Don’t Die Dragonfly Review

Don't Die, Dragonfly (The Seer, #1)*I read this for the Magical March Reading Challenge!

Title: Don’t Die Dragonfly

Author: Linda Joy Singleton

Brief Synopsis: Sabine Rose has psychic abilities. After a tragedy occurs, she is sent to live with her grandmother. Relieved to have a fresh start, Sabine joins the school newspaper staff and makes new friends. One day, she begins having visions about something bad happening to a girl with a dragonfly tattoo. With the help of her friends, Sabine sets out to save the girl before it’s too late. The novel is the first in “The Seer” series.

My Opinion: Typically, I’m not a huge fan of fantasy. I got this book on a whim a few years ago, and I’m just now getting into the series.

It was a fun, light read. However, the plot was a bit choppy in sections. When the book opened with Sabine in the school’s newspaper office, I was expecting the following few chapters to take place in the school. Much to my chagrin, the second chapter begins with her walking home. I’m a huge fan of plot development, so this book’s plot development left me wanting.

I personally felt like the girl with the dragonfly tattoo only became significant toward the end of the novel. I loved Sabine’s sidekicks, and I can’t wait to learn more about them as the series develops.

The end of this novel really serves to set up the next book in the series. While this wasn’t my favorite book, I will definitely finish the series because I am invested in the character’s lives and I want to know what happens next!

~Carolinabookworm

My Thoughts On This Kony 2012 Business

I have stewed over this topic  for a few days now, and I think I’ve finally calmed down enough to blog about my thoughts.

First, I’d like to emphasize that I support the idea that the children of Uganda need international aid to overcome Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It is difficult for me, as a young American citizen who has never traveled outside of the country, to fully comprehend the full horror that is taking place in Africa.If young children were being abducted and forced into a militia in  America, it would be making international headlines. Sadly, this is the FIRST time that I am hearing about the situation with Kony and the children of Uganda (as well as the surrounding countries), despite the fact that it has been happening for more than 20 years.

However, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about Invisible Children, the organization behind the Kony 2012 campaign. I am interested in learning about their long-term goals and how they intend to fulfill them. As of right now, I am under the impression that the organization is trying to raise public awareness about the situation in Uganda by targeting the LRA’s leader, Kony. In a sense, they are putting a face on an unimaginable horror.

I tend to view things from a logical perspective rather than reacting immediately with my emotions. A bunch of my classmates are “jumping on the bandwagon” and joining the cause without doing any research. The documentary that was just released on Youtube is enough to earn their support.

I don’t want people to think that I am a selfish person just because I am not buying a red “Stop Kony” T-shirt or planning on plastering posters all over the community. I just want to learn more about the situation and the organization’s objectives before pouring my heart and soul into a moral cause.

What happens if/when Kony is caught? What are we, as Americans, willing to do to stop the LRA as a whole? Are we willing to enter a war to stop the LRA? Does America have an obligation to help every single country that is experiencing internal conflict? Sometimes I feel like the only person who is thinking these thoughts.

In my opinion, the people should be taking action, not the government. Why do we have to drag the government into the conflict? Instead, we should make the campaign to stop Kony an international humanitarian effort. By involving the government, we run the risk of offending countries and receiving even more international criticism.

What are your thoughts on the Kony 2012 campaign? Is this the first time you are hearing about it?

~Carolinabookworm

The Scarlet Letter Review

The Scarlet Letter *Book 3/20 for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

*Book 2/7 for the Classics Reading Challenge

Title: The Scarlet Letter

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Brief Synopsis: Hester Prynne lives in the strictly Puritan village of Salem in the early 1600’s. As punishment for her sin of adultery, Hester must wear a scarlet letter “A” on her bosom for the rest of her days. As the years pass, we meet Chillingworth, Dimmesdale, Pearl, and other members of the community. As the reader, we observe the consequences of guilt, sin, deception, and forgiveness.

My Opinion: This was the second time that I have read the book for school, and I loved it even more the second time around. I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of all of the symbolism, and I understood the “impish” actions of little Pearl much better.

The complexity of the characters was intriguing. Without spoiling anything for those of you who have never read the novel, it amazes me the way that Hawthorne was able to develop the psychological aspects of each character. The reader is given insight into the “inner psyche” of Pearl, Hester, Chillingworth, and Dimmesdale, adding to the depth of the plot.

The plot kind of plodded along in sections of the book, but overall I enjoyed the slow build-up of suspense. I didn’t have any idea how the book would end the first time through, so this time it was nice to focus on the little details that I missed the first time through.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I’m not sure that I want to read it again anytime soon, but it wasn’t as painful the second time through as I thought it would be. It definitely helps to use Sparknotes to understand the details and symbolism to the fullest extent.

~Carolinabookworm

The Magic of March

First, I’d like to apologize for my lack of new posts. Life has been craaaazy lately, and I haven’t been doing very much reading. I promise to try harder this month:)

Second, I’d like to announce that the Magical March Reading Challenge is officially in full swing!! At the rate that I am reading books right now, I will be lucky to complete two books for this challenge. Fortunately, I signed up for the Magician’s Class, so two books will more than meet the requirements.

Last, but certainly not least…I will be passing out The Book Thief on World Book Night. I LOVED this book, and I hope that everybody that I give one to will enjoy it just as much as I did.

~Carolinabookworm

The Frog Prince Review

Title: The Frog Prince

Author: Jane Porter

Quick Synopsis: Holly Bishop thought she had married her Prince Charming and found her “happily ever after.” Sadly, reality comes crashing down on her during their honeymoon, when her husband tells her that he doesn’t love her. Now newly divorced and living in San Francisco, Holly gets a new job and tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered fairytale.

My Opinion: After my last two reads, I was craving something light and uplifting. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite find that with this novel.

One major issue that I had was the main character’s incessant whine sessions. She rarely had anything positive to say, and I grew increasingly frustrated with her negative attitude. 

This leads to my second rant: the plot development. Personally, I felt like things happened too quickly. For example, the novel opens with Holly’s boss, Olivia, trying to bring her back to the land of the living. Halfway through the novel, things drastically change: they suddenly become enemies. The overall change in Holly’s attitude also comes too quickly for my taste. For almost three-quarters of the book, she is depressed and lonely. Then BAM…she’s cured!! The lack of plot development in sections of the book left me…wanting.

On a positive note, the minor characters shine brightly! I feel like they could have been developed a bit more (such as Josh, Katie, and Tessa), but they definitely added to the novel as a whole.

~Carolinabookworm

The Fault in Our Stars Review

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Quick Synopsis: From the book jacket…

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”

My Opinion: 

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

From the moment that Gus said “Goddamn, aren’t you something else,” I fell in love with him. Many reviewers are complaining that both Hazel and Gus are too smart for their age, but I disagree. They have both had a lot of time to philosophize about life and death. While I have never personally experienced terminal illness firsthand,I think the dialogue is perfect. These are teenagers who were forced to grow up faster than anybody should ever have to. Even Gus’s whole cigarette theory made sense to me. I took it as him saying that just because he has the cigarette (or cancer), it doesn’t have the power to kill him. 

I broke down when Hazel found Gus at the gas station. I appreciate that the end of his life wasn’t glorified. In this way, the novel was very believable.  

I LOVED the dialogue between Hazel and Gus. Their conversations made me feel like I was watching a warped version of Gilmore Girls.

The ending was perfect for this novel. We know that Hazel is going to die soon, but we don’t need to explicitly experience it. It actually warms my heart to think that they are soon going to be together in Heaven. I know that this is a work of fiction, but it felt so real while I was reading it.

I was fortunate to find a SIGNED COPY of this book last night at Barnes & Noble. I picked it up faster than you can say “Okay.” In my haze of excitement, I walked/ran to the lady at the counter and asked her if it was legitimate. When she said it was, I bought it right there on the spot. Now I have two copies: one to keep forever, and one to lend to everybody.

~Carolinabookworm

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

This book was unlike any other that I have ever read before…

Title: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer

Brief Synopsis: On September 11, 2001, Oskar Schell’s dad died. Ever since that fateful day, nothing in his life has been the same. While going through his dad’s closet, Oskar finds an envelope addressed to Black. It contains a key, but it doesn’t open anything in his house. In a desperate attempt to figure out what the key unlocks, Oskar decides to visit every single person with the last name  “Black” who lives in New York City. Along the way, he meets a unique cast of characters, and the reader is able to observe his healing process. The story is also interwoven with letters, journal entries, and relevant pictures.

My Opinion: I adore this book! This was my first time reading a novel by Mr. Foer, and it definitely won’t be my last. Typically, I prefer a book that has some sense of order to it; at first, this book seems to have absolutely none. For example, the first chapter is full of Oskar’s random observations and ideas (teakettles, talking butts, jujitsu, limos, etc.).

I officially decided to just let myself go with the flow (which was difficult, but I managed to do it with success!) to see where the narrative would take me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that different points of view overlapped, and things that happened in the beginning were brought up again and explained. 

Going into it, I now realize that I knew very little about this book. It is about SO much more than a young boy traveling through New York to find a key.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I won’t say much more. However, I DO want to tell you that my favorite scene in the entire novel was Oskar’s therapy session. I laughed so hard that tears were streaming down my face!!

I highly recommend reading this book soon, especially since the movie is getting ready to come out in theaters.

~Carolinabookworm

The Big 1-8!!!! (And Other News)

Wow, I can’t believe that I’ll be 18 on Saturday!! First on my To-Do List as an adult? Buy a lottery ticket!! Stereotypical, I know; however, I’m reallyreally excited for it all the same.

Besides my birthday news, I wanted to write about something else I’m looking forward to…the HUNGER GAMES MOVIE!!! Everybody at school is talking about it. I’m actually planning on splurging and pre-ordering my ticket for the midnight premiere, which I never do. I usually wait for the local theater to show the movie because the tickets are cheaper, and its closer to home.

I also want to see The Vow and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I’m willing to wait until I can watch them on Netflix at home with my family. I’m reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close right now. So far, it’s a great read!

Homework is calling my name, but I plan on reading a few more chapters before I fall asleep. That’s it for now. Until next time…

~Carolinabookworm

The Hunger Games Review

WOW, I LOVED this book!! If you haven’t read it yet, you need to! I’ve heard all the hype and seen the movie trailers, but I was still blown away.

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Brief Synopsis: In a country named Panem, there are twelve districts surrounding the Capitol. Each year, two tributes (a boy and a girl) are randomly selected from each district to compete in the Hunger Games. It’s kind of like Survivor, but instead of voting, there’s killing. Katniss Everdeen is the narrator and main protagonist, and you can’t help but root for her to win. This is the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy.

My Opinion: I read this book in two days. It’s not very thick, but it’s still an amazing feat for me. I stayed up until 11:30 on a school night because it was THAT GOOD! I will definitely be seeing the movie.

The imagery was amazing! I felt like I was right beside Katniss throughout the entire book. The author kept my focus the entire time; the perfect amount of colorful description, suspenseful action, and witty dialogue. I loved the names of things (mockingjays and tracker jackers, to name a few). I laughed when Peeta compared each district to a type of bread, and I cried when certain events took place. I would recommend this book to anybody and everybody!

~Carolinabookworm

Ophelia Review

*Book 2/20 for Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

A friend at school lent this book to me. It was pretty good. I have never read Hamlet, but this book makes me want to.

Title: Ophelia

Author: Lisa Klein

Brief Synopsis: This is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, Hamlet…but with a twist! It’s told from Ophelia’s perspective, so the focus is more on romance than action.

My Opinion: I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It was refreshing to read a book with a female narrator who wasn’t whiny. I’m not sure how Shakespeare’s play goes, but Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s love seemed to develop too quickly for my liking. It seems like one day they don’t know eachother’s names, and the next, they are getting married. The whole revenge part seemed a little too random for me. Then again, I guess it makes sense because it also surprised Ophelia. I loved how the book ended, but I could literally see it coming from the first page. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

~Carolinabookworm

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