What the Giver Gave Me

I’m aware that I’m pretty late to the party, but I just read The Giver. Amaaazing book! Sounds crazy, but it’s been following me all my life. I remember first running into it in elementary school. That particular edition had an orange cover, and I was always curious about the old man with the long beard that stared back at me. It was only now, decades later, that I picked it up, and it moved me in a way no book ever has. It’s a weird thing to know your own religious convictions, then see them illustrated in a book written by another human being. In another post, I had written about balance: how good people suffer because without evil there can be no good, and vice versa. In The Giver, we see what happens when people are all the same. No one knows good or evil because they have no memories, no lives of variance to base those concepts on. One character commits an unspeakable act (that made me sick since I just had a baby….I won’t tell you the details just in case you haven’t read it), but doesn’t even realize it is one since he only knows the way his people live now, and what rules they have to abide by. In their world, all they have are rules: no love, no hate, no emotion of any kind. But emotions themselves are made up of reference points: what’s good, what’s bad. Take away those reference points and you have a compass spinning wildly on its own axis with catastrophic results.

Pick it up. It might change your life.

The Mystery Review

I’m going to do something a little different for this review. Ready for this? I’m not going to tell you what book it is. There are several reasons. One is that I’m sure the woman who wrote it is very nice. Another is that I firmly believe that just because I don’t like a book doesn’t make it a bad book. In fact, there are millions of people who love her work, so many that she’s been able to publish a number of novels in the realm of Stephen King.

But I didn’t like it. In fact, I described it at one point as word oatmeal: goes down easy, but boring as hell.

I’m going to focus on another avenue for this review though. I’m going to focus on the fact that she breaks almost every writing rule I’ve ever been taught, yet she is wildly successful; which makes me think, if you can succeed without the rules, are there really any rules at all?

Show Don’t Tell- I don’t know the physical description of any character in this book. I don’t know what the town looks like. I don’t know what the characters’ homes look like. All I know is background information that the third person narrator told me. The world wasn’t alive to me, nor were the people, because I had to hear it all second hand. My brain didn’t even have a chance to make my own picture, make my own story, because everything I got sounded like a report, as if someone had read the book for me and was telling me what it said. Not exactly the greatest reading experience.

Make The Reader Care- Maybe I’m a big jerk. Could be. But I didn’t care about the characters. At all. Maybe that’s because there were about twelve of them. Seriously. And all of them had their own stories spread out in tiny chapters all across three-hundred-seventy-something pages. I forgot who people were and had to go back, that’s how spread out they were, which left me having more emotional involvement with the snack I was eating than the characters.

Don’t Leave Things Unresolved- Even though I was bored for 400 pages, I did want to see how each person’s story played out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. In fact, some of them found a dead body about ten pages before the book ended. I was thinking “Ooh now we’re talkin’!” then I realized there was no more book. I am afraid I won’t be reading the next one, so I guess I’ll never know who they found. But unfortunately, she made me not care.

What about you, dear readers, have you read a book that broke all the rules?

 

 

Review of Dreamer by Amy Reece, Book 2 in the Seeker Series. 5-Stars!

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Reece has done it again. Her voice is superb and I’m very excited to see where this story goes in the next book. My one critique would be that there was one random section from Jack’s point of view instead of Ally’s that I didn’t think was needed. But that’s just my own opinion and doesn’t affect how I see the book. In this part of the story we find Ally getting mysterious dreams about a dead girl. These dreams turn out to be a new depth to her powers that she was not aware of. She also must deal with a breakup that she didn’t see coming. Nothing like dealing with the garbage that goes along with being a teenager on top of everything else. I also very much commend the author for her treatment of sex in the novel. Ally and Jack do love each other but are unwilling to compromise their values by having sex before Ally is 18. I think that is a FANTASTIC message to young readers who may think, with the way media portrays teen sex, that everyone is doing it and that it’s something people just do because it’s “the thing.” That’s not necessarily true and I think it’s great to see a series of young adult novels talk about teenagers making a different choice. There ARE other options. Well done to Ms. Reece and I can’t want to read the next one!

Purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-The-Seeker-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00YG43NFA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Review of Seeker by Amy Reece- 5 Stars!

Reece is a master of voice, something that I cannot praise enough. Ally our heroine is as real as it gets, making us want to shake her insecurities out of her one minute and high-five her the next. Every bit of her makes her believable, and as a reader you can’t help but root for her. A victim of a gift that she’s not sure she wants, she discovers that she has the ability to get psychic visions, and those visions have a way of wriggling into her life at the most inopportune times. I just picked up the second one in the series and am excited to see where Ally goes from here.Seeker-461x732

To purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Seeker-The-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00W8UEL5K/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book Review: Empath by S. Usher Evans- 4 Stars

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I picked up this book because I am a fan of the author’s other writing. I usually am not excited by dragons and such but I trusted this author to wow me again.

And I was right.

I could talk about the fabulousness of the writing, the wit of the main character, and the well-fleshed-out minor characters, but this book has such deep and important element to it that I am going to focus on it instead. This book reminded me of the amazing book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a book that will stick with me forever. It is one of the highest compliments I can give, trust me on that. Both authors took the horrors and realities of depression and gave them a face and a name. I thought it was smart that she took a problem that, unless you happen to meet the love of your life when you’re eight or something, everyone faces at some point: a breakup. The main character is afraid to tell anyone that she is not, in fact, doing ok after realizing the person she had devoted 5 years of her life to is not the one she is going to eventually call “husband.” She is afraid to give voice to the fact that her heart is broken and, at least until the end of the book, she doesn’t think it will ever be whole again. I wish I could remember something that a secondary character said verbatim, but I’ll paraphrase. Lauren basically said that she didn’t think her problems mattered/were important in the light of other things going on/etc, to which the secondary character replied “but they are important to you, so they are important to me.” There may be bigger problems in the world as a whole, but it’s important to remember that doesn’t make the problem any less devastating for the person going through it. So in the spirit of this amazing book, ask your friends how their doing…and then ask again. They might not tell you the first time. But eventually, knowing you are there when it counts can make all the difference in the world.

Review: Bloodline by Tara Ellis- 4 Stars

This book was a suspenseful take on alien takeover (actually it’s referred to as “evil” but as a reader I assumed the evil came from another planet given that it was released by a meteor shower. I could be wrong but that’s what I thought) with an Egyptian twist.

After almost everyone in Alex’s town changes into a non-feeling shell of a human being after a meteor shower, she must decipher her dad’s cryptic beyond-the-grave messages before the whole planet becomes infected. With the help of her friend Chris, her brother Jacob, and their dog Baxter, it’s a race against the clock to save everyone she loves.

Though there were a few spots that I thought could have used a little less backstory, the plot was super interesting and kept my attention till the very end, which is hard to do. I also enjoyed that unlike a lot of young adult novels, Alex had a good relationship with her mother (at least until she turned). I would like to think the vast majority of teenagers have pretty good relationships with their parents, yet most of the ones in young adult novels seem to be either dripping with hostility, the parents are idiots, or the parents are out of the picture completely. It was a nice change to see Alex and her mother on the same page. I’m excited to see where the next book takes her!

Get it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Bloodline-Forgotten-Origins-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00ILPL7K8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435345981&sr=8-1&keywords=bloodline+tara+ellis