by: Kristen Cashore

Published: 2009

# of pages: 480

Fire is the prequel to Graceling. A prequel that I thoroughly enjoyed, much more than Graceling. You don't need to read Graceling in order to read Fire. As a matter of fact, I think I recommend reading Fire first. In my review of Graceling, I mentioned how annoyed I was at the weird similarities between that book and The Hunger Games. Now I am a little annoyed at the similarity of the titles in this book and the second book by Collins, Catching Fire. It's weird!

However, I found Fire to be a unique story about a girl named Fire. She is a monster, but not in the way we think of monsters. In her world, monsters are the most beautiful creatures on earth...and the most dangerous. There's only one human monster left and so mostly Fire leads a lonely life although she does have a few close friends when the story begins.

The book follows Fire as she struggles to accept her own existence and fulfills duties that only she can perform while making sure that she upholds her values along the way. I liked the character of Fire and her strength. She is such a compassionate person and I felt like she was a more likable character than Katsa in Graceling. I also related to some of the desires she has that she feels will not happen in her life. Of course there is a little bit of romance which I also liked much more than the romance in Graceling.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to older young adults (haha, that sounds funny) and adults who enjoy the fantasy genre. Also, if you liked Graceling, I have a strong feeling you will like Fire even more!

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper
by: Jodi Picoult

Published: 2004

# of pages: 448

I enjoyed this Picoult novel much better than Plain Truth! It was very well written and the story was unique and thought provoking.

The story follows several characters and, similar to Plain Truth, narrated by the different characters. The main character is Anna, a 13 year old girl who sues her parents for medical emancipation. You see, Anna was specifically conceived to be a donor for her older sister Kate, who is 3 years older than she is. She has donated to her sister several times and finally sues her parents when she is asked to donate a kidney.

Anna hires a lawyer, Campbell Alexander, to help with her case. He's intrigued by the girl and says yes, not realizing how much he would be sucked into Anna's personal life, not just her case. I enjoyed his character a lot. He's mysterious and funny and I couldn't help but like him. He meets an old love (sounds a lot like Plain Truth) and has to analyze his feelings for her and overcome his personal fears.

It was interesting to see how this book was similar to and different from Plain Truth. I couldn't help but compare them. They were so different but then alike. I read multiple books by the same authors all the time, but for some reason I had to directly compare these books. I guess because they did have so much in common. It makes me want to read more of hers. I plan to read Nineteen Minutes next since I started reading it at my mom's a few months ago, but had to put it down because I had so many other books on my list to read.

There's a movie that just came out on DVD a couple of months ago. I really want to watch it now that I've read the book, although I heard that they changed the ending and that it isn't as good. It makes me wonder just how they changed it. If you've seen the movie, did you like it? As much as the book? If you didn't like it, why not? Try not to completely spoil the movie for me though, since I haven't seen it yet!

Anyway, I recommend this to adults although with the same warning I gave in my review of Plain Truth, it's not for the very sensitive person. This one wasn't as hard for me to read since it didn't involve infant death, but it was still a touchy subject and still hard for a mother to read. I couldn't help but place myself in the shoes of Sara, Anna and Kate's mother. Oh yeah, this would be a great book club book!

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
by: Katherine Howe

Published: 2009

# of pages: 384

I have to admit, I was disappointed in this book. I waited on it to become available in the library system for months. I had skimmed through some reviews and seen it on several TBR lists and it was obviously a popular book at the library! However, there were a few things I didn't like about the book in spite of how original the storyline was and the interesting content (Salem Witch Trials).

The book's main character is Connie, a graduate student who spends the summer cleaning out her grandmother's abandoned house while she should be searching for the perfect thesis subject. While in Salem, she discovers clues about a physick book that belonged to a woman named Deliverance Dane. Connie also discovers romance and evil and it all jumbles together and Connie has to sort it all out. Obviously the book becomes the subject of her thesis...she just has to find it first!

The story alternates between Connie in modern Salem and other characters from the past, including the years surrounding the Salem Witch Trials. It's interesting how it all ties together, although it sure takes Connie long enough to connect all the dots!

So the story is neat! However, Connie's character annoyed the heck out of me. Seriously, how is that I know more about the history of colonial America than she does, a grad student studying that period of history!? The girl acts clueless about what I am pretty sure is common knowledge among anyone interested in history. I know about that stuff and I haven't even studied American history in depth. Also, at the end there's a pretty important job she performs and yet she completely neglects a major part of the preparation until it's too late. Then she's like, "oh, whoops. I forgot about that part." I mean, there was a lot at stake, how could you miss such a major part?? You'd think it would have at least crossed her mind at some point. She was pretty ditsy several times throughout the novel as she investigates the clues to the physick book's whereabouts. And a lot of it was common sense.

I suppose the story is very predictable as well. That didn't bother me as much, but Connie's lack of perception made it worse. I did enjoy the historic flashbacks that occurred. I thought those characters and their actions were cleverly written. It's just too bad that the same can't be said for the main character.

So, I recommend this to adults who are interested in historical fiction and/or the Witch Trials. This is a unique view on that event, whether or not you like the character of Connie.

Other reviews:
Bookfoolery and Babble
Dolce Bellezza

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Plain Truth

Plain Truth
by: Jodi Picoult

Published: 2007

# of pages: 432

My first Picoult book and it was.... kind of disturbing. I have to admit, one reason I felt this way was because I have an infant son. If you are a new mother, you may want to save this book for later if you are a sensitive person.

The story is about an 18 year old Amish girl, Katie, who is accused of hiding her pregnancy, delivering her baby in secret, and then killing him. Katie denies all of these charges although there is evidence against her. Ellie is a big city lawyer who is caught up in the drama while visiting her aunt who is related to Katie and her family. Ellie ends up living the Amish life, connects with Katie, and runs into a long lost lover.

I felt annoyed with Katie and thought that the story was very repetitive and didn't flow because of her character. It was also hard for me to read about an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy that ended so horribly. I don't believe in not reading a book just because it contains sensitive content or is upsetting in some way. I think it's good to be educated and read things that are thought provoking. However, while I'm glad I read the book, I couldn't enjoy it or even say that I like it.

I think that this is a common tone in Picoult's novels though. I just finished My Sister's Keeper and will be reviewing that soon. It seems like Picoult addresses sensitive issues in her novels and doesn't gloss over the bad things.

Interesting note: the only other books I've read that take place in an Amish setting were Christian novels (by Beverly Lewis). There were several times I was reading Plain Truth and was suddenly reminded that it was not a Christian novel. Haha! It was easy for me to think it was a typical Christian book, so the occasional curse word or sexual reference would come as a surprise.

So, I recommend this to adults who are not afraid to read such a sensitive story. I assume that if you are a fan of Picoult you would also like this read.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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2010 Challenges

I've compiled all of my challenge lists into one post this year. So keep scrolling if you don't see the challenge list you are looking for! The books I've completed are linked to my review.

TBR Challenge
1. My Name is Asher Lev by: Chaim Potok
2. The Terror by: Dan Simmons
3. The Great Gatsby by: F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. The Pillars of the Earth by: Ken Follett
5. Adam by: Ted Dekker
6. Kiss by: Ted Dekker
7. Cloud Mountain by: Aimee E. Liu
8. Middlesex by: Jeffrey Eugenides
9. The Angel's Game by: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
10. Her Fearful Symmetry by: Audrey Niffenegger
11. 84, Charing Cross Road by: Helene Hanff
12. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by: David Wroblewski

YA Challenge
1. Inkheart by: Cornelia Funke
2. Inkspell by: Cornelia Funke
3. Inkdeath by: Cornelia Funke
4. Eragon by: Christopher Paolini
5. Eldest by: Christopher Paolini
6. Brisingr by: Christopher Paolini
7. The Two Princesses of Bamarre by: Gail Carson Levine
8. Deenie by: Judy Blume
9. The Subtle Knife by: Philip Pullman
10. The Amber Spyglass by: Philip Pullman
11. River Secrets by: Shannon Hale

What's in a Name? 3 challenge
A book with a food in the title: Five Quarters of the Orange by: Joanne Harris
A book with a body of water in the title: River Secrets by: Shannon Hale
A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: The Two Princesses of Bamarre by: Gail Carson Levine
A book with a plant in the title: Girl in Hyacinth Blue by: Susan Vreeland
A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Shanghai Girls by: Lisa See
A book with a music term in the title: Music for Chameleons by: Truman Capote

Read Your Name Challenge
A - Adam by: Ted Dekker
N - Nineteen Minutes by: Jodi Picoult
D - Dead Until Dark by: Charlaine Harris
R - River Secrets by: Shannon Hale
E - Eragon by: Christopher Paolini
A - A Game of Thrones by: George R.R. Martin

First in a Series Challenge
1. Inkheart by: Cornelia Funke (Inkworld Trilogy)
2. Eragon by: Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle)
3. A Game of Thrones by: George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire)
4. Dead Until Dark by: Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Series)
5. Last Light by: Terri Blackstock (Restoration Series)

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2009 Review!

Today is my 2nd blogiversery! It feels like it was just yesterday that I started this blog although so much has happened since then. 2008 and 2009 were both crazy years...2008 in a bad way and 2009 in the best way. So I wasn't able to read as much as I would have liked either year, but hopefully I'll pick back up in 2010.

Challenges I participated in:
Young Adult Challenge (finished 9 of 12)
TBR Challenge (finished 8 of 12)
What's in a Name? Challenge (finished 5 of 6)
First in a Series Challenge (finished 6 of 12)
R.I.P. IV (finished 1 of 1)

My favorites (in the order I read them):
The Gargoyle by: Andrew Davidson
The Hunger Games by: Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by: Suzanne Collins
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by: Ann Brashares
The Historian by: Elizabeth Kostova

# of books I read in 2009:
38 (down from 81 in 2007 and 48 in 2008)

Least favorite:
The Last Days of Dogtown by: Anita Diamant (I didn't review it)

Repeated authors:
Garth Nix (3)
Shannon Hale (2)
Suzanne Collins (2)
Kristen Cashore (2)
Jodi Picoult (2)

I hope you all had a happy New Year! Let me know what challenges you're doing this year, what your favorite books were, leave me a link to your end of year review, and tell me what you think about my review. :-)

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Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


my read shelf:
Andrea's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Annual Goal

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 0 books toward her goal of 60 books.

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