Mittwoch, 19. November 2014

Journey to the River Sea

 Author: Eva Ibbotson
Title: Journey to the River Sea

Content: Sent in 1910 to live with distant relatives who own a rubber plantation along the Amazon River, English orphan Maia is excited. She believes she is in for brightly colored macaws, enormous butterflies, and "curtains of sweetly scented orchids trailing from the trees." Her British classmates warn her of man-eating alligators and wild, murderous Indians. Unfortunately, no one cautions Maia about her nasty, xenophobic cousins, who douse the house in bug spray and forbid her from venturing beyond their coiffed compound. Maia, however, is resourceful enough to find herself smack in the middle of more excitement than she ever imagined, from a mysterious "Indian" with an inheritance, to an itinerant actor dreading his impending adolescence, to a remarkable journey down the Amazon in search of the legendary giant sloth.

My opinion: Well, let's talk again about a classic novel. I always wrote about one book of Eva Ibbotsons and this one is very different, but for me it does have some similarities:  The feeling, when I'm reading those books. 
Maia, a young girl, is sensitive , but strong in the same time. I really like her, because she is able to communicate and to reach the people. For me the most intersting part about her journey are all the times when she meets people- they always show interesting and important faces of the culture. Anyways, Maia is a lovely charactere, very easy to identify with and gentle, trusting, intelligent and mature beyond her years. She is the protagonist, the connection between all the parts and a "real life person". You never feel like she's invented. but like she is a person you could know yourself. Miss Minton is one of the other main characteres: a stern but caring governess with her hat-pin shaped like a Viking spear, her trunk full of books and a few secrets hidden up her sleeves. She is clever, adorable and again very real. Also, she is fun to read about, because of her kind of unusual behavoiur and attitude, that makes life probabaly harder, but makes it possible to feel like you're acting morally right. There are many other great written characteres: Clovis, the young, homesick actor, Beatrice and Gwendolyn, the very fun to read villains, their dad, with his "weird eyes" (not gonna tell you more about it), Olga, Sergei.... a lot of great persons, but there is one more I want to mention: Finn. I really recommend you to read this book, because if you didn't you missed meeting Finn. He is amazing and I immediately fell in love with him. I'm not gonna tell you what he is doing in the novel, but just you know: He's great!!
It's a children nocel, I know, BUT, it is great to read even if you're older - I personally love it and still read it some times a year. Because it is a children book, I got it many years ago, so I do not have it in english, but I can tell you, that the writing style is great in german and normally directly means the english style is even better. The story has an old fashioned feel to it, in the best sense. A missing inheritance, switched identities and the setting of the Amazon rain forest intertwine as Maia and her friends search for home.
The setting of the Amazon rain forest is amazingly described. I never was there, but scince I first read the book, I want to visit it. This novel actually inspired me to do my volunteering year in south america. The region has to be amazing - at least the way Eva Ibbotson describes it. The setting is as good as the values that are tranported. Maia and Miss Minton soon discover an exotic world bursting with new experiences beyond their imagination. More importantly, they learn one of life's hardest lessons--to conquer their fears and embrace the unknown. And along the way they learn about tolerance, acceptance and trust.

All in all: It's unputdownable, packed with old-fashioned story-telling virtues from a great plot to characters you'd love to know.  READ IT!

Samstag, 4. Oktober 2014

Someday, someday, maybe

Someday, someday, maybe
Lauren Graham
Description: Meet Franny Banks, an aspiring actress who has set a goal for herself - realize her dream in New York City within three years or take up another profession. She has come so close but not close enough and there are only a few months left in her self-imposed timeline. And even if her to roommates are very supportive, she knows that a two-persons-fanclub is not enough. 
In these last 6 months she tries to get a speking role in nearly everything, instead of working as a waitress and a caintering server. But then, how do you know how you are going to be succesful? Who is the right agent: the glib Joe Melville or been-there-seen-it-all Barney Sparks? And how much is she willing to do for getting a job? On the other hand what is it with her nice ex-boxfriend, her back-up plan? And then, there's James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class - is he showing interest? How is Franny going to deal with all that and is she truly believing in herself and her dreams? Find the answers to all those questions in this wonderful, bittersweet story about a young girl in New York!
My opinion:  For all those who know Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls, in this novel she is funny as always. For those who don't: Stop reading this and start watching Gilmore Girls. Then come back and read this again. Still, Gilmore Girls or any other things about Lauren Graham are NOT needed to read the novel.
 Franny is a very cute and nice character, who works hard for her dreams and her life. Still, sometimes I wische dshe would be a little less dreemy or less believing. On the other hand, that is a very sympathetic part of her lovely character, so I don't really know if it was ood to let her be that way. She is very normal and an everday-person, which made it simple to underdstand her, a very funny person. The other characters work pretty well and are part of this whole world as you imagine it. Personally, I really loved Barney Sparks, because he was this kind of weird, ol man, that was just so much fun to read about. But I also liked the way the other characters were created. Lauren Graham's language in this debut novel is really nice, funny and individual, what I liked a lot. I never had the feeling to read something I already knew or so. I just had fun reading it and like the way it all worked. Really great is the micture Lauren creates between a fictional story and a story from her own life -  I always could imagine the people living in New York and still knwo it was just fictional. 

All in all: Someday, Someday, Maybe is a story about hopes and dreams, being young in a city, and wanting something deeply, madly, desperately. It’s about finding love, finding yourself, and perhaps most difficult of all in New York City, finding an acting job. It is a wonderful novel that I recommend to everyone and everybody!

Montag, 21. Juli 2014

Challenging Zed

Challenging Zed
Joss Stirling

Description: Want to know what Zed Benedict was thinking when he met his soulmate Sky Bright for the first time?
The Benedict brothers all have different abilities and powers. One can move things with his mind, another can heal. Zed Benedict is the youngest and the most powerful of the seven brothers and he is on the road to destruction until he meets his soulmate, Sky Bright. She is his balance, the light to his dark. Together they are even more powerful. Zed knows that they are meant to be together and that there is a connection that cannot be denied. But how can he convince Sky that their destinies are entwined when she doesn’t even realize the true nature of her potential?

My opinion: "Challenging Zed" is a must-have for every fan of "Finding Sky". Reading the same story from his point of view - at least a part of it - is amazing and interesting in the same time.
Seeing Sky from the eyes of someone else is a great experience. It is fascinating to see, what people see and what they ignore or just not realize. Sky is sil the lovely, charming ´, new british girl, but this time she seems sometimes more confident than in "Finding Sky".
But this time the main charactere is Zed. He is a lot deeper, more sensible and more 3-D. You get to know a boy, who made some decision caused by events in his past and became the one you now know. He is still himself, but  you can understand him a lot better.
A bonus to this - as always - great written story, the interesting stroy line and the intelligent feelings behind it, you can get it free, as addition to "Finding Sky".

All in all: A brilliant addition to the "Finding Sky"-series for both new and old fans alike!!

By the way: If you want to find out something about "Finding Sky" - I already wrote a review about it.

Freitag, 11. Juli 2014

To all the boys I loved before

To all the boys I've loved before
Jenny Han
Description:What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once? Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Now she is torn between the boys, not sure, who she really likes, not sure, if they like her or not and confused by her feelings and the situation. This book follows the first person narration of Lara Jean, the middle child of three daughters. Her older sister, Margot, is about to go to college in Scotland for her freshman year. Her younger sister, Kitty, is nine years old, and needs her older sisters. Their mother is dead, and their father is a single parent, raising three daughters.

My opinion:  "To all the boys I loved before" is  awonderful and dreamy novel, full of romantic scences and great boys. I really did like the book a lot, but what made me love the book were the characters. Lara Jean,  Peter Kavinsky and Josh Sanderson are all funny, sweet or great I would love to be friends with them. Because the two boys are lovely and hot, it is totally understandable how Lara Jean reacts to them. Jenny Han managed it to tell everything from Lara Jeans point of view and still shows the developments and the "hidden" feelings of Peter and Josh. While I wanted Lara Jean to be with Josh at the beginning, I later changed my mind to Peter. And then I wasn't sure at all. They both semed to be amazing and boyfriend-material. At the end I made a decision which of them I liekd more.
Another part I liked a lot was the fact, that Jenny Han tells a lot about the family life of Lara Jean. Margot, Kitty and their dad are very likeable. I loved the scence happening in their home and it was nice to see someone acting very normal. It was easy to think of the story as real, even if it was fictional. Seeing Lara Jean interact with other people than the two boys makes her more interesting, more 3-D and more complex. The young girls live normal and have the same problems than other teenagers, It's fun to read and nice to understand.
"Lara Jean’s personality—goofy, awkward, prone to strong emotions, and entirely naïve when it comes to boys—give this touching story an individuality and charm all its own. Han creates a realistically flawed cast, especially half-Korean Lara Jean and her sisters, who work hard to be good to one another after their mother’s death (even when they’re at one another’s throats)." (Publishers Weekly, starred review on To All the Boys I've Loved Before)

All in all: A wonderful novel to read - full of dreams and boys. Great for teenagers, especially for young girls. Read it, and fall in love with Josh and Peter and probably even more with Lara Jean.

Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2014

The Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Christopher Clark

Description: The clash of european Great Powers in the First World War killed millions of human lifes and changed the political map essentially. What happend, that lead to this four years long, world wide catastrophe? Christopher Clark, Bestselling author of Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947, describes in his new novel the preliminary events leading to the war in a new and diffrent way: as a not wanted, posibily avoidable event in a thick series of events and decisions in a world with complicating and complex relationships and conflicts. And he puts into question what was consenus for historians: that Germany was wearing the primary debt for the break-out of the First World War. 

My opinion: "The Sleepwalkers" is a very interesting book. It is not a made-up story, but facts that are explained. It is kind of hard to read sometimes, because you have to concentrate and there are many information in a small part of the text. Still, it is fascinating, because there are a lot of things, you don't know before and it gives a look into a whole diffrent world. 
Written in a way, that's great to understand and objectiv, it is simple to understand and not only for scientist. Instead it is possible for many people to read and like it. Focusing not only on the vents happening in 1914 and the following years, but going back in history - when necessary to the years 1800 following -  the author makes sure, you have all the information needed.
Really nice is the fact that Christopher Clark is kind of objectiv. He doesn't says it is the fault of this country or this person or that person, but shows their lives and reasons to act and says probably that wasn't the best, but if that had been the only mistake, we probably wouldn't have had this big war.  
You can not only learn a lot about the begining of the 20th century, the first world war and culture and history of many countries, but also a lot about acting in a moral right way, conflict behaviour and management and social interactions. The novel makes you think again about a topic, that seeemed to be obvious for a long time - the primary debt of Germany. 

All in all: It is a novel worth reading and a must-read for everyone interested in the history of the 20th century or in world history. But also for others, who just like to learn something or are opne for new things and willing to try somethign out, it is a great novel.

Mittwoch, 21. Mai 2014

The fault in our stars

The fault in our stars
John Green 
Description: At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is annoyed by her cancer therapy and al that comes with it. She doesn't want other people to be sorry and hates the weekly support group she has to go to. But then in this group she meets Gus. The intelligent, gorgeous and stunning Gus, who deals offesniv with his cancer . Hazel and Gus discuss books, listen to music, watch movies and fall in love with eacht other - in spite of everything.  Gus makes Hazels biggest dream coming true- the fly to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel's  favourite book! But that's just  a small part of their adventure - a book about love, illness and hope.

My opinion: "The fault in our stars" is the story of one of the most touching couples in literatur ever.
While reading the reader has to laugh with the characters, to cry, to smile and to celebrate. Hazel and Augustus are very sympathic charcters. Their actions and reasons to act are always well understandable. It is simple to read a book, when you're really in love with the charactere. It is totally logical that they fall in love with each other - because they are intelligent and amazingly adorable.
Intelligent, poetic and humours a story is told, that is special and still simple to relate for the reader. Everbody feels with the teens and wishes their story to be a little longer.
A lot of times there are more or less visible references to classic literatur, modern movies and famous poems. Even the title: "The fault in our stars" is on the basis of Shakespeares "Julius Ceasar": „The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,/But in ourselves, that we are underlings.". 
The novel lets the reader think about life and it's fairness, about cancer and our own luck. In a lot of ways it is definitly sad, but in others it is funny and heratwarming. A realistic language, not too dramatic and a lot of sentences to think about twice.John Green doesn't beautify at all, he doesn't idealize anything, but that's the thing, making the book realistic and understandable. 

 All in all: John Green presents the reader with this novel a story to dream and to hope, that already casts a spell on millions of people all around the world. Defintly a book you should read!!

Freitag, 13. Dezember 2013

The Sweetness of Forgetting

The Sweetness of Forgetting
Kristin Harmel

Description: The North Star Bakery has been in Hope's family for generations, the secret recipes passed down from mother to daughter. But at thirty-six and recently divorced, with rebellious daughter Annie and elderly grandmother Rose to care for, Hope is less than enthusiastic about carrying on the family legacy. When the bakery runs into financial trouble and Rose takes a turn for the worse, Hope's delicate balancing act is in danger of crumbling entirely.
Then Rose reveals a shocking truth about her past and everything Hope thought she knew about her family and the bakery is turned upside down. At her grandmother's request, Hope travels to Paris, armed only with a mysterious list of names. What she uncovers there could be the key to saving the bakery and the fulfilment of a star-crossed romance, seventy years in the making.

My Opinion: "As long as there are stars at the sky Im going to love you" - At the first moment this sounds like a sentimental, kind of brummagem lovestory. But this doesn't describe the book at all!! Kristin Harmel crate a sad, drastic past in a sickly sweet story about family, love and saolidarity. The novel is smart and brave, speaks about love, about losing and finding, about hope and believes. The story fascinates everybody, draw everone deep inside and especially at the last hundred sides everyone is captured.
Rose and Hope, as well as Alain and Annie are going more sympathic the whole time, one is captured and feels with them and wishes finally for a Happy End. The spelling style of the author is just incredible amazing. She describes everything wonderful pictorial, one can taste the ingredients of the sweets from the backery. She has an amzingly good diction, that makes everything sad more sad and everything wonderful more wonderful.
A great role in the novel plays the refurbishment of the happenings in France around 1940. It touches one a lot, when the plot is about Rose's past, when Hope meets people in Paris, who lost their whole family and still have hope. Furthermore she shows atmospheres, anticiptions and hoper of people in a special way. As consequence I had to cry often.
A lot of times the story has surprising turns, but attentive readers can see later happenings or their adumbrations early. 
Kristin Harme balances out the mixture of sad history and wonderful lovestory, that goes over all times and decades aeay. As consequence the reader doe not have to be afraid about the theme, becasue it is described realistic, but told with intuitation.

All in all: A profound, bittersweet, sad, wonderful love- and famiystory fo all that believe on true love and are ready to dream another time!!