bittersweet" to celebrate how much I loved this book! (claps vigorously while wiping a tear away from face) 

To be quite frank with all of you, there isn't a ton of action throughout the novel. However, I was able to fly through this book. It would feel like I had been reading for maybe 15 minutes, and then I would look at the clock to realize I had been reading for three or four hours. One aspect I absolutely loved about the format of the book is how the chapters are not that long. I think the longest chapter was about three and a half pages. Whenever a book has short chapters like that, I feel like I am able to finish the book faster. Is that just me? 

Throughout the whole novel I was rooting for Galway Winslow. I think I was drawn to him the most, because he seemed to be the most grounded out of his whole family. The Winslows had millions upon millions. They all knew that fact, and used their wealth to their advantage. However, Galway was...different. Mabel was drawn to the fact that Galway didn't seem as interested in those millions. I have to admit I was pretty jealous that Mabel got to hang out with this guy, because let me tell you he is my dream guy.  

My biggest pet peeve out of the whole novel was Mabel's insecurity with her friendship with Ev Winslow and her relationship with Galway. I'm not being condescending towards her having insecurities, because I am certainly not insecurity free. It got to the point that she was practically whining, and insecurities that turn into whining gets under my skin sometimes. We can figure out why she is insecure as we learn more about the characters and her back-story. It's just the fact that there were a lot of times where I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and tell her that everything will work out if it's meant to be! 

I'm glad this novel brought attention to the reality of how many people suffered during the Holocaust, and how many people were able to flourish due to obtaining the property of the suffering. I had a slight notion that it did happen, but it was never taught to me. It was something that I came across at some point in researching or reading another novel. The Winslows represent many families that became wealthy from the victims, and another offense added to the list of actions against the Holocaust victims that people today want to ignore.

Overall, I loved this book! I am giving "Bittersweet" a 4.5 out of 5. If you are looking for a novel that is filled to the brim with action, then this novel is not for you. However, if you are a love of suspense then DING DING DING you have found a winner! I was guessing the outcome of the story only to be completely stunned when the truth came out. 

For More Information:

DISCLAIMERI received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.