What is your favorite genre to read?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Secret Garden


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This book is about three children who find friendship, life, and healing in a secret garden. Mary was orphaned in India and sent to Yorkshire to live with her uncle. Colin lost his mother shortly after he was born and has been sickly and afraid most of his life. His father rarely sees him. Dicken is the brother of one of the caretakers and he is a source of strength and inspiration to the other two. Both Mary and Colin are spoiled and ill-tempered. Neither cares for anyone. Until they find each other and Dicken and bring to life the secret garden.

I LOVED this book as a child, and I needed something happy to read after reading The Mockingjay. I hoped that I wouldn't be disappointed because sometimes things aren't quite so wonderful when you are older, but this book did not disappoint. It was just as magical as I remembered it. I loved it again! And it was amazing how much I remembered. I love the character development in this book, I adore Dicken and Martha, and I love the story. It is an easy read, but so good. It teaches the importance of friendship, positive attitude, and humility. It also teaches the importance of finding yourself in nature and how taking care of something other than yourself can help you find yourself. It teaches about never giving up and finding courage and confidence in yourself. I love this book!

Rating: G This book is great for all ages! There is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Recommendation: As far as independent reading, I think it's about a third grade level. It does help to know a little about the moors and Yorkshire language, a younger child might be confused by that. I recommend it for all ages!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Mockingjay



The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) "Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feeling of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost."

Wow. What else to say?? This book is very intense and doesn't end the feelings of depression and sadness that permeate the first two books. I know....I also really hoped it could be happy. Unfortunately for us Ms. Collins didn't follow that same philosophy. I finished it about 24 hours ago and I am still not sure how I feel about it and especially how I feel about the ending. I kept thinking, "There's no way she'll be able to finish this in 100 pages (and then 50, and then 35, and then 15, and then 4, etc.)." I don't know....it's very gory and violent, angry and intense. It follows Katniss and the other main characters to a war with the Capitol. She still can't decide between Peeta and Gale, and it drives me crazy (kind of like Bella in Twilight). There is an ending to that, but I don't know how I feel about it. I think it is well written and there are some twists, but....if this were a movie I WOULD NOT watch it. There is no way they could make it less than Rated R. So....there you go. Did I help at all?? There are definitely mixed emotions with this book. If you have read the first two then I would recommend it, but with a warning that it is much more violent and angry than the first two (is that possible?). As far as analysis, like the first one mimicking the reality tv craze, it does kind of go into a kind of socialism, with everyone getting the same food, living conditions, clothes, etc. Did I like it? That's what I don't know yet...yes and no. Was I happy with the ending? Ummmm, I don't know. I may need to do an update in a week or so as I ponder my feelings about it. Does this make you want to read it? Haha, sorry.....now you know what you have to look forward to if you read it!

***Addendum: Okay, it has been awhile and I've thought a lot about it. Yes, I hated it. It was terrible and I heard someone say that it wasn't true to Katniss, and I agree. I do wish I had not read it, and I don't say that very often. My recommendation now: if you liked the series and want to read it--read it with caution and listen to the warnings. Don't be afraid to just stop mid-book if it starts to disturb you. If you don't think it sounds like you will like it--don't read it. Stop reading at number 2 and keep on hoping that something happy and good will come of Katniss and her world.

Rating: R (This doesn't necessarily follow the movie ratings) It is very violent and it is a war. There are many deaths, and very gruesome ones at that. Think of the Hunger Games with a whole country involved.....

Recommendation: College and up. Geez, I don't even think high school. It really is hard to read. This is NOT a young adult book.