Friday, October 3, 2014

Attention Everyone

For personal reasons:

I just wanted to let you know that my blog has been moved, if you would like to continue following me please email me at and I'll give you the address of my new blog this is for privacy reasons and has nothing to do with blogger I'd love for each of you to continue reading with me at my new address so feel free to email if you get the chance =) Happy reading! Cheers!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The King's Curse

By: Philippa Gregory

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary:Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.

Review: The King's Curse a novel by historical fiction writer Philippa Gregory takes you into the world of Margaret Pole who is the cousin of Elizabeth of York who was forced to marry the Father of Henry the 8th the infamous King of England who had the bad habit of divorcing his wives or chopping off their heads.  Margaret has the misfortune of being the member of a family who is an old ruling class in England and who has been part of an war to see who will become the ruling family; while watching her brothers; uncles; and loved ones get murdered around her she has done her best her entire life to stay in the background and protect those she loves most from the axe and from the kings roving mood swings and temper.

As she protects her beloved princess, children, sons, husband and family in general she learns what family loyalty really means, this book gives the leader a new and isightful perspective to tudor England and into Henry the 8th's cruel psyche and how sometimes even when you do your best in the end it is not always enough.  The main character was an amazing caregiver, wife, and Mother, and the end results were honestly heartbreaking.  The characters, religious viewpoints, and plot lines in this book for me were amazing.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Please Follow =)

Hey this is Liz -

If you enjoy my reviews and read my blog I'd like to ask that you follow me; it can increase the number of books I get to make good recommendations for my readers =) I am considering moving my blog to a different site to get more traffic; if you'd like me to stay please follow so I know there is an interested audience.

(There will be more reviews per week from now on; please let me know if theres a certain book or genre you might be interested in hearing me review.  Have a great day!)


Though the Heavens Fall

Though the Heavens Fall by Mikhail P. Kulakov Sr.

<3 <3 <3 

Summary: "What's the matter?" he asked in a low voice. "Have I done something wrong?" 

She said nothing, but gazed intently at him, her eyes desperately trying to warn him. Go on your break, Mikhail Kulakov. Now! GET OUT OF HERE! Leave the building! 

But he didn't understand. Suspecting nothing, he walked straight into the TRAP. 

Faith--solid, unyielding faith--was all that young Mikhail Kulakov possessed. 

The Communist Soviet government had taken away his job, his family, and his freedom. His crime? Faithful service to God, or, in the words of the KGB, "anti-Soviet activities." 

He was imprisoned, interrogated, and then sentenced to five years in a corrective labor camp, where he endured bitter hardships designed to stifle the spirit and break the will. 

But even the prospect of eternal banishment to a remote village in western Siberia could not deter him from his steady reliance upon God's promises . . .

Review: Though the Heavens Fall takes you into the life of Mikhail Kulakov who was a Christian in Russia when religions were still being persecuted and their believers were being sent to prison camps.  The book focuses on the time period of the late 1940's through through the early 2000's; it chronicles the life of Mikhail and his family with short synopsis's on his grandparents, and parents and how they came to be involved in spreading the good news.  

Mikhail was subjected to many nights of hunger and mental torture in 'prison work camps' by the Communist leaders;  he was convicted of simply living his life as he believed God asked him too and spreading the gospel to those he came into contact with.  One aspect of this story that I really enjoyed was that their were excerpts from different family members talking about their  perspective on certain times and events in Mikhail's ministry and life.  It was refreshing to see alternate voices in a book that still seemed to harmonize together in their main goal which was spreading the gospel.

The book is a little less than 200 pages long; its a quick read and if you're a Christian who is looking for spiritual inspiration I would definitely recommend it.  While I personally would've liked more information on the storyline and a little less preaching throughout the book overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.


Friday, August 8, 2014

The Chalice

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies. . . .

Review: In the novel the Chalice, which is the second book in a series with leading character Joanna Stafford; the young novice who has been ripped out of her life as a young novice waiting to take vows and thrust once again into the world of England's politics in the late 1530's.  This novel was different from Bilyeau's first novel in the respect that the reader learns more about Joanna's past and what has led up to the terrifying prophecies she must now face and which will determine what path her life will follow.

I loved Joanna's spirit in this book she seemed to grow more as a character and as a person.  Sometimes the prophecies mentioned throughout the book would get a little muddled in my mind as  I read and I would've liked more explanation sooner but other than that it is a beautifully written book.  I read it in a few days because I did not want to put it down...I would recommend reading The Cross which is the book meant to be read before this one if you want to understand in detail what is happening.  But this book can easily stand on its own as a great novel.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Crown

by,  Nancy Bilyeau

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

While Joanna is in the Tower, the ruthless Bishop of Winchester forces her to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may possess the ability to end the Reformation.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must decide who she can trust so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.

Review: The Crown by author Nancy Bilyeau literally took my breath away as a piece of literary brilliance.  I am not huge on historical fiction books that also fit into the genre of thrillers and or mysteries; I usually prefer historical fiction novels that are more centered around the person and their life,  the period in which they lived,  with a little romance popped in.  With this book my forgone conclusion about what I prefer went out the window. 

The novel takes the reader into the world and times of King Henry the eighth and some of the events that lead to a young novice named Joanna and her struggle to fight for the preservation of her way of life as a young postulate nun living under the rules of enclosure; Joanna must do this under blackmail from a Bishop who uses her Father as leeway holding him hostage until Joanna finds an artifact that the bishop believes will change the course of actions that are ripping what he considers to be England's true faith into pieces. 

Every detail and conversation  between characters was written beautifully and made me feel as if I was there with this young nun;  The scenery was described beautifully and the characters development through out the book made me relate with the characters and literally made this book an addiction as I got deeper into each chapter.   I'd recommend this book highly to anyone who likes historical fiction; Especially Tudor Era genres. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Review: In her follow up to Divergent,  with Insurgent Roth once again takes readers into the faction controlled world of Tris and Tobias who are fighting just to stay alive and to prevent the leader of the faction in control of the pursuit of knowledge (Jeanine) from turning the citizens of their world into mindless drones who would lose free will and the right to exist as individuals.  This book when into very great detail about Tris' emotional struggle and depression that she had to deal with after losing her parents and having to shoot a close friend in the previous book.  This combined with the interpersonal conflicts between Tris and 'Four'; and Tris and Christina and other characters throughout this story made this a very engrossing read for me especially since I have two psychology related degrees.  

The details, and scenery were wonderfully described; in addition I literally felt myself being pulled into the story I finished the book in two sittings and can honestly say I enjoyed every minute.  It seemed to show struggles that many people face both in adolescence and through adulthood.  Tris is a character that many different age groups can relate to and in this book I was literally rooting her on through every page.  

The book contained many dilemmas that everyone has to face eventually dying, losing someone you love, mortality, learning how to solve interpersonal conflicts, and learning that when you truly love someone you are willing to put their needs above your own.  Insurgent is one of my new favorites; it shows that when humanity is faced with overwhelming odds we can pull ourselves back up and come back swinging; also it has a great surprise ending ;) But you need to read it to find out!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Review: I first saw Divergent in Half Price Books a few months ago and it peaked my interest; I just recently got the chance to see the movie with my significant other and that confirmed for me the need to read the series because for me when it comes down to whether a movie or the book that it was based on and which will be better the book will almost ALWAYS win.  

Divergent took me into the faction based society of Beatrice who lives in a world where at sixteen teenagers must choose one of five factions they will stay in for the rest of their lives; these factions are based on different aspects of the human character; and to choose which they should join the candidates are tested; given the results then the choice is ultimately left up to them.   Beatrice is followed through her initiation, into her chosen faction called Dauntless,  through the forming of new friendships, into learning what it is to form a life beyond her nuclear family, and most importantly Beatrice finds that she has a more complicated path to follow then most and the novel follows her path as she learns that the most important thing is not always what you are but who you are.  

I enjoyed the book because it delved into the complicated idea of what a society can turn into when humanity tries to take the best of itself and split it up into different pieces instead of using them together to work as a moving whole piece.  The characters and descriptive scenes described in the book were amazing to imagine for me as a reader; Roth has an amazing talent as a writer; it's inspiring for me to know she wrote this piece of literature so young and it's a book I can't recommend enough.  I am reading the second book in the series now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf 
By: Jodi Picoult

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision. Cara, once protected by her father, Luke, is tormented by a secret that nobody knows. Her brother, Edward, has secrets of his own. He has kept them hidden, but now they may come to light, and if they do, Cara will be devastated. Their mother, Georgie, was never able to compete with her ex-husband’s obsessions, and now, his fate hangs in the balance and in the hands of her children. With conflicting motivations and emotions, what will this family decide? And will they be able to live with that decision, after the truth has been revealed? What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?

Review: Lone Wolf tells the story of Luke and his family from their differing viewpoints.  It has five differing narrative character viewpoints that switch from one to the other at different points during the story.  The novel centers around an accident that Luke and his daughter Cara has after he picks her up from a friend's house because she is seventeen and has made the unwise choice to go to a teenage party and drink so cannot drive home on her own; on the way home a deer runs in front of their car and Luke is injured badly and sent into a coma where he is considered from then on to be brain dead by doctors and Cara also gets seriously injured.  

The storyline after this focuses on the ensuing battle of Cara who wants to keep her Father alive, and her brother Edward who is called back home after six years of living a world away in Thailand, and who comes back to a place he never wanted to return to and since he is legally his Fathers only relative who is of age he says that his Father should be allowed to die in peace and not kept alive by artificial means; The storyline is also filled in with flashbacks of Luke who was not Father of the year material but was someone who lived in the wild with wolves and felt more at home in the woods with them and tried to use their ways and lessons with his own family his narratives include many stories of his living with wild wolf packs in Canada and in captivity.  (There are also two other character narratives in the book Luke's ex wife and her new husband but to find out more I suggest reading this great book)

This novel captivated me because you could see all the research that must've gone into writing it; and the detail was amazing, I literally sat down and read it in one night; I found it fascinating partly because my aunt does love wolves herself so this is a particular animal that I have a profound respect for.  Also this is an issue that I think should be treated with respect and I think Picoult did a very good job with the topic and with how the characters developed throughout the book.  I liked the ending it was not stereotypical or like the end of a lifetime or hallmark movie at all and I appreciated that.  It kept my attention; and the characters relationships with one another were very relatable and realistic especially the brother-sister relationship shown between Cara and Luke; being a younger sister I related to moments described between her and Edward.  

This is a wonderful read; I will continue reading Picoult and would recommend this book to anyone =) Its one of my new favorites.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Between the Lines
By: Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

<3 <3 <3 <3 

Summary: What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

Review: Between the lines is a story written by Picoult and her daughter Samantha who I must admit shows wonderful writing talent if this book is an example of her imagination and ideas.  The book explores the world of Delilah a young fifteen year old girl who finds herself in a high school where she is not in the 'popular' crowd and where she finds escaping into the world of fiction is a good way to escape the sometimes painful reality of her young adolescent life.

Delilah finds herself entranced by a fairytale involving a young prince named Oliver, and it becomes a favorite as she reads it over and over, and to her surprise the young prince takes on a life all his own, and they will embark on a journey of life, love, and discovering that the reader of a book may not be the only one trying to escape their lives, although for Oliver (the young prince and main character in the book) the last thing he wants is to have his life read over again; in fact he'd like nothing more than for Delilah to be able to help him find a way to be able to escape this particular book for good.  

As the reader follows these two young people get to know each other, you read the book Between the Lines while following Delilah and Oliver's story; this book was very original.  I quite literally could not put it down and would recommend it to anyone who likes Picoult's books; this one is a little different than usual and quite honestly I loved it (and its illustrations); and the idea that Picoult wrote it in collaboration with her daughter. Great characters, scenery, and plot.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Title: The Queen's Lover: A Novel

Author: Vanora Bennett

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary  :Catherine de Valois, daughter of the French king Charles VI, is born into troubled times. Though she is brought up in a royal court, it is a stormy and unstable environment. Before she is out of her teens, Catherine is married off to England's Henry V as part of a treaty honoring his victory over France. She is terrified at the idea of being married to a man who is a foreigner, an enemy, and a rough soldier, and is forced to leave her home for England.
Within two years she is widowed, and mother to the future King of England and France—even though her brother has laid claim to the French crown for himself. Caught between warring factions of her own family and under threat by the powerful lords of the English court, she must find a way to keep her infant son safe. In Owain Tudor, a childhood friend for whom Catherine has long had affection and who now controls the Royal household, Catherine finds both strength and kinship. As their friendship turns to love, however, she risks not only her life and that of her son but the uneasy balance of power in England and France that will be forever changed.
History comes alive in this lyrical and moving true story of one woman's courage and the inception of one of the most famous royal lineages of all time.

Review: In the novel 'The Queen's Lover' Vanora Bennett explores the world of Catherine de Valois a young French princess born in turbulent times into a family of mistrust, murder, and mental illness, where her next meal is never a guarantee; even while she is surrounded by riches that the peasants around her cannot imagine.  The reader is absorbed into the world of a young woman making her way in a family where mental illness controls the leader of her family; and the ruler of her country; her Father the king.  And while her youngest brother is her confidant as a child time has a way of making even the closest of siblings into something she will not recognize as the years pass.

Catherine has few she can trust one being her childhood friend Owain Tudor, they explore childhood feelings for each other, but when each realizes the societal strings that will keep them tied to their stations they go their separate ways until the dance of life pulls them back together in unexpected ways throughout the next few decades of their lives.  The way in which Bennett was able to build each character profile made it seem as if you were watching each scene unfold right before your eyes; it was the most realistic and gripping historical fiction I've read recently. I could not put it down.  The characters came to life and matured from page to page. I can't wait to read more by this author.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Title: Salem Falls

Author: Jodi Picoult

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: Once a teacher at a girls' prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart. But amid the rustic calm of Salem Falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets -- and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him.

Review: This book by Picoult is a twist on the Salem Witch trials.  It involves four young teenage girls who are involved with wicca, and are just learning to navigate in the world of adults; and when they don't get what they want from the new stranger in town they aim to show him what 'witches' in todays age can be capable of doing to someone.  Jack has been accused of one false crime and after moving to Salem Falls, falling for the local waitress, and starting the threads of a new life he finds himself involved in a new scandal that might send him to jail for the rest of his natural life if he cannot convince the local populace or perhaps a jury to believe in his innocence.

Salem Falls explores the darker side of sexuality and lies that happen everyday in the lives of teenagers, adults and people around the world; have you ever wished someone ill and then heard they were in a car wreck and wondered just for a moment if your thought could have had some link to it? This book explores the possibilites of magic and how they are still active even in today's society.  Salem Falls, opens your mind to looking closer and listening more to the people around you.  People and events may not always be what they seem.  The book was a pretty quick read; the characters were flatter for me than other Picoult novels but the storyline kept me reading.  It was the plot of the book that I enjoyed more than anything.  I would recommend it but I have other books by this author I've enjoyed more.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Title: Sing You Home

Author: Jodi Picoult

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people—even those she loves and trusts most—don’t want that to happen. 

Review: I've never read a book that made me think in the way the novel Sing You Home, by author Jodi Picoult has.  It is the story of a couple who after struggling with infertility issues for years, along with the heartbreak of a still birth breaks under the pressure.  Max Zoe's husband files for divorce.  While Max turns to alcohol and ends up turning to a conservative Christian Church; Zoe finds love in an unexpected friendship with Vanessa which blossoms into a love song that changes her life; when the two women decide to have children a storm begins that only faith, love and perhaps the right song can heal and bring some of these broken souls back together to form a family for the child they are all desperately fighting for.

As I read this book it was an eye opener to realize how others might view the Christian faith; and some of our beliefs.  I'm glad I do not attend a church like the one Pastor Clive is head of in this book.  It showed me even more that love should be the center of any faith not hate or judgement.  Each character had their own struggles and even though they choose very different ways of coping with them in the end they were all just fighting for the right to live in the way that they thought was right and was the best choice for them.  The soundtrack and different songs for different chapters was a wonderful addition to the book in my opinion. I connect with music on a very deep level so I loved that aspect and I thought the characters were very alive and easy to connect with.  I haven't read a book by Jodi Picoult yet that I haven't loved or connected with.  I'd recommend this book to anyone especially music lovers.

Cheers! Happy Reading =)


Friday, March 14, 2014

House Rules

House Rules

By: Jodi Picoult

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject—forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right. 

But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviors are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, Emma, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it’s another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob. 

And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Review: House Rules is one of the best novels I have read thus far in 2014.  It delves into the world of a family who are living in the not so black and white world of Asperger's and who have been for the past almost eighteen years.  The oldest son in the family Jacob has been diagnosed with Asperger's (he was diagnosed between two and three) which is a disease that is on the autistic spectrum but in which its suffer's are still able to function, can be very smart, but have a hard time in social situations or being able to feel any type of empathy for others or their feelings, people with asperger's often have obsessions about certain subjects and Jacob's obsession is forensic crime scenes and you can imagine the set up for a great novel.  

The plot is that Jacob's social skill's tutor disappears and he was the last known person to see her, along with a brother who gets lost in the chaos of his brothers disease, a Mother who while fighting fiercely for her son might be losing the other and herself, and a young lawyer who is finding love in the most unexpected places.  This novel was beautifully written and even Jacob at moments when you wanted to shout at him was hard not to root for or just to want to hold in the hardest moments.  I would most definitely recommend this book and will definitely be reading more Jodi Picoult novels in the near future.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 
By: Ken Kesey

Rating <3 <3 <3

Summary: An international bestseller and the basis for a hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was one of the defining works of the 1960s. A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the novel chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Big Nurse. McMurphy swaggers into the mental ward like a blast of fresh air and turns the place upside down, starting a gambling operation, smuggling in wine and women, and egging on the other patients to join him in open rebellion. But McMurphy's revolution against Big Nurse and everything she stands for quickly turns from sport to a fierce power struggle with shattering results. With One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey created a work without precedent in American literature, a novel at once comic and tragic that probes the nature of madness and sanity, authority and vitality. Greeted by unanimous acclaim when it was first published, the book has become and enduring favorite of readers. 

Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was a novel following the life of a prisoner McMurphy who got himself moved from a working prison to a mental hospital in the 1960's.  It follows the up's and downs of his journey and growing relationships with other patients in the mental ward run by the ultimate villain Nurse Ratchet or 'The Big Nurse' who enjoys using her power in her role as caregiver to employ other sadistic caregivers and to inflict pain and mental, and physical anguish on the patients who are left in her care.  I decided to read this book because I have loved the movie since my early teens, and although the characters were colorful, and the plot was one that you did not want to put down, I did find the writing style confusing and somewhat monotonous throughout the second half and towards the end of the book.  I do think however if you are interested into a look into what psychological treatment might have been like for patients during this point in history (1960's) this might be a good reference to read, or I'd recommend the movie.  As far as the novel itself its not one of my favorites but it was alright.  For me as someone with multiple psychology degrees hearing how the author chose to have the patients describe themselves, and their disorders was very interesting, and hearing how their main caregiver used therapy to manipulate them for her own means to really in a way torture then psychologically was disturbing to me and just makes me want to help people in a positive way even more.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Title: Toys
Authors: James Patterson & Neil Mcmahon

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3

Read: PB

Summary:Hays Baker and his wife Lizbeth possess super-human strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do--they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world can offer. The only problem in their perfect world: humans and their toys!

The one with the most toys--dies

The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career. He has been praised by the President, and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life. 

Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a life he never dreamed possible--fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will save millions of lives--maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyper plane--with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.

Review: This is the first book that I've read by James Patterson and I really enjoyed his style of writing.  It had an easy flow to it, and it was easy to connect  and follow each character's story line.  Also I do love futuristic stories like this one which was another reason I enjoyed this book.  It follows the life of Hays who is enjoying life on top as an elite with a beautiful wife and kids who are the top rung of society until a surgery reveals the fact that he is in fact human and changes his life forever.

The plot follows him as he fights in a war against those he used to trust the most to save humanity from the elites who want to destroy the humans who they consider an inferior breed who is beneath them.  It had a lot of action, and fighting scenes which aren't always my forte but also enough of the psychological thriller and fantasy elements were involved so that I really enjoyed the book. I definitely plan to read more from this author.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Anna of Byzantium

Title: Anna of Byzantium 

Author: Tracy Barrett

Rating <3 <3 <3 <3

Read: PB 
(From now on this category will be included and will either be marked PB for Personal Book or  MRBD  which means its from my"must read before you die" list of books).  The only exception to this are arcs, which will be labeled.

Summary: Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the "barbarians" from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted adviser--his mother, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift moves of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman, her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother. Anna will be no one's puppet. Almost overnight, Anna sees her dreams of power wrenched from her and bestowed on her little brother. Bitter at the betrayal, Anna waits to avenge herself, and to seize what is rightfully hers.

Review: Anna Comnena is living her worst nightmare born with a silver spoon in her mouth she has been brought up in a world of great privilege and at one point a commoner even turning their back on her could have meant their death.  Now the reader meets the young princess for the first time in the scriptorium of a nunnery in the mountains of the Byzantine empire, where she has been degraded to the point of trying to match wits with a graying old nun who likes to try to put the young upstart princess in her place.  Anna was brought up to believe that she would take her Father's place as the next express of the powerful Byzantine empire, but when she manipulates her Grandmother and metaphorically 'bites the hand that is feeding' her the keys to her Father's kingdom; her world comes crashing down around her as she is accused of heinous acts and she sees her spoiled young brother take what she believes to be her birth right.  

From the first page this was a book that brought out the wit and bright mind of the main character which I enjoyed seeing  especially in a woman of the middle ages who can sometimes be portrayed as having weak minds or not being as intelligent as men.  It was delightful imagining the scenes between the characters as they each fought for their rightful place in the dangerous dance that was the royal world of the middle ages in the Byzantine empire, the crusades, and the wars with the Turks.  I would've enjoyed more details of palace life, and of the lives of the young princesses, and their brother and familial relatives during their young years since that was where most of the story was based; but overall it was a good plot and easy to read and get drawn into.  Some chapters were a bit choppy and could've ended smoother but it was a very enjoyable read.  It intrigued me enough that I would like to learn more about this particular women in history she seems very feisty and intelligent.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Book Goals for the New Year

New Goals for a New Year in reading =) 

I have combined 3 lists of 100 "must read before you die" books ; mainly containing a mixture of classics, I also added a list of five books to the list myself, and a few of the books overlap from list to list.  I will be reviewing these books as well as the normal historical fiction and books that are just for pure enjoyment =) 

From now on if the book is one from my list it will be labeled as MRBD (Must Read Before you Die List) in other words.  

I am not setting a time limit to do this in it is purely for enrichment and I think anything like this can broaden a reader's thought process and stretch their belief system and comfort zone in the literary world.

Happy Reading, and Happy New Year =) !