Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

1year100books.wordpress.com

1year100books.wordpress.com

Title: The Elements of Style
Author: William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Series: N/A
Pages: 105 pages
Publisher: Longman; 4th edition (August 2, 1999)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The writer’s reference book, The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White provides writers a handy resource for editorial advice.

True to its description of “manual,” The Elements of Style gave practical editorial advice on writing style and grammar. Everything was definitely good advice and was a good writing book as many reviews said, but I can’t say I was very interested since informational non-fiction isn’t my favorite genre.

However I did like the fact that this reference book was thin and only included good advice, so it was a much more feasible reference book read than The Chicago Manual of Style. I’d recommend The Elements of Style to anyone who wants to become better at writing or editing. In addition to The Elements of Style, I’d also recommend On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott to anyone interested in writing.

Advertisements

Review: The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein

Title: The Crossroads
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Series: A Haunted Mystery | Book 1
Pages: 329 pages
Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (May 12, 2009)
Rating: 2 stars (Leave It!-Choose It!)

GoodReads Synopsis

ZACK, HIS DAD, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over . . . and Zack is directly in his sights.

Award-winning thriller author Chris Grabenstein fills his first book for younger readers with the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made him a fast favorite with adults.

The novel The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein weaves a ghost story of revenge and death.

The Crossroads was written from multiple third-person perspectives. Literary conflicts included character vs. character and character vs. supernatural. Overall I found The Crossroads to be a rather dull with a flat plot at times. Curiously, there were a great number of plot twists, and while I understood most of them, they did not jar me with surprise as other well done plot twists have. I felt that these plot twists just served to complicate the plot and didn’t really ‘add’ anything to the story.

The story moved rather slowly because it took awhile to establish all the characters who are rather interesting in personality for a middle grade novel. On note of the story: it wasn’t what I was expecting. Like Grabenstein’s book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library it was written with a light tone befitting of a middle grade novel. But I did not expect to find murder, insanity, divorce, revenge, and evil spirit possessing in a novel classified as middle grade.

CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT! Proceed with caution if you’d like to read The Crossroads in the future.

Continue reading

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyTitleThe 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave trilogy | Book 1
Pages: 512 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reissue edition (February 10, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

 

The dystopia The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey describes a post-apocalyptic world decimated by four alien-sent “waves” of terror.

GoodReads Synopsis

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

A flawless read of rich writing: it was not too descriptive and it flowed very nicely. The excellent writing was definitely a very strong part of the book. Normally I prefer books that don’t use too many complicated metaphors, but The 5th Wave broke the norm. Throughout the novel, Yancey used metaphors through the characters as they tried to cope with their difficult reality.

Throughout the book, I was kind of comparing The 5th Wave to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Both had good writing and strong plot development, but I think The 5th Wave won in terms of character likability. The 5th Wave is definitely a very re-readable book because it shocks you just enough to keep you reading, but at the same time spends time developing the characters, so you actually enjoy reading it again. On a side note, the book was told from the first-perspective and the literary conflicts were: character vs. character, character vs. supernatural, and character vs. self.

The characters were layered and complex, despite the rotating first-person POV. There were also more amazing female characters, much more than The Maze Runner and far more likable: Cassie and Ringer. Of the two, however, I found Ringer to be the more intruiging character. I thought that her bearing was more unique than other female characters’ who I’ve encountered before in literature. And Teacup: a bellicose seven-year-old drafted in an army of adolescent soldiers. She was definitely an interesting character. In a way, she kind of reminded me of a younger version of Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I did not find the two main male characters: Evan Walker and Zombie (Ben Parish) were not nearly as compelling as Cassie and Ringer. I found Evan’s intentions as an “alien” and infatuation with Cassie slightly confusing, but this part makes more sense in the next book. Zombie was definitely brave because he took care of Cassie’s brother, but at times it seemed like the reality of the apocalypse had not quite fully sunk in.

I would’ve preferred there to be less swearing, but I suppose, because the narrators were teenagers there would be. I’d recommend this book to fans of YA dystopia and books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

What are your thoughts on The 5th Wave? Have you seen the recent film adaptation? What are your thoughts on it? 🙂

Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

alicemarvels.com

alicemarvels.com

TitleOrigin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Series: N/A
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Razorbill; Reprint edition (September 17, 2013)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, Origin by Jessica Khoury, draws you into the world of Little Cam.

Little Cam (short for Little Cambridge) is a secretive research center in the Amazon Rainforest. The scientists of Little Cam’s goal: to create a race of immortal humans. Their first success is Pia, an immortal girl with flawless memory and impenetrable skin.

One day, Pia’s Uncle Paolo says, Pia will take over as head of the Immortis Team. But to do this, Pia must succeed in a series of calculating tests: the Wickham Tests. In one of the tests, Pia must watch a bird get electrocuted over and over. She begins to secretly question the scientists’ means. However, Uncle Paolo insists, “the end always justifies the mean.”

All her life, Pia has stayed within the gates of Little Cam. The gates and fence are charged with electricity and almost always closed. After her seventeenth birthday party, Pia discovers a gap in the fence. With her pet jaguar, Alai, she ventures into the forest. In the jungle, Pia discovers a world she never dreamed of.

But as Pia becomes attached to the world beyond Little Cam, she finds herself in a dilemma. Eventually, she must make a choice between freedom and a dream of creating immortals. As Pia learns more and more about Little Cam’s hidden secrets, she learns about herself and most importantly, what the Little Cam scientists did to make her. Whose dreams is she choosing?

I really, really enjoyed this book. It kept me reading non-stop from page one. Also, the development of Pia’s character is well done. By the end of the book Pia had evolved completely and both grown and matured as a character. Furthermore, the author had two very important themes in her novel. The first was that end does not always justify the mean. Find out whose dream you are living for, the second theme, was subtle compared to the first one. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science-fiction books on immortality and scientists who cross the boundary between inhumanity and ambitions.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

adweek.com

adweek.com

TitleSix of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows Series | Book 1
Pages: 480
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 29, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The Grisha novel, Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardguo describes criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker’s perilous quest for wealth.

When Kaz Brekker, deadly criminal prodigy with a mysterious past in the city of Ketterdam is offered a chance to earn gold–a dangerous offer which might get him killed–he accepts. If he can break into the notorious Ice Court of Fjerda and retrieve a hostage harboring secret knowledge that could destroy the world, he will be showered with wealth.

In his quest for wealth, Kaz assembles a cunning group of six dangerous outcasts: Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan.

Continue reading

Review: On Writing by Stephen King

ammarshabazi.blogspot.com

ammarshabazi.blogspot.com

TitleOn Writing
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Scribner; 10 Anv edition (July 6, 2010)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

 

The part memoir, On Writing by Stephen King delivers advice hand in hand humor stories to aspiring and experienced writers alike.

Two of my favorite sections in this captivating part memoir and part writing book were:

  • C.V.–The hilarious memoir section.
  • On Writing–The instructional and helpful part on writing, as the title suggests.

On Writing, written in first person, is a funny, yet informational read filled with useful pointers for all writers. Throughout the book, King includes personal experiences and how they shaped him as a writer.

Along with Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott, How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, On Writing is one of the best books on writing I’ve read.

Review: Chained by Susanne Valenti

www. susannevalenti.com

www. susannevalenti.com

Title: Chained
Author: Susanne Valenti
Series: Cage of Lies Saga | Book 1
Pages: 313
Publisher: Susanne Valenti; 1 edition (October 1, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

 

The dystopia novel, Chained, by Susanne Valenti, describes a world where fear of Contamination keeps people inside of walled cities through the perspective of Maya Summers.

Like the rest of humanity, Maya lives behind the Wall in the Guardian protected city. But she is also an orphan. She has been for awhile ever since her parents died in a fatal lab accident.

Invited to join a scientific expedition outside the Wall by her best friend, Maya’s life is turned upside down. One simple mistake sentences her and her best friend, Taylor, to a brief SubWar sentence for endangering the population.

Although Maya and Taylor are only supposed to carry messages and not engage in combat, circumstances force them to fight for their very lives. One event leads to another and soon Maya finds herself outside of the SubWar boundaries with Taylor and a mysterious stranger who rescues them along with Laurie.

Now that they’ve left, there’s no going back to the city petrified of the Contamination, which lies outside of the wall, unless, of course, they want to serve a life sentence in SubWar. And Maya will soon discover a terrifying, but releasing truth about the walled city and herself.

Continue reading

Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

booklust-lisa.blogspot.com

booklust-lisa.blogspot.com

Title: Unbroken
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Series: N/A
Pages: 528
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The biography, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand describes the life of Olympics runner and World War II POW Louis Zamperini.

In his childhood, Zamperini was a locally notorious boy with cunning mind. He’d break into people’s houses (to steal something edible) or set up a prank contraption.

Determined to find a way to channel Louis’s wildness, Pete Zamperini (his older brother) attempted to interest him in track. Initially the attempt failed, but eventually Louis gained interest and he began to break records.

But when Pearl Harbor was bombed and America entered into World War II, Louis became an Army Air Corps bombardier. After narrowly surviving combat missions from the Hawaii base, Zamperini and two fellow Air Corps men, crashed in the Pacific Ocean and set a record for longest record at sea.

Eventually as they drifted east, the Japanese captured Louis and his crew. Following his capture, Louis was sent to various POW camps where several cruel POW camp officials and guards abused them. One official, known as the Bird, was exceptionally fixated upon abusing Louis.

Will Louis be able to survive and recover the physical and emotional torments of the Japanese POW camps?

Continue reading

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

literarycatastrophe.wordpress.com

literarycatastrophe.wordpress.com

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 4
Pages: 656
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The fourth Throne of Glass novel, Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas continues Celaena Sardothien’s journey as Aelin Galathynius, the heir of Terrasen.

SPOILER ALERT – PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU’VE NOT READ: The Assassin’s BladeThrone of GlassCrown of Midnight, or Heir of Fire.

Celaena Sardothien has returned to Erilea for many things. But she has come changed. In Wendlyn, Celaena let go of the fears of her past that constantly haunted her and embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius: heir of Terrasen. She wants to, needs to, rescue her fallen kingdom, save her cousin, and save Dorian.

But first she must face her former master, Arobbyn Hamel, king of the Assassins. When he rescued Aelin as a child, he also unknowingly took the third wyrdkey from her. Aelin must take back the wyrdkey to save Erilea, but dealing with the cunning Arobbyn will be far from easy.

Following his sacrifice so that Chaol might escape, Dorian is fighting an internal battle with an ancient evil locked within him with a wyrdstone collar.

After being named Wing Leader, Manon and her Thirteen have been sent to Morath to work with the disagreeable Duke Perrington. But the duke is keeping secrets and something sinister is going on inside the mountain and Manon is determined to find out what it is.

Negotiating with Arobbyn Hamel for support and the wyrdkey will be far from simple for Aelin. If she is to succeed in her plan though, she’ll have to accomplish many other things before she’s done, if she ever will be.

Can Aelin save the people she loves while playing a dangerous game of power?

Continue reading

Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire by Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Worldwalkers Trilogy | Book 1
Pages: 400
Publisher: Square Fish (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The first novel of the Worldwalkers trilogy, Trial by Fire, by Josephine Angelini, tells the story of a girl named Lily Proctor with life threatening allergies.

After a humiliating incident at her first party, Lily Proctor begins to hear a voice in her head. Her voice, to be exact, but it isn’t quite her voice. The voice sounds exactly like hers’, except she knows that those words inside her mind are not of her own.

You are sick in this world. Come to me and be the most powerful person in the world. The voice urges Lily.

Lily refuses though and the voice fades away into silence. But after Lily has a terrible argument with her best friend, Tristan, the voice asks again: Are you ready to go now? This time Lily replies, “Yes. I’m done here.

It will be terrifying. It was for me. The voice tells Lily. In a matter of seconds, Lily finds herself in a different Salem, Massachusetts.

In this parallel world, Lily is a witch who rules Salem. And what makes her weak in her home universe, her allergies, makes her a powerful witch here. Her counterpart, Lillian, summoned her to this world. Before Lillian can use Lily though, Lily runs and is captured by rebels. The rebels make a deal with her: if she can save them from Lillian, then they will help her go home.

But “How can she be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?”

Continue reading