11.21.2014

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

A very interesting book. Loved how the cover drew me in, but the plot kept me within the covers. I loved the book to bird (Sir Bird) character. Sir Bird added in a interesting concept to the plot. White did a great job at creating the plot along with creating an ending, realistic with the characters. One I would always recommend.

 

11.21.2014

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Awesome book. Zinn did a great job at making the story line cute, funny and very interesting. Has a great plot twist, and a great set of characters.

11.20.2014

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

The Japanese Geisha: Most westerners believe that geishas are generally prostitutes—culturally accepted prostitutes. They sing; they dance; they make you feel welcome into the country or at least in the tea house. However, Arthur Golden’s tale of Chiyo transforming into the fascinating maiden Sayuri goes in depth to describe geishas as true artists who live their lives as artworks while simultaneously carrying a burden that many in the world cannot.

They are artists; a figment of a man’s fantasy manufactured and brought to life in a harsh and unforgiving world. They make great party hostesses. They entertain their guests, especially the men, and dazzle the eyes of the rest with their intricate hairstyles and beautiful kimonos. It seems they are objects than human—perhaps an object of every man’s desires? Seeing this story unfold through the eyes of Sayuri one may begin to wonder if being an object to someone is better than being who you truly are.

Sayuri’s story isn’t exactly a Cinderella tale; but is a coming of age story about a young girl with deep, beautiful blue eyes who overcame so much cruelty in order to blossom into a woman worth more than the silk that make up her fabulous kimonos. It’s sweet to view the work through Sayuri’s eyes as a child—or Chiyo the pre-Sayuri—where life, no matter how dreary it was at the end of the day it was her life. It was familiar and relatively safe. Then came the unfortunate day she lost all certainty and her family, only to be ushered into the less hospitable ‘okiya of Mother Nitta; where she was groomed into becoming a Geisha. She resisted at first but her run-in with the Chairman gave her a new purpose in life; which was all that was lacking when you’ve lost everything and everyone.

All she needed was a purpose and she found it through the Chairman’s generosity and through Gion’s famous Geisha, Mameha’s tutelage. It’s safe to assume Sayuri in the end surpassed her mentor; although in the book she remained humble and believes otherwise…classic geisha response. Of course every Eden has a snake and her name was Hatsumomo. She was that “mean girl” every American high school is bound to have. But in the end she suffered a much worse fate than being knocked up by the quarterback.

All in all, when does your job end and love begins? It’s rare for a geisha to retire into a life of bliss filled with love and joy. Unlike prostitutes, Geisha’s have to be educated in traditional Japanese arts of calligraphy, dancing, tea ceremonies and the theatre; but my favorite is learning the art of conversation. Despite her choices, or lack thereof, Sayuri makes the best of what life has dealt her. She knew, and to an extent us the readers knew, the Chairman was her best chance at survival and happiness. We may never fully understand why some people attach the possibility of achieving happiness onto others. But in the end, it is only making the best decision on the available choices we have. Let’s just be thankful we live in a much, somewhat improved society—but I’ll be honest, I kinda like the idea of being a living-breathing artwork.

11.20.2014

The Altarpiece by Sarah Kennedy: Book 1 of the Cross and Crown Series.

Whenever we learn of a story involving monumental changes to the status quo, we often learn about those imposing change and those resisting it. But we seldom learn about the rest who are caught in the middle of the struggle. When King Henry VIII divorced Katherine of Aragon and installed Anne Boleyn as the new Queen; he unilaterally (and arbitrarily) caused a rift in the European Christendom and pitted fellow Englishmen against one another. This book tells of a microcosmic effect of the social disruption while also shedding light on the chaos that ensnared Medieval England.

Sister Catherine and her sisters of the Mr. Grace convent are an example of the most vulnerable during the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s rule. They were a) women b) catholic c) single. These women, like most of the “common” folks, did not have anything or anyone to protect them from the King’s soldiers and his royal subjects who seemed all too excited to act out their king’s decrees. Sister Catherine had her sisters, her faith, her wits, and knowledge in the healing arts. But it was her youth and beauty that made her much more vulnerable in Mr. Grace. (Nothing much more enticing to a man than a virgin who was originally bound to another.) Many around her believed her only salvation is to renounce the Catholic faith and refuge in the all too holy institution of marriage.

Perhaps Sister Catherine’s dilemma would not be one if the right gentleman comes in to the rescue. However, she is no damsel in distress. Let us hope she can come out on the other side unscathed or she will be just become another victim of another cruel era of man.

11.20.2014

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Recently I have been trying to read more “fiction” books. Personally, I prefer nonfiction books; usually I read books that sound like something I’d be required to read for a class. But, to avoid being a dried-up, spinster-like individual I thought I would try and expand my horizons and show people that I am a well-rounded, capable of creative thinking individual.

Ranger’s Apprentice-the all-encompassing title of the series—was introduced to me by a colleague at work. I went in with an open mind and came out a tad underwhelmed. I expressed my concern to the same colleague who recommended the book series to me and she reminded me that the series were for preteens. So I thought: “Ok, that makes sense.” –no blood, not enough gore, and enough angst for the usually moody and drama-filled American preteen. The book wasn’t terrible, I just was expecting more especially with the overarching plot focusing on a young man finally achieving a sense of belonging on to be confronted with dangers beyond his wildest imagination.

The authored structured her “faraway land” similar to that of medieval Europe. (You know, the era of Kings, Knights, and no indoor-plumbing.) Of course, you have your royals, villains, your mythical/magical creatures; but the backbone of the story’s plot was the guilds or the craft organizations that make up the fiefdoms in the Kingdom of Araluen.

The kingdom of Araluen awaits you. Whether you’re a child or not, I believe we can all relate to the characters in the series. We all have had grand expectations from ourselves but more than likely destiny has other plans for us.

11.20.2014

The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries

I usually do not read paperback romance novels; mostly because I think of them as the sappy, corny, and predictable soap operas my mother obsesses over every weekday afternoon. But I willed myself to read this book, against my instincts, because I like pirates in general and I always root for the cliché “villain” in literature. As cynical as I am I have always been known to have sympathy for the devil or the outsiders. Princes, Kings, Knights, and all the usual “good” guys were, to me, very boring, predictable, and definitely pretentious. Besides, there’s something alluring about any villain acting out of character.

Anyways, the book is not some corny smut—a dainty woman in the arms of Fabio—rather it is somewhat a historical account (albeit it’s fictional nature) of a world when the golden age of piracy was gradually fading into oblivion. Lady Sara is held hostage—well not really—on the Pirate Lord’s ship and soon she will be a hostage on his island. Let’s see: two individuals experiencing the salty air, the beautiful sunset, and no television—yeah, draw your own conclusion. What I generally look for in romance novels is the banter between the lovers. Rose petals and doves are great and all but heated arguments over trivial things are how true love should look like. Right before passionate savagery ensues—draw the blinds and lock the door please.

Yes, the Pirate Lord is arrogant, scary, and irresistible according to Sara. And she’s a stubborn, moody, and desirable goddess according to our pirate. Thank goodness the book is not too heavily into drama. There are moments of laughter and intrigue—and don’t forget there are definitely moments of heated, clutch-your-pearls…interactions. I recommend you read this book in a cold environment just in case you burst into flames—fabulous, adulterated, corrupted flames.

11.13.2014

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

A very intruding read. Seeing how this world is divided, and how items will fall to work when moving over a simple line marking two different places was quite interesting. I didn’t like how Hirsch ended this book. I didn’t see it as a solution to any problem that was created/presented within the plot.

10.20.2014

Breath of Iron By Kate Cross

An awesome steampunk novel. It is the third book in this series (Clockwork Agents). I love how the suspense is built up over the course of the book and how neatly Cross wraps up. She  leaves room for more novels; however there doesn’t have to be anymore. Cross does an excellent job at describing a life on a airship could be when two special agency collide for some top secret information.

07.1.2013

The Goddess Test By Aimee Carter

Great book, I loved how the story kept the Greek gods in their typical natures but also fit on a modern day earth. I so can’t wait to read the next book to see how Hades will have a wife and queen.

06.25.2013

Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena By: Rick Riordan

Love the plot of this book, Riordan is keeping the two camps together, however showing how well they could work together to keep the world from ending. I cannot wait for the next book, I am curious at how the Doors of Death can be closed, and who will be closed on the inside, if anyone.

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