Book Review: Burial Rites

Burial RitesImage
Hannah Kent
Historical Fiction based on true events
Published: September 10th 2013
5/5

                Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
                Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Anges has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’ death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.
                Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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                Burial Rites is based on the true life account of Agnes Magnusdottir the last person executed in Iceland on January 12th, 1830. She, and man named Friorik Sigurosson where charged for the murder of Nathan Ketilsson, and Petur Jonsson that took place on March 14th, 1828. They were executed by beheading.
                This was a fascinating and beautifully told story. Burial Rites is one of the best tales I’ve read in a few years. It is one of those novels that leave a mark on your soul; the story will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
                The writing was beautiful; I found myself becoming immersed in the language and haunting thoughts of Anges as she awaited her fate. I found her relatable; my heart was broken for her most of the story. I wished the book would end differently; despite knowing that it was based on a factual event.
                Anges was a great lead character. I really enjoyed reading about her life from childhood up until she ended up on the farm. By the end of the book I felt like I knew her personally, but not in a way that I found myself overwhelmed by information in regards to the development of the plot.
                I also ended up liking the family at the farm by the end of the book. It was beautiful to see them all come together. The courage and strength the lent Anges in the end was unfathomable in it’s greatness. Despite the coldness and perhaps even hatred they all felt towards her in the beginning, it was so lovely to see some of them turn around and offer her pity, understanding and compassion in the end.
                Overall I thought the book was well written and developed and though we don’t know how the actual events took place it was interesting to read one possible side to the story. I greatly recommend this book to my blog readers, I don’t think you’d regret it!
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Book Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)Image
Charline Harris
Adult Paranormal Romance
Published: 2001
Publisher: Ace Books
3/5

 

            Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, she keeps to herself and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty, because she is, but because Sookie has this sort of ‘disability.’ She can read minds, and that doesn’t make her too dateable.
            Then along comes Bill, he’s tall, dark, handsome – and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…
            But Bill has a disability of his own; he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of –big surprise- murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next…

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Dead until Dark is a super popular series, at least I think it is. It seems to be at any rate Aand despite my interest I’m actually pretty glad I didn’t invest an actual money into reading this book.
            Sookie is immature, flat, boring, and really inexperienced in all ways of the world which I find hard to believe given her upbringing and her ability to read minds. In my opinion after a life time of hearing people’s thoughts you would think she would be more hardened, more modest and less… well just less like the way she is.
            It’s hard for me to feel any pity for anyone in this book, or feel any kind of sadness because she bounces back so quickly. Oh! Someone’s dead well big deal, I’d better go moon over the creepy vampire.  She also falls in love way to easily for someone who has heard the lusty thoughts of other people her whole life. She’s extremely trusting for someone who has so much knowledge. Also on a side note, if I was the American President I would have her on my staff as some type of spy. Obviously she’d be a great asset in discovering whom in your staff had intentions that were for anyone other than yourself. Talk about learning who is actually loyal and who is actually just looking out for themselves or in some cases someone else!
            Also, Bill, bleh, ugh, ick! Not my kind of tall dark and handsome! He’s also flat, boring and utterly predictable. They both suffer from a serious case of insta-love and it’s the kind of insta-love that really doesn’t make much sense.
            I found myself confused a lot by who the characters were and by what was going on because Sookie jumped around so much in terms of who she knew and how she knew them. Also there is just a slew of character introductions right form the get go witch I find is usually an auto fail for me in most books.
            despite all these falls it was an extremely easy read, it’s not highly detailed, nor is the plot thick and devious, in fact I almost feel like I could skip ahead two books and would be able to fallow along with realitive ease, other than not knowing who anyone was of course. I also was able to finish the book which is rare for me, usually when I really dislike a book I don’t even bother finishing it, which is why I post so many 4 and 5 star reviews. It’s not very often I’ll stick through something like this, which in the end is probably why I gave it three stars instead of two, I was feeling generous.
            Anyways, this book was a great disappointment for me and I am fairly positive I won’t be bothering with the rest of the series. My Library doesn’t have the next book anyways.

            What book have you read that’s left you feeling disappointed!?

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Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)Image
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult Fantasy
Published: 2012
4/5

In a world without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the vicious king who rules from his throne of glass but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she will be released from prison to serve as the King’s Champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her and a princess from a faraway land will befriend her. But something evil dwells in the castle – and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival – and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

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Personally I really enjoyed Throne of Glass, its simple plot and easy to like characters made for a fairly quick and enjoyable read. The plot is certainly not complicated and despite what I’ve seen other’s saying, I do not believe you need to read the ‘prequels’ to understand ‘Throne of Glass’ and the progression of this story.
I really enjoyed Sarah J. Mass’ writing style, throne of glass greatly reminded me of Graceling written by Kristin Cashore and I truly feel if you enjoyed that book you would also enjoy this one.
Celaena was very likeable despite the obvious flaws with her character that made me reduce my rating to a four star instead of a 5 star. She’s witty, intelligent, friendly, and very likeable. I did however find that her obsession with her appearance, and ridiculously feminine clothing to be unlikely as her position as an assassin would likely not allow her much of those privileges in the past. I find it extremely hard to believe that a woman who is almost unmatched in beauty (According to the author) would be able to go unnoticed for so long and I think it’s virtually impossible that no one would have known who she was.  Beyond those flaws however, I found her to be a strong character and a fairly decent role model for young woman.
I also really enjoyed the characters of Prince Dorian and Chaol who is the Captain of the Guard. There were obviously a few character issues with them as well but understandably no person is perfect so expecting characters in novels to be perfect is probably like trying to breath under water and unless you’re a fish it’s very unlikely to go well.
I am looking forward to seeing how all the relationships develop, where things will go between Chaol and Dorian and if the triangle will destroy their friendship. I’m obviously also interested in knowing whom Celaena will end up with in the end as well; perhaps she will not end up with any of them.
In a land where magic is outlawed I’m very curious to see where that will take us as it’s quite obvious that by outlawing it there will be magic involved within this series. It’ll  be neat to see what kind of magic the author introduces and how the magic will take place within this story line.
Overall a great introduction into a series I’m fairly certain I will greatly enjoy. Have you read Throne of glass? Let me know what you thought! It’d be great to discuss such an interesting piece of YA literature.
If you’re not interested in reading Throne of Glass I would also love to hear why, it’s great that everyone has so many different opinions! : )

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Book Haul: June 2013 (Part 1)

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Shadow and Bone ( The Grisha #1) written by Leah Bardugo
                The Shadow Fold, an impenetrable darkness and monsters that feast on human flesh is destroying the once radiant nation of Ravaka.  Alina is an orphan who discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magic elite- the Grisha. Could she be the key to unraveling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravaka free?

 

 Ruby Red & Sapphire Blue (Books 1 & 2 of the Ruby Red Trilogy)  written by Kerstin Gier
                This series is about a girl named Gwyneth Shepherd who has the family gene to travel time.  This series is filled with adventure, romance, and mystery as Gwyneth struggles to find out who she really is, if she can actually trust Gideon and who really is good.
 
Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) written by Anna Banks
               
Galen is prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach, when she runs into Galen and both teens sense a connection. It will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gift. Now, if only he could convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom.

Book Review: Black City (#1)

Black City (Black City #1)
Elizabeth Richards

 

In a city where humans and Darklings areImage now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 

This book was interesting, I somehow completely missed what this book was about when I looked into it or perhaps I got this book confused with another book?  I am actually not sure how this happened.   I don’t often read books involving anything like Vampires which is was a darkling is essentially, they drink blood are stronger than humans so that’s kind of part of the reason why I was confused about it..
The book over all wasn’t bad, I probably would have enjoyed it more if ‘Darklings’ had been a little more original. If there had been more background to them, if their story was a little more in the for front. This novel is a love story and that’s the main plot, everything else seemed secondary to me and at times forgotten about? I wish there had been more world building, more details.
The conflict between Darklings, half-blood Darklings and Humans reminded me a lot of Hitler and his conflict with the Jews. The segregation of the darklings, their treatment and living conditions were absolutely terrible and I totally would have been on team “Humans for Unity” if I lived in the Black City. I wish they had gone a little more into detail as to what the ‘wrath’ does, how it actually started.
This was not my favorite book and at times I felt I had to push myself to keep moving forward through it and I don’t know if I wasn’t just feeling it because I was so busy with holidays or if I really just wasn’t feeling it. The love story was pretty lack luster to me and moved too fast, or at least I felt it moved extremely fast, there were a couple details involved that I was kind of not sure how I felt about.
The story was pretty simple to understand and follow however, though the time line was not clear, I am not sure how much timed passed from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel. I am pretty sure my lack of enjoyment was my own fault as I have admitted before I do not care for vampireish books (Unless you count Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and the Historian by Elizabeth Kostova)
If you enjoyed Twilight or books similar you would probably enjoy this book (and I would assume the series) Though Natalie is more independent than Bella Swan and Ash is less…creepy (Sorry but watching someone sleep all night is more than a little weird) Anyways it wasn’t terrible! So give it a shot if you’re interested in books like this (There are some science fiction elements that were interesting, they just didn’t go into enough detail for me otherwise this would have most likely gotten a higher rating from me )

Five Classic Novels 2013 goal

 

            I have tried and tried so many times to read classic novels and sometimes I really get into them. I really enjoyed “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde last year so I am thinking that I’ll give myself the reasonable goal of reading five ‘classic’ novels this year. I have chosen five along with a bonus five to read if I finish the first five and feel like reading some more! I will not count on myself doing that but you never know! I might just surprise myself.

1.  Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
2.  Pride and Prejudice  –  Jane Austin
3.  Dracula – Bram Stoker
4.  Alice’s Adventures in wonderland  –  Lewis Carroll
5.  1984 – George Orwell

Bonus five

1.   Withering Heights – Emily Bronte
2.   Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
3.   Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Jules Verne
4.   Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
5.   Persuasion – Jane Austin

 

            So what do you guys think of these? Do they seem like a good start? Even my husband has read “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin! I also own a copy of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” maybe I should throw that one in as a bonus read? What are you favorite ‘classic’ novels? I’m really excited to dig into them once I’ve gotten through the slew of books I have recently received.
            Hope everyone has an amazing new years eve and are enjoying this beautiful first day of the year which also happens to be my four month anniversary with my husband! (we were married on September 1 2012) We’re going to celebrate by going to see the Hobbit in our Pj’s ‘cause we’re classy like that!