Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Jo's Boys

Published By: Little, Brown

Date of Publication: 1886

Categories: Classic, Fiction, Series, YA

Pages: 336

Summary (from goodreads.com): In the culmination of the Little Women stories, Jo’s Boys depicts the girls and boys of Plumfield as young men and women who are facing problems and seeking happiness in life. The original twelve boys are scattered, but all come wandering back from the four corners of the earth to tell their stories and reminisce over the pleasures of the past.

Review: Let me start off my saying that I put off reading this book for months. Months! I felt like when I finished it the world of Jo, Meg, Amy, Laurie, and all the boys and girls would be over. Forever. I didn’t want that to happen. I can’t be the only one who’s sad about reading the last book in a series, can I?

When I finally finished it, I was glad I had finally read it. There was a lot more about the March family than there was in the first one. The boys came and went as they came home to visit. It was great to hear what they did with their lives, the trouble they got themselves into, and the people they met along the way (even some wives!).

I have to admit that Dan was my favourite from Little Men, and he remained my favourite in this book. I don’t want to say too much about what happened to him, but I did want to say that I never thought he would go through the ordeal that he did. I think it made me like him even more.

While I definitely think you can read Little Women, and even Little Men on their own, you absolutely need to read Little Men to understand what’s going on in this book. There are lots of references to the boys’ earlier adventures in this one, and half the fun is thinking back to what happened in Little Men.

In the end, am I happy I read this book? Definitely. But I’m also a little lot sad that there’s no more to come in the lives of the March’s. I know everything there is to know. There won’t be any sequels. It’s the same way I felt when I finished the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Image: Goodreads

Disclosure: I bought this book from my local used bookstore.

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

Published By: Starfire

Date of Publication: 1908

Categories: Classic, Canada, YA, series.

Pages: 336

Summary (from goodreads.com): As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug,  white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she  wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts  send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not  what they expected — a skinny girl with decidedly  red hair and a temper to match. If only she could  convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard  not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt  out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was  not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables  agreed; she was special — a girl with an enormous  imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day  when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.

Review: This has to be one of my favorite classics. You can’t help but have fun reading about all of Anne’s adventures in Avonlea.

I think one of the big reasons why I like this book so much is the characters. They seem so real to me. Anne seems like such a genuine little girl when you first meet her, and she has trouble getting chores done without letting her imagination get away from her. As hard as Marilla likes to seem, you know that  deep down inside she loves Anne like crazy.

Every time I get to the part where Matthew dies I cry. I can’t help it. I know it’s coming, but it’s always still so sad. By the time it happens I’m attached to him, and it breaks my heart to have him not be there to see how Anne will grow up, and the woman she’ll become. As much as he left raising Anne to Marilla, he obviously had quite an impact on Anne.

The setting was another great part of this book. Although I’ve never been to Prince Edward Island, I would love to go one day. It would be so much fun to see the place where all of Anne’s adventures happen. The way Montgomery describes Green Gables and the Haunted Wood adds so much.

I know I’ve read a few other books in the series, but I don’t think I’ve read all of them yet. I’m pretty excited about reading the rest of them now. I want to know what happens to Anne.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I bought this book.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

Published By: Touchstone

Date of Publication: October 24, 2005

Categories: Adult, Historical Fiction, Series.

Pages: 393

Summary (from goodreads.com): Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both kings and crusaders. At the age of three, she is betrothed to Prince Arthur, son and heir of Henry VII of England, and is raised to be Princess of Wales. She knows that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.” “Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. Unexpectedly in this arranged marriage, a tender and passionate love develops.” But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is indomitable. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.

Review: I have to start off by saying that I’m a little obsessed with the Tudors. I loved The Tudors TV series with Jonathan Rhys Myers and Henry Cavill. It was amazing and I highly recommend it. It’s so incredibly good.

It was interesting to see how the book started with Katherine as a child, though it made sense as the book went on – it helped the explain the decisions that Katherine made and where her motivation came from. I thought it also gave a fuller picture of what was going on in Europe at the time.

Getting to see Henry as a young prince who was never really meant to be king was something that I really enjoyed. I never really thought much about where he came from before, but his decisions later in life definitely made more sense with his childhood as context.

The pacing was great, I never felt bored while I was reading, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.

It was interesting to get Katherine’s point of view as well. I liked hearing about a strong woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to do the hard work to get what she wanted.

While I know there’s a lot in this book that isn’t true, I think that’s the fun of historical fiction.

I’ve read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and after reading The Constant Princess, I’m really looking forward to reading The Other Boleyn Girl again, this time with the foundation of knowing more about Katherine.

Image: goodreads.com

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Published By: Dell

Date of Publication: October 31, 2006

Categories: Adult, Fairy, Series, Urban Paranormal, Vampire 

Pages: 342

Summary (from goodreads.com): MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death-a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone-Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed-a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae…

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane-an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women-closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book-because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

Review: I just finished reading Darkfever and to be honest, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. A friend of mine lent it to me. She’s really into fantasy. I’m not so much. I like at least a little reality in my books. So I was thinking I’d read Darkfever and tell her that the rest of the books in the series weren’t for me. Boy was I wrong.

I think once I had read the first chapter I knew I was going to l like it. Mac is a very likable character. She’s spunky and does what she wants. I like that. She kind of reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse at first, another character that I really enjoy.

I’m still not sure what to think of Barrons though. I’m not sure if I like him or if he’s out to use Mac for her abilites. It’s unusual that I can’t make up my mind about a character – usually I either love them or hate them right off the bat.

The novel is set in Ireland, a place that I’d love to go to, but haven’t traveled to yet. Reading Darkfever I almost felt like I was there. I love books like that. It draws you into the story and you can picture yourself in the middle of the action. The setting added a lot to my enjoyment.

I think this series if off to a great start and I’m excited to read the next one in the Fever series, Bloodfever.

Image: goodreads.com

Wake by Lisa McMann

Published By: Simon Pulse

Date of Publication: March 4 2008

Categories:Fiction, Series, Urban Paranormal, YA

Pages: 210

Summary (from goodreads.com): For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can’t tell anybody about what she does they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant.

Review: I read this book in an afternoon – the first time I’ve ever done that with a book. I just couldn’t put it down.

Janie is a very likable main character. She knows what she wants and is willing to put the hard work in to get it, whether it’s taking control of her “problem”, working hard at school to get good grades, or working a job at a nursing home to save up the money to go to university.

Cabel is definitely the kind of guy that I would have liked in high school. In fact, I might have had a crush on a guy that sounds pretty similar to what Cabel is like – right down to the long hair (what can I say, it was high school). I love guys who you have to work to get to know, that are holding something back, that have a deep dark secret. They’re so much interesting than happy go lucky guys. I really enjoyed reading about him.

As much as I liked both Janie and Cabel, I felt like their relationship progressed a little too fast for me. It seems like they went from not talking to each other to kissing and holding hands almost over night. It felt like they skipped a couple steps. But once I figured out where their relationship was, I really liked them together. I’m hoping that I’ll get to read more about the two of them together in the next book in this series, Fade.

I thought the story was really original too. I’ve read a couple other books about dreams, but this one was totally different, and had a great spin on the powers that Janie had. I’m interested to see how Janie uses those powers later on in the series.

I recently read Cryer’s Cross, also by Lisa McMann, and found the writing styles between this one and Cryer’s Cross really different. Surprisingly though, I really liked both of them. So if you didn’t like one try reading the other one, you just might like it.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I got this book from the library.

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Published By: Harper Collins

Date of Publication: February 15, 2011

Categories:Fiction, Mystery, Series, Urban Paranormal, YA

Pages: 368

Summary (from goodreads.com):

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she’d turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike’s tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

Review: I was really looking forward to reading this sequel after reading The Body Finder. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Violet and Jay’s relationship was still just as cute as ever, without being over flowery. I really liked that when they’re together they’re so perfect for each other, but they still manage to be able to get along without each other too. The characters aren’t based on each other, so they’re still interesting when they’re apart. I have to admit that Jay is one of my favorite YA boyfriends.

One thing that I really like about Violet’s character is that she’s a strong, independent female main character. I’ve read book after book where the main character is nothing like Vioelet (sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t), so it was a lot of fun to have Violet back again. She doesn’t sit around and wait for someone else bigger and stronger to save the day when she’s in trouble. She does something about it herself.

One part of the story that I really enjoyed and thought kept it fresh was the FBI storyline. I thought it was interesting to see how Violet reacted to that. I’m excited to see where that goes in the next book.

In terms of the mystery part of this book, I have to admit that for me it fell a little short of The Body Finder, although it wasn’t bad at all – it just wasn’t as creepy as the first one.

If you’re looking for a book with great characters, a really sweet relationship, a paranormal component, and a mystery, this is definitely the book for you.

Click here to check out my review of the first book in this series, The Body Finder.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I got this book from the library.