New Feature: The Classics

I'm going to start a new feature on the blog called The Classics.  I like reading the classics but it seems like not as many people do anymore.  What the feature will do is help introduce you to the author with a short bio and then a review about one of their books.  I'll probably start out with more well known authors but hopefully I can find some you haven't heard about yet.  The feature will be done at least every two months.  The first one for this month will be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  Check out the review and author bio below.  Please leave comments telling me what you think about classic books.

p.s. the next feature will be in October.

The Classics: Wuthering Heights

Author Bio:
Emily Bronte was born on July 30, 1818 in Thornton, Bradford in Yorkshire, England.  She was the fourth daughter of Maria Branwell who died three years after her birth.  In 1824 Emily and her four sisters Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Anne entered the Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge where Maria and Elizabeth died a year later.  She and her two remaining sisters are best known for their novels and poetry.  In 1842 they went to the Penisonnat Heger in Belgium where they studied French, German, and literature in the hopes of someday opening their own school.  Emily left to go home first but by 1845 the sisters had given up their dream and were all together again.  It was Charlotte's idea to begin publishing their work and Wuthering Heights was published in 1847, one year before Emily's death on December 19, 1848.  
Merriman, C. D. "Emily Bronte - Biography and Works." The Literature Network: Online Classic Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays & Summaries. Web. 06 Aug. 2010. .

Wuthering Heights
367 pages

"Emily Bronte's dark, brooding vision finds expression in her masterpiece of passion and force.  Her only novel, Wuthering Heights, published a year before  her death in 1848 at the age of thirty, stands as perhaps the most intensely original work in the English language.  In it Emily Bronte records the story of the passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and the wild Heathcliff with such truth, imagination and emotional intensity that a plain tale of the Yorkshire Moors acquires the depth and simplicity of an ancient tragedy."

summary from the back of Wuthering Heights (Penguin Classics, 1985 paperback edition)

This book might be a little confusing because it involves  more than one generation of a family.  Many of them have the same name and how they are related can be confusing too.  The book is mainly about Heathcliff and how he affected so many people.  I really like the book but there were parts where I found myself wishing it would just get to the point.  It always made me want to know more about the characters and what would happen to them next.  Heathcliff was a frustrating character for me because I would want to hate him for everything he's done but then he would show you how much pain he was in over Catherine.  I don't really understand how he justified to himself what he did.  In the end I did like the book even though it was kind of weird. Rating: 4 stars



The Vinyl Princess

The Vinyl Princess
313 pages

"How does a sixteen-year-old vinly junkie get by ?  Summer is here and Allie is exactly where she wants to be: working full time at the ultra-cool Bob & Bob Records in Berkeley.  Here Allie can spend her days bantering with the street people, talking the talk with the staff, shepherding the uncool bridge-and-tunnel shoppers - all the while blissfully surrounded by music, music, music.  It's the perfect setup for her to develop her identity as The Vinyl Princess.  Her very first zine is about ready to print and her new blog, www.thevinylprincess.com, is up and running.  From the safety of her favourite place on earth, Allie's poised to launch a vinyl revolution.  Or at least reach some fellow music geeks out there.
They are out there...aren't they?"

summary from the inside cover of The Vinyl Princess (Harper Teen, 2010 Hardcover Edition)

The Vinyl Princess was written by Yvonne Prinz.  I liked the storyline and there were a few good plot twists but something about the writing style decreased the books appeal to me.  There were a lot of funny descriptions but they kind of just kept going on, one after another.  Each one was funny by itself but when you put together a long string of detailed descriptions, it gets a little tiring.  Sometimes simple dialogue or descriptions convey the meaning best.  There were also a lot of music references to a wide range of genres and artists which a lot of people would not understand unless they listened to that music.  These two small problems (for me) kept the book from being one of the best ones I've read, but I did it a lot.  There were several good plot twists that changed things up and kept the story interesting.  This is the kind of book I would probably read again if I randomly saw it on the shelf at the library and had time to read it again.  Rating: 3 stars, pretty good, but not the best I've read.

p.s.  The authors website is called www.thevinylprincess.com where you can learn about her, her book, and read her blog about music.



You can check out my blog too. I've added a lot of interesting books to it recently that you might like. This blog has some really great books so please comment and let us know what you think about the books we post.



Mariah Mundi and the Ghost Diamonds

Mariah Mundi and the Ghost Diamonds
319 pages

" 'It was murder.  I don't know how or why but I think I can prove it'  There is never a dull moment for Mariah Mundi living in the Prince Regent Hotel.  But catastrophe strikes when three eminent visitors spontaneously combust at a hotel party.  Just a freak of nature or a cleaverly plotted murder?  Mariah Mundi senses a conspiracy.  and when his best friend, Sacha, is kidnapped, he knows that he must find answers-urgently.  Who's the masked man seen prowling the streets?  And why is the richest man in the world so interested in the hotel?  Could the answer lie in the mythical Ghost Diamonds?"

summary from the back of Mariah Mundi and the Ghost Diamonds (Faber and Faber, 2009 paperback edition)

With this book, I found it a lot easier to read than the first one in the Mariah Mundi series.  The first one seemed to take forever to read, but I got through this one much more quickly.  In this book, Mariah is on his first case with the the Bureau of Antiquities.  It doesn't really do much  to advance the plot of the series, except for that it gives even more clues as to what might have happened to Mariah's parents.  There were a few loose ends which I hope will be tied up in the next book but I can't tell if the main action of the next book will revolve around Mariah's role in the Bureau or what happened to his parents.  Also, once you find out what happened to his parents, I don't know if the series could continue beyond that, so far there is only one other book (which I think is the last one).  I would say that the Mariah Mundi series is pretty average based on the first two books, I wouldn't read it again, but I did enjoy the books.  Rating: 3 stars


See the review for Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box


The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma
391 pages

"If you fail all is lost.  Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other.  When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before.  Is this the end of the Mysterious Benedict Society?"

summary from inside cover of The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (MT Books, 1st edition October 2009)

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma is written by Trenton Lee Stewart.  I like this book as much as the first one.  In this book, the children are being kept at Mr. Benedict's house to protect them from Mr. Curtain, they can't leave.  The government keeps trying to get the Whisperer from Mr. Benedict but he is doing everything he can to keep them from getting it because he knows they will use it to invade peoples minds.  They have people guarding the house, but one of them is a spy for Mr. Curtain and he helps Mr. Curtain steal the Whisperer and capture the children again.  I really like the ending and if you have read the other two books, I would say it is definitely worth it to finish the series.  Rating: 5 stars



The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves
404 pages

"Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the barrier.  She's content to let her friends dream of the dark city up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse.  Home is all she's ever known and all she needs for happiness.  But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.  Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth but, like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried.  One night beyond the Barrier...  One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...  One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.  Now Gabry knows only one thing: of she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest and her mother's past".

summary from inside cover of The Dead-Tossed Waves (Gollancz, First Edition 2010)

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan is about Mary's daughter.  I just want to say that this one is much better than the first book (The Forest of Hands and Teeth).  Mary now lives in and operates the lighthouse on the beach she found after escaping from her old village.  The new town she lives in is called Vista.  Here, they are not cut off from the rest of the world and they know there are other people alive and they communicate with them, unlike in Mary's old village.  Mary leaves to try and find the people she left behind in the forest, she has tried before but she could never find them.  A little later, Gabry is forced to follow her with some of her friends from Vista.  At first Gabry seemed just like her mother, risking the lives of her friends and the two guys she likes, so I thought this book would be like the first and I wouldn't like it.  Towards the end though, she kind finds out a lot about her past and her mothers past which changes her a little.  The third book is set to come out at the beginning of 2011, and I'm actually looking forward to finding out what happens to Gabry and her friends, the book ends with a lot of unresolved things going on.  Rating: 3 stars



The Secret Countess

The Secret Countess
345 pages

"ST. Petersburg Russia, 1919.  Anna's world is under threat.  The eighteen-year-old countess has lived in luxury all her life, but revolution is tearing Russia apart - and her family must escape...  London, 1919.  Now penniless, Anna is working as a servant for the aristocrat Westerholmes.  But as she falls in love with the young earl it becomes harder to keep her true identity secret..."

summary from back of The Secret Countess (Picador, 2007 edition)

The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson was first published as a A Countess Below Stairs in 1981.  The reason I read this book was because I have read other books by this author and they were pretty good.  In this book Anna and her family have fled from Russia and now are now living in England.  They are there with a lot of other royal and high ranking families that have fled as well.  Because they no longer have very much money they all have to work hard, but none of them are bitter about it.  This is a romance book, the person Anna loves is engaged to a woman who is 'perfect' but turns out to be an awful person.  I usually don't like books like this but this one was actually pretty good, and I kept wanting to find out what happened to her.  A lot of times when I read books like this, I get bored with them.  It has a lot of funny parts, but the ending isn't very unexpected.  Altogether it was an interesting book and I would recommend it more to girls 13 and under, although other people might like it also.  Rating: 3 stars



The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth 
308 pages

"In Mary's world there are simple truths.  The Sisterhood always knows best.  The Guardians will protect and serve.  The Unconsecrated will never relent.  And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her.  She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power.  And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.  Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her.  And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"

summary from inside cover of The Forest if Hands and Teeth (Delacorte Press, 1st edition 2009)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is about a girl named Mary who lives in walled town in the middle of a forest.  They are totally isolated from anything else and they are the only humans left alive on earth, or so they are told.  The reason they are protected by Barriers is because after the Return, anyone bitten by the Unconsecrated (they are like zombies) will become Infected and become one of them.  One day though, Mary sees someone who has come from the forest.  Her entire life, she has heard stories of the ocean and she has always wanted to leave to find it.  In the end she makes it there, but the main thing I didn't like about the book was Mary and her obsession with the ocean.  By the time she made it there, everyone she loved was dead.  She said she loved them but she literally sacrificed their lives in her quest to find the ocean.  It just really bothered me how she would throw herself at two guys and make long speeches about how much she loved them, and then was the cause of their death because she couldn't let go of the ocean.  Overall it wasn't to bad, but it wasn't the best book I've read, although zombies are new.  I've never read a book about them.  Rating: 2 stars, this is because I found a lot of the things Mary did annoying, as you can tell from my rant about her ...

p.s. I am reading the second book now and will post about it soon


The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
440 pages

"Children you must not come STOP Dangerous.  The Mysterious Benedict Society is back with a new mission: a mind-bending international scavenger hunt designed to test their individual talents.  As they search for all the clues and riddles Mr. Benedict has hidden for them, Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance face an unexpected challenge that will reinforce all the reasons they were brought together in the first place and require them to fight for the very namesake that united them.  Join the Mysterious Benedict Society at your own risk!"

Summary from back of The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (MT Books, may 2009 Edition)

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart is more about how the 4 children have changed after their previous adventure.  They have to try to save Mr. Benedict from Ledroptha Curtain but along the way you learn how each of them has changed.  They have all regained/found their families.  Their parents are always worried for their safety after their last adventure and in order to save Mr. Benedict they have to sneak away and go against their parents.  All in all it was a really good book, I liked the first one a little more but it is definitely worth continuing the series.  Rating: 5 stars

p.s. I'll post about the last book soon


The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society
485 pages

"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?  When this peculiar add appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests.  (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.)  But in the end just four very special children will succeed.  Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete.  With their new found friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?  Welcome to The Mysterious Benedict Society."

Summary from the back of the Mysterious Benedict Society (MT Books, April 2008 edition)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is about younger children but I think that older people can enjoy it.  I like this book because there is a lot of action and you get to figure  out what is happening along with the characters in the book.  It has a lot of excitement and I would recommend it to anyone who likes an adventure/mystery books.
Rating: 5 stars

Tell us what you think, comment!

p.s. I will post about the next book soon.


Elephant Run

Elephant Run is written by Roland Smith. It is 318 pgs. long.

In 1941, bombs are being dropped on London. One night fourteen year old Nick Freestone's apartment is destroyed. Nick's mother decides the situation in England has grown too unstable. After spending a night at his mother's office in the U.S. embassy, he is flown to Burma.

His mother feels it is safer to send him to their family's teak plantation in the jungles of Burma. Nick gets there and he is excited to learn about the elephants that help to run the operations of the plantation. After only a matter of days of arriving at the plantation, the Japanese soldiers invade and take his father and a worker prisoner. All the other workers are forced to work as servants for the Japanese. After the hope of being released is destroyed, Nick and his friend Mya plan their escape. They want to rescue their families from the prison camps. It will be extremely hard and dangerous for them. The Japanese, the wilderness, and the long distances stand in their way. It is a really good book and I could hardly put it down.
5 stars



Dead Girls Don't Write Letters

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters
144 pages

Sunny Reynolds' older sister Jazz died when her apartment building lit on fire.  Sunny's family is broken by her death.  So when months later, Sunny receives a letter from her sister, she is more than a little surprised.  The thing is, the person who shows up at their door isn't her sister and Sunny has to find out who this person is and what she wants with her family.

my own summary

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles was a really surprising book.  Its a quick read, I read it one afternoon after school.  The author builds up all of the clues until you think you know who the girl is and what will happen at the end and then surprises you.  I really liked the ending and it was totally unexpected.  I would definitely recommend reading this book.
Rating: 4 stars

Tell us what you think, comment!


Mariah Mundi and The Midas Box

Mariah Mundi and The Midas Box
369 pages

"Fresh out of school, Mariah faces a new chapter of his life living in the Prince Regent Hotel.  His job is to assist the the magician in the stage shows held for the guests.

Above ground, the hotel offers every form of luxury.  Below ground, withing the slimy dripping walls of the basement, the magic show equipment is kept-and lurking in an Egyptian sarcophagus is the secret that draws Mariah into the path of villainy and possible death."

Summary from Mariah Mundi and The Midas Box (faber and faber: 2008 edition)

This is the first book in the Mariah Mundi series by G.P Taylor.  It had a lot of unexpected developments.  There were a lot of things that you thought wouldn't happen.  The book is set in England, a lot of it happens at night, making the place seem dark and gloomy.  I liked the way the author wrote the book and there was a lot of action but sometimes the book dragged.  The ending was really good but a little bit confusing.  Overall it was a pretty good book 
Rating: 3 stars

Tell us what you think, comment !

p.s. I decided to use summaries from the back of the book because it is faster and they are probably better than the summaries I was writing. :)


New book rating system

I decided that I should use a rating system to kind of help you decide whether or not the books I post about are worth reading.  So I came up with this:
5 stars - worth buying it
4 stars - really good
3 stars - its worth reading
2 stars - okay, but not really that great
1 star - don't read it unless you can't get anything else
0 stars - I am begging you not to read this

Hopefully I'll never have to post about  a 0 star book ...
Anyways, I hope this helps, I am trying to post about as many books as I can, but I am really busy.  I'm making it my goal to post about at least 1 book every week.  If you want to want to find a specific book, look at the book list page.  It has all the books we have posted about.  Also if you have any suggestions for books, please leave a comment :)


The Book Thief

The Book Thief is a historical fiction book by Markus Zusak.  The book is set in WW2 Germany, in the town of MolchingLiesel Meminger is sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann when her mother can no longer afford to support her.  While living on Himmel street, she learns not only to read, but about the power of words.  She learns to love and to hate them.  In the end the words are what save her life.  It is narrated by Death.   One thing that I really liked about the book was the way the author described things.  These descriptions opened a new way of seeing what was happening through Liesel's eyes.  It is a really sad book but parts of it are really funny.  It is definitely one of my favorites and I would recommend it to anyone.    Rating: 5 stars

Tell us what you think, comment !



The Books of Pellinor

The Books of Pellinor are a fantasy quartet written by Alison Croggon . The main character, Maerad, grew up as a slave in Gilman's Cot, but she was not always a slave . When a mysterious stranger named Cadvan appears in the barn while she is milking cows, she has no idea that he will reveal her true identity and past .   The books follow Maerad on her journey towards discovering who she is and what she is meant to do .  I liked the way Alison Croggon wrote the books and the language she used while writing .  Although these are excellent books, there was just one thing I did not like about the series .  This is just my opinion though .  In the first two books, the story was focused entirely on Maerad and how she is the one who has to save everything , and how she is the only one who can do this .  In the 3rd book, this changes to include her brother, and now he has to help Maerad achieve this .  I personally think the series would have been better if the author had stuck with how she began the story .  Overall though I did love these books and I would recommend them to anyone who loves fantasy and adventure stories .     Rating 3 stars: This is because the whole thing about the third book bothered me so much !

Tell us what you think, comment !

p.s. I am in England now so I will be able to post more often, thanks to all the new readers for joining :)