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Book and Movie Review–The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Synopsis: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

Let me preface this by saying that this isn’t generally my type of book. I don’t mean that I don’t read books like this. I do. Sometimes. I love historical fiction! But usually when I scour the YA shelves, I’m looking for fast-paced with a smidgen of romance sprinkled in there.  This book isn’t any of that. And yet, I LOVED IT!

There was a unique narrator–it’s told from the perspective of Death. He (I think he’s a he) offers enough comedy and lightheartedness to not drag the book into a depressing litany. He oversees many areas of the time, but focuses mostly on Liesel’s story. I started the book on a Sunday and got about half way through when my mother-in-law deemed it the perfect time to see it in the theatre. Now, I hate seeing a movie before I’ve read the book, but I went anyway. The movie was phenomenal. I loved the actors in it, especially the little girl who played Liesel. She was just beautiful. And the setting–don’t even get me started. Perfectly magical in the right way and desolate too. 

As I thought it would be, it was difficult to get back into the book afterwards. I already know the outcome and that’s not always incentive to keep reading. I finished it because the writing is amazing. The voice of the novel will grab hold of you and keep you up into the wee hours of the night. 

Should you read it? Hell, yes! And then go see the movie too. 

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Book Review– Inferno by Dan Brown

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Amazon’s description: In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

You know what’s funny–I’ve been wrapped in a world of loglines and query writing for the last year and that description is just not that great. It tells us very little about the actual story line. Here’s the gist of it: Robert Langdon wakes up in hospital with no memory of how he got there and only a frightening recurring dream. It doesn’t take long for the person who put him the hospital to find him and attempt to finish the job. With the help of a doctor, he escapes and searches Florence and Venice for clues to a madman’s obsession–an idea that could change the world forever (vague, I know). Landon races against the clock and discovers that everything he thinks he knows is wrong.

True to Dan Brown’s style, this story makes you think. I enjoyed the architectural descriptions of all the different locales and now have a crazy itch to travel. It has a great twist at the end that makes the book difficult to put down.  My only caveat–it took a little while to get going. I read A LOT of YA. I mean A LOT. The style in this is much slower and there isn’t as much emphasis on character or relationships, which is one of the main reasons I read YA. I enjoy the relationships. This book didn’t have any of that. Instead it had information, lots of it.

Would I recommend it: Yes, I would.

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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I haven’t done a lot of book reviews lately, but I felt like this one deserved it. I read, on average, a book or two a week. If I’m not writing myself, I read even more. Two days ago, I finished Legend by Marie Lu and yesterday I finished it’s sequel, Prodigy. 

The general gist of the story: Dystopian Los Angeles is ran by a mostly militarized government called the Republic. June is the Republic’s golden girl/prodigy since she took the Trial (an exam that tests emotional, intelligence, and physical strengths when aged 16). She’s the only one with a perfect score. When her older brother is murdered by the Republic’s most notorious criminal, she goes on a manhunt to find him. What she finds is that her government isn’t as good as she thought.

 

That’s really vague. I know it’s vague. I hate giving away too much. Sometimes it’s better to just dive in and let your hair be blown back. Maybe that’s a little much for this book, but it is good. Really good. Here’s the amazon link if you’d like a little more information or you want to buy it. 

Matched–book review

 After seeing this book listed as the next “it” book on Twitter for too many days in a row, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I generally like this genre–YA dystopian–and I haven’t read any with the same premise.

Synopsis:

Cassia is a girl who believes that the Society has her best interests in heart. They tell her what stories to read, what paintings to enjoy, what songs to listen to–all of “culture” has been broken into lists of 100. Everything else is gone and destroyed. Even her options at love are sorted to perfection. At 17, she attends a Matching ceremony where she will learn of her ideal Match. The boy’s face flashes on the screen and it’s her best friend. All is perfect in the world, until a second boy’s face also flashes on the screen. This glitch in the society’s perfect system puts doubt in Cassia, especially when she starts to fall in love with the more unlikely of the two boys.

Recommendation:

Yep, I’d recommend this to anyone with a hankering for YA, romance, and dystopian interests.