Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A hauntingly good read that mixes in history, romance, and mystery! This historical fiction young adult novel is loosely based on Theodore Dreiser's, An American Tragedy.

Set in 1906 the book follows the present and past of Mattie Gokey, a worker at the Glenmore hotel. Her story is intertwined in a murder mystery at the hotel when guest Grace Brown's body is found in the lake. The same Grace Brown who recently entrusted Mattie to burn some letters for her. These letters turn out to be the key to why Grace was murdered. Mattie's story is fictional, while the letters and death of Grace Brown are based on a true story. Connelly intertwines fact and fiction seamlessly.

Jennifer Donnelly's writing holds you captive and reads very poetically! I loved this book and the mesmerizing characters kept me reading non-stop until the end! Not only is this a great book for teens, but for adults as well! A definite great read!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

This is a stunningly beautiful book! It is a wordless graphic novel that depicts the life of an immigrant in a foreign land.

A man leaves his wife and child so he can improve their lives. It is perfect that this is wordless as it helps the reader understand and relate to the character in how hard it is to understand a foreign language and land. The artwork is beautiful and depicts a very alien city and landscape. Cultures all over the world vary in their beliefs and traditions, this book holds the same concept, only taking it to a new level. The reader can interpret so many things for themselves, but in the end, I feel that all readers will understand that a picture (or pictures in this case) is worth a thousand words.

I loved this book and I highly recommend this book to all ages!
Also check out Shaun Tan's Website for some awesome artwork! He is a truly an amazing artist!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle

My friend's book was just published and is available to purchase!!! Go to this LINK and purchase from any of these online retailers! I ordered my own autographed copy. I am so excited to receive it and read it! I will be reviewing it here, so make sure to check back!

I reviewed her self published book below, Cinders (click here to read the review) which will now be published as an omnibus (3 novella's in one titled Bonded) through the same publisher who is publishing Monarch. Looking forward to when that is published in 2013! Check out the information about Bonded by clicking here.

I love her writing and so proud of her and her amazing accomplishments as an author! You're the best Michelle, CONGRATS!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Missy's Reads & Reviews!

Check out this book blog for some great giveaways!!! A great blog to follow for books! Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I am a huge fan of dystopian books! I loved The Giver by Lois Lowry, 1984 by George Orwell, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (click here to see my review), and of course The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (click here to see my review). I could keep listing books that fit into this genre, but that is a whole other post. I honestly had never heard of The Maze Runner or even James Dashner, but I follow a blog by author, Jenn Johansson, and I entered a giveaway on her blog to win this autographed copy of The Maze Runner. Lo and behold...I won! It was actually a long time ago and I have been meaning to post my review for quite some time...well finally here it is!

This book was great! I thoroughly enjoyed it and originally didn't know it was a dystopian novel when I entered to win it. What a great surprise for me since I love this genre. This book initially reminded me of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, but more with that "big brother" & "controlled society" factor thrown in.  I don't know how to really describe this book, but the description from Barnes & Noble editorial review is absolutely perfect, so I have to share this portion! I also love that they describe it as a "Truman meets Lord of the Flies tale!
"Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines." (Barnes & Noble)

I am very much looking forward to the next two books in this trilogy, The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure (coming out in October 2011). I thought all the characters were well developed. The book and plot held such mystery to me that I couldn't put the book down. Thomas the main character is the newest arrival in the Glade, and although like the other boys he can't remember his own last name or how he got there, he starts to feel that some things in the Glade are familiar. A lot of the other boys don't trust Thomas, and he can't explain why things seem so familiar to him. Things are always expected in the Glade, a boy arrives every 30 days, but things change immensely when the first and only girl arrives the day after Thomas, they don't know what to expect and things start changing. The book has a lot of suspense and mystery tied in throughout it. I don't want to give anything away, but you should definitely read this! 

A great start to the series and once I read the other books I will review them as well! I would highly recommend this book, especially to middle school and high school aged readers!

Maze Runner Trilogy

The Maze Runner
The Scorch Trials
The Death Cure
by James Dashner

Fade by Lisa McMann

I didn't like this as much as the first in the series, and even then "Wake" isn't by far one of my favorite books. As I mentioned in the review on "Wake" I liked it and didn't like it. This was an okay read, but not the greatest. 

***Slight Spoiler Alert***

Janie goes undercover at Fieldridge High to help catch a sexual predator. Cabel, now Janie's boyfriend is upset at her putting herself in danger. I personally thought there would be some twist at the end and who they thought was the predator wasn't, but I was incorrect, it was just as she had predicted. I was hoping for a bit more of an in depth plot to hold my interest more, but overall it was very predictable. Janie also learns the devastating consequences that her ability will reduce her to physically, like going eventually going blind. 

This book is more geared towards high school level readers, mainly for the foul language and sexual topics. But for the most part I didn't care for the book, it was okay, but not the best. I may read the last book "Gone" in the series if I have nothing else to read, but isn't likely, as I always have something to read! ;)

The Wake Trilogy
by Lisa McMann