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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 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

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 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

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

The Joy Luck Club Review

I absolutely flew through this book! While I am a voracious reader, it typically takes me a week or more to get through an entire novel. It might help that I had the past week off from school, during which I did nothing but read, sleep, and eat.

 Anywho, I’ve officially decided that I am going to make my reviews short and sweet. This way, I don’t spoil anything for you, and you get the gist of what the book is about. As an extra little bonus, you’ll receive my honest opinion about what I have read.

Title: The Joy Luck Club

Author: Amy Tan

Quick Synopsis: Four female Chinese immigrants come together to form the Joy Luck Club. Each month, they meet up to share traditional Chinese meals and play the game of mahjong. The novel is divided into four parts, with each part containing four chapters. Each chapter is told from the view of one of the four mothers or one of thee four daughters. Taken together, the reader learns important bits of information about each of the four mother/daughter pairs and their families.

Opinion: Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things the mothers said to their daughters, and sympathizing with each woman’s unique situation. However, I found myself growing increasingly aggravated with one character in particular: Jing-Mei Woo. I found that I felt the least sympathy for her out of all of the characters. In my opinion, she was a brat as a child, rebelling against everything that her mother even showed an ounce of interest in. I understand that she felt pressure when she was constantly compared to Waverly Jong, but this girl was seriously annoying. Her only redeeming quality came at the end, when she finally let her true emotions shine through.

 This is a highly recommended read!!

~Carolinabookworm