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review 2017-01-12 14:19
And I Darken
And I Darken - Kiersten White

(This review is also on my personal blog Atta's Bibliophilia.)

 

 I expected something a little more different but And I Darken is everything I could have ever wanted in a book even though there is no magic! I can't believe what an amazing book Kiersten White has written and I expect for the whole trilogy to ruin me emotionally and I will enjoy every second of my misery. This is the effect And I Darken had on me.
  
 Kiersten White writes in a beautiful and captivating way and I was immediately caught up in it. Her style is really good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I couldn't be more satisfied with it than I already am.

  And I Darken is like nothing I've read before! It's something completely new to me, I didn't expect to like it so much! It's a historical fiction about the female version of Vlad The Impaler a.k.a. Vlad Dracul- Lada Dragwlya later Lada Dracul. The book appeals even more to me because the story takes part in the time of the Ottoman Empire and there are mentioned Bulgarians and even Varna- my city! I totally loved everything about it and I will just comment the characters as usual.

  Lada is a strong, ruthless heroine who I loved from the second she was born, literally. She is one of the strongest characters I've ever read about and she earned my respect when she was very young and then she kept proving that I respect her for a reason. She is frighteningly aware of the things that make her weak and easily manipulated and she does everything in her power to eliminate them even if it costs her her heart and happiness. Despite being distant to her brother and to their shared friend- Mehmed, she cares very much about them and protects them with everything she has. She is loyal and a very good friend and I couldn't like her more!

  Radu is weird. He is Lada's far more gentle brother who is beautiful and more intelligent and clever than people realise. He is impressive but not as much as his sister and his role in the empire gets bigger and bigger with every chapter of the book. He is not strong, not by my standards anyway but he is a cutie that I couldn't help but like. In the beginning of And I Darken he cries a lot but their story begins with them being born so it is understandable. He grows in the shadow of his sister and therefore learns how to use this to his advantage. Radu is amazing in his own way and I enjoyed his chapters almost as much as Lada's.

  Throughout the book the development of the Draculesti siblings is obvious and there is a big change in them. I expected Lada and Radu to work a little more together but the way things turned out to be are even better. They work very hard to protect Mehmed and Lada is maybe the best bodyguard someone will ever have. I also enjoyed pretty much the way their relationship with Mehmed was described and developed. I saw the feelings coming of course but I still loved it very much!

Nicolae is Lada's sidekick who is a very good and loyal friend to her. I was immediately impressed with him when he was first introduced to us. He is Wallachian and that's why Lada befriended him at first. He is one of the characters that I liked the best.

I love everything about And I Darken and I am even more fussy about Now I Rise! The first book is so amazing and overwhelming that I just cannot wait for the next one!
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review 2016-11-11 04:05
Bud Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

This novel follows an orphan boy by the name of Bud, Not Buddy. He carries around a suitcase that is very special to him that contains a collection of his mother's things. One of the most special things in that suitcase is a flyer of a jazz band with the main guy on the front- Bud thinks that guy is his father. After a terrible foster home experience Bud takes off to find the man he thinks is his father. This novel is intended for 5th or 6th graders. The historical context and some language fits this age group's maturity. An activity I could do with this book would be to have the students do a "show and tell" type activity for them to bring one thing they would take in their suitcase if they had to leave their home. This would make students think what is really important to them, along with realizing what is important to their peers. 

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review 2016-11-10 14:54
Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

I must use this book if I teach in the older grades. It's a 5.0 reading level. It is a historical fiction work with great insight into the time of the Great Depression and the Jazz Age. We could do it along with a study of that time period.  It is sad, but the sad parts are often tinted with humor. It is a great work that is classic and worth doing in the classroom. For an activity, we could have 30's day party and dress like someone from that era. We could play Jazz music and have a special snack. Possibly there could be some kind of project to go along with it, where the students pick something to research about that time period and we could present during on 30's day.  Great possibilities.

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review 2015-07-14 20:01
Seven for a Secret
Seven for a Secret - Lyndsay Faye

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret,

Never to be told.

 

 

Seven for a Secret is the second book in the Timothy Wilde Series by Lyndsay Faye.  Six months has passed since the events of Gods of Gotham.  It followed the same pattern as the first book in the series: same point of view, another horrific crime, and a bunch of sass from Valentine.  The characters were consistent into this book as well.  I still hate Silkie Marsh with the fire of a thousand burning suns. The brothers seemed to have mended some fences since last we saw them.  In fact one of my favorite bits about this book was the relationship between Timothy and Valentine.  Their snipping and sarcasm toward one another was enjoyable, but it was easy to see the two cared for each other.  And, Mercy Underhill wasn't present during this story, which to be fair is a personal preference.  She is a well written character, like all of Faye's characters, I just find her whiny and annoying.

 

However, there is a reason for not being able to give this book a whole 4 stars.  The closer I got to the ending, the more I realized I was pulling away from reading.  It wasn't just because this story was coming to a close and I wasn't ready, there is in fact another book.  I sort of felt like the story started to drag along.  Like Timothy hadn't learned anything from his first case and was making all the same mistakes all over again.  Which was fine when he was a brand new Copper Star, but it's been six months.  Maybe I'm being a bit judgmental about it.

 

Then we get to the climax of the story.  Timothy has figured it out and he's running against the clock to stop it.  Only when he gets there it's all over, the thing has happened and he's left with the aftermath.  Why?  Because of reasons due to political things that I still don't really understand.  They blame him of harassing someone, but I feel like I missed the chapter where he actually harassed this character.  The upside to the political upset, we get to Valentine in all of his Dead Rabbit glory.  Which was awesome!  I still would have liked a bit more during the climax of the story, though.  To be fair to the author this issue might be more my personal preference.

 

As for the every end of the book, I was reeled back in.  Just like in the first book, Timothy manages to get one over on everyone who deserves it: the party, Silkie, and even on Mercy.  I do adore Timothy Wilde as a main character and was glad he stopped pining and found a lady friend.  He deserves a bit of happy.

 

Seven for a Secret was beautifully written of course.  Lyndsay Faye did a huge amount of research into the time period and it shows throughout the book.  It was hard to not see the streets that the characters were roaming, to feel the atmosphere around them as they tried to solve the crime.  She has a way of making characters tug your heartstrings until you fall in love with them, or writes them in such a way you cannot wait until they die.  Both books have made me very glad not have lived back then for some petty reasons, like plumbing and heating.  Among bigger issues that sadly still seem to be an issue today.

 

In the end I did like the second book in the Timothy Wilde series, but I don't think I'm going to jump into Fatal Flame, the third book.  For two reasons, it is the last book in the series and I just didn't enjoy this one as much as Gods of Gotham.  So I'm little apprehensive to jump in again.  I do recommend this series for anyone looking for a fun Historical Fiction book, or for anyone who enjoyed Gangs of New York.

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2015-06-22 21:31
Hideous Love Review
Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein - Stephanie Hemphill,Michelle Ford

This was a book that I was in fact very excited for and was on the top of my to read pile for a reason.  Frankenstein is one of my favorite books.  In fact that and Dracula are the reason I have love for the monster books, gothic style genre, and Frankenstein was the first book to truly creep me out.  However I know very little about Mary Shelley outside of the general facts that get thrown out in my English and Literature classes.  So I was all over any book about her life, fiction or nonfiction.

 

Hideous Love is a small book and because of that I thought it would be a great place to start.  Sadly, in the end that wasn't how felt.  It's suppose to written in Mary Shelley's point of view, but I never really felt like connected with her or even honestly got to know her.  A reason for this is how much the timeline jumps from chapter to chapter.  You never really find out the why behind certain things.  Just that they happened, that this was they way things were between Mary and other people.  I just wanted more than this book was giving me.  Even written in verse I felt like we could have gotten more information, more feeling.

 

About half through the book the tone of the book starts to change.  Some of that is do to tragedies in Mary Shelley's life, but most of it is the change in her relationship with her sister.  The verse starts to be nothing but the fear that Mary will lose Percy Shelly to her sister and how she cannot stand the site of the women.  It felt like a lot of whining to me that was different from the first half of the book.  Like Mary Shelley stopped being the women from the first half of the book, but we never get a reason why.  Was it the tragedies?  Did her sister do something? Did Percy?  

 

Then there was the ending.  We get to the biggest tragedy of Mary Shelley's life, the loss of her husband, and the book just ends.  Nothing on how Mary Shelley coped with losing the love of her life.  The man she risked everything for.  Percy Shelley was dead and the book was over, but Mary Shelley lived much longer.  She did so much more.

 

What this book did give me was a need to now know more about Mary Shelley's life.  About her love affair with Percy, the cruelty of her step-mother, and her journey to write one of the most talked about books.  Sadly this book gave me none of that.

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