Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Knopf, 550 pages

"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement."

Upon reading The Book Thief, I had heard nothing but rave reviews. After delving into what the story was about, I decided this was a must read. The cover also gives an insight as to what it's about. With the dominoes about to tower over you can only imagine what kind of symbolism this represents. This novel was breath taking and sad, very sad.

One of the aspects that made this book stand out was the narrator. Death narrates the story with a sense of guilt for what it eventually must do. This unique perspective intrigued me from the very first page. Especially in the dark times in Nazi Germany, Death is often visiting.

The characters in this book were wonderful. Liesel Meminger is a young German girl who is sent to live under foster care after her mother must leave her. For being such a young girl, she was quite strong. She holds her own in this novel and her love for books is something I can easily relate to. Hans Hubermann is Liesel's foster father and is one of my favorite characters. He is gentle, kind, and friendly. Not to mention he plays an accordion and helps Liesel learn to read. The reason I liked him so much was because of his relationship with Liesel and his caring nature. Rosa Hubermann, Liesel's foster mother, is quite the opposite of Hans. She is feisty, stubborn, and loud. Although, it doesn't seem like she has love for Liesel, it is ever present, just not shown like Hans does. Rudy Steiner was another one of my favorites. He is Liesel's best friend. Rudy is forever asking Liesel to kiss him. It's one of those innocent relationships you can't help but find sweet and cute. Rudy is also sort of obnoxious and ambitious and steals food/books with Liesel. Another part I loved was Liesel's relationship with Max. Max was the Jew that the Hubermanns hid in their basement. Liesel shared a love for reading with him and the stories Max wrote were stunning. He meant a lot to the family. The characters in this novel are true and what make this book amazing.

The writing in this book was what truly blew me away. It was practically poetic and effortless. With that being said, this book was not the quickest of reads. I didn't find it tough to finish, I just found it best to not rush through it and instead absorb the story. Even though it was a slower read, it was still a page turner. I think The Book Thief is just so different from your typical young adult fiction novel. It deals with heavy subjects, but lightens them enough to make for an incredible story that I personally think someone older would enjoy, not only teens.

The Book Thief definitely has a powerful impression. Considering the circumstances everyone was in, Liesel and her family remained somewhat optimistic. The themes were strong in friendship and how words or literature has impacted society. Finding the courage to move past the hatred Hitler has stung at the time can be a struggle, and this book shows it.

The ending of this book is seriously so sad. If you cry easily, then you may find yourself bawling by the end. It's sort of inevitable, but I was satisfied. If this was a book you were considering to read, I'd say go for it you will not be disappointed!

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry, 432 pages

"The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price. Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels."

First, this book had very large shoes to fill after reading its prequel, City of Glass (by far my favorite in the series so far!). But it met my expectations and it was definitely a book I had trouble putting down, considering I finished it in approximently three days (Ask any of my fellow court members and they will tell you that that is a major accomplishment for me!).

This book starts out in such a great light. The war of course is over between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters, which I saw as a way for fresh and different story lines to evolve. And I was not disappointed. Also, considering that Clary and Jace had finally found their way back to eachother in City of Glass made my heart melt (It was about time!!!!).

But on the other hand, as I started to read my way through this book, I hit some speed bumps along the way that sometimes just made me put it down. For all of you Simon followers out there, he is present a lot more in this book than any of the other Mortal Instrument books, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But I happened to be a bigger Jace, Clary, and Isabelle fan. I will say this, though. There were a few times that I was so infuriated with Jace and his undiagnosed bipolar disorder (like I said, its undiagnosed, but I'm suspecting it myself) that I felt I could have thrown the book across the room (which I refrained from doing because it was a library book). There is massive amounts of decision changing as well. I felt a lot of the time that the characters were a little too wishy-washy for my taste (I don't like reading about characters that are THAT normal. We see enough of that in the real world).

All together, this book was very good. It creates new relationships and characters that will bloom nicely throughout the rest of the series. The romance is at a much higher level than in the other books (a major plus on my end), and, of course, it is beautifully written. Ms. Clare never disappoints in that department. I can't wait to see how this series evolves. It is so engrossing and I am so glad that the court talked me into reading it. Its fresh, new, and has quirky and hilarious characters. What more can a reader ask for? :)

Rating: 4 - I really liked it. Worth buying. (If you have invested in this series and love it like I do, you'll want to admire them all next to each other and re-read them again and again.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon by Meg Cabot
Point, 320 pages

"Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."

Abandon was kind of a no-brainer for my next read. I love Meg Cabot and she went all mythological on us - right  up my alley. I had very high hopes for this book, and my first mistake was going into it thinking it was going to be amazing. However, I am extremely happy that this is going to be trilogy, otherwise I would have been very upset with the amount of trees wasted on publishing this book. I would say that this book has "First In a Series Syndrome," a disease that us at The Readable Kingdom have started to notice. In other words, the first book in the series is a let down, but the series still turns out good or amazing.

To begin with, I found it infuriating that you knew something had happened to Pierce that made her switch schools, and you really never find out until over halfway through the book. If you have read Fallen by Lauren Kate, you will know exactly what I am talking about. To make matters even worse, Cabot never comes straight out and tells you what happened. Instead, she lets you piece together these extremely, and I repeat, EXTREMELY, vague pieces of information to try and figure out what happened. You may accuse me of being a lazy reader in this sense, but please, read the book before you judge me, and you will understand what I am referring to.

You could say that my main issue with this book was that the back story was not delivered effectively, which in turn made for a very difficult read. Too much of the book was switching from the present to flashbacks from the past. It literally drove me nuts, but something good did come of this, believe it or not.

I have very high hopes for the next book. Overall, the plot and concept of Abandon were enjoyable and entertaining. Now that we have almost all of the back story out of the way, I am hoping that the next book will not be in the infuriating writing style of the first, seeing as how it would be unnecessary. So, all in all, Abandon was most certainly a let down, but it has paved the way to potentially having a superb sequel.

Rating: 3 stars - I liked it. Worth borrowing. (Note: Would have been 2 stars, but the potential for a great sequel saved this book's butt.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Passion by Lauren Kate

Passion by Lauren Kate
Random House, 420 pages
ARC courtesy of Random Buzzers

"Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn't have to be that way... Luce is certain that something- or someone- in her past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey in this lifetime...going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel... and finally unlock the key to making their love last. Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen is she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames... forever."

I must say, I absolutely loved this book. I was first drawn to the series because it is, of course, my favorite genre- paranormal romance. It has just the right mix of romance and adventure to keep you turning pages.

Passion is the third book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, and is my favorite so far. Although the romantic in me wanted Luce and Daniel to be together more, I can understand why it was necessary to keep them apart for much of this particular book. Luce and Daniel's relationship is complicated because of the curse put on them so long ago, and while that makes it appealing to readers, it often makes Daniel difficult for Luce to understand. I loved it that Luce was made to be a strong enough character to go into her past lives to figure things out for herself, instead of just believing what people told her. I feel like Luce is more appealing to readers in this book because she is conceived to be somewhat wimpy in the first two books.

And, of course, there's Daniel. (*sigh*) He is, of course, gorgeous. If I thought he was attractive when I first heard of him, I thought he was irresistable when it was discovered that he is a fallen angel. Daniel is fiercely loyal throughout the entire series, but especially in this book. Daniel has always chosen his love for Luce over everything else, refusing to give it up. His heart is hers, and you are constantly reassured of this. He's spent a millennia chasing after Luce, because of the curse. Even when he knows that she'll die and he'll be heartbroken, it doesn't matter. Daniel is one of the best fictitious love interests I have ever read about, and if nothing else draws you to the Fallen series-specifically Passion- Daniel's character surely will.

All in all, this book is one of my all-time favorites. Passion is definitely a page turner, and I would recommend it for anyone. I am very much looking forward to the fourth and final book in the series, Rapture.

Rating: 5 stars- I loved it! Buy a copy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Harlequin, 304 pages

"It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall. Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess."

I was first drawn to The Goddess Test because of the greek mythology aspect of the story. I thought it sounded like a very fun and different take on the myth of Persephone. I enjoyed the book very much even if I did have a few objections on different parts of the story.

The first problem I had with this book was the very unrealistic way of how Kate suddenly becomes best friends with James and Ava. It felt like they literally had one scene together in the book before they became best friends. I don't know if I am being too critical or not, but it seems to me that you have to build the friendship a bit more, but maybe the author made them become friends quickly because the plot in the book is on such a time constraint. Regardless of this little issue, I did still enjoy Kate's friendship with Ava and James, and I especially felt bad for James at some points.

My second issue with the story was with how quickly Kate fell in love. In the beginning of the book, she was stressed as such an independent and strong character that it was hard for me to believe that she could fall in love with someone in only six months. Again, maybe I am being a little nitpicky, but it was always a little doubt in the back of my mind.

Now, on to the positives. May I just get this said and out of the way... I LOVED Henry. He was a fantastic character, and his emotions were developed very well. Even when he was feeling sad and tortured, I couldn't help but like him. Even though his heart is a little bruised and battered, he finds a way to keep going and fight for life (Um, even if he is god of the Underworld). Sometimes I don't like certain guys in books because they are overprotective, and some might put Henry in this category, but I think his overprotection was well-warranted in his case.

The plot was very exciting and there were many possibilities of what could happen on each page. For one, Kate did not know what any of the tests were, so you were constantly wondering when she was going through one and if she passed. Not only that, but the whole time someone is trying to kill Kate and the author made it very obvious that it was a character that you have met. So you are also wondering who that would be. Not only that, but you don't know who any of the council members are, so you are wondering about that as well. It's pretty obvious that the author does a very good job of keeping you guessing and on the edge of your seat. You're always dying to find out what is going to happen next.

Overall, this book was a very satisfying read. It sated my appetite for some greek mythology after reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The romance was exciting, the setting was gorgeous (but I may be a little impartial to Michigan in this case), and the plot was exciting and kept you guessing at every turn. It has a few things that bothered me throughout the story, but they are not huge issues in the scheme of things. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Goddess Interrupted.

Rating: 4 stars - I really liked it. Worth buying.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 496 pages

"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her."

I heard about Divergent first and foremost because it was a dystopian book. After reading The Hunger Games I've sort of been hooked on any dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel. Not to mention the gorgeous cover! This book is the first in a trilogy and just recently, I discovered the second title was released by Veronica Roth on her own blog that book two will be called, Insurgent. I'll be impatiently waiting for the actual release until then!

In case you aren't particularly familiar with dystopian books, (or The Hunger Games--which for that matter, get out and read them, pronto!) dystopian books are set in a post-apocalyptic world where society controls how the city is run to maintain order and prevent corruption. Divergent is very much like the typical dystopian novel, except when you're sixteen you have a choice. This choice revolves around deciding which of the five factions best fits your values and lifestyle. For some, the choice is simple, but for those such as Beatrice, it's one of the toughest.

Beatrice was my favorite character in this novel. At the beginning of the book she can't make up her mind, she's afraid, unsure of her own identity, and torn between pleasing her family or pleasing herself. The reason she was my favorite character is because of the journey the reader takes along with her as she grows into a completely different person from where she began. At this point in time, teens can easily relate to the changes Beatrice goes through.

After the choosing ceremony, where sixteen-year-olds decide on which faction they want to belong in, everyone separates off. When Beatrice does make this choice, everything is put into perspective. Shortly after this, there is an initiation process that all new members must par-take in. For some, they will make the cut, while others won't and will be left faction-less with a low ended job or no job at all. During this initiation process is when Beatrice changes her name to Tris, thus giving her a new identity. I especially love this part because it truly shows how she plans to start a new life as a different person and put everything that has always mattered most behind her.

Another one of my favorite characters was Four, and yes, there is a specific reason to why his name is Four, but I guess you'll have to read the book to find out! Four is a very mysterious character and that's probably one of the main reasons as to why I like him so much. He is definitely attractive and plays a big part later on.

Although I did love Divergent, I felt that there were a few parts where everything didn't flow as smoothly. The writing wasn't necessarily forced, but at the end, I especially noticed that the plot was a little rushed in the process.

On a better note, I had a hard time putting this book down and can hardly wait for Insurgent to come out!

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Welcome to The Readable Kingdom! I'm Emily and I would like to give you a brief introduction about myself.

I am a reading fanatic, and I'm proud to say it. For the down time in my classes, I always have a book, and now more recently, my Nook, in my bag to pull out and read. I am completely open to any book recommendations. I love building my own personal library with fantastic books. I like walking by my bookshelf and seeing a book that I read awhile ago and reimagining the story all over again. Maybe I will pick that book up tonight and re-read my favorite parts.

I truly cannot comprehend the people who say they hate reading. Not having time, yes, but not wanting to absorb themselves into their true passions? It appears to me then that they really haven't found the books that they love and wouldn't be able to stop thinking about. Once you do that, you find your way to truly appreciating the feeling of turning that last page of a beloved book with the contentment of a satisfying ending, or the complete obsession you have to go on the internet and either order or look up all the information possible on the next book. When a book makes you feel everything that the character is feeling, whether it be love, pain, or heartbreak, and you feel your own heart race along with them, that is when you find something truly special. Something you care about. Something that takes you away from your own world for some time and then sends you back to find your own story.

Hopefully we will have some reviews up ASAP. We have read SEVERAL books and have SEVERAL to read, so stay posted!