Hannah W. (readinginthedark) - , - Reviews

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Bread Alone (Bread Alone, Bk 1)
Bread Alone (Bread Alone, Bk 1)
Author: Judith Ryan Hendricks
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 103
Review Date: 2/12/2013
Helpful Score: 1


It's somewhat rare for me to say this, but I didn't need to like any of the main characters to enjoy the story. The way that Hendricks brought in pieces of the story (as well as flashbacks to important moments in the main character's life) kept me intrigued, and I read this book fairly quickly. This book didn't change my life, but I did enjoy it. It's a fast and interesting read.


Brida CD: A Novel
Brida CD: A Novel
Author: Paulo Coelho
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 3/11/2014


What an interesting book! Coelho uses such poetic language in all of his writing, and I love the way he mingles all things together in the world: religion, magic, nature, etc. His books vaguely remind me of Hesse, and his characters are detailed and fantastic. Linda Emond, the reader of the audio CD version, also does a fantastic job. Her smooth, layered voice lends personality and connection to Brida. I will definitely continue reading books by Coelho in the future.


Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, Bk 1)
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, Bk 1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 69
Review Date: 4/27/2014
Helpful Score: 2


I have to say, Meyer puts an interesting perspective on fairy tales. She takes a simple, obvious plot-line and adds a little twist to surprise the reader. The futuristic Cinderella story wasn't complicated, but the author's knack for detail and her extensive culture and medical research was obvious. The romance between Cinder and Prince Kai was a bit cheesy and reminded me quite a bit of the movie "Ever After" with Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott. Seen from the main character's perspective, however, the romance is sweet and simple as Cinder tries to find her place after several Earth-shattering self-revelations. And talk about a cliffhanger! I saw most of the plot-line coming, but the drop-off at the end was unexpected. Do not read this book if you don't want to continue the series.


The Color of Magic (Discworld, Bk 1)
The Color of Magic (Discworld, Bk 1)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 4/10/2014


This book was not at all what I expected from the description on the back! I never fully understood the context, for one thing. Pratchett never actually explains Discworld; you learn things only on a "need-to-know" basis. I thought it would be from Twoflower's point-of-view, but it was third-person omniscient with a primary focus on Rincewind. This made a big difference, because Twoflower, as the tourist in the duo, wouldn't have understood a lot of what was happening to and around the characters. Also, people kept describing it to me as humorous before I read it, but it made me muse more than laugh. It seemed...nonchalant, for lack of a better term. But this book was a great mix of realism and fantasy! Okay, it was pretty much all fantasy, but Pratchett did a fantastic job drawing me in and convincing me that Discworld is real! My main complaint is the author's transitions. I'm sure they were there somewhere, but it really felt like the characters just jumped from one thing to the next at breakneck speed. This was the same issue at the end. Pratchett ended an action scene with "The End" and then wrote a quick few pages just to let the reader know whether or not Rincewind died. If the books in this series were longer, I wouldn't dedicate the time to them, but since they're so short, I'll probably read the next one. I've been told Pratchett's writing style changes for the better as he goes on.


The Darcys of Pemberley: The Continuing Story of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Review Date: 4/4/2014


Okay...I definitely wasn't bored by the end of The Darcys of Pemberley. I was, however, disappointed with some changes Winslow made to two characters and the complete turnaround she made in the last quarter of the book. The characters in question? Colonel Fitzwilliam, who has become a more serious presence and lost all of the charm that lent him to be a notable character in the original, and George Wickham, who has become a horrible and violent image of desperation rather than the gold-digging and selfish playboy from Pride and Prejudice. It was the changes made to Wickham that allowed for the author's turn-of-events toward the end of the book, filling the story with action, violence, and a psychic premonition that made little sense with the earlier tone of the novel. And then, as if to bring her work back to where she began, Winslow promptly pairs off and marries all but one single person in the epilogue--even the more minor characters. I'm always hesitant to say that I didn't like a book, especially when I can appreciate the writing style and can tell from the prologue how much the author cares about her book and its inspiration (as is the case with The Darcys of Pemberley), but I did not like this book. Some of you may know from past reviews how hard it is for me to enjoy sequels to my beloved classics, so let me encourage you to take my review with a grain of salt. If you enjoy "sequels" to Pride and Prejudice, read this one! It seems like it might be better from a different perspective.


Disenchanted (Coventree Chronicles, Bk 1)
Disenchanted (Coventree Chronicles, Bk 1)
Author: Janet Ursel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/27/2016


This was fantastic! There's no specific part that was my favorite, but every little piece plays into the others incredibly well. Ursel did something here that feels completely unique and yet, historically possible, which is very hard to do. It's interesting how Coventree and the surrounding areas were founded by a group of people who felt that Christianity was becoming synonymous with tyranny, but the people eventually start to become disillusioned with their alternate ways of life. My favorite characters were actually side characters: Cedric (Blayn's father, a wizard), Jane (Blayn's mother, an herbalist witch), Alan (Blayn's wizarding mentor), Professor Wotton (a university professor in the Southlands), and Owen (Captain of the Wizards of the Coventree Military). They each provided great balance for the story in his or her own way--keeping the evil from getting too evil and the good from seeming too bland. I also liked the parts when Blayn lets himself become absorbed in an ancient manuscript. It's a multi-sensory experience: the touch, smell, and sight--all beautiful. It's the same way I feel approaching a meaningful book. The ending was a bit crazy with things happening all at once. I was going, "Wait! What magic?! What just happened?!" but in a good way. I did feel like things were a bit easy with Morwen and Peter at the end, and I wish there would have been more involvement from the Southlanders. But overall, really great book! I'm excited to see what Ursel does with the series!


Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Bk 1)
Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Bk 1)
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 58
Review Date: 6/24/2015


A fantastic mix of sci-fi and fantasy! As a friend of mine said, "This is what the world would be like if we discovered other planets, made a pilgrimage to one of them during Medieval times, and created a race of dragons on the new planet as our protectors." Succinctly put.


The End of Your Life Book Club
The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 1/10/2014


I kind of jumped the gun with The End of Your Life Book Club, since it's supposed to be my book club's pick for next month. But I couldn't help myself; this book was incredibly moving, every step of the way. It's such a beautiful idea to me: sharing your final months with someone by reading the same books he or she does and discussing them, learning a little more about that person and sharing more of yourself every step of the way. As predicted, I've gleaned lots of new book titles for my To-Be-Read list, and I feel very appreciative of my life and the opportunities I've been given. I would highly recommend Schwalbe's memoir of his mother. What a great way to start the new year!


Ender's Game
Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 73
Review Date: 10/17/2013


I've always heard Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card touted as a modern classic and a must-read for all youths and adults who love sci-fi or reading in general. Needless to say, I've always wanted to read it, but I've just never made the time. Since it was the book club selection for this month, however, I made the time to read it, and I'm so happy I did! The story is centered around a young, gifted boy (six-years-old at the beginning of the book), Andrew (or "Ender" as his brother nicknames him). It is set in the future, and there are many societal rules (laws against over-population or religious practice of any kind, for example) that do not exist in today's society. The primary goal of children in this altered world is to become great commanders in the war against the "buggers"--aliens who have attacked Earth and been beaten back twice before the book's storyline. Ender is one of the young geniuses chosen to attend Battle School, and as his prospects become more and more promising, his life and his goals become more and more difficult and indecipherable.


Eragon (Inheritance, Bk 1)
Eragon (Inheritance, Bk 1)
Author: Christopher Paolini
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 782
Review Date: 1/26/2013


The beginning was slow, but as the story went on, I really got into it. The only thing that I didn't really like about the ending was the "cliffhanger." I think even if a story is part of a series, it should exist as its own story without strange hints at what is to come. That's more something I would expect from a TV show. All the same, fun, easy read.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, Bk 3)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, Bk 3)
Author: J. K. Rowling
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1546
Review Date: 10/30/2013


This is my favorite book in the Harry Potter series! It challenges the pre-assumptions you might make about the magical world and makes it a more complex, well-formed place for Potter fans everywhere.


Lady Susan / The Watsons / Sanditon
Lady Susan / The Watsons / Sanditon
Author: Jane Austen, Margaret Drabble (Editor)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 10/4/2012


Jane Austen never disappoints me. All of these stories and unfinished novellas are awesome, although Lady Susan is not quite up to par with the novels Austen published in her lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as any Austen or 19th-cent. female author fan would.


The Quiet Girl (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 2/22/2017


This book pretty much blew my mind. Every time I thought I understood each character's role or guessed what might happen, I was wrong. Normally I don't enjoy thrillers very much. I worry about a murderer finding the main character or something like that. But this one was the right amount of suspense with a bit of the believable supernatural and not quite so much death. Perfect. It's hard to describe this book, but you should read it.


Redwall (Redwall, Bk 1)
Redwall (Redwall, Bk 1)
Author: Brian Jacques
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 104
Review Date: 1/26/2013


What a great story! There are so many different elements and fantastic characters...I love the Redwall/Mossflower world and can't wait to read more in the series! Yay, Jacques! I can't believe I haven't read this before now!


State of Wonder
State of Wonder
Author: Ann Patchett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 101
Review Date: 5/3/2013
Helpful Score: 4


I'll admit, when I first started this book, I did not necessarily expect to like it. With as many tears as it cost me, you might conclude that I didn't like it in the end, but I did. Patchett has a beautiful way of writing that describes things you would never expect and answers questions you would never think to ask. The places to which she takes you are at once horrible and beautiful; it seems to change at each moment. Patchett is not afraid to write about the uncomfortable and, sometimes, really terrible parts that are integral to the story. In fact, sometimes she jumps in very suddenly, and I am so shocked that I am unsure how to react afterward. All-in-all, this book is fantastic, but don't read it if you are wanting a happy ending. Not that it is unhappy per se, but there are two sides to everything in this novel, and sometimes it is hard to tell on which side you are standing.


Treasure Island
Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 9/21/2014


Even though I don't consider adventure fiction to be one of my preferred genres, this one held my attention and was fun to read. Maybe because of the 19th-cent. language? The story is actually a series of little adventures that play into one big scenario. Jim Hawkins, a boy who discovers a treasure map after a sea captain's death in his mother's inn, is the main character. I would expect the narrative to be more subjective because it's told by a kid, but the narration is pretty objective. This is typical of the time period for narration, I suppose. I was a little surprised to find Long John Silver to be such a smooth-talking, slippery fellow. This is the first time I've read the book, and he's generally portrayed in a more brutal, violence first way. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was fun and adventurous without being over-the-top.


What to Expect When You're Expecting (4th Edition)
What to Expect When You're Expecting (4th Edition)
Author: Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 84
Review Date: 5/2/2012


This book was my go-to throughout my pregnancy, answering all of my basic questions as well as ones I wouldn't have thought to ask!


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