Safe Haven. Hold Your Breath.

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Rating: 5/5 Thoroughly enjoyed this one. safe haven

Cover Art: 5/5 (Spark’s cover) shows a bicycle with flowers. Captures Katie’s personality perfectly! 4/5 for the movie edition, only because every one of them are of two attractive white people about to kiss. A little originality wouldn’t hurt anyone. Am I right?

Age Limit: 16. Violence and some sexual situations (I mean, it IS a Nicholas Sparks novel)

Author: Nicholas Sparks (if you haven’t gathered that already.)

Katie is new to Southport, NC and is trying to keep a low profile. She makes enough money taking on shifts at a local landmark restaurant named Ivan’s to rent a small cabin just outside of town. She buys only the essential items that she needs to survive and saves the rest in a hidden spot for an easy getaway. A local general store owner, Alex, notices her right away and begins to strike up a conversation with her every chance he gets. But Katie, not looking him in the eye, pays for her things and leaves. She only stops to give him a chance when the woman who moves in to the cabin next to hers, convinces her to do so.  Jo starts pushing Katie to talk to Alex and give him a chance, but she is afraid of getting too comfortable here in this town. She’s been running for quite some time and just wants to be safe, but she needs to be able to leave at a moments notice. Why? Katie has a secret, and if it gets out, she’s dead.

I have recently jumped on the Nicholas Sparks train. I have always pushed it aside, thinking it was too cliche, but he has a wonderful, easy way of writing that completely draws you into the world he has created for you. The emotional connections that his characters have, will leave you on the edge of your seat, clutching each page as he unfolds the next piece of the puzzle. Towards the end of this novel, i even banged the book on my knee shouting at Alex.

Pick this one up. It’s a good one! Also, the movie is pretty good (even though they change a whole lot of it!)

Keep reading, my friends!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

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Rating: 3/5 Not my favorite. It was a good story, but the ending is a bit of a letdown.Image

Cover Art: 4/5

Age limit: 15 and up (only because it might not be interesting to a younger audience. Also, a little language.)

Author: Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon, an out-of-work web-designer, is looking for work on the streets of San Francisco. He happens to stumble across a “help wanted” sign on Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and decides to venture in. He is struck at once by how vastly tall the bookshelves are and cranes his neck to see the top. Good-natured Penumbra asks, “What do you seek in these shelves?” and immediately hires Clay after learning of his favorite book (I will admit that I wish this book store did exist in the real world. It sounds fascinating!). Working the night shift (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.), Clay comes across some strange characters asking for some strange books. After being persuaded to peek in one of the books, Clay stumbles onto an entire world of mystery and confusion. Through this novel, you will learn these secrets and more, all while enjoying funny characters that put Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj (BBT) to shame.

This novel really is very intriguing and kept me turning the page up until the very end. I had to know the secret left behind by members of this secret society dating back to the 1500’s. I was a little disappointed in the ending, only in that it the drama and excitement leading up to the big reveal, didn’t match up to the actual reveal itself. If you like web design and solving code, then you will love this novel. If you are a book nerd like myself, then the title might be a little misleading.

This book only came out this year; so unfortunately, there is not a movie or a book trailer yet.

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Divergent. The next Hunger Games.

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Rating: 4/5 It can be a bit confusing at times keeping up with what each faction represents (one of the reasons that I included it here)

Cover Art: 5/5

Age Limit: 13 and up (violence…much like The Hunger Games) No sex.

Author:Veronica Roth

Beatrice Prior has one decision to make: to stay with her family…or to leave and never see them again. In the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, there are five factions each of which value a certain characteristic of human life.

Abnegation: THE SELFLESS

1.To refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce. 2. To relinquish; give up.

Dauntless: THE BRAVE

Fearless, undaunted. (undaunted: courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged.)

Candor: THE HONEST

1.The state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech  or expression; candidness. 2.freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality.

Erudite: THE INTELLIGENT

Characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly.

Amity: THE PEACEFUL

1.Friendships; peaceful harmony. 2.Mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, especially between nations; peace; accord. 3.Cordiality.

Beatrice has grown up in Abnegation all of her life, but has never felt like she fits in. She thinks she is too selfish. When students turn sixteen, there is a Choosing Ceremony in which each of them choose the factions they want to belong to for the rest of their lives. The problem is that if they choose a different faction than the one you grew up in, you can never see your family again. It is always faction over blood. If you choose to dishonor this, you will be kicked out. If you fail the initiation into the faction you choose, you become factionless, and are forced to live on the streets.

On the day before the choosing ceremony, each student takes an Aptitude test to determine which faction that they would most likely do well in. The serum that they inject to the student’s neck, produces a simulation in which the person administering the test can monitor. They see how the student performs in different situations in order to see which faction would be the best fit. The test are pretty accurate, except for Beatrice’s. In the end, it is their choice.

What will she decide?

A life of selflessness and servitude?

Or be split from her family forever?

Just a word of warning…this is all within the first three chapters. Buckle your seat belts, people, it’s going to get bumpy.

I absolutely loved this book! The second book is called Insurgent and I just finished it. I can’t wait until the third comes out, but that won’t be until fall of 2013! Insurgent leaves you hanging big time! I won’t be doing a review on this one because it will give too much away for Divergent.

The book isn’t made into a movie yet, but I have heard that it is in preproduction and is set to release sometime in the summer of next year. But here is a book trailer!

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Redeeming Love. God’s Love.

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Rating: 10/5

Cover Art: 5/5 It is a picture of a woman in a burgundy dress and it makes so much more sense when you read further into the novel.

Age Limit: I’m going to say 16 and up. There is a lot of heavy material in this and it was hard for me to read some of it. It is definitely geared toward a more mature audience, but it will absolutely change your life.

Author: Francine Rivers

Little Sarah loved her mother. Only her mother loved Sarah’s father more. Alex Stafford was married and had kids of his own, but hated that he got this other girl pregnant years ago. He tried to get her to abort the baby, and if she knew Alex would leave her years later, she would have gladly given up her child. Sarah and her mother were poor and had to move next to the docks in New York, where her mother sold her body for a little extra money. She met a man, named Rab, who was willing to stick around and do the best he could to help out.

When Sarah’s mother died, Rab took her to a man named Duke, thinking that he was doing the little girl a favor. Little did he know, Duke wasn’t so nice and preferred little girls for his own pleasure and to eventually mold her into a prostitute. He named her Angel.

Fast forward several years. Angel is in California during the Gold Rush in 1850. She is employed at a brothel and the price is high for her because of her extreme beauty. Angel is hardened to the world around her and keeps her emotions in check after many practiced years of fearing Duke. One day, as she is walking through town on her weekly walk, a man named Michael Hosea sees her and knows that is who God wants him to marry. There is a long pursuit of her affections, but her heart is closed to love.

This is an amazing retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea from the Bible. Michael is patient and never ceases to love Angel (or Mara, Amanda, or Tirzah…the many names he calls her because she won’t tell him her real name). He is ever in pursuit of her love and constantly tries to break down her walls that she has worked so hard to put up around her heart.

This is only scratching the surface of all that happens in this book. You can pretty much know all of this from reading the first five chapters (there are 34 plus an epilogue). This book will change your outlook on God’s redeeming love and how no one is too far from redemption. There isn’t a movie, yet. I hope hope hope that they will consider making one, because the story is amazing. There is a book trailer, though! Huzzah! If you have heard of any talks about a movie, please let me know in the comment section!

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

The Lucky One. Zac Efron included.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover Art: 4/5 The reason I like this cover, is because it has the tree and the Ferris wheel that feature in the photo. The movie version of the book just has Logan and Beth kissing (i.e. not very original for Mr. NS.)

Age Limit: I would say 16 and over because there are some sex scenes and Nicholas Sparks isn’t really for a younger audience. But parents, like I have said in other reviews, use your discretion with your children. Know their maturity level.

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Not many people walk places anymore. Sure, there are still small towns you can walk to your local grocery store, but how about walking from Colorado to Hampton County, North Carolina? I’m talking no car, lugging a huge backpack and your only companion is a German shepherd named Zeus. Well, this is what Logan Thibault did. While serving a few tours in Iraq, Logan found a picture of a beautiful girl. When no one claimed the photo, he decided to take it himself. He didn’t understand why. All he knew was that she was in a place called Hampton, that she once had a German shepherd (his reason for getting one himself), and that on the back of the photo were the words, “Keep safe! E.” There wasn’t a lot to go on, but he knew he had to find her, because, after all, she had saved his life.

Beth, a single mother with a crazy lunatic for an ex-husband (my label, not hers), helped run her grandmother’s kennel part-time, while holding down a teaching job at the elementary school. She lives with her grandmother (Nana) and her son Ben. She was living a life of normalcy, when a longhaired man with a dog showed up at the kennel. Everything started to change. Her son immediately took to Thibault and Zeus (who was trained very well and could do incredible things). She slowly started trusting Logan and thought that he could be the one, until her ex showed up and try to ruin everything.

Keith Clayton (said ex-husband) is a manipulative, angry, womanizer that doesn’t want to be tied down, but doesn’t want her ex-wife to have any kind of dating life. He pretends that it is all because of their son, but you can easily see through his façade: he hates that his son isn’t very athletic, and makes him clean Keith’s house every other week. Don’t be fooled though. His true colors shine during the very climatic ending. I’m not going to spoil that for you now though.

The story is told through Logan’s, Beth’s, and Keith Clayton’s point-of-view. Every chapter is a little more to the story. As this was my first Nicholas Sparks novel, I was very pleased. I barely could put it down. I haven’t seen the movie yet (I plan to go this week), but I have heard from others who have read the book (and by watching the preview), they have changed a lot from the book. I absolutely loved this book and it has inspired me to pick up some more Nicholas Spark novels. Even though I told you that I wouldn’t spoil the ending for you, I will tell you this: I didn’t breathe while reading the Epilogue at the end. Did. Not. Breathe.

As always: the trailer

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Inkheart. Oh, books, how I love you.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover art: 3/5 The cover is kind of weird. The only thing I like about it is that it shows how it is very fantastical and there are all of the mythical creatures that are featured in Inkheart. It also show (with the hand reaching out) that the world of the novels we read are connected to our physical world.

Age Limit: 9 and up seems appropriate

Author: Cornelia Funke

Mo and Meggie have something in common: their love of reading. Mo is a bookbinder and tries to find as many “sick” books (what he calls damaged books that need his care) as he can. He searches all around in used bookstores and people who specifically call on his expertise, dragging his daughter, Meggie, around with him.  Underneath this search for damaged books, though, is the whole reason behind his search: a book called “Inkheart.”

What’s so special about this book? Mo has a special talent that he discovered when he was a young boy, but then forgot about…until one night when he would lose someone very dear to him: his wife. No, she didn’t die. She disappeared into Inkheart. Whenever Mo reads out loud, whatever is on the page comes to life. The only thing is that when something comes out, something in this world goes in. So when Mo was reading Inkheart to his wife and daughter, Dustfinger and Capricorn came out, but his wife went in. That is the night that his search for her began.

Night after night he would read this story to try to find a hint of his wife, but whenever he read certain parts, nothing would ever come out. He did so for years, not having any luck. Meggie had no idea about her father’s talent. She only knew that her father never would read out loud to her. One night, while Meggie couldn’t sleep, she looked outside of her window to see a man standing outside of her window. She ran to get Mo and was shocked to find that there was a hint of recognition on her father’s face when he saw this strange man. The man was Dustfinger, the fictional character that Mo had read out of the book ten years earlier. He had been coming around for years trying to get Mo to read him back home to his wife, but Mo refused.

The next day Mo got Meggie to pack all of her things and they left there and went to the house of his wife’s aunt. Meggie didn’t understand why, but Mo had a reason. Dustfinger had told them that Capricorn (the antagonist in Inkheart and the other character that Mo brought to this world) was looking for Mo and had sent his men to capture him. Little did he know, Capricorn’s castle was only a few hours from where the aunt’s house is. Capricorn wanted Mo’s voice to make him rich by reading treasure out of different books. Mo though he was going in the opposite direction, but Dustfinger led him straight to Capricorn’s men. His men found Mo and Meggie, and took them.

That’s only the beginning of the story. It’s really only scratching the surface. There is so much that happens in this novel that you would have to read (because I’m not spoiling it for you). This is one of my favorite trilogies (Inkspell follows and then Inkdeath), because it is all about reading (and you know how much I love to do that). Each chapter (there are a lot of them!) begins with a quote from another novel or poem. I’ve actually been enticed to read other novels just from the quotes used in this novel! I actually saw the movie way before I even knew it was a book, and so after I read it, I obviously watched it again, and it is a LOT different than the book. They stay true to most of it, but they leave out a lot and even change some scenes. For example in the movie, they meet Dustfinger while out searching for books, instead of at their home. The ending also is neatly tied up and nothing like the book, which leaves questions unanswered and unresolved.  Having said all of that, I absolutely love the movie! Cornelia Funke actually wrote the part of Mo with Brendan Frasier in mind. I really wish they would make Inkspell and Inkdeath into movies, but there are no plans for that as of right now (and it would be difficult since they would have to continue the storyline of the movie and not the book). I highly recommend this series to anyone, and especially those of us that have a passion for reading.

As always, the trailer: Obviously, the trailer shows a lot more than what I told you, so maybe it will entice you a bit more to read it! (Or at least watch it, if you hate to read!)

Happy reading everyone!

“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”

Fans Of Fiction as requested

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I had several people ask me if I would post this article I wrote for class, so here it is!

Fans of Fiction

So many times, we hear of crazy fans doing off-the-wall things in order to read the next book to that “hit new series” or spending outrageous amounts of money just to see the movie version one day early. There are millions of these fans out there watching and waiting to pounce on the first whispers of a new piece of fiction that is going to “literary” rock their world. Why is that? What is it about The Harry Potter Series, The Twilight Saga, or The Hunger Games Trilogy that gets fans so worked up into a literary seizure? I will attempt to answer this question through evidence and examples of crazed fans doing lunatic inspired stunts in order to feed on the next fiction victim.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Fans

I will first talk about The Harry Potter Series, because it was the first out of the three and probably has the most devoted fans. There is a young man, self-named Harry Potter, who prides himself on being the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world. He has three rooms full of paraphernalia, has read each book over a hundred times, wore dress robes to his high school prom, and claims he can wear HP-related clothing for three months straight and never wear the same thing twice. He even had J.K. Rowling sign his arm and had it made into a tattoo, one of four HP related tattoos.

Yeah, this guy.

Amazing stories of the stars actually being approached by these crazed fans never cease to amaze and even frighten those of us with a sane mind. A devout HP fan offered, with necessary documents in hand, to adopt the still under-aged Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy). This fan wanted to take him away from his own parents to live with him at a place he was to call “Malfoy Manor.” He even legally changed his name to “Lucius Malfoy.” Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) unfortunately is terrorized by many of the perverted fans out there. One man photo-shopped her face onto child pornography, but was kept out of jail because he didn’t mean to send out these pictures, only to keep them for himself (Sick, I know). When she went to college at Brown University, she was actually stalked by a group of guys from Harvard at a football game, who tweeted about their success as it was happening. Stalking, apparently, is not the only way to show your devotion to the characters.

Have you ever heard of Wizard Rock? Well, it’s a genre of music celebrating the world of Harry Potter, and consists of some bands such as “The Luna Lovegoods,” “Danny Dementor,” “Riddle TM,” “The Band Who Must Not Be Named,” “Celestial Warmbottom” (probably my favorite name), and “The Ministry of Magic.” This is only scratching the surface of devoted fans out there dedicated to this franchise, or as they might call it, “my childhood.”

This is Danny Dementor’s song “The Fallen”

So the Fan Fell in Love with Both Edward and Jacob

I am going to go ahead and take a stand on this one: Twihards, or the many other names Twilight fans call themselves, are among the craziest fans in existence. Small events turn into crazed, angry, and more often than not, violent, mobs. People get trampled, hit, and even end up in the hospital. There have been several reports about young girls with broken noses just because they grabbed the last free poster. These young girls and grown women (we don’t like to call attention to the age gap here), kick, push, and scream if it means getting only a little closer to being able to talk to one of these stars. Speaking of women who will do anything…

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The fourteen-year old Booboo Stewart (Seth Clearwater) experienced the inappropriate actions of older women. After taking a picture with a forty-year-old woman, Stewart was asked if he wanted to “make out” with her. These types of stories are plaguing these actors and even putting their lives at risk. A group of giggling girls ambushed Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), causing him to jump out into on-coming traffic. Luckily, the car only grazed him, but he could have been seriously injured from these unrelenting fans. I guess Pattinson should be thankful the driver wasn’t anti-Twilight like some of these people:

While some of the actors themselves have been accosted, the anti-Twilight people out there have actually been harmed for their hate of this franchise. I have read three girls’ accounts of what happened to them or friends of theirs, while bashing Twilight. One girl was sitting with three friends on a dock by a river when a very deranged fan overheard them poking fun at Twilight. She proceeded to pick up a flare gun and shoot it directly at them, severely injuring one of the guys in the group, making him unable to move his arm. Another account is about how three fans “jumped” a girl for writing an anti-Twilight essay, resulting in this girl needing stitches because of the assault. The last one, and probably the most frightening of the three, is when a girl said that because the saga was taken too seriously, it should be destroyed. Proving her point, a nearby fan-girl left the table fuming. Later on that day, as the first girl was sharpening her pencil, the crazed fan came behind her with a shank and tried to slit her throat. I would like to stress that this is a book adapted into a movie and these fans are willing to go to jail and ruin their lives just because someone doesn’t like it as much as they do. However, it isn’t just the teen fans acting crazy; it’s the older women as well.

Some older women go too far with their obsessions, compromising their marriages, their integrity, and even their sanity. Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) was approached by an older woman and proceeded to take her panties off for him to sign. Other men have claimed that their wives love the books more than they love them. Some women have whole rooms devoted to their obsession and have to retreat there in order not to become depressed. They have even created a name for this: Post-Twilight Depression. It is defined by Urban Dictionary as “the mixed feeling of wondering awe and devastating sadness when a person finishes the last book of the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn.” Fans are letting a series of fictional characters literally ruin their lives.

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 May the Fans be Ever in Pursuit

The Hunger Games is quickly gaining the fandom that Twilight and Harry Potter have achieved. There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see crazy fan stories throughout the rise of this series. However, since the movie was just released, it hasn’t had enough time for the crazies to come out. The actors in the movie have had some weird, and maybe a little creepy, encounters with fans, but not to the same extent as the other two franchises.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) is still getting used to the new attention being placed on her and is still confused when people start cheering when she walks into a room. “I still do the thing when they start screaming and I’m like, ‘Who’s here?’” She has said that fans follow her and kind of “creep her out.” One girl followed her home from the airport and confessed to sleeping there while waiting for her. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) has gotten many marriage proposals and had some older women beg her to let them buy her coffee.

Like always, there are fans who like to dress up for the premieres on opening night (I might be one of those people, but I will never admit to it!). At the theater I went to, there were many people dressed up as various characters.  The other fans, who did not dress up, were begging for pictures with them. I’m not going to lie: we felt important. I mean, you know, the other people who dressed up felt important (not me, I would never dress up for a movie…).

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These franchises all have something in common: they make people do crazy stuff. No one really understands or can coherently explain why they like these books/movies they just know they do. There is one thing that I have learned though: Never, I repeat, NEVER tell a teenage girl that you don’t like Twilight. She WILL shank you. You have been warned.

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