Song for a Whale, Book Review

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Iris was born deaf. It runs in her family as both of her maternal grandparents are deaf as well. The disability seemed to have skipped a generation, so Iris is the only one in her home that is deaf, her mother and older brother know American Sign Language but her father still struggles with communicating with her as he says that languages are not his thing but numbers are, eye roll.

She attends a regular public school that is full of “normal” kids, she is the only one who has to around with an interpreter, it is hard for Iris to fit in. One day, in science class the teacher plays a video about a hybrid whale who goes by Blue 55, he has yet to be tagged and is only followed by his unique song.

Blue 55 is the son of two different kinds of whales so his song doesn’t match any other whale songs. He cannot communicate to the other whales. Therefore, he is alone in the dark waters of the Pacific without a family or pod, a group of whales.

Iris cannot help but compare 55’s story to her own. Being so alone in the world, feeling like no one is listening or there to understand. She feels like she must help this whale who is four thousand miles away from her home in Texas. Iris must find a way to communicate with this whale and let him know that he is not alone in this universe, other’s relate to his struggle with communication.

The characters in this book were alright. I had to keep reminding myself that this book is middle grade and that Iris is twelve years old. I have to say most people that age are annoying, trust me, I know because I was an annoying twelve year old before. You think that you know everything but you don’t. That being said, I think that it is okay that Iris is this way as it is typical for someone her age.

Now, the parents, that’s another story. First, the dad not taking the time to learn sign language to be able to communicate with his daughter just makes me mad. In this book she meets a friend who wants to learn right away but her own father doesn’t!! Then there is the mother who does not want to let Iris go to the deaf school where she would be around her peers because the mother does not want to feel alone. What? Wouldn’t you want your kid to have friends? Come on. I gave the character’s a four out of five as I felt like our main character was realistically written.

The atmosphere in this book is nothing special. We start in Houston, I felt like it was a smaller town so maybe the family is out in the suburbs. Once we get to the traveling aspects of the book the atmosphere gets better. Nothing to write home about,   an average three out of five.

The writing isn’t great either, very, we did this and then we did that. I understand that this is middle grade so that writing style might be easier for the age range to understand. I also felt like we had jumps between chapters with no explanation of what happened between the two scenes, that leaves readers confused. Writing is a two out of five.

Throughout the story, I do feel like there were several contradictions. Yes, there are several similarities between Iris and Blue 55 but she has a family and he has none, she does have friends when he isn’t is in a pod. That is just one example.

With the main character of this book being deaf we do get that disability representation. As I am not deaf I cannot tell you if it was properly done but the writer, Lynne Kelly, does work as a sign language interpreter and seems to have a lot of experience working with those who do have hearing impairments. It really opened my eyes to how frustrating it must be to be deaf.

I would not say that I enjoyed this novel but it did not bore me either, God bless short chapters. The parents did bug me a lot but we are seeing them from the point of a view of a tween and I feel like most tweens do see their parents as annoying. All that aside, I do think this book would be something good for young people to read. As it does bring representation to the deaf community and that was something as an adult that I have never read before. It also shows you that nothing is impossible and if you really work than you can reach your dreams even if there are a few bumps in the road, they just make  you more determined.

Pride and Prejudice Book Review

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The Bennet family is derived of five daughters, the home will pass to a male cousin as this is set in the late 1700s or early 1800s. The daughters need to be put into good marriages as they might not have somewhere to go once their father, Mr. Bennet, passes away. Jane is the eldest daughter and the most beautiful in the eyes of society, then there is Elizabeth or “Lizzy” Bennet she is very witty and intelligent, Mary who is tucked away in her studies, and then the  two younger and wilder daughters, Catherine “Kitty” and Lydia Bennet.

One day in the small, sleepy village of Meryton, a big to do happens when an old estate is purchased by a young bachelor from London. This obviously widens Mrs. Bennet’s eyes as she is trying to get her daughters into good and respectable marriages.

The man who moves into Netherfield Park is Mr. Bingley. He brings a big entourage from London with him, including his best friend and then his sisters. A ball is hosted to celebrate their arrival and Mr. Bingley dances with Jane not once but twice.  Mrs. Bennet is thrilled. Therefore the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley begins. At the party there is Mr. Mystery or otherwise known as Mr. Darcy. He refuses to dance with any of the women from the Meryton area, even saying that he does not wish to dance with Miss. Elizabeth Bennet. All of the locals find him prideful and that he thinks himself to high mighty to converse with commoners. He gets a bad name in the village and surrounding areas.

The story is a slow burn romance starting at that ball and going through months of denying having feelings for each other over ranks in society, and in fact over pride and prejudice against Mr. Darcy and Miss. Bennet.

This is very much a character driven novel! I really enjoyed the character of Elizabeth Bennet. I felt as though she had more of a head on her shoulders than the other women in her family. As stated before she has wit and intellect to her, she does not see herself as one just to settle down and be any man’s wife, she refused two proposals in this book! I think she was very ahead of her time.

Mr. Darcy, a literary favorite of many. This man is loved by so many people, and I am certainly glad that he did not let me down. I think he was very similar to Elizabeth he had wit and was intelligent. He was not just the good looking man with money like his friend, Mr. Bingley. Darcy was a very complex character that we got to unravel throughout the novel. I think he is the reason for the “bad boy” trope that we see in many romance novels in modern day.

Characters got a five out of five for me. There were some characters like Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine that I did not like but I believe they were written that way.

The atmosphere did not impress me too much. It was average, just a small little English town that soldiers would sometimes get stationed in and people would come to live in, in the winter or summer. The writing could have saved this but I was not too impressed with Austen’s writing either, very average and dull. Both atmosphere and writing got a three out of five.

The plot was going smoothly for the first fifty percent, but when I picked it up for the last twenty chapters it just seemed to drag. I felt like Austen was throwing in some drama, with Lydia, that did not necessarily need to be there and I felt like it had no real impact on the story. Remember, this is a character driven novel and I felt as though that made up for when the plot was lacking at times. The plot got a three out of five.

Going into Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I did not think I would like it. This classic is very hyped, and a favorite of many. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I have had a hard time with romances in the past and this is one of the most iconic romance books of all time. I was scared. I did however very much enjoy it. I love a nice slow burn love story and then the two love interests being a bit feisty is always good! I can totally see so many tropes that came to be inspired from this book. I think this is a very influential book and inspired many. I cannot wait to read more from Jane Austen.

Overall this was a 3.75 out of five star review.

 

 

 

My Paper on Frankenstein from High School

I just finished rereading Frankenstein and gosh, my thoughts are different. When I first read the book during my senior year of high school, I felt pity for the creature but now, I HATE the creature. I feel so terrible for Victor even though it does seem like he put himself in this situation. A last, I wanted to showed a paper that I wrote in high school. I got an A+ on this paper but we will see what I think of it now. Let’s take it back to March 06, 2018.

The creature in the novel of, “Frankenstein” comes across many people who are prejudiced towards him just because of the way he looks. This leads the so called monster into becoming insecure. In today’s society, many fall insecure as well because of many things such as a beauty standard or what celebrities or other people may look like. Today most do not react as violently as the creature does but it can cause an impact on their self esteem like the creature.

“Why Did I like? Why, in the instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so want only bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery.” In this quote by the creature in the novel, he wonders why Frankenstein had to create him, or why he had to make him the certain way he looks. The creature reflecting on what the villagers reaction of him was. He wanted revenge on the villagers for how they acted towards him. Stated in the quote he was filled with so much rage and anger he could destroy their homes and them and feel happy about it. This is all a result of the people of the village having shown prejudice towards the creature’s outside appearance.

In  chapter twelve, the monster speaks of how he is different from the ordinary people; “I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers, their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions; but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At fire I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.” This is similar to what we call a beauty standard, or the ideal look, the creature did not fall under what he thought was the perfect and ideal look, like the cottagers had. He was in shock when he saw his own appearance for the first time, he was sad, bitter, and insecure. Many people feel this way and people have probably felt those same feelings at some point in their lives since the start of time. The creature seeing himself made him realize why the villagers were so scared of him and acted the way that they did.

The creature wanted his creator, Victor Frankenstein, to make him a companion so he would not feel so alone in this world. In chapter seventeen, it states; “You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being.” He wants someone who can understand him and know how he feels and what it is like to be a “monster”.  This request later leads to the downfall of both Frankenstein and his creature, Victor begins to create a companion for the creature but then feels as though this creature could harm others like the first one. The creature is enraged by this and begins to destroy Victor’s life by killing those who is close to and later killing Victor himself.

The creature faces many prejudices in his life. The old saying says to never judge a book by it’s cover, maybe if Victor would have kept the creature under his wing instead of judging it by its looks it would have not turned out violent. Throughout the novel, it shows the creature has many feelings just like humans do, he goes from feeling despair and insecure to wanting to find lover and then becoming evil because what could have been love was destroyed by his own creator. We should never judge somebody by how they look on the outside but give them a chance as they are probably like us and share the same kind of feelings.

 

February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

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In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

“Wicked Saints” Review

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“She had come here to stop a war, to bring about justice for her gods, to bring them back.”


Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, was raised at a monastery in the country of Kalyazin. She has no memory of her parents; all she knows is life in the mountains. Her mother knew that the child she was carrying was touched by the gods. “Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.”-Page 34. The records in Kalyazin, never spoke of a cleric who could speak to more than one god, but Nadya could hear them all. She is something divine.

“War has made us all used to living in desecrated spaces once considered holy.”

   Across the border in Tranavia, there are different rulers, the high prince being Serefin Meleski. He is the prince and one of the most powerful blood mages. He has been sent away by the king, his insecure and weak in magic father, to Kalyazin. He is to kill the cleric and take blood magic to those who still believe the ways of the old gods. “If he pushed Serefin out of sight, the slavhki of the court would never recall the son was more powerful than his father.”- Page 74. It is obvious that Serefin has built up resentment to his father in these years away from the court and in battle in a foreign land.

“Don’t you wonder what it would be like? To be someone else, with no expectations upon you or the fear of retribution keeping you on the same path.”

    A monster, not knowing what path he is to take, who he is to become. He has had a conflicted life, starting at the same age. Is he just a normal boy with powers stronger than some or is he becoming a monster? He has left the cult he was raised in, to find the path that he truly wants or needs to take. “Here was the very thing she had ben taught her entire life was an abomination-and he was very much the worst kind of abomination-but he was also just … a boy.”- Page 116

“The girl. The girl and the monster and the prince.”

     These three have to come together and assassinate the king, to a end a holy war that has been in the works for a hundred years. “The Tranavians had found ways to shield themselves from the gods; that was one of the reasons the war had begun in the first place. It meant that if they had found some darker method of harnessing magic, then the gods would not know. It was terrifying.”- page 135. Nadya is being sent by the god she still believes to end this war by bringing her gods back to Tranavia. Serefin has come back to court to find a suitor to be his future queen. The monster must decide what his fate will be. How will all their paths cross to take down the king?

“No one. Just a girl. Some small scrap of divinity.”

  Ah, a young adult fantasy that received a ton of hype. Will I enjoy it? I did! I am always hesitant opening up the cover of a book that has been talked about so much on booktube or bookstagram but Wicked Saints did not disappoint. I think the audiobook would be better for the Something Dark and Holy series, as I am still not certain on how to pronounce certain names and locations that are mentioned throughout the story. A glossary would come in handy as well as I was often finding myself confused with the gods, characters, and words that are used in this universe. The writing style was average, it made me feel cold though and I think that is perfect for a world that is inspired by Poland and Russia.

This plot line was entertaining, wondering how all three paths and plots would cross. I liked how we had multiple kinds of magic and how they were against each other, both types seeing the other as an “abomination”. I did not know which one was truly the good one. Theories were constantly coming to my head as I read this story, there were so many twists and turns, I was wanting to know what would happen next. I will be continuing this series when Ruthless Gods comes out on April 7,2020.

October TBR

This month, all these books except Wicked Saints were hand chosen by me because I hit my Goodreads reading goal of fifty books! Yay me! The book Thief was included in this TBR originally but since it is a carry over from 5e previous month there will not be a description in his post.

Wicked Saints is the first book in the Something Dark and Holy trilogy. It is a Slavic inspired fantasy novel that has a lot to do with blood magic. Three paths have to meet to take down the king and end a war that has been in the process for generations.

Princess Lia has a life laid out in front of her. One of the parts of life is an arranged marriage by her parents, one to form an alliance with a nearby kingdom. Lia runs away when it comes time to marry this unknown prince. She starts a new life in a small village but that gets flipped around when strangers approach her, one the prince she was supposed to marry, the other an assassin who has come to kill her.

Sadie had to raise her sister all on her own. Mattie, the sister, is found dead one day. Sadie is going to do anything to get revenge on the killer of her sister. The police investigation didn’t do well enough, she needs to bring justice to this all.

The other part of this book is told in a podcast format, the reason why I am doing this as an audiobook. That’s where our other character comes in. West is a radio host and hears about the story missing girl. He wants to find out what happened to her, West starts a podcast to help spread word of this case and document it.

(I didn’t include The Book Thief, since it was a carry over, or Prisoner of Azkaban since it’s the third in a series.)

August Wrap-Up 2019

August was my weakest reading month ever! I was so busy and exhausted but you’re not here to read my excuses. I ended up reading three books that adds up to 1,346 pages.

Texas, post civil war America, Ruby is growing up in this frontier of a state. She has recently become a woman, she starts to make decisions of her own and one of those being applying to art school in Philadelphia. To her surprise, she actually gets in and gets to leave Texas, her family, and her love, Bismarck. Not only does Ruby learn about the arts at college but she learns about herself and the world that is changing right in front of her eyes.

The first thirty-five percent of this book dragged on and on, plot points were happening but I just felt very bored and found myself thinking of other things than the words in front of me. The romances in this book has no real foundation, but the characters, the way they interacted and spoke made it seem like they did. I feel like they from meeting and then straight to the bedroom. The main thing that made up for that was Suanne Schafer’s writing style, I am shocked that this was her debut novel, the writing was beautiful and very detailed! The other thing that I liked about A Different Kind Of Fire was Ruby’s character arc, I think character arcs are so important! This ended up being a 3.75/5 stars for me.

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall a sickness and later death, before her first memory. She sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt hates her alongside her cousin. Jane has never known love her family doesn’t love her who else is there to do so? She falls ill,one night she tells the doctor all of her struggles he suggest her going to any other family she has,all Janes knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is a way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at the boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, That is something that I love about classics, you can tell that the writer is really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twist and turns throughout life. My two complaints are I didn’t really care for the plot and the writing was really dragged out this book could have been 300 pages shorter.

Jane Eyre Book Review

August TBR 2019

August Wrap-Up 2019

Jane Eyre Book Review

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall to sickness and later death before her first memory. She is sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt and cousin hate her. Jane has never known love, her family doesn’t love her, who else is there to do so? She falls ill one night, she tells the doctor all of her struggles. He suggests her going to any other family she has, all Jane knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is the way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at her boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield Hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

“I am not an angel, I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”– Jane Eyre

For starters, I did the audiobook for Jane Eyre and then followed along in my physical copy of the book. This book took me twice the amount of days than I had originally hoped for. I don’t think the novel is something difficult to read but it was so long and dragged on and on. I also found bits and pieces unrealistic, I’m not going to say which ones as they are spoilers.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, that is something I love about classics, you can tell that the writers really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre, I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twists and turns throughout life.

Overall, I feel strange writing a review for a book that has been with us since the mid-1800s. I know people love this book but it just didn’t do it for me. If a book is hundreds of pages longer than it needs to be I find myself getting bored and not wanting to read. The plot didn’t really seem important to me, it wasn’t something extravagant that caught my eye. Yes, I did not expect some of the plot twists and those were fun but it just wasn’t my favorite book, or classic, for that matter, that I’ve read.

August TBR 2019

In August, I went back to randomly selecting my books from my TBR, to be read, jar. I chose one book that I want to read without going in the jar, I will continuing doing this every month. This month I plan on participating in the Disney-a-thon, I am on team simba!

I am starting out August with a classic, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. In high school, I did watch some of the movie in my English class but we did not read the Victorian set novel.

Jane Eyre was orphaned and sent to live with an aunt who had no love for her and found her difficult to handle. Jane didn’t want to live with the only family she had, getting an education was one way out of this. We follow Jane to her boarding school and then later in life when she falls in love.

Secret For A Nightingale was published in 1987, so it is no new release. It is actually a funny story how I cam across this book. I was looking through Etsy, not looking to purchase anything, and I saw this novel and another by the same author, the cover stood out to me. Little did I know I have some Tudor era books by the same author just under a different alias!

Susanna is a young girl growing up in British run India. She had a talent at being a nurse and helping heal those around her. Susanna gets swept off her feet and married. When returning to England, she settles down as a proper wife, forgetting about her own dreams. She uncovers that her husband isn’t exactly what she thought he was.

I’ve heard that Elin Hilderbrand is the summer author. This was the book that I chose on my own to read this month, I figured I needed a summery read to end out the season. As some of you probably know, I read The Girls by Emma Cline last month which is also set in the Summer of ‘69, I have been loving the sixties setting and want to discover more books set in that decade.

The Levin family spend their summers at their grandmother’s home in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The last summer of the decade is no different, except not all of the siblings will be able to make it. The eldest daughter is pregnant and stuck in Boston, the middle daughter is spending her summer like many Americans, protesting, and the one son of the family has been sent to fight in Vietnam. Jessie is left with her grandmother, who she isn’t close with for the summer.

It may come as a shock to some that I have not read the widely popular book, The Book Thief. It has been on my TBR forever, and I will finally be getting to it this month! Markus Zusak’s other work, A Bridge Of Clay, was my favorite book of 2018. I can’t wait to read Zusak’s more popular book.

Set in 1939 Germany, we are told the story of Liesel from death. Liesel is a girl who discovers one book and leads her down the rabbit hole for a love of reading. She begins to take books from anywhere she can, including Nazi book burnings. The war changes her life forever and opens and closes doors for her every where.

My Sunday read this month will be Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets. I am continuing my Harry Potter reread, I won’t be giving a summary since it is such a well known book.


August TBR

Disney-a-Thon