Book Review // The Giver Quartet

Yes, I am that weird girl who takes pictures of her books on the back deck… *sighs.

I read The Giver back in January, and I loved it!  I don’t typically like sad books, but this… this! Everyone should read it. It has a few graphic descriptions and it’s (as aforementioned) very sad, so I would only recommend it to mature readers.

But that ending! If you’ve read this book, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, go read it. (Kidding. Sorta.)

I had to read the next ones.

Had to.

Because that story ended in one of the worst places ever. Five stars.

Thus, I checked all of the sequels out the next time we went to the library. I started with Gathering Blue, and was sadly disappointed.

My number one question: where is Jonas?

My number two question: where is the awesome dystopian world from The Giver?

My number three, four, and five questions: Why? Why? Why?

Jonas wasn’t there, which was mostly apparent from the inside cover of the book. His world wasn’t there, which was quite evident by the time I got a few chapters in.

For me, the new world Ms. Lowry created just didn’t cut it. It was okay, it just wasn’t spectacular, like it was in the Giver. And a few of the accents started getting on my nerves.

Also, that ending! She seems as if she doesn’t know how to finish her books, because this one was totally unresolved – and (SPOILER) several things are totally unresolved even after reading the third and fourth books.

Oh dear. Two and a half stars.

On to Messenger.

This one was slightly better, although not much. It was still in the same setting as Gathering Blue, but with a different protagonist.

The only thing this one has going for it is that we FINALLY (SPOILER) get to know what happened to Jonas and certain other characters of importance! It’s about time.

Other than that, meh. I could’ve done without most of it. Three stars.

Son was by far the best post-Giver book.

It’s so good. And so sweet. And mostly resolved. (That was the best thing about it!) Again, this one is graphic/sad/occasionally scary, so I recommend it for mature readers.

I loved Claire. She was definitely the best main character besides Jonas. Of course there were some unanswered questions, but that’s to be expected with every series.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it was still overshadowed by the awesomeness of The Giver. Definitely four stars, but The Giver was so much better.

All in all. if I could only recommend you one book in the series, I would say The Giver for sure. But don’t blame me if you can’t stop after that…

 Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

 

 

 

A Library Haul//What I’ve Been Reading

It totally hasn’t been over a week since I posted. You’re imagining it. Forget what you were thinking and certainly don’t scroll down to look at my previous post.

Oh, never mind.

Yes, I haven’t posted for eleven days. Sorry. Kind of.

The library might just be my favorite place… because where else would you get beauties like these (to follow)? Sarcastic reader: The bookstore, Zane. And I am totally not stealing an idea from Olivia. *Cough cough.

A random fact: I can literally feel my heart pounding faster when I come into a library and know I can check out as many as fifty beautiful stories. Although I usually stick with something more moderate like 15. Or 20.

And now it’s time for: Zane talking about the ones she’s read and hasn’t read and is looking forward to reading!… because I know y’all really want to read that! (Kidding… I’m kidding… But I really am going to ramble on about my books.)

First, my for-fun reads.

Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son, by Lois Lowry. Ever since I read The Giver (which, by the way, was so fantastic that I cried), I’ve wanted to read the sequels.

Unfortunately, when I read Gathering Blue I was very disappointed. It’s not set in Jonas’s world, it’s not continuing his story (which I knew from the back of the book), and I didn’t really connect with the characters like I connected with Jonas.

I still want to read Messenger and Son, though. Because Gathering Blue ended on a unresolved note and I need to know what happens. To Jonas mainly. Because I didn’t really care about what’s her name. *Looks on Goodreads. Kira.

Also, does it bother anyone else that those covers don’t match? It totally bothers me…

I took out a few of the Whatever After series. Not the best fairy tale retelling series, and there are some things I don’t like about them, but y’all. I’m a sucker for fairy tales. Seriously.

I haven’t read any of these yet, but at least their covers match.

I got about three other for-fun books, and if I read them reviews on this blog/Goodreads will probably follow.

Then, of course I had to get some writing research(ish) books! Most of them are stories set in the time period I’m writing about, but then I got some serious factual ones as well. Some of the stories pictured here.

 

I’m currently reading:

Pie, by Sarah Weeks. Reading it for the second time, and honestly unimpressed. It’s quite dull. It’s one of my “research” reads, and I’m just… bored…

Emma, by Jane Austen. I’m having a hard time getting into it and every single character is annoying. Except for Mr. Knightley. I also have the ugliest cover ever. (That isn’t it.) Pride and Prejudice, people. Pride and Prejudice.

Yes, I really-and-truly am reading How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied, by Jess Keating. I only picked it up because we were in the car and I forgot to bring a book.

It has the wrong title entirely. It should be called: Middle School Drama, Family Drama, Mean Kids, and Many Other Problems. And – it’s written for twelve year olds. Sad. I’m glad I didn’t go to public middle school. The only reason I’m not giving up on it is so I can give it a critical review. Yes, I am a very mean person.

 Is Emma boring to other people or is it just me? Do you have any thoughts on these books?

Hope everyone has a great week!

-Zane

 

 

Blogger Book Tag

I saw this book tag on Emily’s blog For The Bookish and immediately wanted to do it! It looked super fun and also I’ve never done a tag before. So here we go.

1. Name a book you’re embarrassed you haven’t read. 

Um, well, that’s a lot. The complete Pilgrim’s Progress? (I recently learned that my edition was abridged.) Emma? To Kill a Mockingbird? The huge stack of books in my room that I keep meaning to read?

2. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark? 

Oh, dear. For the most part I use bobby pins, but the strangest thing? Hmm… Oh! Once I used a piece of stuffing that came out of one of our dog’s toys. Yeah. That was kind of weird.

3. Look at your bookshelf. What is the first yellow-spined book you see? 

*Runs upstairs. Riding Freedom, by Pam Munoz Ryan. I used to love that book…

4. If you could have one new book from a deceased author, who would it be? 

Argh! That’s cheating! C.S. Lewis? (Another Narnia book, preferably…)

5. Name an author who deserves more readership. 

K.M. Weiland. She’s amazing and I love her novels. Looooooooooooove them.

6. Bookmark or random piece of paper? 

Random piece of paper, every time. I can’t find a bookmark to save my life.

7. Can you stop anywhere in a book or do you have to finish the chapter? 

I prefer to finish the chapter, but I’ll stop in a pinch. (Or if it’s really boring.)

8. One book at a time OR Several? 

Several. I am typically reading anywhere from two to fifteen books at a time 😀

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages? 

No! No, no, no!

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? 

Like new, of course!!!! (And if it’s new, don’t you DARE mess it up!) But since I buy my books mostly used, the spine is broken sometimes anyway… oh well.

11. What books do you regret reading? 

Hmm… The Storybook of Legends?

12. On average, how many books do you read per year? 

Well, I just started keeping track of my books last year and I read around 350-400.

13. What book can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?

The Horse and His Boy. Or Anne of Green Gables. Or the Bible! Or…

14. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a book? 

The book that has impacted me the most in the past few months is definitely The Giver. It really showed me that an “perfect” society with everyone being all the same is NOT ideal, and also the power of brainwashing. It was hauntingly reminiscent of society today.

15. What is the most recent book you’ve read?

Everything On A Waffle, by Polly Horvarth.

16. Name a book quote you’ll never forget. 

The first thing that popped into my head was, “Courage, dear heart,” from one of the Narnia books. The second thing was “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

17. How many books do you own? 

Lots. Umm… Lots. Too many? 500? 600? 700????

18. Of the past year, what is the greatest book you’ve read? 

Either Pride and Prejudice or The Princess Bride. Probably Pride and Prejudice…

And as for who I tag… I tag anyone who’s reading this post and would like to do it on their blog. Also I’m going to tag Olivia Rollins from Important Nothings because I think she’d enjoy it.

That was surprisingly fun! Hope you liked it. Please leave any questions or responses in the comments below!

February Recap

Hi guys! I’m doing my first monthly wrap-up post, and hopefully this will continue each month. And look, I’m only three days late!

 GENERAL

These aren’t exactly in order. I couldn’t even remember everything that happened this month, so I looked back at my pictures. My memory… 😀

  • Everything was a little crazy, as usual. School. Church. Normal stuff.
  • We had our Homeschool Valentine’s Party! Organized by Mom.
  • Went to the Chik-Fil-A Daddy Daughter Date Night. It was really nice.
  • Field trip to Old Salem.
  • Went ice skating with friends.
  • The softball season started! (We haven’t had any games, just practices. And Justus is playing, not me. Thank goodness.)
  • I know I’m leaving something out, so I’m just going to write here, “Everything else that I forgot.”
  • And… this happened this month, actually today, but I’m going to put it in anyway. We have chickens, as you probably know if you’ve seen my Instagram page, and never lost any of them to predators – until today. R2-D2, one of the first chickens we got, was killed by a hawk. Something scared it off, so we were able to bury her. (I know, I know. The name makes her sound like a boy.) A bit later I was walking out to check on them – and the hawk was sitting in our chicken pen! For a minute I thought it was our other hen, Leia, but then I realized it was too small to be her. I began running and scared it off, then made sure Leia was all right. Needless to say we have netting all over the pen now. Poor R2. She was a good hen. (Even if she was mean sometimes.)

READING

It’s funny how many books I read this month without even trying. I didn’t even feel like I read a lot this month, but I read 23 books! (Most of them were kids books! I like kids books best!) So here they are.

Trixie Belden and the Mysterious Code. This one was okay. Not fantastic. Not horrible. Just okay. Three stars.

Trixie Belden and the Black Jacket Mystery. Yes. Just yes. I loved this book, and I loved a certain character that was introduced in it! Definitely my favorite post-Julie-Campbell book. Four and a half stars.

 

Danger in the Harbor. This is the sixth book in a series of historical fiction books for young readers. It was fairly good, although there are a few typos. Unfortunately, I think it’s out of print (hence the missing image and link.). Four stars.

What People Wore When. Ehhh. Could’ve done without it. Two stars.

Swordbird. I was very impressed by the fact that the author was only twelve when this was published, but it was very cliché and felt like a bird version of Redwall. I really wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t my favorite. I think with more editing it would have been much better. Two and a half stars.

Mindwar. This was an interesting concept, but it’s really not my favorite kind of book. So, it was okay, just not right up my alley. Three and a half to four stars.

Gifted. Oh my. This book was so awful. The writing style was awkward and clunky. The main character was arrogant and prideful, and I hated him from the moment I read the first few pages. Ugh. Not recommended in any way, shape, or form. A waste of time. One star. Or less. Yick.

Women in Science. This book was trying really hard to be cute, but it wasn’t my favorite. The way it was printed made it hard to read, and since every two pages is a biography of someone, it’s a lot of information in a very small space. For me it was an overload. Not to mention the people with blue, green, purple, and red noses. That was just strange. It’s also very feministic in some places. (Did I really not see that coming? I mean, Women in Science?) One and a half stars.

Some Writer! See my full review of it here. Four and a half stars!

Trixie Belden and the Happy Valley Mystery. This was okay, but it was missing something. Or someone! View my review/rant here on Goodreads. (Spoilers ahead.) I was a little disappointed with this one. Three and a half stars.

 Social Graces. This was quite amusing, especially the parts telling about where it’s appropriate to talk. (I’m afraid I’ve violated a good deal of these rules.) The best part may have been when I got to read the section on what men should wear to formal affairs to my brother. Ha. I’m not sure how to rate this seriously.

The Dragonology Handbook. Ehhh. It was occasionally amusing but on the whole rather dull. The illustrations are nice, though. Two and a half stars.

Freedom Walkers. We read this for school. It was the story of the Civil Rights Movement told engagingly and entertainingly for younger readers. I definitely recommend it for anyone wanting to know more about this time period.

Miles to Go For Freedom. Another school read. This one is very similar to Freedom Walkers, but it was much harder to get into. Definitely not my favorite.  Three stars.

Jane Eyre. I read this for the first time and loved it! I would only recommend it to mature readers because there are some scary/intense scenes. Four and a half stars.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I have such mixed feelings about this book! The writing was so good. The main character was relatable. I loved most of it. But… The Ending!!! Oh dear… Three and a half to four stars.

Falling In. No. Just no. The writer kept interrupting herself by interjecting unnecessary things in unnecessary places. And it was very, very annoying. Also – the accents!! It’s a good example of a writer trying to write an accent – and failing. Accents Gone Wrong 101. Maybe it was just me… Two and a half stars.

 The American Dream: the 50s. Research for a story I’m writing. Four stars.

Trixie Belden and the Marshland Mystery. See my full review on Goodreads (potential spoilers ahead). I really enjoyed it, but it was still missing something. Four stars.

Team Moon. A book for school. Pretty good, but I didn’t love the format. It was just too big. Three and a half stars.

Spying and the Cold War. More research. It was okay for younger readers, but it didn’t have enough information for what I was writing about. Three stars.

The Storybook of Legends. See my full review here. But… ugh. One and a half stars.

Trixie Belden and the Mystery at Bob-White Cave. This one was pretty good, although I didn’t like the superstitious belief of the Ozark people in ghouls. (SPOILER: there were none. Luckily for this faint-hearted reader.) Four stars.

Currently reading:

  • Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Blinking Eye
  • Children of the Storm: the Autobiography of Natasha Vins (for school)
  • Evolution: the Grand Experiment (for school)
  • The Unusual Suspects
  • Disney Trivia From the Vault

WRITING

It was a pretty good month for writing, I suppose. I usually don’t keep track of my word count, but I wrote two or three pieces of flash fiction, which I’m currently addicted to, and worked some more on one of my WIPs. (Flash fiction = a story told in less than 1,000 words. WIP = work in progress.

It was also a good month for blogging. I wrote:

I also changed the theme a few times. I just can’t seem to make up my mind!

 How was everyone else’s month? If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Trip to Old Salem

We went to Old Salem in North Carolina yesterday. It was once a community of Moravians who immigrated from Germany for religious freedom. Lots of fun and really interesting. Definitely recommended. It took us five(ish) hours to get there and five more to get back.
Here are some pictures. Because… why not?
Hope before we left.

Breakfast. Because breakfast is awesome. And I know you all wanted to see a picture of it.

My writing gear. Not that I actually got much done… I did, however, manage to read three books: a book about CIA special weapons and equipment (I know. I’m weird.), Trixie Belden No. 11 (surprise!) and The Storybook of Legends (see my review here.).


Hope watching a video. I know it’s blurry, but it was taken in a swiftly moving car before sunrise. So… yeah.


The dog looking at the window…


Grace laying her head over my feet. Sweet!


And that dog again. Because I know you want to see yet more pictures of her. She’s so rotten.


My book bag, of course! Loaded with lots and lots and lots of books. And notebooks. And other assorted writing stuff.


All of us. Including that goofy dog.

A selfie with Hope.

Reading…

Hope.

We made it!


A covered bridge we had to cross.

Inside.

This desk. Oh my. Isn’t it lovely? I want one. (Just kidding. Kind of.)

A pretty tree…


A pretty sign.


Mom with Grace while we toured an old Moravian church. Yes, it was pretty too! (I like the word pretty. And I’m too lazy to go look it up in a thesaurus. I could say lovely. Or beautiful. Or splendid. But… I like PRETTY. Okay?)

Dad and Hope outside the church.

Walking up the street.

There were two houses for “Single Brothers” and “Single Sisters” where all unmarried men lived together and all unmarried women lived together. They would learn a trade around age 14. Here’s some of the pottery we saw reenactors making there.

An old chicken coop. It’s so cute…


The garden.


Stopped at the Bakery for some sugar cake. And it was delicious. They still make it in a huge brick oven.


Walking…


If you look very closely you’ll see two reenactors. They were tending to a garden. In all honesty I think I’d love reenactment; history is right up my alley and so is dressing up in historically accurate costume. I’ve dreamed of working at Colonial WIlliamsburg or someplace like it, but that probably won’t happen for a while. Someday maybe!


Pumping water. Grace loved it.

We had already visited the museum they had, but Mom wanted to see it. and I went in with her. And guess what? There was this really nice man who took us “behind the scenes” into the staff only areas and showed us different things back there! it was so kind of him and I really enjoyed it. Isn’t this clavichord beautiful? I saw an organ and two clavichords and I wanted so badly to play them. I was thinking about just going up and pounding on one. I bet they would’ve freaked out. But I didn’t. Because I’m so polite. (Not that I even KNOW how to play an organ anyway…)

More sugar cake. It’s basically bread that’s not really sweet by itself, covered in sugar. Yessssssssssssssssss.

We stopped by Chik-Fil-A (the best restaurant ever!) for late lunch/early supper. I should have taken a picture of my delicious Market Salad but I didn’t.
And last but not least… We stopped by our friends’ the Rollins’ house for a bathroom break and to say hey since we were passing through. We played Zombie Tom for about five or ten minutes and then we had to go. (I’m not even sure where this game originated. It’s a take on the old, old game Tom Tiddler that I found in an old, old book once, and I have the feeling that one of us invented it, but I have no idea who. ) It’s basically where one person is either a zombie or a mad scientist and tries to turn everyone into zombies.
That sounds kind of horrible.
But it’s especially fun in the dark.

Here’s a picture of us. It’s not very good. My smile is cheesy – and it kind of looks like I’m winking. Or squinting. Oh well.

So that was our day trip. Hope you enjoyed my (overly numerous) pictures! I also got a new theme. What do you think? Leave any questions or comments below!