Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MAKING FACES by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
5 out of 5 *Stars*
This has got to be one of the best books that I’ve ever read.  If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.  It is a deeply moving story that takes a closer look at inner beauty, a person’s inner struggle, loss, heartache, love, and everything in between. 
“If God makes all of our faces, did he laugh when he made me?”
You best get your tissues ready because I have never cried so much from one book… ever!  Okay, you read this and think, “Why would I want to read a book that makes me cry?”  Because it is the type of book and message that will stay with you forever, that’s why.
“Victory is in the battle.”
The story was written beautifully and every character was described in a way that made them come to life.  It is written in the synopsis… “the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back.”  You know it’s coming, but it doesn’t hurt your heart any less.  I wanted to enter the book and stop what I knew was inevitably supposed to happen.  The loss was devastating.
“Joshua looked at his only daughter and his hand shook as he reached for her, wanting to touch her, wanting to console her, wanting to fall to his knees and pray for the parents who had lost their sons.”
With a girl that grew up far from perfect looking, a boy that was perfect looking then scarred from the war, and an angel in the form of a boy confined to a wheelchair, the reader gets to see lessons learned involving the message of outer beauty influenced by what a person is like on the inside. 
“True beauty, the kind that doesn’t fade or wash off, takes time.  It takes pressure.  It takes incredible endurance.  It is the slow drip that makes the stalactite, the shaking of the Earth that creates mountains, the constant pounding of the waves that breaks up the rocks and smooths the rough edges.  And from the violence, the furor, the raging of the winds, the roaring of the waters, something better emerges, something better emerges, something that would otherwise never exist.”    
This book looks inside the deployment of soldiers, but is not a military book.  It also involves true love of the deepest kind, but is not a romance.  It even involves a suspenseful underlining story that impacts everyone.  It is a definite must read.  One person even referred to it as “the book of 2013”.  To me, it is timeless, and something that I will recommend to anyone and everyone whenever I can.  Happy reading…
(Those 5 simple words now have so much meaning.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare

Book 1 in the Mortal Instruments Series

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
3.5 out of 5 *Stars*
I really don’t know where to start.  I looked at other reviews for this book and it shows that people either loved it or hated it.  There were many reviews that said it had bad writing, a bad plot, bad dialog, and so on.  Some even mentioned possible plagiarism from the Draco Trilogy, but since I haven’t read those books, that will not be part of my review here.  Plus, it's my understanding that she also wrote the DT... Is it still plagiarism if it's from your our work?  Anyways...
Overall, I liked the book.  I didn’t become sucked into the story like I do with many other books, but I wouldn’t consider it boring either.  It had an interesting story, and the Clave / Shadowhunter world was so intriguing that I found myself looking forward to what other new things Clare came up with.  Everything was described in such detail that it was simple to picture what was going on.  Okay, so once in a while it got a little too informational, almost as if it was giving the reader a lesson in demonology.  I didn’t fall in love with any character, and I more than likely wouldn’t be heartbroken if I stopped reading the series.  That being said, I do plan on reading City of Ashes (Book 2) out of curiosity for what is to come. 
Okay, so my review is really all over the place!  Trust me, I’m not meaning it to sound that way, but in all honesty, I don’t come across too many books that I’m indifferent about.  It usually leans one way or another, unlike this one. 
I need to tell you a secret…  I watched the movie before reading the book.  I know, I know… Shame on me, but in my defense, I didn’t know that it was a book.  Now, I have to say, the movie is NOTHING like the book.  It has a different storyline, the characters look different than they’re described, etc.  Now that I’ve finished the book, I plan on watching the movie again so I can give a proper review to accompany this book review.  Till next time…  Happy reading!