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Purple People Readers

The booklikes version of my book blog, so if you only want to read about the stuff I post on books, here it is!

SPOILER ALERT!

Book Review: Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz

Bloody Valentine - Melissa  de la Cruz

*WARNING* SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ BOOKS 1-5

 

My Review:

I thought Bloody Valentine was a lot of fun. It fills in some holes and gives extra information about Allegra and Schuyler’s dad. There are three short stories, one about Oliver after Schuyler leaves him, one about Allegra and Ben, and then another about Schuyler and Jack.

 

All of the stories were quick reads and I liked getting insight into the characters. I thought that there was a rather large jump in between books 4 and 5 (The Van Alen Legacy and Misguided Angel), like how Oliver got over Schuyler, and how Schuyler and Jack bonded. This cleared that up, which I appreciated. I also really loved getting more insight into Allegra’s and Charles’s characters (and meeting Schuyler’s dad!). Allegra is such an interesting character because we hear a lot about her, but don’t get to see her. Reading about her running around and going to school was a nice change.

 

One thing I didn’t like was how Schuyler and Jack were able to resolve the conflict in the third story. Honestly, it wasn’t very believable for me, which kept this story from being really great. On the up side, however, there were a few drawings included at the end, which I thought were cool.

 

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the series; like I said, it’s a fast read, and it fills in some holes. Bloody Valentine is a great addition to the Blue Bloods series.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=2176

Book Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer (Blink) - Denise Grover Swank

*I received a free copy of this book at BEA.*

 

When I went to BEA with my husband this past year, my main goal was to find great young adult books that his high school students could fall in love with. So when I saw this cute, fluffy romance book set in Paris, I went for it.

 

This is a cute book about two teenagers who go to Paris to reconnect with their dad, who left them just about a year before and who is now marrying another woman in Paris — Sophie and her brother, Eric, are sent to Paris to celebrate the wedding and meet their new stepmom and stepsister. Their stepsister is awful to them, and gets Sophie into all sorts of trouble by playing games and manipulating things. So, it becomes really complicated when Sophie ends up falling for Camille’s friend, Mathieu. Hijinks ensue.

 

One Paris Summer is pretty much what I was expecting. It’s a fast read and it’s fun. Sophie at first got on my nerves, but it made sense within the context of the story and her character evened out within the first few chapters, thank goodness, so I actually ended up enjoying her character and looking forward to reading about her adventures in Paris. My favorite parts were her interactions with her brother and her crush, Mathieu. It was nice to see Sophie realizing that people didn’t hate her and cared about her. My main problems with a lot of this book had to do with logic and drama. Characters’ reactions to things didn’t seem to fit with their personalities and seemed only to serve the purpose of creating conflict that felt melodramatic and fake.

 

However, aside from that, the romance and Paris aspect were really fun. This is a book you don’t want to think too much about — what I like to think of a beach read. Just breeze through it and enjoy the fun, cute parts. Because of that, this took me very little time to finish once I started focusing on it, and overall, I enjoyed it. I think younger teens would enjoy this a lot, but there isn’t a lot of crossover appeal for older readers simply because what I said earlier about the conflicts feeling overly dramatic.

 

Side note: I loved that we got some French words thrown in here, so readers might be able to learn a couple of phrases. Nice touch!

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=3380

Book Review: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Honestly, from my friends’ descriptions of the book I was expecting something completely different. I was expecting the world Offred lives in to be openly violent and brutal rather than one filled with subtle brutality, psychological warfare, and religious control. In my opinion, the world Margaret Atwood created is frighteningly believable.

 

There were many subjects dealt with in this relatively small book, and I think they were all handled skillfully. The Handmaid’s Tale deals with the power of religion, woman’s place in society, man’s place in society, and a struggle to reconcile personal freedom with the survival of people as a whole. It offers a lot of food for thought and, like I said, it’s relatively small; a little over 300 pages, which is amazing, considering all the subjects covered.

 

The best and most chilling part for me is that the narrator still remembers what it was like to live in the “old world,” where women could hold jobs, marry whomever they fell in love with, and be free. The flashbacks to her life as a free woman added a lot to the horror of how the world is now structured in the novel. My favorite part is “Historical Notes” added at the end (these are necessary to the novel — read them, don’t skip!), which gave the novel a hopeful tone. This, I appreciated, because it shows that humans are capable of rising above an overbearing, immoral government, no matter how hard they try to oppress people.

 

Overall, I would recommend everybody to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I know quite a few people don’t like it, but I really do think that it offers interesting subject matter told in an entertaining way. This is one dystopia I’m definitely glad to have read.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=2141

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher from BEA 2016.*

 

When Andrew and I went to BEA 2016, this cover really stood out to us. There were only a few copies available and it was a fairly thick book, so we only picked up a copy for ourselves instead of also getting another copy for his classroom. I am SO glad we decided on grabbing it, because it’s been one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait to see how it’ll be received by everyone when it comes out.

 

Pachinko is a story that follows the life of Sunja, the daughter of a Korean couple who own a boardinghouse by the sea. It starts off by detailing her father’s life, then goes through the generations starting with Sunja herself, and then her son’s life, and finally her grandon’s life. It’s told through multiple perspectives, though it tends to focus more on Sunja’s family.

 

This is a story about what it meant to be Korean living under the shadow of Japan during World War II, what it meant to be Korean in the aftermath of World War II, and the sacrifices people make to ensure the survival and happiness of their future family members.

 

Pachinko is well developed and complex in its details of how these characters would have lived their lives during this time. I feel like the story of how Korea and its people lived under the rule of Japan around the time of World War II is largely untold and untaught — at least, it is in American public schools. While it is devastating in its bleakness, I enjoyed learning at least a little bit about this country and I feel as though I have a slightly deeper view of the world during World War II because of this book. Lee did an amazing job with her research in being able to trace how Japan acted towards Korea across these decades and showing it within the context of her story.

 

I was surprised by the pacing in this book. Usually, I find sagas to be just a tad on the slow side, and was a little worried when I saw that this story spanned generations, but while it’s comprehensive, the story moves steadily along, hitting the important parts and then skipping over the years when it needs to progress.

 

Given the different characters and the length of time this novel spans, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better as a short story cycle. It almost had that feel to it, and I think there were moments that would have been heightened had it been written in such a format. I don’t think that the story significantly suffers from it being written as a novel, but I do think that the way its constructed is almost an in-between novel and short story cycle, which sometimes took me out of the story a little bit to try to figure out what sort of format this is. Not a huge complaint or anything — just a thought.

 

For me, the first part of the book was the strongest and most compelling. My favorite part was reading about how much Sunja would sacrifice and how hard she would work to give her family the best chance possible. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in historical fiction. The characters and the writing itself are beautiful, and as I’ve said, it provides an interesting look at a culture that I don’t think we often get to learn about.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=2556

Book Review: The Green Mile by Stephen King

The Green Mile - Stephen King

Stephen King should stick to writing these sorts of books. Don’t get me wrong, I love most of his horror stuff, but it’s this sort of subtle supernatural genre that I think really shows his talents as a writer and story-teller since the horror element isn’t overshadowing everything else within the novel.

 

The Green Mile is a little long, being comprised of 6 novellas and it is definitely slow-paced. That doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting, though! The slowness of the story really allowed me to delve into the characters and the story King has created. I felt like I got to know all the characters, especially Paul, whose first-person narrative it is. This made the action parts even better, since I had a connection with the characters and cared about them.

 

I liked how the narrative jumped from Paul as an old man living in a nursing home to Paul as a middle-aged man meeting John Coffey. I think it added a lot to the intrigue, as there were multiple mysteries you were trying to solve at once. The Green Mile has a great message and is a compelling story that will leave you in tears by the end.

I saw the movie before reading the book and honestly, if you’ve seen the movie, the novel won’t add all that much for you. The movie is very true to the book and captures the most important events. Naturally, the book has other elements that added to my appreciation of the story. The parallelism between the prison and Paul’s nursing home, for example, and a deeper understanding of the characters.

 

There were some things I didn’t like — like I said, the pace was too slow at times. But then again, King’s books always seem to drag just a little bit for me. I also didn’t like how at times the characters all laughed at something as if it were hilarious, and I didn’t think it was funny at all. Besides that, though, it was a good story and I enjoyed the read. I definitely recommend this.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=1703

Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde

What I love about books is the mystery and the suspense. I love meeting characters who are more complicated and have more depth than some people I know in real life. And I LOVE good writing.

 

The Eyre Affair has it all.

 

Jasper Fforde is a genius, mixing the elements of a contemporary fiction/mystery story with science fiction to create a world that is at once familiar and strikingly different. It took me a while to get adjusted to this new world, where the Crimean war still rages on, and where forging Byronic verse is a serious offense and literature and art are highly prized by all. However, after 30 pages, I was fully involved in the story, flipping pages almost faster than I could read.

 

The characters are easy to relate to, and Thursday is everything I look for in a female protagonist. She’s funny, resourceful, and doesn’t let anybody boss her around or intimidate her. The fact that she seems to be way in over her head on this case makes it all the better. I like how she is forced to deal not only with hunting down a seemingly-invincible villain who has kidnapped her relatives and is about to change Martin Chuzzlewit and Jane Eyre forever, but also with her past and the death of her brother in the Crimean War.

 

The only problem I had with The Eyre Affair is that the ending is wrapped up a little too perfectly a little too quickly. After all that happened before, it just didn’t work for me. I’m a fan of nicely tied-up endings, but I like them to be realistic.

This is a book for book lovers (and who of us doesn’t love books?!). It makes more sense if you have some knowledge of history and classics in general, but it’s really not necessary. I definitely recommend giving The Eyre Affair a try.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=1608

Audiobook Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris

I have never laughed so hard in my life than when I listened to this.  Seriously, whenever I’m having a bad day or I know something stressful is coming up, I listen to these essays. Sedaris takes weird stuff that happens in life and turns them into hilarious and insightful pieces that entertain and give a whole new look at the absurd situations life frequently contains.

 

It’s hard to give a long review of this, because they’re composed of non-fiction essays, so there isn’t really a long plot line to critique or character development to discuss. I will just say that this collection will have you laughing out loud and will make you look differently at weird situations that arise in your own life.

 

Note: The reason why I put the audiobook information down is because I highly recommend listening to his essays rather than just reading them. Hearing them in Sedaris’s own voice with his intonations really sets the tone and adds to the comedy.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=1364

Book Review: Ann Veronica by HG Wells

Ann Veronica - Sita Schutt, H.G. Wells, Margaret Drabble

I had serious doubts about this book when I first started it, not only is it not science fiction, but a ROMANCE, from HG Wells? Yeah, okay. I was thinking it was going to be ridiculous, but once I started reading it, I realized it was completely different from what I had first thought — it’s an early book about feminism. And you know what? It’s done rather splendidly.

 

Ann Veronica is the youngest of a fairly well-to-do family. She’s not your typical turn-of-the-20th-century girl — she studies biology at a college (with her father’s permission) and enjoys talking about her intellectual interests with others. Her close friends are burgeoning suffragists, so she often joins their discussions about how women aren’t free to do what they want and how they’re caged up in society because men keep them imprisoned, basically. So, when her father literally locks her in her bedroom to prevent her from going to a ball, she runs away to the city to make it on her own. She quickly finds out that there’s not a great way for women to make a lot of money, and renting out an apartment in London actually costs quite a lot. Basically, she has to face harder truths than she realized were out there and more fully understands the plight of women because of her decision to not live under her father’s roof.

 

What I love about this story is how it covers everything and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. It gives a clear, honest look at exactly what the situation of women was for that time period — hardly any job prospects (and any available were drudgery for pennies), no respect, and no vote. Their lives were at the mercy of the men in their lives and they weren’t taught anything about how to survive or live in the world. Ann Veronica even gets herself into a misunderstanding with a man and it’s sad how much that particular “misunderstanding” can still be seen in today’s world. They talk as if they’re friends, and they go out to lunch together as friends, and then he locks her in a room with him “to make love” because of course she had to know that they weren’t really friends and he wanted her, and deserved her after all that he’d given her. (Isn’t it creepy how familiar that sounds?) HG Wells does a tremendous job in outlining the various difficulties that women faced when they fought for equal rights and equal opportunities in London and really hits, if not all, then at least most of the points.

 

The first half was wonderful, but it does start to drag a bit as the book goes on. I think the first half of the book is perfect and it would have been 5 stars if it had continued in that vein, but then Ann Veronica falls in love and the whole story sort of starts to fall apart and get into themes that don’t make sense for where the book started. Alas. Basically, I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in feminism, its roots, or even how it was viewed during this time. I was blown away by how insightful this story was and a little saddened by how true those themes remain. If not a great story, it’s interesting to see the thoughts and themes of feminism from a male author born in the 19th century.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=3322

Book Review: Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold

Young Miles - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is easily one of my favorite books ever. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be. My college roommate hyped it up like crazy, so when I finally got to reading it, I was expecting disappointment because it didn’t seem like it was going to be as good as she promised.

 

But it was.

 

This particular edition consists of two novels and a short story that all revolve around a young man named Miles Vorkosigan who has a birth defect (not congenital, he frequently assures others) and because of that is fragile. His bones break under the smallest pressure and he’s less than five feet tall. The problem is that he was born on a militant planet to a very important family. When he washes out of the military academy, he has to find his own path to greatness — and find it he certainly does.

What impressed me the most about this book (and the rest of the series) is the level of characterization. Firstly, I love Miles. He is practically a cripple, but he doesn’t let that stop him, because while his body is weak, he is a genius. I appreciate that Bujold has created a character that doesn’t go into situations and use his strength or extreme fighting prowess to save the day; instead, he thinks about solutions and launches schemes to achieve his goals.

 

Second, all the characters are written in shades of grey; she shows the softer sides of rampaging killers and the darker sides of sheltered researchers. This is achieved through ingenious storytelling. With adventure, mystery, suspense, and plot twists that give you whiplash, I kept turning the pages and the characters kept evolving and growing. All this, combined with in-depth universe (not world) building and fascinating cultures, this book made me want more and more and more.

 

And don’t think it’s all just running around and doing brave deeds — though there is a lot of that — Bujold adds a lot of humor to these books and I found myself laughing aloud quite often.

 

I really can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It’s SO good! And I don’t think it’s just for science fiction fans; there is plenty of material for all kinds of readers to find something they like.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=1141

Audiobook Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm - George Orwell

For all the controversy surrounding this novel, I was surprised by how short it actually is. However, for all its lack of length, it sure does pack an important message.

 

The allegory was a bit didactic for me — I felt like I was being beat over the head with the message, but I haven’t read an allegory yet that hasn’t made me feel that way, so that’s just a genre preference. The message is worthwhile and, scarily enough, seems all too real. As always, Orwell makes a scathing political commentary while still telling an entertaining story. Despite the rather factual narration, I still felt some emotional connection to the characters and was saddened and horrified in all the right parts.

 

I thought the narration was fantastic. Cosham played to the animal characters, adjusting his speech to sound like the different animals. He also told it in a storyteller voice, which usually I don’t like, but it fit so perfectly with the way Animal Farm is written that I found myself enjoying his rendition. (And after all, the full title is Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale.)

 

I recommend this book for everyone to read. It’s a classic, it’s banned, it gives an important message, and it’s pretty short, so there’s hardly an excuse not to read it. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I found it to be interesting and enjoyable.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=3467

Book Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Magic Slays - Ilona Andrews

I always worry when a series goes longer than four books. In my experience, very few can go past that point and still keep the magic that made the first books so incredible. Characters lose their edge, relationships lose their spark, and the plot runs around in circles.

 

This series definitely doesn’t have any of those problems and can handle at least two more books, if not many, many more. Kate is as hilarious and kick-ass as ever. Curran is as possessive, adorable, and of course kick-ass as ever, and their relationship is certainly not losing any sparks. The plot is progressing nicely and I am SO excited for Book 6.

 

Book 4, Magic Bleeds, was a tipping point for this series. Kate’s secret about her parentage is being revealed to more and more people, and the danger for her is building up. I like that the confrontation between her and Roland doesn’t occur in Magic Slays, because the authors are really building up the pressure and suspense. The break from all the Roland stuff is nice, and we get a deeper look into the world Kate is living in and other dangers she has to face besides those from her father.

All the characters are showing amazing growth, and I’m still as fascinated by them as I was in the beginning of the series. Also, the writing is still edgy and spot-on. Despite all the crap she’s dealt with, Kate certainly has kept her sense of humor.

I only have one minor complaint, and it’s that this book was a little difficult to get into. There is a lot of build-up and background and we don’t get to the really good stuff until the last third of the book. But that last third certainly makes up for the beginning two-thirds.

 

I highly recommend this book to fans of this series, and for those of you who haven’t started reading these books yet, what are you waiting for?!

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=1042

Book Review: Blackveil by Kristen Britain

Blackveil - Kristen Britain

I love the Green Rider series. I fell in love with it six years ago when my best friend handed me Green Rider and  told me that I would probably be done with it the next day. She was right. Blackveil, however, just wasn’t up to par for me.

 

What I liked:

 

The suspense is terrific and I am greatly enjoying how the overall storyline is progressing. Once again, Britain creates a world that I can just grab onto and completely immerse myself in. Blackveil is deliciously horrific and I am glad she held nothing back when it came to making it the scariest forest you could possibly imagine.

One of my FAVORITE parts about this book was that we got to learn a little bit more about Kariny, Karigan’s mother. She is a character I have always been interested in, and I think the wait was worth it. Even though she’s not alive in these books, she is still a complex character that I find myself caring for very much.

 

What I didn’t:

 

I said I liked the progression of the overall storyline, however, the storyline of the individual novels is getting a bit formulaic — there’s danger, Karigan dives into it headfirst, and then almost kills herself.

 

Also, for me, this book was drawn out. It was one of those novels where when it’s good, it’s really good, but getting to the good parts takes some effort. One of the things I disliked the most was all the indirect inner dialogue. What I mean by that is that we got a lot of “Bob was sure Nancy did that because (insert reason here).” I don’t like being told characters’ motivations very much, especially when they’re through a different perspective. Did Nancy do that because of that reason? Maybe not. Bob thinks so, but it may not be true. Honestly, I don’t think this sort of information adds anything to the story. It’s much more interesting to incorporate Nancy’s background and characteristics throughout the story, have her do the action, and then leave it up to the reader to decide why she did what she did. It’s more of a creative process for both the reader and writer and allows for good discussions and debates to arise, which is one of the joys of reading.

 

Conclusion:

 

Do I recommend this book? For fans of the series, I certainly do. However, if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest waiting and reading some other books on your “to read” list. This book has a ridiculous cliffhanger and considering that there was a 2 year gap between the third book and this book, answers aren’t going to be coming anytime soon.

 

Will I continue reading? Absolutely. I still love the characters and the world Britain has built. I just hope it ends soon, because I’ve pretty much had enough of Karigan getting herself into trouble. If it isn’t wrapped up by the sixth book, I’ll probably quit this series.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=918

Book Review: Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy

Fruit of the Lemon - Andrea Levy

Andrew recommended this to me a while ago and I finally had the chance to read it! I was worried at first, because his last two have been, while very good, incredibly depressing, but this was a whole lot happier and more hopeful than White Teeth by Zadie Smith and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, so I can keep on with his recommendations! It’s interesting because Fruit of the Lemon does deal with the same sort of issues as those other two books — namely, what it means to be not-white in a society that favors being white, but it also marries this idea with a young woman’s coming of age. Faith has just graduated college and is trying to figure out who she is and what her place is in the world, which is made even more complicated by the fact that it’s harder for her to get the jobs that she wants because of racism and it’s harder for her to embrace her culture when she doesn’t have any friends that come from the same background as her.

 

I appreciated Levy’s ability to take serious concepts while also bringing humor and levity into it. Faith is living in a house with two guys and another girl, and the description of the house is hilarious, grotesque, and all too real of just-graduated-from-college young adults. The hygiene, decorating skills, and overall responsibility skills just aren’t quite there yet, but they’re trying to figure it out; Faith’s dad coming by the house because he was “in the area” is a hilarious moment because of this.

 

The racism in Faith’s workplace was well done — she wanted to be a dresser instead of working in the costume department of a TV station, cataloging costumes. Someone told her they never have “colored” people working those jobs, and when the hiring committee started being unfair to her, she mentioned that and eventually got the job she wanted, but they don’t actually really let her do the job, saying that no shows needed anyone to help dress the actors at the moment. This was much more interesting than Faith not getting the job outright, because it was harder for her to find something to be upset about — she got the job she wanted, they just didn’t need her to do those responsibilities right now. And then, when they do let her work, it’s to dress up dolls for a kid’s show and not actual actors.

 

However, this novel shines with Faith goes to Jamaica and learns about her family. More than anything, this book is about how people become who they are, how they relate to their families, and how family can tie everything together. I loved seeing Faith trace her family tree as each new story about a new relative is told to her, and even though the reader doesn’t get to see much of Faith’s transformation, I felt her becoming more comfortable with herself and who she is with each branch she adds to the tree. Fruit of the Lemon is a beautiful story about family, identity, and culture, and it’s able to tell an important story while still including humorous and touching moments. Along with my husband, I highly recommend reading this book.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=3201

Book Review: Freedom's Landing by Anne McCaffrey

Freedom's Landing - Anne McCaffrey

This book was slow going for me for most of the beginning. The very beginning was super interesting, where we meet Kris and learn about how she’s been kidnapped from Earth and is basically a slave to the Catteni, but when she gets dumped on the empty planet with Zainal, a rogue Catteni who landed himself in some trouble with his own people, I struggled a lot. Once everything got explained and set up, it was fine, but the first 80 pages or so were a slog for me.

 

With that said, I’ve really missed McCaffrey’s science fiction — this is the science fiction I grew up with and I have missed it so, so much. In terms of pure story, it’s wonderful, with the survival/colonization/new planet discovery aspect, with the characters discovering new technology and constantly finding themselves in danger they didn’t realize was around. It’s super realistic in terms of the characters needing to figure out what they need to have a balanced diet, how they’re going to handle hygiene and sickness, etc.

 

In terms of larger themes, McCaffrey has insightful and incisive commentary on race relations based on how other aliens are treated by humans, even though they’re also Catteni slaves and put in the same situation as humans — sometimes even with fewer tools and privileges for survival, like needing special nutrients for their diet that just aren’t really easy to get on the planet they’re trapped on.

 

One of the things I most appreciated about this novel was the way romances very slowly and organically came about. There was no, “Oh my god s/he is so hot and I need to have her right now, even though we’re all struggling to even just eat on this new planet,” which is sadly too common in some novels. Whenever romance popped up, it made sense in the context, and there was no sex for the sake of sex during times that didn’t really make any sense. Perfectly done and I wish I read more stories that were able to handle it so realistically.

 

Overall, this is a solid start to a science fiction series that I’m looking forward to continuing, and for those who like survivalist stories with a science fiction edge, or even just McCaffrey fans, you should give it a read!

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=2031

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco, Hachette Audio, James Patterson, Nicola Barber

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher from BEA 2016.*

 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

 

I brought ARCs to my classroom after we attended Book Expo last year.  I have an extensive classroom library, but rarely do students ever take up my offer to borrow books to read independently.  I pitched having these ARCs in the class as a really cool insider opportunity to read books before many other people were able to and even would tell students about how they would get in trouble if they borrowed one and then sold it (which most students laughed at, but I think did emphasize the specialness about them I was trying to create).  Most of the students who borrowed books were pretty strong readers.  However, I had one student who I would have pegged as a reluctant reader.  He looked through the books after class one day and grabbed this book.  He told me he was interested in serial killers and asked if he could borrow it.  Of course I let him, and several months later he returned saying he really liked it.

 

This is one of the main reasons I decided to pick the book up myself (I had also heard some decent buzz about it as well since it came out) and some of the things that delighted me about the book, I must be honest, impacted me more through the lens of thinking about my students reading the book.  I feel I would be remiss if I did not start with my favorite element of the book, which is how Audrey Rose, the main character, is developed.  She starts off seeming to be another run-of-the-mill example of a female character interested in non-feminine topics.  What I think is done so well though is that her disgust is not directed at these feminine pursuits (and indeed even shows some interest and admiration towards some elements of it), but rather the way society pigeonholes girls and women into them.  I thought this was a nice balance and one that usually tips one way or the other far too often.  I must note here that I think this being such a large part of the story is something that made me smile a lot thinking about my student reading it.

 

The one criticism I have with the book is Audrey Rose’s relationship with Thomas Cresswell.  I do not want to overstate this point, since I think both characters were well written and interesting, but I do think that some of their exchanges were the few moments I found myself wanting to skim rather than poring over the words in front of me.

 

Finally, I have a huge issue with television, movies, books, or any other form of media that has a mystery that would be impossible to solve until it is resolved within the story.  I think that what this book does, which many great mysteries do, is that looking back on the story you can pick out moments that could have allowed you to guess at the big reveal, but along the way (unless you are really taking the time to ponder it) you might miss.  I will admit that I figured it out only a few pages before the reveal and found that to be thoroughly satisfying.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book and tore through it on my winter break.  I definitely think it is worth checking out.

Source: http://www.purplereaders.com/?p=3156

Reading Habits Book Tag

Do you have a certain place in your home for reading?

Nope, I read anywhere: couch, bed, floor, etc. Wherever I can find.

 

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Either will work, but I have dozen of bookmarks lying around, so there's usually one readily available.

 

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop read after a chapter / certain number of pages?

I had to learn how to sneak in reading time during random moments, like on a bus, just before class, etc., so I can pretty much stop whenever. Ideally, I stop after a chapter, though.

 

Do you eat or drink while read?

Yup. I spend my lunch break at work reading.

 

Multitasking: music or TV while reading?

NO! If someone else is watching something on TV or listening to music, fine, but I want to actually pay attention to what I'm reading/listening to/watching.

 

One book at a time or several at once?

Several at once. I'm notorious for reading multiple books at once, at least 6, max 10.

 

Reading at home or everywhere?

Everywhere.

 

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently. If I read out loud, people would think I'm a crazy person.

 

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

No, that's crazy.

 

 

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don't break it, but I don't freak out about keeping it brand new either.

 

 

Do you write in your books?

Sometimes. I like noting good quotes or interesting ideas.