Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book review of Blackveil

Synopsis in a Sentence: In this fourth book of the series, the main character, Karigan Glad'heon fulfills her duties as a messenger to the king by going on a quest to help stop the evil of their enemy, Morhaven the Black.

My Thoughts: I love this fantasy series! I have been devoted to this series since the first book, Green Rider. Unfortunately, while this author is extremely talented, she takes about 3-4 years in between each book...and so sometimes I can't believe I've been reading this series since high school! These books are actually the reason I wanted to begin a book blog because I wanted to share my love of this series with other readers and hear their thoughts on the books.

Ms. Britain's writing reminds me of J.K. Rowling's writing style...which is high praise, indeed! They are both able to not only write a great story, but to actually make that story come alive. As you read this book, you just almost feel the world (Sacoridia) Ms. Britain has created. Reading books is wonderful of course, but sometimes you end with just feeling as if you read a cute story. But when you find a book where you actually feel as if you went on the adventure yourself and that this other world might be real...that is magic! This feeling doesn't happen to me very often...but it happened with this series.

In summary, this series is about a girl, Karigan who through a set of circumstances and a mysterious "calling," gets caught up in an adventure which eventually leads her to the capital and the King. She finds out about the Green Riders, who work as messengers and scouts for the King and each of them has their own special magical "ability." Karigan realizes that her calling is to join them, and she eventually becomes a Green Rider. All four books are her subsequent adventures in helping to quell the dark forces (Morhaven the Black and his comrades) which threaten their land...typical epic fantasy type stuff, but so special and magical as I mentioned above.

Having given the series much praise...I do have to mention one incredibly frustrating subplot to the books, something which many of her fans are driven crazy by, including me! The King (Zachary) and Karigan fall in love, but are not able to be together for a variety of reasons. The romantic tension between them is one of the best relationship plots I've ever's almost unbearable, but highly interesting watching them struggle with their feelings for each other. I would absolutely love to see them eventually be allowed to be together and many fans agree with me (check out Amazon reviews), but others feel as if they are on two different paths and would be better off marrying certain other characters.

Overall, I would recommend this series to anyone. I love the genre of fantasy, but I've been delving into other genres for the past couple of years...this is really the only fantasy I've read since Harry Potter, Twilight and the Inheritance Cycle. I hope to return to the genre soon and really get into it again. I might start with The Game of Thrones as I keep hearing great things about the HBO series they've adapted from those books!

What I loved most: Everything. The author herself is kind of unique as well...I'd love to meet her in person one day. She was actually a former National park ranger who eventually published Green Rider and has since become a full time writer (although this hasn't seemed to help with her getting the books out any sooner!) She's supposedly single and lives in a log cabin in Maine. I'm always checking out her website for updates on future books!

What I liked least: The romance between King Zachary and Karigan is a little bit torturous and it's made worse by the fact that the series is ongoing and there's little hope of it being resolved anytime soon. It's a huge cliffhanger and it sometimes makes me wish I hadn't discovered this series until all of the books have come out!! Ahh!!!!

4 stars

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
"And she remembered Mornhavon, the incorporeal darkness that had invaded her mind and body. "Why me?" She had meant to shout, but it emerged as a whisper."

from the book, Blackveil by Kristen Britain, p. 179

I love this fantasy series! The heroine, Karigan is very likable and is multi-dimensional...vulnerable as well as strong and brave. This book is the fourth book in the series...but be warned, the author takes 3-4 years to write each book and it drives her fans crazy! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Synopsis in a Sentence: Juliet Ashton is a writer living in London during the aftermath of World War II who finds love and the inspiration for her next book on the British isle of Guernsey.

My Thoughts:
Can I just say how much I absolutely love and adore this book?! It is cute, charming, and interesting with an eccentric mix of characters that truly come alive off the page. Lately, I have been very interested in stories about WWII as my Grandfather was a vet of the war and I'm actually writing a book on the subject as well! :) This book was a great choice to put me in the right frame of my mind for my really evokes the time period of the 40's so well. It is very easily one of the best books that I've read in the past couple of years!

I loved the main character of Juliet. She is a struggling writer who is trying to figure out what the next chapter of her life should be now that the war has ended and she has entered her thirties. She receives correspondence from a man living on the island of Guernsey which was occupied by the Germans during the war and essentially cut off from the rest of the world. Eventually, she begins to correspond with other residents from the Island and learns about the book club they began during the war to maintain a sense of connectedness, fun and normalcy during their Occupation. Juliet finally visits the Island and finds not only a new home...but inspiration for her next book and love as well!

What I loved most: The endearing characters come alive and feel like your friends by the books end. Also, this novel is told completely in the form of letters which is a nice change of pace. Finally, it's worth reading just to figure out the meaning behind the unique title!

What I liked least: I wish there were more descriptions or scenes of the actual book club. It is talked about a lot and is the reason the characters were able to keep their morale up during the war, but there aren't a lot of actual meetings described.

5 stars!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I am currently reading Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! I absolutely love this book...I've been very interested in WWII stories lately and this is such a great one.

I recently finished reading The Shack by William P. Young. This is such a moving story of a man finding the healing he needs after the murder of his little girl.

Hmm...not sure what I'll read next! Probably a book called Blackveil by Kristen Britain. This is the fourth book in an amazing fantasy series...I'll be excited to share my review of it with all of you!

I also wanted to mention briefly that I haven't been as active on this blog as I would like to be. The book blogging community is amazing and I've been so blessed to become a part of it, but I have been very busy lately with attempting to write my first book! Stay tuned...perhaps someday my efforts will pay off...fingers crossed! :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review of The Shack

Synopsis in a Sentence: A man tries to solve the mystery and find forgiveness and healing after the murder of his little girl.

My Thoughts:
This book was given to me as a Christmas present a few years ago and I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. I'm a little bit of a scaredy cat and I knew it was kind of a murder mystery story. But it ended up being so much more than that! It is an amazing story of faith, forgiveness and healing after a horrible event.

The story begins when a father takes his kids on a camping trip and the unthinkable happens: a serial killer stalks and then kidnaps his little girl. An image that is haunting me from this book is that the little girl was wearing a red sundress when she was taken and the killer left his calling card: a ladybug! How creepy is that?! The writer, Young, evokes such a vivid image with the color red here, though. In fact, this book was so well written and realistic seeming, that I thought for the first half of this book that this was based on a true story!

Several years after the abduction of his daughter, Missy, Mack receives an invitation from GOD (of all people haha) to return to the place where his daughter may have been murdered to spend a weekend in healing.

God turns out to be a warm and loveable black woman who is an amazing cook. This may seem an unexpected medium for God to appear as, but it really works in the book. I kind of feel that one of the themes of the book is that God is in everyone and God can manifest Himself to us in many ways and through all kinds of people.

Read this book to see if God helps Mack to heal from his devastating loss! This book is touching and will help you to heal and understand the reasons behind the tragedies of your own life.

What I liked least: The first part of the book is a murder mystery and is very fast is a little hard to transition between this and the second, slower and more philosophical half.

What I liked most: At the very end of the book, Mack gets to see his daughter one last time as the way she used to be...isn't that what we all wish for when we lose a loved one? To see them full of life one last time and to tell them we love them?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Review of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Synopsis in a Sentence: This heartbreaking, yet inspiring memoir chronicles the final days of Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer.

My Thoughts:
Wow, what an incredibly moving and emotional story! What really struck me as I read this book was just how brave and " full of life" Pausch remained even toward the end of his battle with terminal cancer. He just had a good attitude until the end, and wanted to focus not on himself, but on how his situation could help and inspire others.

Your heart literally breaks as you realize that he will be leaving behind his beloved wife, and his three young children. Now that he has been gone several years, I find myself incredibly curious as to whether his wife remarried and how his kids are doing! I plan on trying to find their website after posting this :).

Even though Pausch died at a relatively young age, he had an amazing opportunity that few of us will ever have...the chance to write a book and leave a legacy that has ended up inspiring thousands, if not millions.

What I liked least: You will go through at least an entire box of Kleenex while you read this!

What I liked most: I love that his "last lecture" didn't focus on dying, but instead he talked about achieving your childhood dreams and remembering the person that you used to be. I love this angle that he took...wouldn't life be a little bit better if we all just focused on being happy and a good person rather than focusing on death and the future so much? Lots of food for thought in this book! Finally, I also liked reading about the days he spent realizing HIS childhood dream of being a Disney cool is that?!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Month of July Giveaway!

A giveaway for a book that I love will be held once a month on this blog. You can easily find this post again by looking under Current Giveaway on my left sidebar.

I am giving away one (1) copy of this book.

To read a synopsis of this book, click here.

Here is what you need to do to win!


If you could run away and join the circus for a day, what would you love to do while there?

Only one comment per person!

You may add an additional entry if you post about my giveaway on your blog (include the link in your comment).

Please include your email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

You must be a follower of this blog in order to participate in this giveaway.

Contest is open to my international followers :).

A winner will be chosen through

A post announcing the winner will also be written.

The winner has 48 hours to respond, or another name will be chosen.

A brand new book will be shipped to you from the Book Depository.

Giveaway ends on July 31st at noon Central Time.

Good luck!