Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is a story told by Nick Carraway and he tells the story sometime after 1922. As the story begins, Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island, seeking his fortune as a bond salesman. After his arrival, Nick travels across the Sound to the more fashionable East Egg to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom. When Nick returns home that evening, he notices his neighbor, Gatsby, mysteriously standing in the dark. Gatsby is known for his outrages parties. Little does anyone know, Gatsby is in love with the lovely Daisy Buchanan and plans on being with her. 

I was not sure about the book at first; it looked like it was sappy, told over and over again, love story. I've read many books but none like The Great Gatsby. From beginning to end I was into the book 110%. Being able to immerse into a book like this one is truly amazing. Scott Fitzgerald has a way with his words and really knows how to capture the moment and put you in it. It is slow in the beginning but don't let the fool you. The Great Gatsby is about friendship, love, wealth, the past, mortality, lies, and deceit. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath isn't just an average fan of the popular series, Simon Snow. For Cath, being a fan is her life. Both her and her twin sister, Wren, spent hours reading and writing their own stories about Gemma T. Leslie's characters when they were little. They were at every book event and movie opening in costume and they spent the majority of their time in Simon Snow forums. Escaping into the world of mages helped them cope with their mother leaving. But now that Cat and Wren are older, it's time for them to move on and start their lives in college. Wren has moved on from their obsession, but Cath can't seem to let go. After Wren broke the news to Cath that she would not be her roommate, Cath is on her own for the first time. She is completely out of her comfort zone always being surrounded by her surly roommate and her too friendly, always smiling boyfriend. She is overwhelmed when her writing professor tells her that fan fiction is not writing but basically plagiarizing and with a handsome boy who only ever wants to talk about words. All the while she cannot stop worrying about her workaholic dad and how alone he is. Cath has to overcome many trials in order to grow up. She may have to learn to give her twin space, learn to finally live her life, and maybe even leave Simon Snow behind.
Being a person with an avid obsession with Harry Potter and multiple other series, I really related to this story. I think anyone who really loves something can look at this story and also relate to it. Cath embodies a girl who is scared to death of the real world and would rather live in a fiction world. This novel really does a great job showing what it feels like to be a "fangirl." The novel also addresses a very popular writing style that not too many people know about, fan fiction. Throughout the novel you see Cath grow through both her actions and her writing. There's so many twists and turns throughout the story and you will feel your emotions twist and turn with it. I truly fell in love with all the characters and flew through the pages of this book in one night. 

If You Liked This One Check Out: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

As Anna looks forward to her final year of high school in Atlanta, Georgia, her father flips her world upside down and sends her away to Paris. Normally, Anna would be thrilled to go on such an amazing adventure but, she would be leaving behind a good job, her best friend and a could be boyfriend. She doesn't arrive in Paris with high hopes-until she meets Etienne St. Clair. He seems like the perfect boy, a British accent, a French-American background, and an instant connection with Anna. However, she learns that he is taken, and maybe Anna could be too if anything with the boy back home develops. She and St. Clair are in the most romantic city in the world, but can all their near-misses and almost moments add up to something more?

Don't let the girly title fool you. I was wary of checking out this book and reading it because of the title and the cover. This book truly brings meaning to the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover." Written from Anna's point of view, you can experience Paris through her eyes. When Anna meets St. Clair and starts to fall in love with him, so do you. It's a novel that can show you what happens when you open yourself up to new experiences and adventures. I don't believe this book is completely centered around Anna's relationship with St. Clair or even with her other new friends, but it is focused on how she changes. She adjusts to a new place with foreign culture and language, and she's all on her own for the first time. Normally, I try to stay away from such romance novels, but this one felt very different. You fall in love with the characters, the setting, and the story itself.

If You Liked This One Check Out: The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, The Future of Us by Jay Asher, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green *UPCOMING MMU BOOK CLUB CHOICE*

Sixteen year old Hazel Lancaster has been living with the tumors in her lungs for years. However, they never stopped her from living life. Now, when she meets Augustus Waters at her cancer support group she learns to live life to the fullest. As they grow closer, they share each other's fears (oblivion) and the things they love (books.) They bond over Hazel's favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. Despite Hazel's many letters addressed to Van Houten, he never replies to fan mail. Until one day, Augustus reaches the reclusive author and an invitation to Amsterdam comes in return. Hazel knows that if she goes to Amsterdam with Augustus she will have added another causality to be affected by her grenade-like terminal disease. However, she can't help but fall for Augustus and his plan when he uses his Genie Wish (a "cancer perk") not on a trip to Disney World, but one to Amsterdam, with her. What happens during and after Amsterdam will change Hazel and Augustus forever.

This is not just your typical book about cancer. I fully expected to go into this book and read about sappy stories and tragic deaths but, instead I was left with the sweetest memories and almost a happy kind of sadness. John Green has a way of stringing his words together so eloquently that you can't help but feel like you are Hazel. The relationship between Hazel and Augustus is a truly brilliant one, their dry humor and impeccable understanding of one another shows you what it's actually like to be a "cancer kid." Even with a love story, it feels much more than that. It's a story about true friendship and how short life can really be.

If you're interested in reading this fantastic book, check out the MMU Book Club! This is their first book of the year!

If You Liked This One Check Out: Paper Towns by John Green, It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, Looking for Alaska by John Green, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Monday, May 6, 2013

Storm Front: A Novel of the Dresden Files By Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden- Wizard.
Lost Items Found, Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. 
No Love Potions, Endless Purses,
 or other Entertainment

       Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange magical things.- and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a- well, whatever. 
       There's just one problem. Business  to put t mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name.And that's when things start to get... Interesting. 

     The Dresden Files are a creative twist on the classic loner detective novel.  Complete with gang leaders, magic drug deals, and dark magic, this first book sets the scene Jim Butcher's highly successful mystery series. Harry has all the trademarks of the loner detective; the intense and largely complicated love life, a wreck of a car, and the authorities breathing down his neck. Storm Front carries his strong, quirky voice all the way through. The story is compelling and fascinating as the Butcher takes us through the shady underbelly of the shady underbelly of Chicago. 
    This book may not be everyone's cut of tea.This truly is a loner detective novel with some magic thrown in. There is nothing else. It is simple and formulaic. As with many detective novels, the mood and tone is quite plodding and intense. It basically operates on one, very heavy, sarcastic level. 
    If you're looking for a fun mystery with some magic and quirkiness, this book is for you. If you're looking for a completely original , thought provoking read, this is not it. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dodger By: Terry Pratchett

       Meet Dodger, a young street urchin with a pure heart, a cunning whit and a talent for finding beautiful things in the muck of Early Victorian London. One dark and stormy night, he sees a girl leap desperately from a horse drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Dodger immediately helps the unknown girl, and unwittingly stumbles into a world where murdering barbers, news paper reporters and mysterious screeching carts can send the world spinning, and where a keen boy with good instinct and an uncanny ability to dodge, might just find a place for himself. Sir Terry mixes fact and fiction as Dodgers adventures lead him to meet Charles Dickens, Sweeney Todd, Henry Mayhew, and perhaps even Queen Victoria herself.

     The Disc World books, Pratchett's award winning series, have been my favorite books for years. So, naturally I had high hopes for this, one of Pratchett's few non-disk books. I was not disappointed. This clever romp through Victorian England was an absolute joy to read. Dodger is a fun, quirky main character, with a refreshing knack for accepting new circumstances, and an absolutely beautiful soul. Pratchett's portrayal of historical and well known fictional characters was phenomenal, and the plot was thrilling and fun. Readers used to the disk books may find it jarring for a bit, but will soon get used to the lack of wizards and may just find a commander of the watch quite similar to our dear own Vimes. For some, the complete immersion into Victorian underclass culture may be disconcerting, but I don't think it takes away from the narrative. Over all a wonderful adventure told by one of the best story tellers of the age. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban By J.K Rowling

Harry Potter grew up with his horrid aunt and uncle thinking he was a normal boy. This all changed when a letter came for him, informing him he had been admitted to Hogwarts School of Which craft and Wizardry. Suddenly Harry is thrust into a world of monsters, magic and danger, where he learns the truth of his parents death, and just how he got his mysterious lightning scar. 

In this, the third of the Harry Potter series, Sirius Black, servant of the dark lord and Harry's dads old childhood friend,  has escaped from Azkaban and is supposedly after Harry. Harry and his friends must deal with homework, drama, time travel, and possibly death, perhaps learning a bit more about Harry's parents on the way. 

This story has such twists and turns that, even if you've read it before, you're flipping through the pages late into the night. Harry and the others really start to develop as characters in this book, and some of the history behind Harry's parent's death if revealed   I guess for some it might be a little confusing because there is so much going on, but as long as you keep your head on your shoulders and your wand in your hand, you'll be fine. 

The Language of Flowers By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

        Victoria, who has spent life in and out of foster care, has developed a passion for flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.  

       I loved everything about this book. This story of resilience had a beautiful message portrayed through poetic writing.  The vulnerable but strong female character was refreshing and wonderful. There is honestly nothing I didn't like about this book.