Monthly Archives: March 2012

To Dance Once More. Get Ready to Fall in Love. Literally.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover Art: 4/5 The only thing I don’t like about it is that the girl on the front doesn’t really capture how I perceived Lydia. I know that doesn’t matter much, but I would have been happy with just the background of the Barrington Estate.

Age Limit: 13 and up. I think that this book would definitely benefit a younger audience.

Author: Sherri Wilson Johnson (A very dear friend of mine!)

Set in the late 19th Century Florida, Lydia Barrington fights against the stereotype of being a woman solely for the purpose of getting married, having babies, and being limited to what she can accomplish. To Lydia, adventure is the only true way to live, so she fights against the burden of being confined to every other woman’s life every chance she gets, much to the chagrin of her mother and father.

The Barringtons, a wealthy family that has resided at Live Oaks Plantation for many years, are known to have some pretty extravagant parties, and do so whenever they get the chance (mostly for the bazillion weddings that they host). Lydia never shines as much as when she is dancing, and to Hamilton Scarbrough (childhood friend to Nathan, Lydia’s twin brother), this is what he enjoys most about her.

Lydia is thrown into some pretty tough situations with Hamilton and has to use her better judgment when it comes to being alone with him (as it was not proper in this time period for them to be found alone, especially since she was not of courting age). Through many trials in their relationship, and because of a terrible secret that Lydia is burdened with (you can’t possibly think I would tell you!), they are unable to marry (or court for that matter). Lydia longs to get away.

She and one of her sisters travel to Pensacola, Florida to stay with their aunt and her family. While she is there, she learns a lot about love, respect, and humility, and even enjoys the company of the Templetons. However, all good things must come to an end, and she is eventually forced to come back home and face some difficult decisions, including sacrificing something very dear to her heart.

The rest…well I could not possibly ruin it for you, because in the end, I had a hard time putting it down. Everything came tumbling together at the end and entices you to keep reading! I am going to go ahead and say that this is not typically the type of book that I would pick up and read (I’m not that much of a “Romance Novel” type of girl), but I am very glad that I had the chance to read it! It is also not your average romance novel either. (Pick it up to find out!) I would recommend this to many young women (and older women too! It is never too late to have a little romance in life!).

Here is a little book preview!

Here is a link to buy the book! 

Happy reading everyone!

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

The Help.

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Rating 5/5 (By the way, you might see this rating on many of these books. Just a heads up: there are only a few books that I just don’t like.)

Cover Art: 4/5 I have the movie edition (which I normally try to avoid, but in this case, it was the only one available at the time) and I like it OK. It has four of the main characters on it with the tagline: “Change begins with a whisper.” Now, because of this tagline, I really like the original cover: It has three purple birds on a wire with a yellow background (as seen in the picture). When I think of birds, I think non-stop, persistent chirping. So this “whisper” comes out as persistent chatter to produce the needed change.

Age Limit: 13 and up. I really think this would be good for a younger crowd to start reading to see a small side of how race issues were handled in the early sixty’s.

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Set in the early sixty’s, this novel addresses the issue of racism in the South. Told through the characters Aibileen, Minny (Both African American maids), and Skeeter Phelan, these three women work together to start a change in the way of thinking about race.

Skeeter is a college graduate with no husband and is barely able to get a job writing for a housekeeping article (something of which she knows nothing about). Skeeter goes against everything that a young, white woman should be doing at this point in her life, and tries to do something she wants to do: write. Against her mother’s wishes and to the chagrin of her so-called “friends,” Skeeter screws up her dating life in order to eventually get a job in New York. The editor said that she needed to write something different, something that has never been done before. Skeeter gets an idea: Write a book from the perspective of the help.

She asks Aibileen for help. At first, she refuses, but then, through a series of events, she agrees. They start writing the book.

Minny is hell-bent on sticking it to the white man (or in this case a white woman), but slowly comes to like Skeeter and her crazy idea. (Oh, and a little tip: pay attention to Minny’s chocolate pie, it’s important!) And beware Hilly. You WILL hate her by the time the book is done, and maybe like Minny just a little bit more.

I was determined to read the book before I saw the movie in theaters, so I got the book, read it quickly, and rushed to see it! I loved both versions, but as always, I have a slight preference for the book! I really encourage everyone to pick this one up and read it!

This is a rather short review because I figured many people already saw the movie. You really should read the book though because it is so fascinating and you get so much more information than the movie shows.

However, like always I will include the trailer, because the movie is nicely done.

Happy reading everyone!

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

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: Insert Tissue, Chocolate, and Someone to Hold You.

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Rating: 5/5

Cover Art: 4/5 It is very simple, just showing a faded, pale blue and white striped cover.

Age Limit: 13 and up. This book is written with children in mind and is a way to show the terrors of the Holocaust to children through the eyes of children. However, a word of caution to parents: judge your kids according to how they handle emotional and stressed situations. Some 10 year-olds can handle it, others may need to be a little older.

Author: John Boyne

We’ve all read them, and we have all seen them: books and movies about the Holocaust. However, there aren’t many (or at least that I myself have heard about) that are through the eyes of a German boy, who doesn’t quite understand the serious nature of what is going on around him, and what his “hero-of-a-father” is actually doing.

Well, if that doesn’t sound like a swimmingly good time, then I don’t know what does! In all seriousness though, there is not a single account of the Holocaust (fiction or non-fiction) that is fun…of course. But this one gives you a different perspective and shows how not all Germans were “on-board” with the Nazis.

Bruno, a 9 year-old boy, is uprooted from his luxurious, 5-story house in Berlin, to the deserted countryside (assumed to be Auschwitz). His father, a Nazi commandant, is moved there to oversee the concentration camp. Bruno doesn’t understand what any of this means, so he just complains until he can sneak off into whatever adventure he can get his hands on. As leaving the boundaries of their property unchaperoned, for obvious reasons, was out of the question, Bruno was limited in how he spent his time. One day, not long after arriving in their new home, Bruno spots some farmers in “striped pajamas.” He is completely puzzled by this and asks his father about these said people. When his father understands what Bruno means, he responds in the typical Nazi response of “Ah, those people,…Those people..well they’re not people at all, Bruno.” He then proceeds by dismissing the subject as if it doesn’t matter at all and shoos his son from the room. Bruno leaves dissatisfied and goes in search of an adventure. On his way, he encounters an elderly Jewish man named Pavel who helps him make a tire swing and repairs a scraped knee for him while Bruno’s mother is away. He gets his first real view of what is going on through a conversation with him.

As the story moves on, Bruno gets further and further off of the property and “accidentally” makes his way to the outskirts of the concentration camp. The boy he meets there, unbeknownst to him, will determine the fate of his family from that point on.

He regularly visits Shmuel (the young Jewish boy of the same age) and learns about what they do in the camps. Not long after they meet, Bruno learns that Shmuel’s father has gone missing and he can’t seem to find him. The only solution that these two little boys come up with, is that Bruno should…You didn’t think I would give away that much did you?

This is a fascinating book and makes you tense throughout reading it. I HIGHLY recommend that you pick it up and read it. (Or if you aren’t a book worm like me, there is always the movie, which is a near perfect rendition of the novel.)

Here is a link to another blog that I wrote that compares the movies, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” and “La Vita è Bella” (Life is Beautiful in Italian). The entire blog is in Italian, so sorry about that, but there are pictures, so that is an added bonus!

http://myitalianproject.wordpress.com/

As always, if there is a movie trailer or clip available for the books that I review, I will include it!

Enjoy my friends, and I’m serious about having someone to hold you afterwards. I’m serious.

Happy reading everyone!

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