Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: "Night" Classic a Month #3.2014

Night by Elie Wiesel
4 out of 5 stars

You may have noticed that I'm a month behind in my classics. Well, I just couldn't get it together in March, so I decided not to worry about it. I'm sure I'll catch up eventually, probably with my Summer Steinbeck-palooza. And Night is actually the second classic I started for April...I first started with Vanity Fair, recommended by a few friends, but I just couldn't get into it and things were stressful at work (which is where I was reading it) so I wanted something lighter and switched books.

Then my 14 yr old sister said she was reading Night for school and I decided to read it too. Mostly because it's a super quick read, but also because I hadn't read it since I was her age. She spoiled it a little for me too, I hadn't remembered who had died and who hadn't. Also, I learned recently that Wiesel had written 2 other books about that time and I'd like to get them soon.

It's hard to review a book like Night. At 109 pages, it is a succinct account of Wiesel's harrowing years in Auschwitz and several other concentration camps. It doesn't have the same flow and poetry that The Book Thief does, but this is a true story. Elie Wiesel is still alive. He will never forget what he went through. He still remembers how he never got to say goodbye to his mother and sisters.

"Men to the left! Women to the right!"

And that is what makes this an important story. I remember being so fixated on this book and Auschwitz in the 8th grade. It was probably the first time I really questioned historical events. I couldn't believe something like this had happened in recent history. Survivors of that time were still alive. How could the rest of the world not know? And if they did know, how could they just keep letting it happen?

"Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible..."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: "Haunted"

Haunted by Eileen Maksym
4 out of 5 stars

A very good Twitter friend suggested this book to is a first novel written by a close friend of hers and she thought I might enjoy it and be able to pass it on to my few loyal followers here. :) (Thanks to those sticking with me still btw! I'm trying my hardest to get back into the blogging thing.) I have to say, starting out, I wasn't sure about the story but I am very glad I kept reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think Maksym has a talent for telling spooky, hair-raising tales. This is definitely a good read for around Halloween.

There was a distant rumble of thunder. Paul stepped beside her. "Yeah, nice of the weather to cooperate with a haunted house investigation."

Haunted is a quick read, only around 120 pages, and leaves you wanting more. And as always, if the biggest problem you can find with a book is that you want it to be longer, than that's a pretty darn good book. We don't get a lot of back story on the three main characters: college-aged friends Steven, Tara, and Paul. And Maksym makes us want that back story. How did these 3 kids start hunting ghosts? How and when did Paul get his special talent? What is the full story about Tara's family?

The 3 ghostbusters find out about an empty house in the area that has supposedly been haunted for 40+ years. They get in touch with the homeowners and get permission to do some investigating with their paranormal equipment. And sure enough, there are some ghosts there, but not the ones they were expecting. Someone from one of their pasts shows up and they are not Casper the Friendly Ghost. And seriously? I got a little freaked reading that part. And also the real story on the house's ghosts that they find after a little digging in the library. Okay, actually there were several times that just wigged me out lol...I'm a bit of a weenie.

So if you're a weenie like me, you can still read this book. Just do it in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is shining and there are plenty of (living) people in the house, but make sure they can't sneak up on you! Oh and watch out for jumpy cats who like to stare at the wall behind you until you're sure there's a giant spider hanging over your shoulder. Yeah, don't read this with them in the room. But do read it! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Book Haul? Yes, Please!

Hi, my name is Jenn and I'm addicted to buying books. :) I do this every year around springtime. Some people give their mini-blinds a good washing and air out their mattresses (I don't even know if that's a real thing) but me? I stock up on enough books to (logically) last me thru the end of the year. Luckily, I slow down once summertime hits. I've been contemplating buying a new bookshelf too, I desperately need one. I'm even considering getting rid of other furniture to make room for more than one hah! Okay, let's get on to the haul, yes? This was all purchased at Half Price Books for $40, which averaged out to $2.85 per book. Lots of good clearance buys this time!

I think I'm slowly turning into an Austen-ite. I bought 3 books on the clearance shelf by her: Northanger Abbey, Persuasion (which my Goodreads says I already have? not sure), and Emma. I am actually pretty excited to try them.

My sister (who was kind enough to follow me around and carry my basket lol) insisted I get Pippi Longstocking. When I was sick a few weeks ago, I got sucked into the new cartoon, so that should be fun. I was excited to find the first 3 Willow Falls books by Wendy Mass, I just need to pick up the last one sometime. (Reviews of all 4 books here.) And yes, I got two Gossip Girl books. I know, they're so trashy and they're not even as good trashy as Sweet Valley High, but I just really need to finish the series out now. And I am so mad because I just realized I'm still missing one! That is soooo irritating! Rounding out the young adult, I couldn't resist a good spooky Lois Duncan book on clearance, Locked in Time. I don't think I've actually read this one.

The Paris Wife is one I've heard lots of good things about, along with Code Name Verity (even the girl at the cashier said she loved this one!) Hopefully The Paris Wife doesn't drown in my "no Hemingway" quirk. :) And next to last is an impulse buy called The Beginning of After. It looks dark and depressing, but also interesting.

Okay, my last purchase I was so excited about, I might have squealed a little. I had this BSC Chain Letter book as a kid and I got rid of it. I know, the only BSC book I ever got rid of! It doesn't have the friendship bracelet (darn!) but everything else looks intact. I'll probably review this as a real BSC book eventually. :)

And that's my haul! Hopefully the last one for a while, my bookshelf and wallet can't take anymore! Lol...what have you bought lately? I want to hear about it!

Friday, April 4, 2014

What's Your Reading Quirk?

You may already know this, but I am very open-minded about what I will read or try to read. If someone recommends it to me personally, I'm going to give it a shot. I may not like it in the end but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. There are very few reasons I will absolutely refuse to try a book. These are the few that I came up with:

  • It's written by Ernest Hemingway
  • The main plot is about animal/children abuse
  • It has been optioned for a movie starring Kristen Stewart
  • And that's about it. Seriously, I can't think of any other reasons.

Now, let's talk about my 14 year old sister. After seeing the first Hunger Games movie with me (which I forced her to go see), she read the entire series 3 times front to back within a month or so. So it's safe to say she enjoys a good dsytopian, right? After she devoured those, I (and my dad) suggested that she try Gone by Michael Grant or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. We knew she would really enjoy them if she gave them a chance. But she refused to even go past the first page. Why, you ask? Because they were by male authors? Nope. Because they hadn't been optioned for movies (yet)? No. Because they were both written in third person.

Is that the most oddly specific reason you've ever heard to not read a book? I asked her what her reasons were for this and here's what she said: "I like thinking from the main character's view. I like thinking like them and hearing their thoughts. If it's romance, I don't wanna know that the dude likes the girl early on, I like getting in her or his shoes and think what I would've done. And it just bothers me. I want to read 'I' not 'Anna' 'walked across the room'." And I get that. I really do. It's fun knowing all the main character's thoughts and feelings. But sometimes you need that element of surprise. That shocker moment when a character does something seemingly out of nowhere and you wonder what their motivation is.

I'll be honest...I had to really think about what exactly 3rd person was. I've been out of school way too long for that kind of stuff to stick. I gave her this lovely stack of books the other day after she requested new stuff to read and specifically "horror and romance" lol. And I didn't pay attention to the "voice" at all. She's already zoomed thru Anna & The French Kiss and is "totally addicted to it" as I knew she would be. :) I also gave her a list of books, including Eleanor & Park, which is in 3rd person. I'm hoping she will still give it and others a chance, because she's going to miss out on some amazing books if she doesn't.

And here's where you come in! How do I convince her to give 3rd person a chance? What's your favorite book written this way? Or are you like me and don't even notice it? And...what's your reading quirk? What makes you say, "No way, I am not reading that ever ever ever." Is it male authors born in 1852? Books with green covers? Plots about vampire unicorns? (I'd totally read that lol.) Let's discuss!
(Thank you, B, for your help with this post! <3)