by Robin McKinley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This isn’t going to be a top pick for me this year. I was immediately bored with the story — at the start, there was nothing to draw me in. No captivating text, no interesting event… nothing! It didn’t begin to catch my interest until closer to half-way through when she eventually goes to visit her friend’s home. And it continued to bore me after she returned again. This book seems to be more of a set-up to a sequel — and you know how tedious that can get. I’ll probably try and read the next one, because the ending is left rather open-ended; and I would like to see the problem resolved.
I guess the most frustrating thing in the book is that there are so many ill-timed flashbacks. If these parts are so important to the story, they really should have been included at the start of the book… when she was still 12. Not later when she was remembering being 12.
It does have nice characters, and a nice setting — and is a fairly easy read. But, I’ve read better YA fantasy than this — and am looking forward to reading better fantasy next time. I’m sure that people who like this author will continue to like this novel, but I (who’ve not read this author before) found it a bit disappointing.
by Frederick Kohner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My sister and I love the movie… you know the real corny 1959 film starring Sandra Dee & James Darren. [p.s. who doesn’t love a little James Darren? Cute & has a delicious voice!] I think it’s great because it’s so corny. I decided that it was time to finally read the novel that the movie was “loosely” based on. The story was charming and simple and so much fun to read. Plus it was ridiculously short, it only took me about an hour to finish.
All of the characters were so different from the film that it was such a surprise. I love it when books or films deliver a new perspective or plot from each other. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy the story on a much broader scale. Fun!
Keturah and Lord Death
by Martine Leavitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I listened to this on audiobook (I can’t comment on the reading experience). But, as an audiobook was a brilliant story about a girl who encounters death and is given a chance to find her “one true love”; before he returns to claim her. I loved the psychological thickness of this story — and the gratifying ending. An unconventional and abstract plot created a satisfying story without disappointing loose ends.
by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Last year I began reading Charlotte Bronte`s work with her novel, “The Professor“ and enjoyed it so much I decided that I’m going to try and read the rest of her novels year.
I actually picked up Jane Eyre thinking I was going to be reading the story Persuasion by Jane Austen. I didn’t realize until almost a 1/4 of the way through that I was reading Jane Eyre. It was pretty funny because the entire beginning of the book, I was thinking about how great it was, and how disappointed I was that it wasn’t in the movie (which I had watched recently). Now I know why…
I’m such an idiot!
Anyways, there isn’t a lot to say about this book that hasn’t been said before. What I liked best about this novel (apart from the witty dialogue, the passionate romance, and the intrigue) was how perfectly Charlotte Bronte was at capturing a personality; adapting it to both the child and later to the adult Jane Eyre. Often, I feel, the author seems to use the childhood or back story as a means to progress the story; but here it is simply used to capture the essence of a person. It’s sublime!
It has easily become one of my favourite novels — and I’m sure to be reading it again… and again…and again… Plus there’s a fairly extensive list of bibliographical resources that are mentioned in the novel — I hope to read a bunch of those as well.
Leo the African
by Amin Maalouf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was assigned this as reading for a university class… and truthfully of all the books, I was dreading this the most. But so far, of all the books, it’s the one I’ve enjoyed the most. It was a brilliantly written story based on the true-life adventures of Hasan Al-Wazzan. It seems even more remarkable coming off the previous assigned reading which I was looking forward to the most but may be one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Anyways, I liked this book so much that when I’m finished with my degree and am back to “reading for pleasure” I will definitely be picking this up again.
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Maybe it’s because I had to read this in a hurry (for an exam this week) but what can I say — it was tedious. It has always been on my “to read” shelf, and I’m glad to have read it (I’ve always been curious about the windmill scene) but book 1… *yawn* I literally fell asleep half-way into it. I do NOT fall asleep when I read! And personally I DO NOT have time to take naps before my exam! “Cervantes!!!” *shakes fist*
I just couldn’t get into the language, the episodic plot, and the ridiculous protagonist. There’s something about when characters don’t listen to “reason” that really gets under my skin, and I stop paying attention. I ended up skimming through the rest of the the first book (and found a summary online). I hope that’ll be enough to pass my exam. *crosses fingers*
I will admit though, that there were a few moments [in book 1] that made me chuckle. Particularly situations surrounding Sancho (Don Quixote’s squire). The best was when Don Quixote seeing a number of travelers including 2 cloaked friars, believing them to be kidnapping a Damsel in distress, intends to save her. Sancho says to himself, “this is going to be worse than the windmills”. Classic.
The second book was a significant improvement from the silliness of the first (or, maybe because I was well-rested when I read it): actual plot, intelligent conversation, and character development. I may try giving this another chance when I don’t have to read it in such a hurry. It may help to get through the first book knowing that the second book will hold my interest better.