Browsing Category: Book review

Book Review |The Outsiders

Here is my review at Goodreads!

The Outsiders

didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing starRatings[ratingIndex++] = [ ‘231804’,1]; checkStars(‘231804’, 1);  (1 1/2)

This was actually the first time I read S.E. Hinton’s realistic fiction book. When I was younger, I had read a book called the Downsiders and thought it had something to do with this book. I was wrong. This book is about Ponyboy (yes, that is his real name) and his friends–they are “greasers” and looked down upon by the “Socs” (high society kids). Ponyboy and his friend Johnny get in some big trouble after a rumble with some Socs and the book follows them through running away, a church fire which made them heroes, and the effect that their hard life had on them.

As I was reading this, I instantly thought of it as a mix between the movie, Grease, and the musical, West Side Story. That is the main issue of the book–different groups of kids who misunderstand or have prejudices against each other and how they have to life with it or find a way to overcome it. Hinton does a good job making it realistic fiction because she alludes to popular slang and terms, as well as fads such as the Beatles. This probably came very easy to Hinton as she was only 17 when the book was published.

Whether or not she meant it, Hinton had a motif of eyes. Every character’s description focuses on their eyes and then is reflected in their personality and actions. I love eye motifs and think she did it very well. She based the book on an issue between two gangs at her school and she wanted to explore it from the side of the “greasers.” Again, I think she does a well enough job with this as Ponyboy begins to see things differently after he meets Cherry and as Johnny reveals his own feelings.

But, besides those two aspects, I felt this was a very dry book. The events didn’t seem to flow well enough into one another–it felt like different episodes and it was very easy to tell where an episode would end. I do believe that young teenage boys in middle school would enjoy this book, especially because of all the “rumbles” throughout.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

What is Reading?

Reading is having fun. Reading is having an adventure, becoming new people, living different lives, all without moving an inch.

Being literate, to me, is the continuous practice of being able to read comfortably. You have to practice reading, just like anything else, but enjoy it. If you are mumbling and grumbling, how will you improve?

What I love about reading is it it shows our divine potential. Our divinity is our imagination, which in writers is manifest before readers as books and stories. It is their own world given to us to participate in. And, since I am a history teaching major, it also means that I become a time traveler and am able to witness history live in front of my eyes.

The books I read as a kid are still the same genres I read today. I’ve always been entranced with historical fiction and fantasy. Maybe it’s because I, myself, am a daydreamer and a writer that I year for a time and place not my own. To see mysteries at work and understand them is what I love the most. Sometimes I’ll even read specific characters’ dialogue out loud–I become them; I live a different life.

Reading is what dreams are made of and how they come true.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review | Royal Diaries Series

I used to love this series as a kid. In elementary school, I started with the Dear America series–a historical fiction series in the form of girls’ journals. They then branched off to do historical fiction journals of princess throughout the world and time.

Thus far in my life, I have read: 

Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. by Kristiana Gregory 
Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 by Carolyn Meyer 
Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 by Carolyn Meyer
Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 by Patricia McKissac 
Lady of Ch’iao Kuo: Warrior of the South, Southern China, 531 A.D. by Laurence Yep 
Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829 by Anna Kirwan 
Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, France, 1553 by Kathryn Lasky 
Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets, Massachusetts-Rhode Island, 1653 by Patricia Clark Smith 
Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal, Mesoamerica, A.D. 749 by Anna Kirwan

This summer, I have decided to read some more. I am a history teaching major after all. Even if the series was written for middle school students.

Any way, the three I decided to read were these:

Anacoana: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 
by Edwidge Danticat
This was an interesting read because there is not much known about the natives in Haiti before the conquistadors came. The author certainly did her research though. She was able to integrate language and culture that we do know about these natives. At the same time, she did a good job showing personality and thought very well, showing us what she believed to be the thought-process of a native princess in Haiti.
Kristina: The Girl King, Sweden, 1638 
by Carolyn Meyer
This one was a bit more journal like–this happened now, this happened then. Even though the character is interesting (the only child of the king of Sweden raised as a prince to become King, rather than Queen), the author did not do a good job holding my interest. It barely breached the character’s thought process and feelings. However, I now want to learn more about her.
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 
by Kathryn Lasky 
I think I read this when I was younger. I love anything that has to do with the Tudors! Especially Elizabeth. This does a very good job diving into the mind of a princess who’s mother was beheaded and father banished her according to his mood swings. If that was your childhood and you had a brother and an older sister, you would have very little hope of ever becoming queen. You felt yourself as a forgotten princess and that is what Lasky showed very well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review | The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
So, I know a ton of people who have read this. I thought of it as a Hipster book. Wasn’t that interested. I mean, I probably would have picked it up at some point, but not while it was a craze. Then, I saw a preview for it, because it is going to be a movie!
I was hooked!!!
Strengths
  1. It has three points of view: Aibeleen and Minny (both maids) and Skeeter. In the back of the book, Stockett admits she was nervous about being able to properly portray 1960 African-American maids, but I think she did a very good job and with the 3 distinct personalities, we can see the story develop in a very interesting way.
  2. It is almost stream-of-thought or personal essay written. There are a lot of flashbacks or reflection between the 3 women, which helps give insight without having weird skips ahead in time.
  3. I love books about books! This one is about writing a book about what is actually happening in the book! YAAY!
  4. It uses Ebonics!
Weaknesses
  1. Sometimes the stream-of-though flashbacks or reflections can get a little confusing in the time-line.
  2. Even though the ending was good, it was still at the same time a little unsatisfying.
For her first novel, Kathryn Stockett did a very good job! And I can’t wait for two more weeks so I can see the movie with my mom and my sister!
My Rating
5/5 stars!
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review | The Book of Mordred

The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde
I have decided that since I want to be a writer and will hopefully be an English Teacher in a few years (as well as history) I should probably use this blog to do some book reviews. As you can tell by looking at my side bar ————————(arrow)———–>>>
I have been reading as much as I can this summer. But, I’ve decided to start with this book because it is still fresh in my mind–I just finished it last night before I went to bed.
So, The Book of Mordred caught my eye because 1) I LOVE Arthurian legend and 2) the cover is intriguing. 
Quick rundown: Mordred is King Arthur’s bastard son by his half-sister Morgause or Morgana (depending on the version). He leads to the downfall of Camelot and the “death” of Arthur (who kills him at the same time). Mordred has always been viewed as a darker, shady, mysterious, hateful character who may also be a coward and not a skilled knight (again, depending on the version).
In this book, Velde takes a look at Mordred from the point of view of three women: Alayna, Nimue, and Kiera.He is intertwined in all of these women’s life and they in his. 
   Alayna is a lesser noble who married a village wizard but is recently widowed. In the first 1/3 of the book, her daughter, Kiera (4 years old) is kidnapped by an evil wizard to use her powers of foresight. Alayna rushes to rescue her, meets Mordred who accompanies her and rescues her daughter, while apparently killing the evil wizard.
   The 2nd part of the book has skipped a couple years and introduces Nimue, who is was Merlin’s lover/apprentice. Merlin is now gone and Nimue happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when boys are being captured to have their youth stolen by the evil wizard. Nimue bumps into Mordred who helps her rescue the boys and kill the wizard yet again. This part of the book leads us to believe Nimue and Mordred’s relationship blossoms.
   The last third of the book skips another couple of years and Kiera is now 14. The setting is Camelot where her foresight powers get her in trouble as the Arthurian legend comes to a climax: from Lancelot and Guinevere to the battle between Mordred and Arthur.
Strengths
1) Vende has a really good writing style. It is always at a good pace–when the action is fast, so is her pace–it is almost stream-of-thought–when the action is slow, so is her writing with bigger and longer paragraphs.
2) It is a new view of the super intriguing character of Mordred. Usually Arthurian books show Mordred as a bad guy through the eyes of a main player in the legends. Or it shows Mordred’s point of view as being totally wronged. This book kind of balances it out. It shows Mordred through the eyes of 3 women who he has influenced (albeit, 2 of them don’t exist in Arthurian legend).
3) Vende incorporates the legend very well and shows she has done her research.
Weaknesses
1) Kiera’s foresight scenes are juxtaposed a little weirdly–kind of disrupts her flow. Yes, I know visions will usually do that, but authors tend to keep a good flow between reality and vision/dream. Vende’s seems to disrupted.
2) Nimue is too nice! In this book, she is viewed as an innocent who is protecting Merlin as he sleeps. She puts her own talent down, too humble, too unsure, not confident, too nice. NO! Nimue seduced Merlin to teach her then she betrayed Merlin. She works with Vivian, Morgause, and Morgana in Arthurian legend. It drove me insane!

My Rating
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.