Posted in Book Reviews

Second Five Books of 2017

“Lantern-shine, dim but kind—
No starkness in darkness—
Even I please the eye.
Outside, wind and rain,
Weather’s fitful wax and wane.
Tomorrow’s sun will reveal
What night conceals.
All we lack, regret, know,
Forgotten in lamp-oil glow.”
-The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

6. * Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins – Click here to read how I feel about the Underland Chronicles as a whole (hint: it’s pretty positive!).

7. * The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine – I will admit that I’m biased because Gail Carson Levine is one of my favorite authors EVER, but this is one of her best books. A retelling of Rapunzel and prequel to The Two Princesses of Bamarre (my favorite book of hers after Ella Enchanted), the first half of this book was just perfect. I could not put it down and I don’t say that often. I loved the tension between Perry and her adopted parents and blood-related sister, her sweet and tender relationship with Willem and her desire to conquer her kingdom’s prejudice. She is probably one of Levine’s best main characters. That said, the book took a turn about halfway through and the tone of the novel changed. While the new plotline was fascinating and interesting, it just didn’t feel like the same book anymore. Overall, I liked the climax and resolution and I appreciated the angle Levine took on prejudice and its affects. But I finished it slightly dissatisfied. However, now that some time has passed, I find myself remembering bits and pieces of the story and feeling warmth at the memories. I think it has a special place in my heart and now that my expectations are properly set, I have a feeling I would enjoy it much more on a re-read. The reason I now think it’s one of her best books is because of the clear message it sends about prejudice and the steps needed to overcome it. In that sense, it’s very powerful and relatable.

8. Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine – Sadly, my praise is not as high for this novel as it was for The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre. A sequel to A Tale of Two Castles (which I loved!), it’s overall: underwhelming. There is a mystery, but it’s not nearly as compelling as the mystery in A Tale of Two Castles. And in the sequel, Elodie has little to no internal conflict, therefore, no room for character development. The most character development happened in minor characters whose perspectives we were in occasionally, but not nearly enough. By the time the book ended, the story and characters themselves hadn’t really progressed, which never happens in a Levine novel. Her character developments are usually some of my favorites! I have read in her blog, though, that she really struggled with this story and even she wasn’t satisfied with it, so I like to give her grace considering she’s written several of my favorite books. We can’t win them all.

9. * Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins – Click here to read how I felt about this series as a whole (hint: this is when the series takes a turn and I read the last two books so quickly to find out what happens next. I couldn’t read fast enough!).

10. * Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins – Click here to read how I felt about this series as a whole (hint: ugh, it gets better and better!).

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them

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Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Tomorrow is Always Fresh With No Mistakes in it…Yet

Today I took down my 2018 Beauty and the Beast (live-action) calendar and have my Thomas Kinkade Disney calendar all ready to go above my desk. Yup, you know what that means. A new year is upon us–yet again.

2019.

I’ve done a New Year’s Resolutions blog post every year since I started this blog back in 2015. One thing that seems consistent with these few blog posts is this: time goes by so, so fast. Faster every year. Honestly, ever since I graduated from high school, life has just whizzed by. I think it took me all this fall semester to register that I was a junior in college and only had about a year and a half of school left. When I first started Lumerit in the spring of 2017, I thought school would never, ever end. Now I wonder what my life will be like when it’s over and I hold that Bachelor’s degree in my hands.

Well, I don’t know yet. All I know is every year that passes I’ve changed a little bit and (hopefully) become more adult-ish. I’m afraid that’s the best I can do–keep trying to be a better person than I was last year.

Anyway, I usually give a quick review of how I fared in my year’s resolutions and what I hope to achieve in the next. This year, however, I want start by listing a few things that stand out from 2018.

Continue reading “Tomorrow is Always Fresh With No Mistakes in it…Yet”

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

The Book Tag

I read Ashley’s post of this really cool Book Tag on Inklings Press a while ago and I just had to do it myself!

Rules
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Either the Little House on the Prairie series or the American Girl Samantha books. Both of which Mom read to me when I was young. Very fond memories of listening to each!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current read: Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren. Second in the River of Time series. It’s a very easy read–I read the first half in about two days (which is fast for me 😉 ). I enjoy her descriptions of Italy and the concept of two modern-day girls transported to the 1300s and accidentally falling in love is really fun. But, even though Gabi’s thoughts are hilarious, the main characters are overall pretty flat. It has potential to be more than just a teenage-angst-romance…but it isn’t, really. That said, I’ll probably finish the series as I’m intrigued to see how Gabi and Marcello can stay together seeing as they belong in, you know, two different time periods and everything. 😉

Last read: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes. I was intrigued to read a novel by the writer and creator of Downton Abbey (one of my favorite TV shows) and I was not disappointed! Told in the style and vocabulary of Jane Austen, but with Fellowes’ own unique characters and plot twists. Although there were perhaps a few too many POVS, I loved how deeply we dived into the characters’ flaws and attributes. In Downton Abbey and Belgravia, Fellowes reminds us that past or present, people are motivated by the same emotions: “ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness and, above all, love”.

Next read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. I’m more than halfway through reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. It’s very different than I always thought it was, but overall, I’m enjoying it so far!

Continue reading “The Book Tag”

Posted in Book Reviews

Fifth Five Books of 2016

Here it’s safe, here it’s warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.
-The Hunger Games

After this post, I will only have one more left to conclude the books I read in 2016 and I can move on to the books I read last year in 2017! Unfortunately I only read 14 or 15 books last year, but I’m hoping to beat that goal this year. Considering I’m about to finish reading my 11th book and we’re only halfway through the year, I think this may be doable!

You can find books 1-5 of 2016 here, books 6-10 here, books 11-15 here and books 16-20 here!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

21. Fairies and the Quest for Neverland by Gail Carson Levine – This is the final book in the Fairy Dust trilogy. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I listened to this trilogy on audio during a few road trips and on my way to and from work. What’s different about this book in comparison to the first two is the addition of Peter Pan and Gwendolyn, one of Wendy’s descendants (I think this book is the reason why Gwendolyn is now one of my favorite names). I’ve always loved anything Peter Pan and I used to wish that he would pick me up from my bedroom one night and take me to Neverland (unfortunately, that never happened, by the way). Gwendolyn is spunky, but also full of compassion. She loved fairies so much–too much–and there is such a thing as too much love. Gail Carson Levine has this excellent way of exploring deeper truths in the context of a children’s story and this trilogy was no exception to that.

22. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games is, I’m unashamed to say, one of my favorite series–up there with Dear Americas and the Anne of Green Gables books and The Chronicles of Narnia–as different as it is from all those things. But that just goes to show that we all need is a good writer to tell us a good story, no matter the genre. You can read all my feelings on the Hunger Games trilogy on the Literature Approved website here.

Continue reading “Fifth Five Books of 2016”

Posted in Book Reviews

Fourth Five Books of 2016

“You’re going to be something, you and that language you speak on paper.”
-Pictures of Hollis Woods

You can find books 1-5 of 2016 here, books 6-10 here and books 11-15 here!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

16. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey – I posted a review on this book through the Literature Approved website and you can read it here.

17. My Face to the Wind by Jim Murphy – A Dear America (surprise, surprise!) about a young girl who becomes a schoolteacher in Nebraska. Not one of my favorite Dear Americas, but certainly a very sweet one where Sarah tries to prove her worth to the people of Broken Bow. I think what’s really too bad about this book is the little time we actually spend with Sarah as a teacher. It took about half the book for her to reach that point, so by then, we weren’t left with much time for her to develop relationships with her students.

Continue reading “Fourth Five Books of 2016”