Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Hunger Games by: Suzanne Collins

I know I usually summarize the books I read myself, but I'm worried I won't do this one justice, so:


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

I loved, loved, loved this book. I was completely immersed as soon as I started it. It flows well, the descriptions and details are great, the characters are well written, and I love the plot. It's probably one of the best young adult books I've read. It's mature, there are many layers to it. Loyalty, love, family, survival; these are just some of the themes the book touches on. And the action scenes are great.

It's a touching book, that at times will make you laugh, and at times you'll want to just sob along with the main character, Katniss.

The supporting characters even helped draw the story out. Rue, Cinna, Haymitch, Peeta, her sister Primrose; all of them had a purpose and the ability to reach out and connect with the character, which is hard sometimes to do.

It's the first in a triology, the second one comes out in about a day. I will definitely be reading the rest. I highly recommend this novel.

My rating: 10/10

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by: Art Spiegelman


Told with chilling realism in an unusual comic-book format, this is more than a tale of surviving the Holocaust. Spiegelman relates the effect of those events on the survivors' later years and upon the lives of the following generation. Each scene opens at the elder Spiegelman's home in Rego Park, N.Y. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. The other theme of this book is Art's troubled adjustment to life as he, too, bears the burden of his parents' experiences. This is a complex book. It relates events which young adults, as the future architects of society, must confront, and their interest is sure to be caught by the skillful graphics and suspenseful unfolding of the story. -- Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School , Houston

I had to read Maus II for school this summer, and at first I was pretty reluctant about the whole thing. I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels, I tend to enjoy "regular" novels more. However, I saw it was about the holocaust, a topic of which I read a lot about, and decided to give it an honest try. And I'm so glad I did. The book was fantastic.

The drawings really helped back up the descriptions, the detail was great. I love all the symbolism in this book, how it had more than one layer to it. Some people might page through it and just assume it's a child novel because it's drawn and such, but that's not true. It's a mature, well written book. I just wish it was a bit longer.

If you're someone who enjoys war memoirs and books about the holocaust, you'll love this. It's a different take on the past, shown in a different way. It's something I think everyone should read once in their lives.

My rating: 8/10

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Loop by: Koji Suzuki

Honestly, I don't even think I can summarize this without accidentally giving something away. So, here's the summary from the publisher:

In the novel Ring, the videotape was the vendetta of Sadako, a tragic girl who could not be sated with simple revenge. In the sequel Spiral, a mutating virus displaced the tape and came to threaten the entire diversity of life. In this much-awaited conclusion of the Ring trilogy, everything you thought you knew about the story will have to be put aside." "In Loop, the killer mimics both AIDS and cancer, in a deadly new guise. Only one person, Kaoru Futami, asks where the disease could have originated. The youth, mature beyond his years, must hope to find answers in the deserts of New Mexico and the Loop project, a virtual matrix created by scientists. The fate of more than just his loved ones depends on Kaoru's success." Though best enjoyed by fans of Ring and Spiral, Loop is also written as a stand-alone work. The author's own favorite of the trilogy, this astounding finale is an emotionally resonant tale that scales conceptual heights from an angle all its own.

This book, Loop, was a mind-boggling read. At first, I was really wary about the direction Suzuki was taking the story. I was like, "You've got to be kidding me."

However, as soon as I got halfway through, I was completely immersed. It was hard for me to put the novel down. There are so many layers to this story, it's hard to take it all in at once.

In short, I loved it. It's a mentally challenging novel, it really makes you think. The way he intertwined the other two novels into this one was well done, also.

This is probably my favorite of the series, it was a great way to end it. If you like a book that challenges you, really makes you think, this book (the whole series, really) is for you. I highly recommend it.

My rating: 10/10

Monday, August 24, 2009

Contest On Livejournal!

Coming 12/22/09 from Bloomsbury...

Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.

Want to win an ARC with original sketches from the author inside? See for details!

I think this book holds a lot of promise, so I'll definitely be checking it out (:

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Housekeeper And The Professor by: Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor is about a woman who goes to work for a man whose memory only lasts eighty minutes because of an accident he was in years before. All over his jackets are notes he pins to remind him of things, like a picture of her face with "new maid". Every morning, as he greets her, he asks her math questions to break the ice, so to speak. As time progresses, the woman and her son find themselves becoming more connected with the professor.

The Housekeeper and the Professor was a great, heartfelt novel. The connections between the characters was great, very real. I loved the relationship between the boy and the professor. It was so well written. And even though there's a lot of math in the book, which might draw some people off of it, I loved it. It's how the professor connects with people, it's the only way he can, and I think she wrote the math in perfectly. I also loved how none of the characters had names. It really makes it easy for the reader to relate to the characters, because they could literally be anyone.

I loved the ending. It fit the novel, and it was so well written. This is easily a book I could reread over and over. Wonderful novel.

My rating: 10/10

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Spiral by: Koji Suzuki

While Spiral is the sequel to Ring, it's so well developed, it could be a stand alone novel. It starts where Ring leaves off, with a new main character, Ando, finding out the man he's doing an autopsy on is aman he knew in college by the name of Ryuji. After the autopsy is finished, Ando sees the tiniest piece of newspaper sticking out of a stitch (they fill the empty body with newspaper after an autopsy), which he learns is a code from his old friend.

As the novel progresses, Ando finds himself trying to find out the secret behind the ring virus. He gets help from a friend and colleague, who's a great secondary character. And the twist at the end is awesome, I loved it. The way the twist is written, it's both creepy and scarily realistic. Great way to end the novel.

Suzuki intertwined the first book throughout this one so well, and the way he made the main character, Ando, know Ryuji from Ring was well written and thought out. Spiral had quite abit of science in it, but it was so simply explained, it was very easy to catch on to what he was saying (especially if you've taken a biology class).

Overall, while I really liked Ring, I loved Spiral. It was an easy read, it was fascinating, it flowed from the beginning to the end, the characters were well developed; it was just a great novel. The horror in the novel, isn't in your face, it's very subtle, which makes it even scarier.

My rating: 10/10

The Girl With The Pearl Earring by: Tracy Chevalier

The Girl With The Pearl Earring is about a girl named Griet who is sold as a maid to a local painter, Vermeer, and his family because her family needs money. She's given the job of cleaning his studio, and as the days pass, she becomes almost capitivated by the artist and his paintings. In the end, she sits for him for a portrait, and that leads to her inevitable downfall.

The book is based on a piece by Vermeer.

The Girl With The Pearl Earring was the second book by Tracy Chavalier I've read, the first being The Lady and the Unicorn. I really enjoyed The Lady and the Unicorn, and thought I'd enjoy this novel, also. And while it wasn't horribly written, I found it lacking something. I couldn't really connect with any of the characters, I thought it was too slow paced, and there wasn't enough of a plot. However, her descriptions were well done, and I did like how the novel ended. Maybe I just wish it had been longer, and we'd been able to see the characters grow a bit more.

Overall, it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite either.

My rating: 7/10

The Wayward Muse by: Elizabeth Hickey

Jane is a plain, ordinary girl. Until she meets Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an artist, who immediately calls her his muse, paying her to sit for him for a painting as Guinevere. From there on, she's smitten. And soon, she's convinced she's in love.

But then, he suddenly leaves for Oxford, leaving her heartbroken. In his absence, she marries his friend, William Morris. He's not as passionate as Rossetti, and not as handsome, but he'll do, because he has money and she knows she'll never find a better proposal than his.

As the novel progresses, it deals with their love affair, her (mostly dull) marriage with Morris, and the decisions they've both made in their lives.

When I first read the inside jacket of The Wayward Muse, I thought it would be a great read, especially because I love period novels. However, I really found myself struggling to finish. In the span of two-hundred some pages, thirteen years passes...quickly. Which I didn't really like. And none of the characters (who were based off the real life painter, poet, and their muse) had emotive characteristics. I couldn't feel sympathy with Jane, or with Rossetti. They both came off as shallow and immature.

The details of some things were good, and the secondary characters weren't too bad, but overall, I didn't enjoy the novel as much as I thought I would.

My rating: 4/10

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whipping Girl by: Le Marquis Divin---An Interview

Earlier this year and a bit of last year I had the privilege of editing a novel for a man who goes under the pseudonym Le Marquis Divin. The book, titled Whipping Girl, is about a young girl in the seventies who unknowingly crosses over to another time. In my first ever interview with an author, he'll tell you more (:

Faith Adeline: Marquis, first of all, why don't you tell everyone what the book is about?

Marquis: Given that the novel implies erotica dealing with sadomasochism, I can best answer by telling you what it is not. It is not a series of raunchy sex scenes tied together with a flimsy plot. It is, in contrast, a veritable supernatural saga incorporating drama, romance, mystery, tragedy and dark humor, all in a format as broad as you might find in, say, the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series.

That said (and I hope I’ve dispelled any natty prejudices one might have toward erotica), Whipping Girl is the story of Karen Bouchet, a lonely teenage girl struggling to cope with the recent death of her mother and the stigma of mental illness. She imagines these things as obstacles that stand in the way of more stable relationships with her father and older brother, as well as the romance, friendships and popularity she years for and believes are so easily obtainable to her peers. In short, normality.

The supernatural creature she encounters, however, presents a means of changing her life that’s anything but normal: by enabling her to pursue a mystical double life—as herself in the reality she has always known, and a new persona, an orphaned peasant girl Telina who lives in a medieval nation newly freed from a century of slavery. We later learn that Telina is not a fantasy, but a real girl who lived in the creature’s ancestral past.

Karen gets more than she bargains for when the Sokouri return to conquer Telina’s native country and enslave her people a second time. As a slave, both Karen and Telina teeter on the brink of fulfilling their deep-seated and dangerous masochistic desires, desires which both girls are only obscurely aware. A secret plot involving Telina freeing her brother and love interest from Sokouri dungeons, so they can recruit free Seshians to fight and take back their country, does just that: Telina’s master, the Sokouri military ruler who initiated the takeover, subjects Telina to a series of ritual whippings to induce her not only to reveal the boys’ whereabouts, but also submit to his violent affections.

And Karen lives out every minute of this terror. But there’s a catch. Far from being further victimized, she finds that fulfilling these desires for fear and pain endows her with reckless confidence and empowers her to act in ways she never could have, despite the price she and her alter ego might have to pay later on. That price, moreover, is far higher than either girl can imagine, involving the creature threatening the very survival of humanity.

As you can imagine, pulling all these narrative devices together into a plausible and believable story was no easy task.

Faith Adeline: And where did you first get the idea for this story? What was your inspiration?

Marquis: I drew inspiration from personal struggles with my own sexual nature, which lean more toward the sadistic and dominant while my heroine’s lean toward the masochistic and submissive. As an avid book reader, I was appalled that so few works of erotica gave readers a true emotional stake in what happens to the characters, much less have consistent or satisfying storylines. In erotica, unless you have a firm grasp of narrative technique to build a story people will want to read, you tend to be distracted by your content and dilute the very excitement you want to create in the first place.

Since I have a strong English background and have devoted much of my life studying all I can about writing, it was only natural that this frustrated desire evolved into a formidable challenge—a challenge, to which with careful thought, study and self-discipline, I hope I have proven equal.

Faith Adeline: Did you find you had to research much for the story? What was most challenging?

Marquis: Whipping Girl involved quite a lot of research in a variety of subjects. Many of them I happened to study in university: psychiatry, psychology, human sexuality, sexual addiction, pre-Disco American culture, medieval history as well as American history of the 1970s (Karen’s era), medieval warfare, medicine (a fast-acting salve very plausibly heals Telina’s lash marks in preparation for each stage of punishment), the physics of whipcracking, the Reid procedure of police interrogation, and other methods of torture and interrogation (since Guantanamo there’s a lot of material available on the Net).

The trick to writing effective literature is to use only those parts of research that have a direct bearing to the action, not dwell on unnecessary details that quite often turns good stories into scholarly dissertations. I also paid particular attention to the sociology of American high schools, Karen’s immediate environment; they tend to emphasize more of a struggle for recognition and status than in other countries. It’s fascinating how U.S. high schools are veritable microcosms of the rest of the country (in no way do I cast any aspersions on you Yanks, only admiration).

Overall, the unwieldy diversity of subjects was the greatest challenge. It did, however, help to resolve quite a few snags in the plot—as I’m sure you’re aware, having done such a fantastic job as editor. I’m proud to say that all that’s left is a finely-polished storyline which is anything but implausible.

Faith Adeline: I know writing can be tough when you're trying to squeeze it with everyday work and such,

did you find it easier to write during the day or night?

Marquis: Night, of course, for many reasons: the serenity with which to meditate on how to transmute the fine details of human thought and dialogue into precise and evocative language. The stark, silent, peopleless atmosphere with which to set the appropriate tone for these dark, introspective glimpses into the private life of a thoroughly engaging young girl.

There’s another advantage: at night, you’re neither inclined nor have any opportunity to foist your writing on others for their opinion. To attain an epitome of sound literary judgement, I answered only to myself.

Faith Adeline: Is there a special meaning you hoped readers would grasp while reading this book?

Marquis: Yes, several, and the fact that I used sadomasochism as the main theme for the drama and basis for the tragedy had much to do with that. The meaning is that we can often find the courage to be different despite any opposition we may face. That being different comes at a cost, but if we have a strong sense of self, we may find the cost well worth the trouble. Roxanne, the novel’s foil character and Karen’s more popular best friend, wisely reminds her that "we lose so much more out of life by not running risks or taking chances." However dangerous, Telina’s ultrablack world—with all its psychedelic orgies of violence and eroticism—goes a long way in testing that principle. Somewhat ominously, the creature reminds Karen, in respect to the odious aspects of her own self, and as she rends apart the veils concealing her true nature, that "the shadow is darkest when we refuse to look at it."

I must say, the novel presented a fascinating potential to portray entirely wholesome virtues, like love—that "one can never attain happiness unless one places another’s happiness above one’s own." The supporting characters in the inwoven network of subplots display such qualities as courage, sacrifice, mercy, charity, selflessness and trustworthiness.

Karen’s world is one with the backdrop of an anti-war and growing feminist movement; Telina’s is one where peace and equality between men and women have been achieved, but vie with a society incorporating the philosophy of the Marquis De Sade—paradoxically one of the

prominent feminists of his time. I hope that the story being inordinately dark to reflect our own times proves an irresistible hook for readers, allowing them to become emotionally invested in both worlds and all who inhabit them. I’d go so far as to say that without the gritty theme of S&M, the novel would have never provided as much potential to emphasize this meaning, and, in fact, would have ultimately been impossible to write.

Faith Adeline: Do you think you'll be working on another novel anytime soon?

Marquis: Sometime, but not right now. I’ve been focusing so much of my attention lately on promoting Whipping Girl—including a promotional video for the Internet that’s taken more time to create than I’d like, animation software’s a bitch—I haven’t had the chance. Still, a few more stories are floating around in my subconscious. I usually let them evolve there until I’m compelled to sit back down at the keyboard and just let it flow out. Provides the stories with a lot more substance that way.

Faith Adeline: What was your favorite part about writing this novel?

Marquis: That’s a hard question to answer; it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Some writers—weaker ones, I think—plan out each chapter as a bridge to the story’s climax so that the bulk of the narrative adds length, but really does nothing more than bide time. I, on the other hand, wanted to ensure that each chapter built and maintained an emotional attachment to my Watergate-era Lolita and all the other characters. I wrote each chapter with brief but meticulous style, describing the clothing, settings, props and even the weather to create a compelling sense of reality in unreal places—perfect fare for a screenwriter if Whipping Girl ever makes it to the big screen. Pick up the book at any point and you’ll be thoroughly engaged.
To answer your question, though, I’d say my favorite chapters involve Telina’s punishment and interrogation. Not simply because I’m a whip-crazed freak, but for the fact that the reader’s so deeply immersed in the characters’ passions and motivations that the sexiness, the veritable majesty of terror and pain comes alive in ways it could never have otherwise. Yes, the whippings are my favorites, only because up to this point I took care not to sacrifice quality for cheap effect.

Faith Adeline: Did you have any favorite authors or stories that you looked to while writing this novel?
Quite a few, some of which were written in the seventies which is when Whipping Girl is set:

The Exorcist by: William Peter Blatty
Gone With The Wind by: Margaret Mitchell
The Godfather by: Mario Puzo
Star Wars by: George Lucas
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by:Ken Kesey
Ordinary People by: Judith Guest
Interview With The Vampire by: Ann Rice
The Whip by: Catherine Cookson
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud by: Max Ehrlich
A Small Dark Place by: Martin Schenk
The Shining by: Stephen King.

There were also a couple of nonfiction books that provided intriguing historical background:

The Erotic Mind by: Jack Morin
Sex In History by: Reay Tannahill

Well, I thank Marquis for stopping by. All of you can check out more about the book at I hope you enjoyed the interview! I had a fun time editing the novel, it really is a good read. So I hope some of you are inclined to check it out (:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Love Comes First By: Erica Jong

What drew me to Love Comes First was the cover, which is how I pick most of my books (I love a good cover). And I'm not disappointed that I picked it up.

Erica Jong's poems are both modern and an inspiration. Her words share the emotion of any other person, written in a way that flys off the tongue. While some left a bit of a bitter taste, the others were sweet They offer thought and intellect.

I really enjoyed her work, and I'll be sure to check out more. To any person who likes to read or write poetry (maybe both), I think you'll enjoy her work also.

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Real World By: Natsuo Kirino

Real World by: Natsuo Kirino is a book about the lives of four young girls when they meet a boy their age who killed his mother. It all starts one morning when Toshi (the boy's next door neighbor) is getting ready for cram school and hears a sound coming from the next house. Worrying there was a break-in, she asks the boy, Worm, if everything is all right. He assures her everything is fine, and they go their seperate ways. After cram school, Toshi finds her bike has been stolen, along with her belongings that were with it. And then she learns that woman next door to her was murdered. The suspect? Their son; Worm.

She calls her cell phone, only to find it was Worm who'd stolen her bike. Before Toshi knows it, her three friends are involved. Yuzan ends up helping Worm by buying him a new cell phone and letting him borrow her bike so Toshi can have hers back. Her friend Kirarin ends up meeting up with Worm and leaving with him once he vows to help her plot revenge on a boy who broke her heart. The only one least affected by Worm is Terauchi. The book ends with devastating results.

I really enjoyed reading Real World. While some people may find the book slow or to have no point, I think it was rich in emotion and voice. Each point of view was strong and gave the reader a clear view on who the character was. (The point of views include: Toshi, Worm, Kirarin, Yuzan, and Terauchi.) As I've begun reading more Japanese fiction, I've seen that the authors tend to focus more on the characters than on the plot. They really breathe life into them, and make them into people the readers might meet on the street. And I love that. It's a very interesting take on a novel, because usually people are focused on the plot and the character tends to fall wayside.

Natsuo Kirino is a strong author with a clear voice. I can't wait to read more by her.

Overall, I'd give this book 8/10.

The Piano Teacher by: Janice Y.K. Lee

The Piano Teacher is about a young woman from England who marries and moves to Hong Kong with her husband because of his job. She finds work as a piano teacher to a girl named Locket Chen, who parents have a fairly good standing in their society. As Claire continues to teach this young girl, she meets and soon begins an affair with their driver, Will Truesdale. Claire unwittingly finds herself stuck in the middle of Will's past, and as she continues the affair, she finds herself changing into a woman she never knew she could be.

I really enjoyed The Piano Teacher, it was an easy read. The alternate time periods (one was 1942 and one was 1952) and the changing of the character points of view really worked for this story, I liked going into the Will and Trudy storyline, and then the storyline with Claire and Will. Out of the three main characters, I really connected with Trudy, even though we never saw her own point of view. I really enjoyed her character. Will was an enjoyable character to read, also. Claire was the only character I had a hard time connecting with and liking.

It was well written, albeit a little slow in some places. The descriptions were good, and the emotion of the story really showed (especially during Will's point of view).

Overall, I'd give it a 8/10

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Japanese Literature Challenge Three

I'm a huge fan of Japanese Literature, so when I found this challenge, I knew I had to join (: It's hosted by Dolce Bellezza which you can find here. It started on the 30th of July and it's set to end on the 30th of January, 2010.

My list (for now) is:

  • Loop by: Koji Suzuki

  • Spiral by: Koji Suzuki

  • Birthday by: Koji Suzuki

  • Dark Water by: Koji Suzuki

  • Real World by: Natsuo Kirino

  • Grotesque by: Natsuo Kirino

  • The Housekeeper And The Professor by: Yoko Ogawa

  • Diving Pool: Three Novellas by: Yoko Ogawa

I might add more as the months go by, but right now, here's the list I have!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ring by: Koji Suzuki

Ring by: Koji Suzuki was a really great read. Some might think it was pretty slow paced, but I liked it, I thought the pacing of the novel was moderate, very good. I loved how he took his time unraveling the secrets and such, instead of hurrying and blasting the reader with all the information in the last three chapters. I liked the characters, especially the friend of Asakawa. He made me laugh XD I loved the spin he put on the dead girl, Sadako. In all, it was a really satisfying book, and I cannot wait to read the sequels (:


Lullaby by: Chuck Palahniuck

Lullaby by: Chuck Palahniuck was so easy to get through. It was entertaining, well written, and definitely had that flair in the style that’s distinctly Chuck.

It’s about a middle-aged man named Carl Streator who is reporting on this sudden string of infant deaths due to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). While reporting, he finds that at every home, there’s a book of poetry turned to page 27; what he learns to be a culling song. This song has the ability to kill anyone who hears it that it’s directed to. He ends up teaming with a woman who sells haunted houses, her Wiccan assistant (Mona), and the assistant’s hippie boyfriend (Oyster) to try and get all the copies of the culling song so it won’t damage anymore lives than it already has.

The book is full of twists, the supernatural aspect makes it even more entertaining, and every character had their own distinct personality. Great book. Definitely worth reading and buying.


Inheritance by: Natalie Danford

Inheritance by: Natalie Danford is about a young woman who finds the deed to a house in Italy after her father dies of Alzheimers. Luigi was an immigrant who’d moved to America in the 1940’s, who never talked about his homeland or how he’d lived while he was there. In hopes of finding more out about her father, she learns his darkest secret, that possibly changes her view of him forever.

Inheritance had the workings to be a great novel, but fell a few pennies short. For one, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. At the end of the novel, I found myself attached to Luigi the most, but not enough to really care about him. I think it was all a bit rushed, and the author should’ve taken her time and gave it some more length and depth.

Overall, 5/10

My Guantanamo Diary by: Mahvish Khan

My Guantanamo Diary by: Mahvish Khan was one of the best memoirs I’ve read so far this year. It was real, heartfelt, and very well written. After reading, I really couldn’t believe what my government, the government that preaches about justice and freedom, could do the things they do to these people!

For those who don’t know, the book is about a young woman who is studying to be a lawyer who walked into Guantanamo of her own free will to try and help some of the people inside that she presumed to be innocent. She knew that some were guilty, but believes in the right to a fair trial, which she tries her hardest to help these people get. She works as a translator for the government, and throughout the stories, she learns how some of the prisoners wound up at Guantanamo and what their lives were like beforehand. At the end of the novel, she wraps it up by giving recent updates of the prisoners.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It’s worth buying and re-reading, solely because it reveals to us that our government can lie to us, and that we’re not the perfect country. And along the way, some of the stories will just break your heart.


The Haunting Of Hill House by: Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by: Shirley Jackson was a good, somber story about four people who arrive at Hill House to compile evidence of paranormal activity for Dr. Montogue. There is Luke, who is there because he’s going to inherit the house and the family members want him present while the others are there. There’s Theodora, who seems to be a playful, easy-spirited woman. And then there’s Eleanor, who is just trying to find a place to belong.

This book doesn’t rely on gore or actual spirits to scare us. The house and the atmosphere is written so well, so clearly, the reader can practically feel the coldness seep into their skin. It sends chills down your spine, because it’s as if you’re there, you’re completely immerged in this house, wondering who is knocking in the middle of the night.

The scariest things, are the things you can’t see, and that’s exactly what Jackson demonstrates in this novel. I didn’t much like the characters, their constant mood swings just made them annoying. But, overall, I’d give the book a 7/10.

Fight Club by: Chuck Palahniuck

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.”

Fight Club by: Chuck Palahniuck is can easily be defined as a cult classic. People all around the world fell head over heels for Tyler Durden, and some actually searched for fight clubs, sure that they existed and that Chuck has based the book off of a real life fight club.

Fight Club starts with insomnia. A while, middle-twenties man can’t sleep, so he goes to support groups because he finds he can only relax when he’s there. In the arms of Big Bob, he lets himself go. He’s finally able to rest. (Until he meets the faker Marla Singer)

While on a beach, he meets Tyler Durden. And from then on, his life takes a pretty drastic turn. They form Fight Club, and shortly after Project Mayhem comes. In the end, the main character has to take a serious look at himself and his life.

The book, for me, was an easy, enjoyable read. I loved it. I first watched the movie (which was amazing) and just knew I had to read the book. I finished it in probably two days. It’s barely two hundred pages, and each page just leaves the reader wanting more.

My rating? 9/10

Mansfield Park by: Jane Austen

Mansfield Park is about a girl named Fanny Price, who goes to live with her Uncle and his family when she’s around ten years old. The only person truly nice to her from the start is her cousin Edmund. As time passes, she falls in love with him. The novel begins when two Londoner siblings, Henry and Mary Crawford. Their appearance at Mansfield Park completely changes things for the family, causing drama to ensue and feelings to grow, diminish, change, all of that.
The story is just about this family and how they interact with these two people, how they behave and live as time passes.

Jane Austen is by far one of my favorite authors. So, when I picked up Mansfield Park, I already held it on a high pedistal in my mind, sure it would be fabulous. And don’t get me wrong, I liked it. It was an overall good book. But, I felt that the plot wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been, I didn’t really feel for any of the characters like I did for Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot. I did, however, love the little bits of sarcasm that were true Jane Austen and how everything tied up in the end. Overall, I’d give it a 7/10.

The Reach by: Nate Kenyon

The Reach by: Nate Kenyon is a thriller about a woman who is asked by a psychology professor of hers to overlook on a young patient who has been in an asylum since she was infant.
At first, the main character (Jess) is abhorred by the conditions Sarah is in; left in solitary, drugged so much she can’t even talk, and wrapped in a straitjacket. As she keeps seeing Sarah, she forms a bond with her and learns of a paranormal talent that has resulted in her being locked up in the first place (she can set things on fire).

After growing closer to the girl, Jess begins to try everything she can to set Sarah free…
That’s the very main plot of the story, the basis of the novel. While the plot is strong, and the flow of all details is good, there was just something missing. It wasn’t a bad novel, but it wasn’t an outstanding novel either. Kenyon can certainly write, and I rather liked the character of Sarah, but I just wanted…more.

I’m certain that with time, Kenyon will become a great thriller writer.

I’d give it a 8.5/10