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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Les Miserables


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Wow! Where to start? Jean Valjean is imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. This story takes his life during this time and follows him through his life. He gets out of prison and breaks into a priest's house. The priest has mercy on him and gives him the items, asking him only to change his life in return. This he does. Valjean starts anew and builds a good life for himself. He becomes a good person. He meets a lady named Fantine. She tells him of her daughter who is living with an innkeeper family. She begs him to take care of her daughter, and then she passes away. Valjean goes and finds her. Her name is Cosette, and she is being abused by her supposed caretakers. Valjean takes her and they leave together.  Valjean becomes her father. They move often, keep to themselves, and take care of each other. She meets Marius, who ends up fighting in the war. Valjean fights also. All this time Cosette does not know her true identity. She and Marius end up getting married, and that is when Valjean tells her about her mother and his promise to her. Okay, so my summary could go on and on and I definitely did not do it justice.

This book (non-abridged) is absolutely amazing!!! It is 1,463 pages long, so it is a very long read, but it is worth it! I love the detail, the history, and the story. I love the characters. I love....everything about this book!!! Okay, so can you tell this is my absolute favorite book??? I have read it at least twice, maybe three times (I can't remember), and each time it just gets better. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! There you go, in case you were wondering what my favorite book is, this is it!! I would recommend it for everyone maybe 16 and up (There are prostitutes, and it is a war-time book). It's worth the time put into it! If you're not into such long books, there is an abridged version available and I've heard it's good.

Rated: PG-13 (Prostitution and war-time themes)

Recommendation: High School and Up

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Lucky One


The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

(Summary taken from the book) "When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck, winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph--his lucky charm. Back home in Colorado, Thibault can't seem to get the photo--and the woman in it--out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina--Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son--to be the girl he's been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart--destroying not only their love, but also their lives."

The first few pages of this book definitely turned me off. I didn't know if I wanted to continue reading it or see if it got better. The first few pages describe a creepy sherriff who takes pictures of girls skinny-dipping and is all-over a nasty guy. I kept going, and I'm glad I did. Whenever the sherriff is in the scene, you can count on his nastiness, but that is not the whole story. He is in the story, but isn't THE story. So, rest assured, you will get more of him, but not as much as you at first think. After that first scene, I'm glad I kept reading. The story took me a minute to get into, but then kept me reading. I read the whole book in one day. There is a love scene, and talk of it after that, but it doesn't go into any amount of detail. There are a few profane words, but the worst of it is the sherriff. This story is mysterious and intriguing. You wonder what else has happened to Thibault to make him who he is, and you wonder if he and Elizabeth will make it work. You wonder why he is slow to tell details of his life, but after you learn them you understand why. Especially at the end it is a page turner. I would recommend this book as long as you are okay with the warnings I have given.

Rated: PG-13 (For the creepy and yucky sherriff, the few profane words, and the "making love" scene.)

Recommendation: 18 and up

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brisingr (Book #3)


Brisingr (Book #3) by Christopher Paolini
   This book continues Eragon and Saphira's adventures in saving the people from the evil King Galbatorix. Eragon and Saphira fight Murtagh and Thorn, they are reunited with Roran, and they continue their training with Oromis and Glaedr. The dwarves throne a new king and Eragon is attacked while away from Saphira. Eragon and Saphira continue to improve their skills, and Roran has his own adventures.
   This book is a very good continuation of the first two and is a page-turner for sure. I like the twists it takes, and I like where it takes the story in general. It is good, but it is very violent and graphic. This book is not for those who do not want detailed explanations of war-time happenings. There are some sad moments, but also some joyous occasions. I thought this was the last book, but apparently there is one more coming, so that is exciting! In this book you learn a lot about Eragon, his history, his parentage, and also the history of a few other characters. I liked learning that a lot, it brings things together well. I recommend this book if you have enjoyed the first two. I would recommend it for ages 15 and up. It really does have some violent and graphic moments, but they go along with the war-time atmosphere.

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war-time graphic scenes)

Recommendation: 14 and up

Eldest (Book #2)


Eldest (Book #2) by Christopher Paolini
   (Summary taken from the back of the book) "Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn't sure whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall--one that puts Eragon in even graver danger."
   This book is just as good as the first one. It is a page-turner for sure! I like how the story continues and how it brings Roran back into the stoy. I like the surprise of who is to teach Eragon. There are many twists and surprises that make you keep reading. Once again, there is little or no profanity, but there is a war going on so there are some graphic scenes. If you liked the first one, you'll like the second one! I recommend this book, once again, for ages 14-15 and up.

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war scenes)

Recommendation: 14 and Up

Eragon (Book #1)


Eragon (Book #1) by Christopher Paolini

   (Summary taken from the back of the book) "When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds."
   I really enjoyed this book. It is technically a young adult book, so it is a fast read and there is little or no profanity. It is a little violent, seeing how there is a war going on. There are some graphic scenes, but it is a great story. Christopher Paolini has done a very good job. It is well written, it flows well, and I would definitely recommend it. It is a little reminisent of Lord of the Rings. Some of the names and words are very similar to those in LotR, but the story is completely different. I would recommend it for ages 14-15 and up. Any younger and the violence may be too much.

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and war scenes)

Recommendation: 14 and Up