Category Archives: Reading Challenges

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

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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

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

Frankenstein Review

*Book 1/7 for the Classics Reading Challenge!!

I’m going to be perfectly honest here-if I didn’t have to read Frankenstein for class, I never would have picked it up. Having said this, I did enjoy it…to a certain extent.

Title: Frankenstein

Author: Mary Shelley

Quick Synopsis: The  novel begins with four letters written by Robert Walton to his sister. He is on a ship in the Arctic when his boat picks up a man who is on the brink of death. This stranger happens to be Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who proceeds to tell his tragic story to his new friend, Mr. Walton. Without spoiling anything for you, he tells us about how his life has led him to create “the creature.” We then meet the monster, who tells his story to Dr. Frankenstein. After completing his story, he makes a very specific request of his creator, and we return to Frankenstein’s perspective as we learn the outcome of his tragedy.

Opinion: I felt like there were several slow sections in this book. However,  I like the build-up in tension as we “hear” the story along with Robert Walton. While not every single minute detail was absolutely necessary, it did help to set the tone of this gothic novel. I felt like I was living with the Frankenstein family as Victor grew up, or sitting beside “the creature” in his little hovel.

For some reason, I have been aggravated by several characters in the last couple of books that I have read. This time, my frustration was directed toward…drumroll please…Dr. Victor Frankenstein. I felt little to no sympathy for everything that occurred after he brought his creation to life. His utter disgust and subsequent shunning of his life-form was infuriating! I feel like if he had just shown even an ounce of love for “the creature,” things wouldn’t have gone down like they did. I understand that there wouldn’t have been a story if this had happened, but did Ms. Shelley really have to make the protagonist so naive???

Overall, this novel was just okay for me. I’m not a huge fan of gothic literature; I don’t like overly moody characters and dreary atmospheres. I plan on blogging about this book one more time after my class holds a seminar (next week?) because it will be interesting to hear my classmates’ opinions. Maybe I will hear something that will change my opinion, or somebody will bring up a point that I never considered on my own.

~Carolinabookworm

A Classics Reading Challenge!

I figure my semester in AP Literature will help me complete this challenge. In fact, I’m reading Frankenstein right now, so I’m already on my way to completing the first of seven classics! On the 4th of each month, the host will post a question on her blog that will fit with any classic. This is an interesting way to learn everyone’s opinions, and I’m looking forward to the diversity of the questions! Here’s my list of books that I plan on reading for this event:

1. Frankenstein

Like I said above, I am reading this for class. Besides that, who doesn’t love a horror novel every now and then?

2.  Hamlet

This will be another book that I read for class. However, Shakespeare is timeless, and it parallels Ophelia (which I am also reading right now!), so it should be a fun read.

3. Pride and Prejudice

I LOVE this time period!! I haven’t read anything by Austen yet, but I’ve seen the movie, and it was amazing! I can’t think of a better first book to read for Austen.

4. Heart of Darkness

Yet another book I will be reading for class. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’ll let you know when I start it.

5. Vanity Fair

I picked this up at my local bookstore a few months ago. I’ll be honest-the cover pulled me in first. I’m a sucker for a fun cover. Hopefully the inside will be as fulfilling as the outside

6. This Side of Paradise

Ohhhh Fitzgerald, how you tugged at my heartstrings with The Great Gatsby! I enjoyed that novel (and sortakinda cried a few tears), so I’m hoping this one will be a winner.

7. The Woman in White

I had to scour other blogs to find my seventh book, but I think I’ve succeeded!! I’ve heard it’s an excellent read, but I have absolutely no idea what it is about. I’m feeling brave right now, so I’m going to go for it!

I’m joining this challenge a little late, but the host only requires that you respond to three of the twelve prompts on her blog. I like the fact that this is a very “go with the flow” type of challenge.

~Carolinabookworm

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

I am also joining the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! I think I will try for 20 books (Severe Bookaholism level) because I lovelovelove historical fiction. I am going to use The Joy Luck Club as my first review because of the focus on Chinese culture. I am wicked excited for this challenge!!!

~Carolinabookworm

Magical March Challenge!

I’ve officially joined my first reading challenge!! I’m super excited to announce that I will be entering in the Magician’s Class. Yes, I know that I am setting my goals low, but I figure that if I read over two books, I will feel like an over-achiever, which will boost my self-confidence, which will make me happier, which…you get the picture. I haven’t officially decided which books I will be reading for this challenge, but keep an eye out for my reviews in March!

~Carolinabookworm