What I’m Reading: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A few years back I went on an East Coast road trip. During the trip, my husband and I spent a couple days on Prince Edward Island, so of course I had to go see Green Gables. I’d never read the world renowned books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, even though I’d spent hours of my childhood watching the CBC television movie specials and tuning in every week to watch Road to Avonlea.

img_1028.jpg

I bought my copy of Anne of Green Gables at the Green Gables gift shop, with the intent of reading it during the trip, but that never happened. Then, the other week, I heard a radio program discussing the 75th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s death (what is with all the death anniversaries lately?). This inspired me to pick up the book and I began reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Anne of Green Gables was written in the early 1900’s, so the style is much different than books today. But I found this refreshing. There is something so charming in Anne’s page long ramblings that just puts a smile on my face. Not only did the book remind me of childhood and make me long for the days of playing outside, it also reminded me of my trip to the island. And let me say, Prince Edward Island is a beautiful place. Reading this book made me want to go back there. Below are a few pictures from my time on the island, if you’ve never gone, or read Anne of Green Gables, I highly recommend both.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Young Adult Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Like this first two books in this series, I listened to Dreams of Gods and Monsters on audiobook. If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend these ones. Or you could just read the books, because the story is fantastic.

IMG_1024

Dreams of Gods and Monsters begins right where Days of Blood and Starlight ends. Karu is deep in battle with her foes, and her heart is deep in battle with itself. Laini Taylor’s world is so well thought out and rich with detail, and it’s super easy to get lost in it for a while.

I didn’t find the last book of this series as strong as the first two. The end felt a bit protracted, as the main action ended well before the end of the story. It was that kind of slow winding down feel, which I’m not a particular fan of (such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King). The audiobook is over 15 hours long, and it took me a long time to get through it. I think I had to borrow it from the library three or four times, mostly because I didn’t have any long road trips during this period. But if you’ve got in your future, pick up this book to keep you well occupied.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy is now new the top of my favorite Young Adult series. What’s at the top of yours?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I’m almost ashamed of admitting how long it took me to finish reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I made a pact with myself a while back to read more classics. I know and love Pride and Predjudice very well, but I haven’t read all that many classics other than everything by Jane Austen. Since I’ve begun reading more of the old famous books, I’ve found a few that I love, Dracula and Frankenstein, and a few that I’ve hated, Lolita and Madame Bovary. Jane Eyre fit somewhere in between those two ends.

DSC05150

Jane Eyre wasn’t quite as romantic as Pride and Predjudice, and it wasn’t quite as gothic as Frankenstein and Dracula. I’ve noticed the obvious pattern that even amongst the classics I mostly prefer those with a fantastical twist. Part of the reason I picked up this particular copy of Jane Eyre was because of the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? Here’s a better look.

DSC05153

Previous to reading the novel, I’d seen a couple different remakes of Jane Eyre in cinema format, and I’ve never particularly loved any of those either. Part of the reason, I think, is that the pieces of the novel I found more interesting always seemed to be wiped out of the movie. For instance, i really enjoyed the beginning of Jane Eyre when Jane’s at school. This took up at least a good quarter of the book, but I’ve never seen a movie dedicate that much time to it.

All in all, reading Jane Eyre was a pleasant experience, so pleasant in fact that I kept falling asleep when reading it, which is part of why it took me over six months to get around to finishing it. But I’m glad I’m done, and that I can now add it to my GoodReads count.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

 

Star Wars Books that Changed My Life

May the 4th be with you!

This year, in order to celebrate ‘Star Wars Day’, I’m going to share with you some of my own history with what I consider to be one of the best fantastical worlds ever! As a child, I remember watching the Star Wars Movies every chance I got. My favourite was Return of the Jedi (it is now Empire Strikes Back), and I borrowed it every chance I got on VHS from my public library. I borrowed it so many times that my father banned me from borrowing it for six months! I was crushed.

I always dreamed of new Star Wars movies, but they never arrived in my childhood. Instead, I turned to the books. By the time I turned 10, there was an entire Star Wars Universe waiting to be explored on the page. I began with Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, and read everything I could get my hands on. I still have some of these books, as I’ve never been able to part with them.

FullSizeRender (7)

One of my favs was the Young Jedi Knights Series, by Kevin J. Anderson with Robecca Moesta. This series was about Leia and Han’s twins, Jaina and Jacen. I wanted to be them, go to school with them, learn how to be a Jedi Knight too. So I consumed these books with a vengeance. I credit the strong character of Jaina and her mechanical aptitude for my own interest in science and my the much later degree in Engineering that I received in 2004. I was disappointed with Disney when they kaiboshed everything that was Star Wars, making it legend, and coming up with their own cannon. But there are a lot of similarities between Rey and Jaina, and after I watched Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I found I could accept this new story and love Rey as I loved Jaina (to me, they are really the same girl by a different name. I’m positive that Rey belongs to Leia and Han, and that Kylo Ren is her long-lost twin brother, just like in the books).

FullSizeRender (6)

Another of my favorite characters from the book world, Mara Jade, in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series, and pictured fighting Luke, above, is also now legend. Mara Jade was an apprentice to the Emperor, and takes it upon herself to battle Luke. But Mara Jade isn’t all bad, and she’s also my favorite Sith ever.

While my Star Wars book collection is not what it once was, I still treasure it, and it is still growing. With the Disney takeover, more material is being released now than ever. I’ve previously blogged about reading some of the new comic books, and I’ve also finished the first book in Chuck Wendig’s new Trilogy, beginning with Aftermath, about the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. When it comes to my love of Science Fiction and space travel, Star Wars will always have a very large place in my heart. So happy May the 4th, and may the Force be with you.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, or if you just want to watch it again because it is May 4th, be sure to check out The Last Jedi Trailer below.

JEH

What I’ve Read: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth, is the last book in the Divergent trilogy. I read it back in 2014, and well… I had my issues with this book. However, if you HAVE NOT READ IT, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, read my book journal entry below, as it contains major, major spoilers. If you’ve finished the series, then go ahead and scroll down.

IMG_0708

IMG_0742

What did you think of the conclusion?

JEH

What I’ve Read: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

As I continue to scroll through my book journals from the years before I used Goodreads, I’m pulling out entries and posting them on this blog. Insurgent by Veronica Roth is the second book in the young adult Divergent trilogy. I read this book in 2012 (man, five years ago already!). I think from the review that I really liked this book, see below for my handwritten review.
IMG_0706

IMG_0729

Was this book a quick read for you?

JEH

What I’m Reading: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Young Adult Audiobook Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I borrowed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner from my e-library for my most recent road trip. I found the book quickly addicting. This ebook was a change from the others I’d listened to lately, because it had three readers: one for Lilac, one for Tarver, and one for the mysterious General. I thought the actors were well chosen to do the voices, especially Johnathan McClain, who voiced Tarver, because he sounds just like I imagine a young army officer might.

IMG_0709

What I liked best about These Broken Stars was the mystery that permeates the entire novel. There are so many questions that are not answered, and then, when something is answered, there are still remaining questions that don’t have answers. What I didn’t like about the book, and the only reason I’ll give it four stars instead of five, was that sometimes Lilac was just a bit too much of a damsel in distress. There were times when her behaviour was just too weak for my taste, and I longed for her to be a bit more like Celaena Sardothien.

Still, it was a good story, and a great audiobook. I’m not sure I’ll listen to the other two books in the series though, because—and I didn’t realize this when I borrowed book one—the following books feature different characters. That said, I liked the writing enough that the sequels might be worth my time, it will just depend if something else catches my eye first.

4/5 Stars.

JEH