“A Secret Kept” by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Fiction
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by St. Martin’s Press
Goodreads|Amazon|Indigo

Antoine decides to take his sister Mélanie on a trip for her birthday. He surprises her with a trip to Noirmoutier, a place they often visited as children but have not returned to since the death of their mother 30 years ago. While there, they reminisce about their mother–but more than just happy memories resurface for Mélanie. When trying to confess this to her brother, they get into a car accident and Mélanie is seriously injured. As Mélanie heals, the family mystery begins to unravel. Did Antoine or Mélanie really know their mother? Or their father? What happened all those years ago? What about now? — Does Antoine know his own children? Do they know him?
 
At first, this story had me hooked. I couldn’t stop reading. The mystery and the superb writing kept up my interest. However, after a while, my interest waned. The mystery not only became less mysterious, but it also just became uninteresting. A word that best sums up my opinion of the story is “meh.” It became intriguing only in the way that it explored family dynamics. But the plot that compelled said exploration just didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the writing, and that’s what kept me reading, but the plot just was not compelling for me in the least for the last half of the book.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
YA, Paranormal

Miss Peregrine is a interesting tale of a boy’s journey into his grandfather’s past. His grandfather had always told him tall tales growing up. But what if there were more to it than that? Could the stories be true? After a horrific tragedy, Jacob finds himself on a secluded island in Wales looking for the children’s home his grandfather grew up in. When he finds it, it is a mysterious run down building with a box full of old photographs. Where did the children go? Miss Peregrine? Could they still be alive?


One of the most interesting things about the story is that it is illustrated with vintage photographs. It was really neat to be able to see what the characters were seeing. I really liked this book for the most part. The story was interesting and weird–I couldn’t put it down. However, the impression you get from reading the book jacket and what the book is actually about are pretty different. The synopsis leads you to believe that it is more of a mystery, when in fact it’s more fantasy. Mysterious, yes, but, it’s definitely fantasy. When I picked it up I was also unaware that it was the first in a series. If I knew that, I’m not sure I would have read it. I’m not really in the mood for a series, especially when the other books aren’t out yet. Furthermore, I think that this story would be better as a stand alone work. When you get to the end you are looking for some sort of conclusion and satisfaction, and I did not find that with this book.

Alright, fellow book lovers…

Alright, fellow book lovers. I am at an impasse. I just finished The Diviners, and now must decide what book to read next. I have six titles here that I picked up at the library. Which should I choose first? 
Call Me Zelda Erika Robuck
Little Black Dress Susan McBride
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
A Train in Winter Caroline Moorehead
When in Doubt, Add Butter Beth Harbison
A Secret Kept Tatiana de Rosnay 

“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopian

Divergert is the story of a girl named Beatrice “Tris” Prior. In the same vein as The Hunger Games, Divergent is set in a futuristic dystopian society. Rather than being divided into districts, the people are divided into factions. They are not divided based on location, but instead based on what they value the most: Abnegation, selflessness; Candor, honesty; Amity, kindness; Erudite, intelligence; and Dauntless, bravery. At the age of 16, each person undertakes an “aptitude” test that shows them what faction they are most suited to. They do not have to chose that faction, but it gives them some guidance. This is a difficult decision because they believe in faction over blood. If you leave the faction you were raised in, your family will never be the same.


Although Beatrice respects and values the selflessness of her family and neighbours, she never felt like she fit in. She wasn’t like everyone else. She knows she might fit in better with one of the other factions, but she does not want to leave her family behind. Not only so, but her aptitude tests are inconclusive. She is something they call “Divergent.” Immediately her test instructor gravely commands her to tell no one of this: being Divergent is dangerous. Why? What makes her different? What should she choose? How will this choice affect her? Can she keep her divergence a secret?


If you liked The Hunger Games, you will probably like this book, too. Personally, I read Divergent in a day after my friend recommended it to me. I found myself completely caught up in Tris’s world. I found it was a good balance between new and original, and familiar. These days it seems like everyone is into this sci fi/fantasy mashup genre. Roth brings her own ideas into the mix in her utopian society gone wrong. I found it interesting and compelling, but at the same time, might not exactly be literature. However, I eagerly recommend this book to everyone! I loved it! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the sequel, Insurgent.


Second Chance by Jane Green

Jane Green Second Chance

Second Chance by Jane Green
Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published 2007 by Viking Adult
Purchase: [Amazon] [Book Depository]

This book is about a bunch of screwed up people who used to be friends coming together again over a mutual loss. Holly, Saffron, Olivia, Paul, and Tom used to know each other twenty years ago. They grew up together. However, as it usually goes, they grew apart over the years, and eventually lost contact with one another. But not Tom. Tom managed to keep in touch with each one of them, no matter how far apart they were. Sadly, Tom is killed in a terrorist attack. 


These four friends are brought together at his memorial. Holly has “the perfect life.” Two beautiful children, a beautiful house, and a successful husband. She puts on a smile for the world, but is she really happy? 

Saffron moved to LA to be an actress. She is somewhat successful, and is dating someone famous, whom she will only name as P. However, she has her own issues, and so does “P.” 

Olivia is newly single after her boyfriend of seven years tells her he is no longer happy. She thought she would marry him. Now she doesn’t know what to do. 

Paul and his wife Anna have been trying to have children for years with no success. They have nearly depleted their savings account on IVF treatments and to no avail. Anna doesn’t want to give up, but knows she can’t go on like this. All she wants is to be a mother, and she does not know how to deal with the fact that it’s just not in the cards for her. Paul would do anything for Anna. All he wants to do is make her happy, but he can’t give her what she wants the most. He knows she would be an amazing mother, and it kills him that she will never have the chance to be one. 

Life just is not fair. Now that these friends are brought back together over this devastating loss, they will be there for each other, help one another grow, and, hopefully, each be given a second chance at happiness.

I quite liked this book. I had heard some mixed things about it
for example that the rapidly shifting points of view were somehow confusing or distracting. I didn’t find that. It wasn’t really shifts in points of view. It was just an omniscient narrator changing focus at times. I thought it worked with this story, because it wasn’t just about one personit was about all of these people and how they grow and change over the course of the novel. You wouldn’t have been able to see how much they grew if you didn’t know what was going on in their heads or in their lives. I thought it worked, and worked well. 

Not only did it work in that sense, but it also allowed the reader to make connections with the characters, and feel sympathy or empathy for what they were going through. It is hard to do that when you are not given the opportunity to connect with them. Through the omniscient narrator, I found that the characters were all believable and relatable. 

What I really liked about this book was that the characters were in real life situations and were able to grow in ways that were not only completely plausible, but might also generate hope for readers in similar circumstances. The characters did not need to be thrown into new and more promising circumstances to find hope (which is generally unrealistic). But instead they learned to be happy with the cards they were dealt. They learned to accept their circumstances for what they were, and to be true to themselves in those circumstances. As Maya Angelou said, “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” I found that was what this book was all about. And I really enjoyed it. Thumbs up!

“The Boleyn Inheritance” by Philippa Gregory

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

Historical Fiction
Paperback, 518 pages
Published 2012 by Harper Collins

 
This is the story of three women in the Tudor court: Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Howard. Told through each of their perspectives, we see the rise and fall of two more wives of Henry VIII. At this point, Henry VIII is no longer a handsome young prince. He is an aging man with a stinking, festering wound on his leg. He is no longer strong, but limps around on his good leg. Nevertheless, he insists on being treated as he always was–as the most handsome and strongest man in the room. Although nearing 50, he behaves as a spoiled child. This is not only unbecoming in a man, but it is dangerous in a king. This, coupled with his constant paranoia and suspicion, lead to a very dangerous tyrant. Circling in his court are Jane, Anne, and Katherine. Jane is a lady in waiting, as she had been for the last three queens of King Henry. Now she is the lady in waiting to Anne of Cleves, as she is brought from the Netherlands to be the bride of King Henry. These women struggle not only to maintain their place, but also to keep their heads. Literally.
 
We have been introduced to Jane Boleyn–the wife of George Boleyn–in The Other Boleyn Girl. In The Boleyn Inheritance we see things from her own perspective. Were the Boleyn sibling wrong about her? Or is she simply mad? Anne is a sweet and innocent girl who only wants to be the best Queen she can be. This, however, is difficult after accidentally offending the King. Will she be cast aside? Will she escape with her life? Kitty Howard is the youngest of the three, a frivolous maid in waiting to Anne. She is quite beautiful, however naive, and catches the eye of the king. However, is this a blessing or a curse?
 

I enjoyed this book. For the most part, it was less salacious than is predecessor, and I appreciated that. I also liked how the story was told through each woman’s point of view. The other Gregory books I have read have been told solely through one POV, so I liked that here she shook things up a bit. This also worked very well for this particular story because it allowed you to not only see the inner workings of each character’s mind, but you could also see how they appeared to the other women. For example, Jane thinks she is always doing the right thing. But, as some question, is she really trustworthy? I thought this book was really good, but I took a point away for the unnecessarily graphic sex scene and sexuality in the last third of the book. It had been really good up until then.

Today…

Today I went out to brunch with a friend. Afterward we went to Chapters and I picked up a copy of Divergent after my friend recommended it! I will read it next. I hope it’s good! 🙂 
Have you read it? 
Do you have any recommendations for me? Post them in the comments!

Chao!



“The House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton

The House of MirthThe House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Fiction, Classic

If you want to know what I think, email me and I will send you a copy of my Honours Thesis. 😉


I.E., This book is so amazing I wrote a book about it. 


For real though, this book is an excellent exploration of femininity in the early 20th century. I love everything about it. Although Wharton won the Pulitzer for Age of Innocence, House of Mirth is what made her famous.