Thursday, February 23, 2012

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day

"I can imagine you at forty,’ she said, a hint of malice in her voice. ‘I can picture it right now.’
He smiled without opening his eyes. ‘Go on then.’" (from One Day)

15th July 1988. Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year which follows?One Day is a funny/sad love story spanning twenty years, a book about growing up – how we change, how we stay the same.
(summary from website:

In 1988, Emma Morley wants to change the world. Dexter Mayhew wants to enjoy it and travel for a few years before he gets a real job. She is a feminist and wants women to be seen as equal to men in the workplace. Her true calling, as she discovers is to be a writer. Yet she fails at plays (directing and acting), short stories, poems, and books. She works at a Mexican restaurant, where she meets Ian Whitehead. Then she works as a teacher, during which she has a dangerous affair with the principle. She's unemployed for a while. Then she moves to Paris and gets published big. Meanwhile, Dexter travels, works on tv, becomes an alcoholic, gets his girlfriend pregnant and gets married to her, has a daughter, fails at being a father, becomes divorced. Then he goes to Paris to see Emma. Where they have some hot romance, move back to Edinburgh, and try to have a life together. I'm going to run this book right now, so skip the next sentence. Emma dies. This really ticks me off, because she had so much to offer the world. I liked her so much better than Dexter, who I really really didn't like. That's like saying I only liked half the novel, and I guess so. I hope Emma Morley wrote a better book than this one. Suffice to say, I didn't hate it until I got done with it. It's one of those book, which I'm really starting to despise. In truth, this novel is beautifully written, and I thought the form (of only seeing one day) worked really well. Yet, the characters were annoying and failed to see the consequences of their choices, even as adults. They never really grew up. Finally, I just want to say that this book is a sad sad sad love story, that might not even be true love, and certainly doesn't have a happy ending.

Little Girl Gone

Little Girl Gone

When Madora meets Willis, she thinks he is her guardian angel. He saved her from a life of no hope, and 5 years later all she wants is a life with him. Willis is in training to be a doctor and is quite selfish, manipulating Madora into staying with him. Until she kidnaps a pregnant girl named Linda and imprisons her in the trailer behind the house. When Linda has her baby, Madora's world changes. When a boy named Django enters her world, and her love for Willis turns dangerous, she is forced to do the right thing.

This is one of those books that I didn't know how I felt while I was reading, but afterwards I hated it. Little Girl Gone made me think, and it was beautifully written. Madora, Linda, Willis are hard characters to comprehend, but I think the author wanted it that way. I love Madora and Django's names, very creative. The ending is the best part, as yall know, I'm a sucker for endings. It's a beautiful ending like the prodigal daughter return home. And there's a dog. Foo is a pit bull terrier who loves Madora and goes with her everywhere. I always like it when a book has a dog in it.

Note: I got this book from the author in exchange for a free review. This is no way influenced my opinions or views, which are my own.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spring Exchange Wishlist

A Thousand Splendid Suns by
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Sharp Time by Mary O'Conelle
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
A Love by Any Measure by Killian McRae
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Paper Angels by Billy Coffey
The Angel Esmeralda byDon Delillo
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
When We were Strangers by
Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley
The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve (Eve, #1)

Eve, is the story of a girl who has been raised in a School, to be educated and well rounded. She is eager to cross the lake/bridge and learn a trade. She wants to paint. She thinks that nothing is impossible. Until Arden, the outcast at her School, runs away, telling Eve the truth. When Eve goes across the lake at night to if Arden is telling the truth, she learns that everything she's been up to believe is a lie. So Eve does the same thing Arden does, and runs from the School. Into the wild, that is full of men who only see her as something to be owned and used, of a long ago society and abandoned towns and houses, of roads with soldiers who are coming after her. Eve finds Arden again in the wild, and they team up with Caleb and a group of boys who have escaped labor camps. But the leader of the boy has dangerous black eyes, and nowhere is safe.Caleb and her fall in love, but don't trust each other, causing them both to fall into traps, and for Caleb to make dangerous choices. Eve struggles in her journey to Califi, a refuge and safe house across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco by the ocean, traveling on road 80 west, with Caleb and Arden.  And Eve will eventually have to cross the bridge, but she might have to do it alone.

Let me first say that I had heard many things about Eve, but I really didn't know what to expect. Sixteen years after a virus has killed 98% of the population, Eve is an orphan at a School. Until she receives some shocking news, a shocking truth that sends her out in the wild. Eve reminds me of The Maze Runner and the Hunger Games. It's dark and scary and there's questions unanswered. And there is death and danger everywhere. I liked it just as much as I like the Hunger Games, if not more. I hope Carey keeps it up in the next book, Once, to come out July 3, 2012. I hate it when trilogies go downhill (like the Hunger Games). A note on the names, I liked them, because they all seemed to fit together, and I love the name Arden, so that was nice. A note on the cover: I like it; it suits the book. Eve is headed into the unknown, and I can't wait to see what Califi is like. And I like the writing of the letters. I liked how the book was told from Eve's perspective, because it helped me understand her feelings. Eve also fulfills the A-Z challenge letter E and the Read Dystopia Challenge.

 The main reasons I liked Eve novel are the symbols and themes. Obviously the bridges. One represent a life that Eve longs to live, but on the other side there's only a lie and that life would be like living in a torture chamber/prison. To leave the school represents the loss of Eve's innocence and desire to know. The second bridge, crossing to Califi, represent Eve's freedom. The two juxtapose (I love that word). There's also the road--dangerous, but necessary, guides but isn't to be trusted, isn't safe. The road is a symbol of Eve's journey and her life in the wild. And finally, water. Water is a symbol. It's needed to live, but Eve fears it until she learns how to swim. Oh, and also books. Books are the source of Eve's knowledge and all she knows about the world, outside of what her instincts tell her. As for the themes, the obvious one is having the freedom to make one's own choices, even if it effects others negatively, and by accepting that we make mistakes, but are not controlled by outside forces. The other one is love. In the book, Eve says, "You can love anyone. Love is caring about someone very deeply. Feeling like that person matters to you, like your whole world would be sadder without them in it." Well said and well written Anna Carey.

Here's the summary for the sequel, Once below. (from the offical website)

Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. There she uncovers the real reason he was so intent on her capture, and the unbelievable role he intends her to fill. When she is finally reunited with Caleb, they will enact a plan as daring as it is dangerous. But will Eve once again risk everything—her freedom, her life—for love?

Brimming with danger and star-crossed romance, and featuring a vivid dystopian landscape, this electrifying follow-up to Eve, which bestselling author Lauren Kate called “a gripping, unforgettable adventure—and a fresh look at what it means to love” is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes adventure of The Hunger Games and the irresistible love story of Romeo and Juliet.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)

Summary from
(please check out the website)
Helen Hamilton has always tried to hide how different she is—no easy feat on an island as small as Nantucket, and only getting harder as she finds herself haunted by hallucinations and vivid nightmares.
It's not until she crosses paths with Lucas Delos at school that Helen's true heritage is finally revealed. Yet even as Lucas helps her awaken to her startling powers, they can never be together—not unless they can break free from the tragic destiny the Three Fates have in store.

Starcrossed is a book I would like to own, here that Auntie? It's been added to my books-I'd-like-to-own-list. Maybe one day. I've read it twice, and I lOVE it. It's so good, and I love the cover. I want a purple dress like that. I'm also happy because it fulfills the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge AND the YA Mythology Challenge. So it's about these two people Helen and Lucas, who are demigods and come from different houses/families/bloodlines. Lucas is a Delos, belonging to Apollo and the house of Thebes. Helen is one of the last of Aphrodite's descendants of the house of Atreus. There's also the houses of Poseidon and Athena. Lucas and Helen try to kill each other, but when they save each other's lives, they break the cycle of blood to blood to more blood, and end up falling in love. He teachers her how to fly, and use her lightning powers. There's also this guy named Creon of the house of Thebes who wants to kill Helen so that there is only one house left and Atlantis can be raised, which is like the paradise for the demigods. Since it's rumored that the house of Thebes and Atreus are the only ones left, Lucas and Helen can't be together, because the houses cannot unite. And there's Helen's best friend Claire, who is nicknamed Giggles. How can anyone not love a character named Giggles? So naturally I feel in love with her too. All of these things along with the Oracle Cassandra, the Underworld and a River, and the two healer Delos twins, and Helen's mother, Hector Delos (enough said about him), and it's set on Nantucket by the ocean no less, will help Helen and Lucas break the cycle of blood to blood to more blood and free the houses from the Fates. Naturally, I loved it.

Dreamless is the sequel to Starcrossed, and comes out in May 2012. I cannot wait! Here's what the cover looks like.
Dreamless In the Underworld, every night is forever.

Austenland, Positively, Beyond the Highland Mist

So, as everyone knows, I try to do one Austenesque book every 3 weeks to a month or so. This month it was Austenland by Shannon Hale.
Here's the summary from Goodreads:
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

I know it might shock some of you, but I didn't like this book. It has no real plot, and it's hard to know who is a visitor and who is an actor at Austenland. Until the end of course. Nothing happens in Austenland, is the real problem. It's also a little predictable about who Jane is going to fall in love with. Only Jane, the main character is developed since it's told from her perspective, and she's annoying and self centered. I would have liked to have seen more of the other characters who worked at Austenland. And the place Jane goes to ins't even called Austenland, it's called Pembrook Park, so naturally I think the title is askew. Askew is currently one of my fav words, FYI. Anways, I don't recommend this book, because it bored me to death since not much happens in it.


Emmy is a girl. She lives with her mom. They both are HIV positive. When Emmy's mom gets AIDs and dies, Emmy goes to live with her dad and his pregnant OCD wife Meg. Emmy has always wanted to be normal. To not have a life regulated by taking pills so she doesn't get AIDS too. A life, she thinks, isn't worth living without her mom. Until her dad sends her to Camp Positive, a summer camp for girls who are HIV positive. It's a lot like a regular summer camp, but with girls like Emmy, girls who understand. It is there that Emmy makes some friends and realizes that life is worth living after all, and that we all have something to offer the world with our lives no matter who we are.

While Positively has a good message to it, I didn't enjoy reading this one. Emmy is an annoying narrator, but I guess I don't know what it's like to lose a parent either. She pushes other people who care about her away, and stops caring about life after her mom's death. I just wanted to scream at her, "Live Girl Live!". I thought it was wrong of her to be mean to Meg and Nicole who were just trying to comfort/support her. And also, I wanted to see more of how Camp Positive influenced her life, but most of the story is about Emmy's feelings.

I give Positively 3/5 stars.


Summary from Good Reads:

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .
An alluring laird...
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart--until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length--but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.
A prisoner in time...
She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side....

I really did like BTHM, but I could have done without the whole hot and steamy scenes. The characters are very well developed, especially Hawk, Adam, and Adrienne, although it would have been nice to see things a little more from Adam's perspective. I loved Adrienne's character--adaptable, easy going yet serious, brave, bold, daring, beautiful. It's no wonder she's Hawks dream woman! I look forward to reading more Highlander books, and would like to know more about the Fairy world within them. The plot for this book is interesting (I need synomyns for interesting FYI), but I felt it could have used some work, and been turned into more than a man-seduces-woman story. The plot is also a little predict. This novel it's what I expected, so you could say I got what I expected. Overall, though, it's pretty good.

Follow Friday--February 16, 2012

Gain New Blog Followers

Hosted by Alison at To participate follow the hosts and the feature blog. Basically click the picture.

Q: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across?

A: Okay, I know this isn't a character name, but it's the name of an author. Tahereh. It's pronounced Tah-here-rah, and it's such a pretty name. Tahereh Mafi is the author of Shatter Me, which I reviewed earlier this month.
I also loved Cassia in Matched and Crossed. It's pronounced Cash-uh, and I think it's really pretty too. It's a type of plant that blooms in winter. Spelled with a K it is an allusion to the Byzantine lady who was poet and composer. I actually got to hear Ally Condie talk about how she picked Cassia for it's literary and natural elements.
In Breaking Dawn, Renesmee. I love her name. She's also one of my fav characters, and in my opinion the only reason BD is worth reading. I just saw the movie, and yes I will have a review of it soon.
There are lots of unique names in the following:
Finnikin of the Rock
Breaking Dawn
The Red Tent
Lord of the Rings
The Hunger Games
Tears of Min Brock
Shakespeare's plays

Please leave a comment below! Have a happy Friday yall!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shatter Me and Moonglass

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
I have a curse.
I have a gift.

I'm a monster.
I'm more than human.

My touch is letal.
My touch is power.

I am their weapon.
I will fight back.

Juliette has been locked up for 264 days. She hasn't touched anyone in 264 days. Her touch is lethal and deadly, powerful enough to kill. When Adam comes to her cell, all she wants is to be touched. By anyone except him. Because they used to know each other, before she was locked up. Then Juliette is taken from her cell. Taken to Warner, who wants to use her as his weapon for the Reestablishment against the rebels. Then Juliette learns that Adam CAN touch her without her hurting him, but just him. Keeping it a secret, Adam and Juliette fall in love. When they run from the Reestablishment, they run to a place Juliette didn't even know exist. Or that it was where she belonged.

I LOVED Shatter me. It's so bloody good yall. Juliette is such a strong character, even if she is shy, afraid/nervous, and unconfident. And Adam is a romantic hero if I ever read one! (get it? saw one, read one, okay?) I'm excited for the sequel, and I must say I like Shatter Me better than the Hunger Games. I'd compare this to Ally Condie's Matched/Crossed trilogy books. Juliette narrates the book, so we get to know her best. While details are left out about the Reestablishment and the rebels, the story is interesting, and all the characters are particularly intriguing. Juliette grows a lot in this novel, with Adam's help, and learns to realize that freedom IS a right, and that she deserves it. Ultimately, she learns how to be comfortable in her skin, make her own choices, and live her own life with the man who loves her and who would do anything for her.

I give Shatter Me 4/5 stars.

Ms. Mafi is holding a giveaway of her books at:

She's also on twitter at ATaherehMafi. I'm on twitter at ARachelRooneyr. Feel free to follow both of us, please, por favor.

Shatter Me is also my S in the A-Z challenge. 1 down, 25 left to go.

Moonglass  Moonglass    Moonglass
Moonglass is by Jessi Kirby, and is her first novel. It's the story of Anna, who has always lived with her father, since her mother killed herself in the ocean when she was seven. Now they've returned to that place. Anna, surprisingly, makes friends with Jillian (top runner on the cross country team), and Ashley (a dance/fitness/aerobics/exercise & health guru), as well as Tyler, the cute lifeguard Anna has a crush on, his history-buff friend James, and the beautiful woman Joy who always walks the beach alone, looking for sea glass. The weight of Anna's loss is heavily felt on her shoulders, and she must confront her grief, sorrows, and guilt she feels under the fragile moon, surrounded by crashing waves.

I LOVED Moonglass. It seems I love every book I read nowadays. There's lots of wisdom in this book, too. This book is about letting go, but it portrays everything in such a way that is so down-to-earth and abstract at the same time. I'm sure that makes no sense, but if you read it, you'd understand (hopefully). The title comes from when Anna and her mom used to walk the beach at night. The glass they found in the light of the moon, they called moonglass. It's really just sea glass, but that was their special word for it. Anna is a brilliant character, and I absolutely loved her. She's a cross country runner, like me, and very realistic, yet tries to run away from her problems. I guess, that's one of the great wishes of the human heart, to be at peace.

My favorite part of the whole book was when Anna jumps off Crystal Cove AB (Ab Rock) during the rookie dive. Chapter 8. There's also the story about how her father did it, and when he was done, he kissed her mother, and that's how they met. I forgot to mention, it's tradition to do it stark naked. I'm sure yall will enjoy that part.

Now to the wisdom part. "Nobody had ever told us we were to blame. We just decided we were guilty." At the core of Moonglass, is this theme. We put blame on ourselves, when it's not our fault. We have to set it down and let go of it. We are not meant to live beneath guilt.

"I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day and Other Things

Happy Valentines Day!I've decided that it's time share my favorite love quotes of all time. It's below, spoken by the handsome and charming Mr. Darcy.

And I also found a lovely video here: 

It's also Single Awareness Day, did ya know?

SAD is a satirical holidal celebrated also on the 14th, the same day as Valentines Day. It's an alternative day (on the same day) for people who are single. It was created by the people who disdained Valentines Day as a "Hallmark holiday." The best way to celebrate SAD is to hang out with other single people and celebrate life and friendship, not romance. It's still a day of love. Also somethin' interesting is that singles are supposed to wear green (opposite of red). I wore a green shirt today, which makes sense because I'm single, and I'm PROUD of it. Anyways, what I'm sayin' here is that the 14th is a day for EVERYONE to celebrate love.

So Happy Single Awareness Day yall! For questions go to:

Now moving on. I want to talk about the massacre. I don't know why; I just do. okay? Okay, good. I mean, don't you want to know some of the HISTORY?! I found out about the massacre from the tv show Bones, which happens to my fav tv show.

In 1929, Al Capone and his gang got in a fight with a rival Irish gang in Chicago. Seven people were killed. The massacre turned the government's attention to the violence in Chicago, and ultimately was the building block to Capone's downfall.

That's all I have to write. It's 9:37. I'm going to bed. Going to get a drink of water and blow dry my hair. And finish my homework. If you want to know more about the massacre google search "valentines day massacre."

Love ya all, love Rachel

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

Now, I'm not really a fan of murder mysteries. But combine murder with werewolves, demons, and shapeshifters, and some fairie blood--and you get Fire Baptized. It's the story of Lanore, who sees a murder on her way home from university. Then bodies start showing up in her apartment. There's also her two lovers--Zulu: ambitious, daring, dangerious, future-oriented, leader of Mixies for Equality, and Meshack: present-oriented, hot and sexy, sings in a rock band, and lives with Lanore. Lanore is half demon-half fairie. Zulu is half fairie half were. Meshack is half were and half cheetah, so yes a were-cheetah. So very interesting, right? Well, yeah it is. Lanore's life and her heart are both on the line in this thriller. It's fast-paced and exhilarating. Especially all the relationship issues and tension between the three of them. I can't wait to read the next book!

Note: I recieved this book for free from the author. This in no way influenced my review.         

Friday, February 10, 2012

Follow Friday--February 10th, 2012

Gain New Blog Followers

Q: What would your prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why?

A: DEFINITELY my favorite book over and over again! I don't like mediocre books. Readin10 would surely bore me to death. And I always love hanging out with Melina Marchetta's characters in Jellicoe Road:)

Please comment below! There is a new button for this new (see above) as compared to the other ones. I would click it, because as part of the hop, we're supposed to follow the hosts and the feature blogs. That's all! Have a good Friday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roam, To Come and Go like Magic, Keys to the Castle


Roam is the story of Nelson, from birth to life, and about the humans and other animals' lives he enters. He's a half beagle and half poodle with odd white markings on his face. When Katey picks him at the pet store, he becomes hers. Katey becomes his Great Love and his life would be perfect spent entirely by her side. But Nelson's nose guides him out the gate one day, and there's not much Nelson loves more than to follow a scent. Over the course of eight years, Nelson travels from New Hampshire to California. He travels back and forth with Thatcher, a truck driver. He stays in a small town to be with Lucy, a female dog looking for her Great Love. He fights off a coyote for her. He loses his leg in a terrible accident, but is cared for by the vets, and also killed in the pound. He runs to the wolves and because a member of the pack. In California, he is adopted by a father and his young son. And finally, he is reunited with Katey.

I thought Roam was an excellent personification of a dog's life as a stray. It's a realistic portrayal and does not exaggerate a bit. Roam shows how every living thing is connected. But ulimately, it's a story of how dogs love humans. My dog Maddie passed away in October. It's been lonely without her.

Other notes: I loved how Katey spelled her name. And there's a dog named Lola. I just think Lola is such a fun name. Lola, Lola. Like the song. There's also music that I didn't listen to, but would recommend anyways. I wanted to listen to it, but you need something else for it, so I didn't. But I would have if I could have! (yall knows the saying!)

To Come and Go Like Magic

Twelve year old Chileda (aka Chili) Sue Mahony has always lived in Mercy Hill, Kentucky. She loves living there, but also wants to leave, doesn't want roots. Or at least she thinks she doesn't. When Miss Matlock returns to Mercy Hill and teaches English, she really teaches geography. See, she left for a couple of years to travel the world. Welfare child, Willie Bright, and Chili often go visit Miss Matlock, esp during the summer. They learn together, but Chili has to come to her own judgments about the past, the future, leaving and letting go, or staying. Chili loses her best friends, Ginny and Prissy, but makes new ones. She even gets her first kiss and clears out a plot and plants a garden. She dances with her cousin Lenny, and goes fishing with her Uncle Lu. Everyone she knows, even the annoying boy with a crush on her and her very pregnant Aunt Mimi will teach her something over the course of the summer. And Chili will make decisions and choices that will impact whether or not she can come and go.

At it's core, To Come and Go Like Magic is a buildingsroman. The people in this book are carefully crafted and have a lot of wisdom to share. I love the way it's written in vignettes, which make is so much more beautiful. That's really what it is. A beautiful novel. I enjoyed it, because I am so much like Chili. I don't know what I want, but I think I do. I,too, want to come and go like magic. I want to travel the world. I will. I know I will. But I also have roots, and I'm not afraid to settle down in one place. Because in all of us there is a place called home.

Keys to the Castle

Sara Graves was a forty-something year old workaholic when she met Daniel, a French poet. They married at settled on St. John Island, North Carolina. I want to go there; I'm in love with islands. Back to the book. Sara is deeply in love with Daniel, but three weeks after their marriage he dies in a tragic accident. He leaves her a 400 year old castle in the Loire Valley. I also want to go there. It's in France the estate is called Chateau Rondelais. Sara falls in love with it, and with the Daniel's best friend, Ash, who is a lawyer and questions her every move. Sara enjoys her time, but reality soon hits. Alyssa. Daniel's five year old daughter that Sara never knew about. When Alyssa is left alone, it is Sara who cares for her. Together Sara, Ash, and Alyssa have the chance to form their own family together. If Ash can put aside his pride and stop being so overbearing. If Sara can stop letting Daniel hurt her. If she can forgive and move on? If they can work together for Alyssa's future and the future of Rondelais.

I would say Keys to the Castle is an average book. It's what I expected it to be. I do have a few comments, though. First, I desperately want to visit the Loire Valley now. Second, the characters are realistic in this book, but are not necessarily honest. Third, I wish there was more of Daniel. I as the reader did not get a good sense of his character. Sara is such a determined woman, very much the hero of this book. Overall, this was an average book. Not special or unique but not terrible either. Hopefully, I'll be reading something a little bit better sooner.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers

The Atonement Child

Dynah Carey has been a Christian her whole life, even going to a Christian college. She has her life planned out: graduate from college, marry her boyfriend Ethan, and lead a church with him. Her plans are violently disrupted when she is raped one night. Then she's pregnant. Kicked out of school, Dynah heads for home in California. Her boyfriend, Ethan, is angry, and Dynah feels defiled, no longer pure. Unable to bear the weight of their relationship, Dynah breaks off their engagement. At home, her parents' relationship is torn apart. Dynah's father wants her to have an abortion, like Ethan wanted. Her mother had an abortion with the man she was with before Dynah's father. It was hard for her to have a child. Hannah and Douglas have never fully forgiven themselves and each other for it. Evie, Dynah's grandma, wants her to have and keep the baby. It's hard for Dynah to make her decision, and struggles to listen to God's voice among so many others that influence and pressure her. Ultimately, the choice is life or death for Dynah's child.

The Atonement Child adresses the issue of abortion and what God says about it. God has a plan for everthing that happens to us. He wants what's best for us, but we have to trust him, listen and obey. Dynah is my favorite character in this novel. She tries to discern God's will for her life and must surrender her plans to his. Despite the traumatic and terrible events that shook Dynah's life, she stands on the Rock that will never move.

I really liked this novel, but it is really sad. I would like to work for a pro-life company one day. There are many lies about abortion and women should know that it's going to hurt them. God gave us the atonement child, Jesus. We just have to accept his love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)

Summary (from Good Reads):

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Crossed is the sequel to Matched, and picks up where Matched left off. Ky is at a work camp in the outer provinces. Cassia is also at a work camp, with girls who are Abberations. She still has Xander's gifts and still feels for both him and Ky. When Xander visits her, When the girls are taken there, Cassia finds that Ky has escaped into the the Carving, taking his friend Vick, and a younger boy Eli with him. Cassia takes along her friend Indy and together they decide to find Ky and the Rising, the rebellion against the Society. They run into an abandoned town with paintings, a town where Ky's father used to visit. There, a man Hunter helps them out. In return, he takes them to a place called the Cavern--where tissue samples of people, dead and living are. The Society is even in the Carving. They are reaching outside to the wilderness, which makes it all the more dangerous for Ky and Cassia. Even as Cassia finds Ky, they are separated by his desire to go with Hunter to the mountains and live with the other townspeople. To live with his father's kin. But Cassia is determined to go to the Rising along with Indie. To follow the river or cross to the mountains, that is the choice. And Ky has a secret that could destroy everything he and Cassia have worked so hard for. SPOILERS I just have to say this. The choices that others make, and the surreal wilderness makes gives the impression that nothing is as it seems. When they reach the Rising, there is no going back.

Like Matched, Crossed is very, very interesting. All of the allusions incorporated give it life and meaning. I liked the poems, the paintings, all the history in the abandoned town, and learning about Ky's past. I even liked getting to hear Ky's voice, but was disappointed that is sounded like Cassia's so much that I could hardly tell the difference. Indie, Vick, and Eli are strong secondary characters, esp Indie. All of them, even Hunter, have their own stories and experiences to help them (and the others) in their crossings. I LOVE Xander, and I truly hope he and Cassia end up together. This is just my opinion, but I think Ally Condie favors Ky. After all they are the true starcrossed lovers. I learned something about Xander in this book that made me think Cassia and Xander might have a chance. I've also had an issue that it's like Cassia forgets about Xander when she sees Ky's face on her match card. The main problem with Crossed is that there are NO answers. Here are some of my own questions below.

Perhaps someone knows the answer? Why can't Ky say the words for Vic? (pg 191) How did Eli's parent's die? (pg 171) Why was Eli sent to the Outer Provinces? (pg 171) What's the deal with the Cavern? (chapter 32) How can Indie be in love with Xander? (pg 305) Is there a real reason Xander goes to Camas? (pg 34) What is Ky's compact worth? (pg 31) Who is the Enemy? Why would the Society lie about the blue tablets? (pg 42) Why is the Society sending them to the Outer Provinces? (pg 84) What is the deal with the boy who helped Cassia and Indie and then died in the Cavern? (pg 98/99) What about the people who were killed on top of the Carving? (pg 143/144) What happened to Laney and her family? (pg 173/174)

For those of you who have read Crossed, maybe you know something I don't. Comments and answers are appreciated.

Next time: Quotes and more on Crossed. Got to go, Bye! Rachel

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) 
Summary (from Good Reads):

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recolection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty.
But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don's know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark.
The Gladers were expecting Thomas' arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up- the first girl ever to arrive at the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home... wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers- if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

When Thomas arrives in the Glade, he remembers nothing except his own name. Turns out none of the other boys remember anything of their past lives either, not even the leaders Alby and Newt, nor Thomas's sidekick, Chuck. The Glade is the center of the Maze, enclosed by stone walls. Every morning they open. Every night they close. The rule is never to leave the Glade. And if you leave at night, you've committed suicide. The Grievers will get you. Only the runners are allowed to leave, and they are the ones who try to solve the Maze. Because the Glades believe that if they solve it they can go back to the lives they were taken from violently. Only the Changing gives them a hint of it back, at that has deadly consequences. A boy only goes through the Changing if he is stung by a Griever. The day after Thomas arrives a girl is sent up, Theresa. She comes with a message and triggers the ending. Thomas and Theresa are connected and it's up them to help solve the Maze. They have the answers if they can unlock the secrets in their minds. When Thomas goes outside the Grave to help the head runner Minho and Alby, a discovery with the Cliff and the Grievers is made. Solving the Maze may not be the answer, just a clue...And one night, the Glade Walls don't close. Time is running out to get out of the Maze. Time to run it one more time.

This book is SCARY. Yet terrific at the same time. Much more origninal than the Hunger Games, I must say. Feel free to disagree with me. The characters are very well developed and the plot is suspenseful. In the Glade, you never know what will happen. I really liked Theresa obviously, since she's the only girl, and boy is she strong and tough. Chuck is also a great character and I loved how loyal he was to Thomas. The leaders are so bloody mature and smart and logical. There are questions in this book, and I am going to read the Schorch Trials to find out what the answers are.

Have a happy Weekend yall!