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In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin 
is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.
Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Click here to learn more about the book!

1 year ago · 0 notes

Book Review: City of Bones

Title:City of Bones (#1 in the Mortal Instruments series)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: McElderry Books

Length: 473 pages

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

*PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE BRACKETED A CERTAIN PORTION OF MY REVIEW; THAT MEANS IT IS A SPOILER.  IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK, DO NOT READ THE BRACKETED TEXT!  I AM NOT HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYONE ACCIDENTALLY READING THE SPOILER.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! :)*

Plot Summary:

Clary Fray expects a fun night of partying and dancing at New York’s Pandemonium Club.That is, until she witnesses a murder done by young teenagers covered in mysterious marks; Clary later learns less than 24 hours later that these teenagers are Shadowhunters, warriors that slay the demons of this earth.Yet, a demon has somehow made its way into Clary’s house and kidnapped her mother.It is up to Clary, a mere mundane (Shadowhunter slang for “human”) and the Shadowhunters to recover her mother and ultimately find the demon’s true intentions.Through this mystery, Clary learns more about herself and helps one Shadowhunter, the gorgeous blonde, Jace discover himself, as well.However, sometimes secrets are sometimes better kept as secrets.

Thoughts:

I have been getting SO MANY questions from people on my Goodreads/Twitter/Tumblr websites asking me what is taking my so long to read this series.Basically everyone was concerned that I didn’t like this series.Fear not!I have been SUPER busy the past week and a half (with family to friends to working to my boyfriend) and it was incredibly hard to keep up with my reading.Now that summer is dwindling, I have become a recluse and have locked myself in my room to finish more books so expect some heavy duty reading!

I remember when this book was first published when I was in 8th grade.My friend begged me to read this book, but I had always declined.I remember one of her “ploys” to get me to try and read this book was by offering an extremely thorough explanation that this book was inspired by some Harry Potter fanfiction written by the author years ago.Flash forward five years later, and I am reading this book, suddenly remembering my friend giving me this piece of information.Immediately, I launched myself into research concerning this.Indeed, Cassandra Clare is quite a famous Harry Potter fanfiction author, and one of her stories served as an inspiration for this novel.Now, I am not an avid reader of fan fiction, but I will occasionally read a piece from time to time.So, after finishing City of Bones, I read her fanfiction inspirational piece and enjoyed it.Later, I read some reviews of City of Bones and found that people totally bashed Cassandra Clare for employing some fanfiction in her novel and basically accused her of plagiarism.As an avid Harry Potter nerd, I was not offended in the least bit by this novel.Never once did I think, “WOW.This is just like Harry Potter.”In fact, had my friend never told me this, I would NEVER have thought this was inspired by Cassandra Clare’s Harry Potter fanfiction.To me, these individuals’ claims regarding her plagiarism were too far-stretched and ultimately made no sense.Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions.However, I just want to let those who were/are offended by this novel, to have no fear.This book has not and will never compare to Harry Potter’s standards.I get it; as a fellow Harry Potter freak, I would be ticked off if someone wrote an exact duplicate to the most amazing book(s) in the world, but this book, in my opinion, is totally different.

Therefore, I found this book to be rather awesome.I loved the plot.The whole premise was amazing and super creative.I was extremely hesitant to read this book, fearing it would be a lot like the Evernight series; I believed, based on the plot summary, that the Shadowhunters greatly resembled the vampire hunters seen in the Evernight series.Luckily, the storyline was completely unique.I was on my toes the entire time reading this book.There were so many twists and turns that I frequently gasped out loud by many unexpected events, which I love the unexpected!The ending left me on a good cliffhanger…is that possible?And, I absolutely can’t wait to start City of Ashes in the future!

While I did REALLY enjoy this book, I had a couple issues with this book: 

  1. There are certain things in this book that totally left me confused.  Cassandra Clare writes some pretty hefty explanations (full of many similes) for many scenarios throughout the novel which really added to the story.  Yet, there are some details that I totally felt were neglected.  For example, the magical “stele” which is possessed by all Shadowhunters.  I originally believed this was a weapon, and I think I was wrong about that seeing as the Shadowhunters would draw on themselves/objects with it.  So, does that make it a Sharpie?  But, it also had these “magical abilities,” and Sharpies are merely for permanent inking, so I guess that option is out.  Thus, what is this?  Another example where I felt details were lacking was in regards to glamour/possessing the sight.  Let’s take the Institute, for instance.  The Institute is New York’s safe haven for Shadowhunters.  Seeing as mundanes don’t know about the Shadowhunter world, the Institute appears as an abandoned church.  Who’s to say that some teenagers eager to have an intense make out session wouldn’t choose this church because of its private settings?  So, if these teenagers or other mundanes were to enter this abandoned church, wouldn’t they accidently be stepping inside the Institute and be exposed to all of the Shadowhunters’ glory because, if you recall, Clary’s best friend, Simon, enters the Institute (which he originally saw as the church) but is then greeted with the Institute’s amenities.  To me, that just didn’t make sense.  Now, I know these are a bit picky, but they seriously left me scratching my head the entire time.  Maybe in the next books there will be a more detailed explanation(s).
  2.  Speaking of Clary, am I the only one who found her to be the most irritable protagonist ever in this story?  A huge issue I had with her, was the writing/developing of her character.  Her mother gets kidnapped by DEMONS at the beginning of this novel.  Had you accidentally skipped over this part in the book, you would have NO IDEA because she makes no reference or really seems to care throughout the entire book.  In fact, she mentions caring and being concerned for Jace, a boy she has known less than 2 weeks, more frequently than she ever mentioned being worried for her mother.  As I kept reading, I decided to come to the conclusion that Cassandra Clare just wrote Clary as a pretty typical self-centered teen.  Ok, I guess I would just have to deal with that.  Teenagers do tend to be selfish.  However, the 3rd to last page, Clare writes, “And I know there’s no point in telling you how great my mom is, what an amazing, terrific, wonderful person that she is and that you’d be lucky to know her” (483).  That was the FIRST and ONLY mention Clary made of how much great her mom is since her disappearance, and [Clary made this statement once she had been found].  To me, these two different Clarys made no sense.  In my opinion, Clary was an amateur character.  For all the hype this book gets, I expected a bit more professionalism in regards to characters and their development.

Regardless of the things I did not like, this book was splendid, not my favorite because those minor details that really bothered me, but it was still a really good book!I am so stoked to read City of Ashes soon!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy, paranormal, vampires, angels, werewolves, and slight romance books.

1 year ago · 3 notes

Book Review: Delirium

Title: Delirium (#1 in the Delirium series)

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Harper Teen

Length: 480 pages

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

                My Rating Scale:

                1 Star= I flat out hated it/terrible/I wanted to scratch my eyes out.

                2 Stars= I didn’t like it

                3 Stars= It was okay/I moderately liked it

                4 Stars= I really liked it, but it wasn’t totally perfect

                5 Stars= Holy literary gods! I LOVED this book!

Plot Summary:

Lena Holoway lives in a dystopian society in which amor deliria nervosa (known by us as, love) is illegal.  Living in this world her whole life, Lena looks forward to her mandatory medical procedure in which doctors will physically cut out the section of her brain that allows her to feel the various emotions associated with love so she will ultimately never experience it.  However, months before her procedure, Lena meets Alex.  Alex.  The rebel.  The mysterious.  The exact person Lena needs to help her see the corruptions in society.  Now, Lena wants nothing more than to love and be loved freely.  Yet, with societies imposing laws, will their relationship last?

Thoughts:

As I started this book, I honestly couldn’t understand what all the “hype” was about this novel.  If anything, the first 50 pages were a bit slow and just focused on world-building.  I was disappointed.  However, as I continued reading, the addiction seeped in.  After finishing this book, I can firmly stand by a perfect 5/5 star rating.  I loved it.  Wait…did I just say I LOVED this book?  Bite me, dystopian government.

I have heard a lot of people find fault with the world building in this book.  Basically, a lot of people find this world to be too unrealistic, and I get it!  How could you ever believe/live in a world where love is illegal?  I pondered this.  After stepping in Lena’s shoes for a bit, I had a book discovery.  Think about it!  We live in a world where we believe drugs are bad and illegal.  Of course, there are those people who want certain drugs to be legalized because they claim they do not truly harm the individual.  Still, there are a majority that oppose this viewpoint.  Of course, government has to make a “stand” in the drug debate, so there are laws that illegalize drugs and drug activity and there are those who enforce these laws.  Additionally, at young ages we are taught to stay away from drugs (JUST SAY NO!).  For us, the use of drugs is illegal and wrong.  It’s all we know, and we believe that is right.  Now, flash forward 100 years later, maybe there will be a huge movement in which drugs do become legal…it could happen.  Society is fickle.  Our opinions change.  One second something is okay; the next second something is wrong.  So, that is how I found this world to be believable.  The world is relatable.  We just have to be open-minded and think about it on that level.  Therefore, I didn’t have a problem with the world building. It was more than believable.  In fact, it was scary.  What if love does becoming illegal?  You can’t love your family; your family doesn’t love you; you can’t love a soulmate; a soulmate can’t love you; you can’t love your dog; your dog can’t love you.  Okay….enough for the depressing moment.

The symbolism in this book is probably some of the best in young adult literature.  First off, the cover is a hidden surprise.  The eye on the back of the book is actually a subtly smoky eye whereas the eye on the front of the book is just a plain natural eye.  Ok, one word: fanfreakingawesome!  The cover really shows the opposing pulls Lena feels throughout the book: should she believe what society tells her, or should she believe what her heart tells her?  I absolutely adored the cover.  Also, the symbolism inside the pages…wow.  My favorite symbol in the book is when Lena sees her neighbor’s dying dog.  Ok, I know it seems bad/sad/depressing.  And, NO nothing is wrong with me!  If you have read this book, you will know the amount of emotions and meanings this scene had behind it.  As soon as this happened, I knew the book was going to “lift off.” 

The romance was sweet and simple.  I rather enjoyed it.  I sometimes am not the biggest fan of young adult romance because it can be a bit cheesy, but this romance was so natural.  It was a beautiful and tender tale about first love.  After I finished this, I told my boyfriend that Alex was a super awesome fictional boyfriend of mine.  Yeah, that didn’t go over well…

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy dystopian, apocalyptic, science fiction, romance, and action/adventure books.

1 year ago · 7 notes

Book Review: Wither

Title: Wither (#1 in the Chemical Garden Trilogy)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Length: 358 pages

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

                My Rating Scale:

                1 Star= I flat out hated it/terrible/I wanted to scratch my eyes out.

                2 Stars= I didn’t like it

                3 Stars= It was okay/I liked it

                4 Stars= I really liked it, but it wasn’t totally perfect

                5 Stars= Holy literary gods! I LOVED this book!

Favorite Quote from Book:

“Tell freedom I said hello.”

Plot Summary:

Rhine Ellery is sixteen years old and living in a world in which men die at the age of 25 and women die at the age of 20.  No one can seem to find an antidote to stop these young deaths.  In the meantime, young girls are frequently kidnapped, sold, and forced into polygamous marriages with men.  Rhine is one of these girls.  While falling for a scam, Rhine is kidnapped, bought, and married to the wealthy and prominent Linden Ashby.  While Linden is an extremely kind-hearted man who claims he can provide anything for Rhine, she discovers there are two things he can’t give her: freedom and her twin brother, Rowan.  Similarly, Rhine meets a house attendant Gabriel who also misses his freedom.  Together they make it a quest to escape the luxurious mansion and find what their hearts truly desire.

Thoughts:

Before I read a book, I NEVER look at others’ reviews/opinions of a particular book.  However, after I read a book, I enjoy reading what other people think.  So, when I read Wither’s ratings and reviews I was totally shocked.  I understood where some people’s concerns were, but I found most people to be too nitpicky and completely harsh.  Honestly, we have to give Lauren DeStefano props for having the courage to develop, write, and publish a book.  It’s not an easy task.  So to you EXTREMELY HARSH and CRUEL Debbie Downers of this book, go write your own book to satisfy your needs.  Sorry, I had to just put that out there!

Despite some people, I really enjoyed this book.  I think the plotline was innovative, unique, and interesting.   The book was told in Rhine’s perspective, and I found her to be an extremely relatable character.  Therefore, I really felt her internal struggles.  I felt every emotion and struggle that she faced while being forced to marry Linden Ashby.  However, through her hardships, she proved to be an extremely strong character—let’s face it…protagonists who whine and pull the “woe is me card” are the most despised characters.  Overall, the pacing was great, the other characters were full of depth and well written (I absolutely adored the sister wives), and the story in general had me wanting to read more.

And, can I just mention that this cover is BEAUTIFUL!  I mean it’s totally Vogue-esque, and the symbolism and details taken into consideration for the cover are absolutely divine!

I look forward to reading the next book, Fever.  I want to know what happens so badly!      

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy dystopian, apocalyptic, science fiction, and romance novels.

1 year ago · 0 notes

Book Review: Vampire Academy

Title: Vampire Academy (#1 in the Vampire Academy series)

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill

Length: 332 pages

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

                My Rating Scale:

                1 Star= I flat out hated it/terrible/I wanted to scratch my eyes out.

                2 Stars= I didn’t like it

                3 Stars= It was okay/I liked it

                4 Stars= I really liked it, but it wasn’t totally perfect

                5 Stars= Holy literary gods! I LOVED this book!

Favorite Quote from Book:

“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”

Plot Summary:

St. Vladimir Academy is a boarding school that trains vampire royals and their guardians for their future roles in the vampire society.  Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi princess, and Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir (a half human half vampire) are destined to someday fulfill these roles.  After two years of freedom, Lissa and Rose are dragged back to the Academy.  Grudgingly, the girls decide to give it a chance, but as danger begins to pose as a threat against Lissa, Rose’s guardian instincts question the safety of St. Vladimir Academy.  With a new race of immortal dangerous vampires, the Strigoi, on the loose, Lissa and Rose must unearth hidden mysteries, deal with prohibited love, and constantly be on the watch.   With their efforts, will Rose be able to protect Lissa from the evil forces?

Thumbs Up:

Rose and Lissa’s relationship may be the most beautiful and genuine friendship I have ever read in a young adult book.  Their actions and dialogue never felt forced…to me, they just seemed to be truly the best of friends concerned with each other’s wellbeing.  They both looked out for each other and protected one another and wanted the best for the other.  It was really beautiful and sweet!

I absolutely LOVED this vampire world that Richelle Mead created.  I love vampire books, but lately vampire books have started to follow and copy the vampire world created by Stephanie Meyer (not that I have anything against Twilight, I just prefer ingenuity!)  I absolutely adored how these vampires were mortal and didn’t kill human beings for their blood (well, not including the evil immortal Strigoi, but that’s a different story…)  These vampires were more approachable, less dangerous, and almost human.  I enjoyed that!

This book had many twists and mysteries.  There was never a dull moment in the book.  I wanted to read until I got until the very end.  And, now I can’t wait to read the next book!

It went above and beyond the typical “young adult vampire” book.  First off, the vampires were different (as already stated.)  Second off, the romance wasn’t a center focus; if anything, the main focus was friendship which I adored.  Ok, there’s so much more that made the book original, but I don’t want to tell you and give it away!  So, just read it!

Thumbs Down:

*gasp!* I have nothing negative to say about this book! 

Final Thoughts:

This book was perfect.  It had everything I could have wanted in a book.  I have a hard time genuinely loving most young adult books because I feel like a lot of them are so…clichéd, but this book was amazing.  I applaud Richelle Mead for exploring a new world.  I love the research she employed in this book (I watched a video and a lot of her inspirations came from ancient legends; could vampires be living among us?!)  This book was just so amazing!  I can’t wait to go out and get the next book.  I loved it!  I encourage you to read this book, too!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy vampire novels, paranormal novels, fantasy novels, friendship novels, and minute romance novels.  And, if you don’t like any of these categories, YOU should still read it anyway! 

1 year ago · 2 notes

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner  (#1 in the Maze Runner series)

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

Length: 374 pages

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

                My Rating Scale:

                1 Star= I flat out hated it/terrible/I wanted to scratch my eyes out.

                2 Stars= I didn’t like it

                3 Stars= It was okay/I moderately liked it

                4 Stars= I really liked it, but it wasn’t totally perfect

                5 Stars= Holy literary gods! I LOVED this book!

Plot Summary:

Thomas wakes up in the Glade and remembers only his name and nothing about his life.  However, Thomas is not alone.  The other boys in the Glade also have no recollections of their past lives.  Yet, these boys all stand united in the mission to escape the Glade and solve the mystery behind the maze which surrounds the Glade.  The only problem is creepy Grievers roam the maze and will kill any boys who don’t seek refuge within the Glade.  Shortly after Thomas arrives, a young girl arrives in the maze and delivers an eerie message that indicates the imminent end of the Glade.  Thomas and the others are immediately forced attempt to successfully escape.  The only question is how?

Thumbs Up:

I fell in love with this plot.  I simply fell head over heels for the creativity of this book.

I loved ALL the characters.  They were all so unique and different.  I also enjoyed how Dashner named the characters after prominent men/women of society.  I thought that was creative and awesome!

The writing style was fabulous.  I felt like I was in the Glade with the boys.  Dashner really had a creative writing style that places the readers in the text.

The book had a nice pace and was unpredictable. 

Thumbs Down:

I have nothing bad to say about this book!!

Final Thoughts:

I really loved this book.  Sometimes I have felt like the young adult genre was lacking; I felt like plots were being recreated; authors were losing their sense of creativity; and I was just bummed with the young adult authors.  However, this book restored my trust in the young adult literature genre.  I highly encourage authors to not be afraid to try something new.  Trust me, as a reader, reading 5,000 books about a love triangle is clichéd.  DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT BECAUSE WE WILL LOVE IT!  This book is completely different.  As mentioned, this book is the first in the series.  I can’t wait to read the second book because this book was a TOTAL cliff hanger!  I’m dying to know what happens next!   

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy action, dystopian societies, science fiction, darkness, and mystery. 

1 year ago · 0 notes