Twilight By Stephenie Meyer February 28, 2010Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: Analysis, Bella Swan, book, characters, Edward Cullen, Forbidden Love, KJ, Love, Novel, Plot, recommendation, review, Romance, Stephenie Meyer, theBookGirl, Twilight, Twilighters, Young Adult
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The following video is a requested review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I discuss the different attitudes towards Twilight, as well as reviewing the novel.
Click here to read my written review of Twilight.
Penguin’s Poems for Love selected by Laura Barber February 13, 2010Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: Blurb, Collection, KJ, LAura BArber, Love, Penguin, Poem, Poetry, recommendation, review, Romance, theBookGirl, Valentine
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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Here are the poems to take you on a journey of ‘suddenly’ of love at first sight to the ‘truly, madly, deeply’ of infatuation and on to the ‘eternally’ of love that lasts beyond the end of life, along the way taking in the flirtation, passion, fury, betrayal and broken hearts.
Bringing together the greatest love poetry from around the world and through the ages, ranging from W. H. Auden to William Shakespeare, John Donne to Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning to Roger McGough, this anthology will delight, comfort and inspire anyone who has ever tasted love – in any of its forms.
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”
Penguin’s Poems for Love are beautiful. They are a carefully thought out collection, consisting of deeply passionate ideals, and brutally honest realism. There is something in every poem that will cause you, as the reader, to connect with the poet, and what the poet in trying to convey.
Single, taken, married, divorced, widowed…there is a poem relating to it all, so this is not just a poetry collection for those flying on cloud nine, and nor is it purely for the cynics who simply don’t believe in love.
The range is so great you will be astounded at the linking, and connections, which create the flowing pattern, regardless of the age of the pieces, and the variety of poets.
The poems are organised through themed chapters, throwing together unlikely combinations, to follow the various paths life may take love through. Even the organisation of these poems reminds the reader that love is a timeless thing, a powerful emotion that has survived through centuries, and caused destruction through decades.
The power of words is intense in these poems; it is near impossible not to find a poem to suit your mood, feelings or situation.
The only criticism I have, is that with these combinations, often I find the poems don’t sit well together, for the dramatic change in language, content, poet and style, although highly effective, destroys flow if more than a couple of poems are read. This takes from the credit of the poets, unnecessarily.
In conclusion, this collection is well worth reading, and contains a very strong combination of poems, stirring deep emotions. However, do not expect flow through the paths the poems take with each other.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini January 30, 2010Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: A Thousand Splendid Suns, afghanistan, bestseller, Blurb, book, characters, Khaled Hosseini, Laila, Love, Mariam, Novel, Plot, Rasheed, recommendation, review, shari'a, Tariq, theBookGirl
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A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book you will never forget, for it’s beautiful characters, intricate plot, and heart wrenching tale lives on long after the last page is turned, made all the more tragically striking with the truth and honesty in the setting, history and ideas portrayed.
“Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.”
The plot follows two tales, each unwrapping the events creating the coming of age of a young girl, forced for one reason or another, to assign her life to misery, pain, loss and cruelty.
Mariam, unloved and resented, discovers betrayal and guilt, and, as a strong minded character who can endure if nothing else must live with what she feels are the consequences.
Laila, a partially cherished yet partially overlooked daughter, grows up with Tariq – a friend and boy next door, he is everything to her. Yet, with disaster and horror, Laila too must put together a life destroyed by surroundings, religion and power.
These tales are told within Afghanistan, following years of communism and Taliban rule, the chronological modern history of the country, and the implications for the working class people who must live between rockets and bullets, and obey the strict laws from Shari’ a to communist.
The story is beautiful, although extremely tragic, and it will wrench at your heart for Hosseini’s talent swells in this novel, making you truly feel for the characters, and understand their lives.
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory January 11, 2010Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: Anne Boleyn, bestseller, book, books, characters, Forbidden Love, henry VIII, KJ, Mary Boleyn, Philippa Gregory, recommendation, review, The Other Boleyn Girl, theBookGirl, video review
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The Other Boleyn Girl follows the story of Mary Boleyn as she faces the trials of life in Henry VIII’s court. Falling in love with the King, and having to resign this to your deadliest rival, at the order of family definitely gives a good plot, but further twists and turns with the demands of the court and of others promising you that to fly away with your dreams can be done…well, only Philippa Gregory is capable of such a masterpiece of a novel.
Watch my video blog below to see my thoughts on the outstanding novel:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy December 29, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: Apocalyptic, bestseller, book, books, Cormac McCarthy, KJ, Novel, recommendation, review, The Road
McCarthy’s The Road is brilliant. Simply brilliant. The plot follows a man and his son as they travel along a road south after what seems to be an apocalyptic event. It ventures to question the fundamental survival instincts of human nature, wondering how far we would go to keep ours and our own alive.
The style of this novel is truly original. With no punctuation other than the trusty full stop, and no elaborate descriptions or unnecessary words, the story is kept to basics, conveying a true raw power of the message and plot of this story.
McCarthy is surely one of the greatest writers of our time, for the strength and force of his tale are beyond most literature of our century.
The story unfolds as the man and his son discover awful things that other humans have done; see scarring sights that no one should have to see. Their journey, of hardship, of poverty, of hunger; shows the relationship between a man and a boy who have absolutely nothing but one another.
This shows the pure reliance each have on the other, the dependence for encouragement when there is no hope, the dependence for love when there is nothing else.
McCarthy explores how lives could change in such a cataclysmic event that no one can be trusted to be a “good guy”…but also how a leap of faith to that trust could be worth it if only it was tried. The risks are numerous and so the man and his son must struggle to survive alone in this powerful, man eat man world where nature has taken it’s revenge.
The emotional journey the characters go on shows the hardship of a hopeless eternity, and the contrast between the young and the old, the trusting and the suspicious, the want to help and the action of help.
McCarthy’s only downfall is, perhaps, the length of the novel. It is not particularly long or short for a novel, but it seems the events can get a little repetitive in that nothing changes. Perhaps this is the point – the characters have nothing and never will have anything, with every day for eternity a struggle to survive. But sometimes it seems that a different or speedier occurrence would be welcome.
In conclusion, this excellent novel of McCarthy’s seems destined to be an eternal classic of our time. It is a must read for it’s messages and ideas are so deep, that even if not fully understood, they should be attempted and savoured, for it is full of lessons for humankind to learn.
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks December 28, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: bestseller, Blurb, book, characters, Forbidden Love, KJ, Love, nicholas sparks, Novel, Plot, recommendation, review, Romance, Style, the notebook, theBookGirl
The Notebook is a highly emotional novel written by Nicholas Sparks. It follows the story of two old lovers; Allie and Noah, as they find one another again.
“North Carolina, October 1946. Noah Calhoun has recently returned from war: he tries to forget the horrors he has seen and experienced by restoring an old plantation home. But though his days are spent working, his nights too often give way to dreams of his past.
Fourteen years ago, Noah fell in love with a girl, and he is still haunted by her memory but convinced he will never find her again. But when the past slips into the present, Noah realises his ghosts are never far away.”
Allie is a beautifully written character, a fierce and strong protagonist who, although recently engaged to a high flying lawyer, cannot forget her old love, Noah, who she met for a brief but perfect summer at the age of fifteen. As her first love, he was special, but more than that, we quickly realise that the two of them were meant for each other.
Noah, too, has never forgotten Allie, and although he achieved great things for a man of his social class in southern America, it is the simple beauty of life and nature that makes him work. As a character he is breathtaking; he is wise, and realises what it really important. Yet mostly his undying, pure love for Allie, which is strong in every breath he takes, every word he speaks, makes the reader feel such empathy for him that he is destined to be an unforgotten classic of this decade.
This novel has an excellent plot, it really touches upon current emotional issues, and allows the reader to feel the full weight of implications they cause, in particular the deterioration of life, which is brilliantly contrasted with the tale of the lively, feisty youngsters. Every reader will relate to the way in which what was once so fresh and powerful will age, and change, but still can hold a power beyond human understanding. Sparks has captured this beautifully, in a genre which usually avoids such complex and deep issues.
The only criticism I assign to the writing is the way the characters are too perfect – of course, this makes the contrast between young and old much more powerful, but the characters have no real flaws. They have the indisputable love that is comparable to Heathcliffe and Cathy; but they have none of the flaws which make such an epic love possible.
It may also be suggested that, although the plot of the story is near perfect, and the characters are beautiful, the style is too simplified to show such a deep love. Perhaps this is because the love is a simple thing, but often the expression of it seems a little tame or repetitive “Her fell in love with her…he fell in love with her…he loved her”. However, this may just be demonstrating the extent of the love and the full, unelaborated power of it.
Perhaps one of the best ways Sparks expresses the love of the characters is through the incessant poetry running through Noah’s mind. He quotes and inserts in a way that not only flows with the novel but enhances and immortalises it, causing the reader to yearn for more and feel the deep emotions of Allie and Noah.
The novel is a brilliant read, and perfect for any emotion. It is a beautiful story and excellently written, despite its minor flaws, with quotes which could prove to be lines to live by. If you have not read this bestselling novel, you simply have not lived.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audery Niffenegger September 20, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: Audery Niffenegger, bestseller, Blurb, book, characters, Clare, Henry, Novel, Plot, recommendation, review, Romance, The TIme Traveler's Wife, theBookGirl, Time travel
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The Time Traveler’s Wife is a very intense, beautiful story of two people – Clare and Henry – who fall in love and live in love, despite Henry’s very peculiar condition.
Henry can time travel. He can’t control it, he can’t stop it, and he can’t take anything with him. Including clothes.
“This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty six, and were married when Clare was twenty two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable”
The plot follows Clare as she grows up with rare and mysterious visits from adult Henry. They form a loving but appropriate relationship as he offers an escape and friendship throughout their childhood. Of course, as she grows older, she feels more for him and a stronger relationship forms. Then she meets him at a time which is his natural time. From here the story begins for the reader, and for Henry. We are then invited along the journey as Clare and Henry’s relationship develops, is tried and is tested, with many dramas and questions along the way.
The plot follows Henry as he meets beautiful Clare and finds that she already knows all about him. More about him than he knows himself – she knows the future him. It then follows his relationship with her, in the same way it follows hers with him.
The plot challenges the reader to imagine our very ordinary world in an extraordinary way. We must consider the feelings and predicaments of being, or, even more peculiarly, marrying a time traveller.
This puts the strength of the characters to the test, as the book would only work with the deepest characters that can be formed – a two dimensional character would be simply too flat for this complex plot to work. But, indeed, Niffenegger can more than pull this off, and has conjured a masterpiece of a book, which I am certain you will lose yourself in, wanting nothing more than to sit and read, simply content as long as you can find out what happens next.
With the very perceptive display of characters, original twist on time travel, and a brilliantly realistic basis, this novel is purely excellent, a brilliant read.
It demands the reader’s attention, interrogating the reader with questions…what would they do? What is moral in these situations? How would they cope with this double edged knife of time travel?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling August 23, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: bestseller, Blurb, book, books, Childrens, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, J.K.Rowling, KJ, Novel, Plot, recommendation, review, Ron Weasly, Sirius Black, Style, the Prisoner of Azkaban, theBookGirl
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is another excellent novel in the Harry Potter series. It is the only novel almost totally unrelated to Lord Voldermort and this makes it interesting it’s role of development in the series, as well as an unusual addition to the enjoyment of the reading as a whole.
“Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to go back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called to guard the school…
A fantastic new story featuring Harry and his friends from the spellbinding J.K. Rowling.”
This story follows the plot as Harry finds out that the escaped murderer is connected to him in ways he is horrified to imagine, and now putting him in intense danger. Harry has to struggle with this issue of extra but unwanted protection, as he also battles his way through the problems of school bullies (in the form of Draco Malfoy), the pressure of doing well (especially in Quidditch), a little hint at girls (watch out for Cho Chang), and, of course, the worry about comforting and helping your half-giant friend as he tries to protect a hippogriff.
There are many layers and depths to this story, especially as it goes on to deal with friendships and priorities. This story leaves the child-like qualities behind as the reader slowly sinks into the world of Hogwarts, fully and totally, and realises that no matter what the style is: this story can be related to on many a level.
The characters, of course, are well written, as Harry and his friends grow up to act a little older, a little more responsible, and a little more careless as they settle well and truly into the spirit of Hogwarts.
The new characters add far more humour and quirks to the general plot, as does the new setting of Hogsmede – a wizarding town.
The magic of the wizarding world, unfathomably combines with the magic of the style, topic, characters and plot to create a truly unforgettable tales which will stop you forever from putting the book down.
P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern August 12, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: bestseller, Blurb, book, Cecelia Ahern, characters, Death, Holly Kennedy, I love you, KJ, Novel, P.S. I Love You, Plot, PS, recommendation, review, Romance, theBookGirl
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“Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry.
They were childhood sweethearts – no one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.
Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms Holly discovers Gerry had left her a bundle of notes, gently guiding her into her new life without him, each signed ‘PS, I Love You’.
With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing – and being braver than ever before.
Life is for living, she realises – but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you.”
PS, I Love You is a very emotional book, as is expected, but Ahern has managed to make the emotions very realistic throughout the novel, conveying as well as possible the extreme grief that Holly goes through, and the hardship it takes to simply keep living. Ahern, too, manages to show how Holly still can have good days, good emotions, good times even through this grief and I think this is what makes Ahern so gifted at her craft.
The plot follows Holly over the course of roughly a year as she goes through the motions of life without the person who made it worth living. It follows her adventure as she receives each letter, and thus learns to cope with her grief, her life and other people’s lives.
It is weird because it is a book you can relate to really well, even if you haven’t lost your soul-mate. What I mean is, you can relate to having to struggle through something, and to be forced to persist even if you’d rather just give up and curl up. Most people have to go through situations where they wish they could change something every day, but are forced to see their friends happy and unaffected, the way they should be.
In that way, the novel is written exceptionally well and teaches you to hold on and never to give up, because things will change.
In a more technical way the book is also very good; it comfortably shows how families have various strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrated well all sorts of different characters and the way they interact. It gives problems which can’t be solved instantly, as well as moments of happiness which form on their own.
Holly is extremely well written, as the major event – the death of her husband – causes her not only to have to endure life without him, but re-evaluate her life, and rethink how she is. It gives her the time and space to make her a stronger and kinder person.
In conclusion this book is well worth a read, and although it will make many a reader gently cry for Holly and those in her situation, it will also allow one to laugh out loud at her humorous friends and family, and learn to appreciate life for what it is – a short but miraculous thing.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris July 25, 2009Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
Tags: book, Chocolat, Conflict, Joanne Harris, KJ, Novel, Plot, recommendation, religion, review, Small town, theBookGirl, Vianne Rocher
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Chocolat follows Vianne Rocher and her young daughter, Anouk, as they come to live in a quiet, deeply religious French town, with a very traditional, strict lifestyle. They open a chocolate shop in the town square, at the beginning of lent, and this sparks off the battle between church and chocolate.
“Try me…Test me…Taste me…
When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer’s wares as the ultimate sin.
Suddenly Vianne’s shop-cum-café means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a ‘Church not Chocolate’ battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?
For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance. Rich, clever and mischievous, Chocolat is a literary feast for all senses.”
Joanne Harris hasn’t created a world or an adventure or a journey. She has perfectly depicted a reality. From the clever plot to the interesting characters to the vivid descriptions to the ideas and values, everything is insanely realistic. So realistic, in fact, it is clear that this is written exceptionally well.
The plot unfolds with Vianne Rocher communicating and interacting with the townsfolk who have previously been alone with their problems. She helps them, supports them and encourages them to do what makes them happy. There is conflict, however, in the form of the priest of the town, who, sheltering a dark secret from the past, now sees the townspeople as his flock, and wants to protect them from change of any sort. Conflict, too, comes from Vianne’s own past as worries and memories consume her everyday life.
Vianne Rocher has depth and interesting thoughts as she goes about her business, as does the priest who the reader tries hard to understand, despite his being the antagonist.
The story manages to be inoffensive in the adventures and observations of the town, although it discusses such sensitive issues as the innocence of religion.
It hints that although those who are religious are do-gooders and mean well, it is very rare to find someone who has any less flaws than any non-believer. It ponders the idea that it is not so much the religion that is necessary, but believing in doing what is morally right, and living familiarly with the community, as well as using common sense to sort out situations.
The book also discusses topics such as the way a community blocks anything new and is suspicious of even the slightest change, as is often found within human nature.
In conclusion, this is a brilliant read, looking at all aspects of real life in a small town.