Book Review: The Book Thief

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I have to say straight out that I’m very late to the game with this book. That being said, if you by any chance haven’t read this book, GO DO IT, NOW! This book is stunning, brilliant, powerful, and resonant. Those of you who have read it know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason I’ve never heard a bad thing about this book. It’s truly AMAZING.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak is about a young German girl named Liesel Meminger, who goes into the foster care of Hans and Rosa Huberman. Liesel is entranced by words from the moment she steals her first book from the snow covered ground. With the help of her loving foster father, her love for words grows while trying to survive in the throes of Nazi Germany during World War II. Liesel continues to steal books wherever she can get them as her situation becomes more and more dangerous, especially when her foster parents hide a Jew in their basement.

This book is heart-wrenching, and I’m not going to lie, I did tear up reading this book. I think one of things I loved most about this book was Zusak’s choice of narrator. I think it’s such a brilliant and creative move that adds to the flow of the narrative, as well as adding to its depth and poignancy.

Another aspect of this book that I really loved was the relationship development between Liesel and the other characters in the book. Much like our reality, none of Liesel’s relationships with the other people in her town were instant; the trust wasn’t instant with any of them. But slowly, it grows. After several nights filled with night terrors and vigils by her bedside, Hans Huberman becomes her papa. After surface-level beratement and profanity-filled lectures, Liesel finds that Rosa Huberman is very much her big-hearted mama. After much trepidation and nights and days spent reading, Liesel finds a new brother in Max Vandenburg. And after years of mischievous adventures, Liesel finds love and friendship in Rudy Steiner.

I loved everything about this book. The hype is real and very much deserved.

5/5 Stars.

If you’ve read this book, please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Don’t forget you can find me in other cyber spaces!

Instagram: @bookrecs625

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5603168-samantha-gilmore

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September Wrap-Up!

Despite starting school this month and being completely overwhelmed with my new workload, I’m pretty proud of the amount I read this month!

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The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: 4 Stars

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The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: 4 Stars

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Antigone, by Sophocles

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

Rating: 4 Stars

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Anatomy of a Boyfriend, by Daria Snadowsky

Rating: 1 Star

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Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Never Never #1-2, by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Ratings: #1: 4 Stars

#2: 3 Stars

Goodreads #1

Goodreads #2

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Saga Volume 6, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Rating: 4 Stars

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han

Rating: 3 Stars

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P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han

Rating: 3 Stars

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Mini Book Haul for the Day!

So, I got off work early today and had some time to spare. As my mother would say, “idle time is the devil’s playground.” Of course, I ended up going to two different Goodwill Bookstores near me. Below will be a very brief list of the books I purchased today (all for under $10!)

  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

An autobiography/memoir of Kaysen’s experience with being sent off to a women’s psychward at the age of eighteen, and the two years she spent there.

  • Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

The second book in The Bronze Horseman series. I own the second and third, have to own let alone read the first book… sorry not sorry.

  • Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

A story set in Paris, France, where a woman falls in love with the city and its handsome diplomat. (I need more fluffy adult contemporary in my life).

  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

A soldier goes back to the woman he loves. The story follows his journey back to her, which includes the intimate and, at times, lethal relationships and conversations he has along the way. Apparently it’s a movie with Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellwegger, and Jude Law… I have to get my hands on this film.

  • Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin (Floppy Edition)

My fiancé and I have recently started watching and have become completely addicted to the Game of Thrones HBO series. I figured I should start reading the books. I already own this first book, but it’s a mass-market paperback, and I found this big floppy edition for $2.00 and couldn’t help myself. Again… sorry not sorry.


Well, that’s my mini book haul of the day! Let me know what you’re currently reading, and which books you’ve bought recently.

Don’t forget you can find me in other cyber spaces:

Instagram: @bookrecs625

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SamiG

Weebly: http://bookrecs625.weebly.com/

Book Review: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Gary Chapman

So this review is a little different because it’s a review of a self-help book. When my fiance and I got engaged, one of our old coworkers recommended that we read a couple of books written by a renowned premarital/marital counselor, Gary Chapman. One of these books was Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. 

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married is a book about all of the most common issues that tend to go unnoticed while dating but eventually become issues after marriage. Chapman’s goal is to bring these issues to the forefront before marriage, so that they can be discussed prior to marriage to save a lot of arguments and conflict after marriage. Some of the issues he talks about include: realizing that love alone is insufficient as a foundation for marriage, figuring out finances, marrying into a family, personality differences, religion, sex, and more!

I found this book to be a little intimidating but really helpful in the long run. It is a little daunting having your relationship challenged by the book you’re reading. It challenges the actual compatibility between you and your partner to see if the two of you should really be planning a marriage together. Despite the moments of fear, this book actually made me feel a lot more confident in my relationship with my fiance, and I really believe that we can have a wonderful marriage that will last for the rest of our lives.

For the most part I found truth and insight in what Chapman writes in this book. He has years of experience with his wife, and he continuously uses he and his wife as relevant examples for his topics. However, there were a couple instances where I felt I disagreed with him. The one that really comes to mind every time I think about it is his argument that the statements, “like mother like daughter,” and “like father like son,” are completely true. He argues that analyzing the behavior patterns of the parent is a sure sign of what your spouse will be like. I find that to be somewhat true… to an extent. I do believe that the potential spouse may look at their parents and decide that they don’t want to be like their parents. Yes, most children end up like their parents, but to argue that those statements are 100% true is absurd.

Other than my disagreements, there were a lot of benefits from this book. I am much more confident in my relationship with my future husband, and I feel like I am much more prepared for marriage. I am young, and a lot of the issues he brought up were vague ideas that I knew in the back of my head. Now I feel more well-informed about the topic and feel ready to take on the married life!

4/5 Stars

If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts. Feel free to leave questions and comments down below. I love hearing from you guys.

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Happy Reading My Friends!

Book Review: City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare

City_of_Ashes

Okay, I have spent so much time putting this off, but I’m finally getting around to posting this review. I’ve already read three other books since I read this book, so hopefully my memory will allow me to include all of the details that I originally wanted to include in this review. Anyway, let’s get to it!

So, I’m finally understanding all of the hype behind Cassandra Clare’s books. I didn’t really understand it after I read the first book in this series, but now it’s becoming clear why she is so loved in Young Adult Fiction world. In short, I loved this book!

If you aren’t aware of Clare’s books, City of Ashes is the second book of six in The Mortal Instruments series. This series follows a girl named Clary, who finds out she is a Shadowhunter: a person who hunts and kills demons. Upon finding this out, her mother goes missing, and she must team up with the attractive, mysterious Jace, and his group of Shadowhunters, to find her mother.

Honestly, I can’t review this without spoiling anything for anyone who hasn’t read this series. If you like fantasy/YA and you haven’t picked this series up, or if you read the first book (City of Bones) and didn’t like it as much, I highly recommend getting to the other books then gauging whether you like it or not. The characters are awesome and all very different from each other. Their personalities will have you laughing out loud at the witty comments and snarky remarks, especially from Jace and Simon, especially when talking to each other. The first book does have a lot of world building, but City of Ashes was so much better, and I hear it only gets better and better with each book.

4/5 Stars

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

This book was so much fun to read! While the first book dragged so much for me, this book was a lot more action-packed and exciting.

Valentine

First of all, the beginning of this book was pretty dark with the Prologue of Valentine forcing the warlock to conjure up the demon of fear, Agramon. It showed just how vicious, determined, and ruthless Valentine is, making him a great villain to hate. And that remains the same throughout the entire book. His character remains this unchanging, evil person who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal. For example, he enslaves demons, his mortal enemies, in order to get all of the mortal instruments. One of my favorite portrayals of what an evil person he is happens when the Inquisitor imprisons Jace as a ploy to get the instruments back from Valentine. She is under the impression that paternal love is stronger than any goal, and that surely, Valentine would trade the sword and the cup in order to save his son. Jace points out that her plan is flawed, claiming, “You don’t know my father. He’ll laugh in your face and offer you some money to mail my body back to Idris.” Then later, Jace’s typical snarky side comes out immediately after when he says, “Come to think of it, he’ll probably make you pay the shipping charges yourself.” (p. 306) Of course the reader already knows this to be true, but Jace’s remarks about Valentine to the Inquisitor solidifies that knowledge and makes us hate him even more.

Clary and Jace

One thing that frustrated me so much (in a good way) is the “sibling” relationship between Clary and Jace. It’s so annoying because they’re so in love with each other, and for a while, it seems that they’re brother and sister, but then that seems to become less and less clear. Everyone hated the scene with the Seelie Court because they found it “incestual,” but I guess my refusal to believe that they’re related allowed me to love that scene. Clare describes their kiss in the Seelie Court so beautifully: “She felt the brush of his lips, light at first, and her own opened automatically beneath the pressure. Almost against her will she felt herself go fluid and pliant, stretching upward to twine her arms around his neck the way that a sunflower twists toward light. His arms slid around her, his hands knotting in her hair, and the kiss stopped being gentle and became fierce, all in a single moment like tinder flaring into a blaze” (173). This kiss is way too beautiful and way too passionate for them to actually be related.

When we learn about the background concerning the death of the Inquistor’s son, I formed my own theory. Every time Jace is compared to Valentine, it is mentioned that they don’t bear any striking resemblance (and neither do Jace and Clary BTW), but they do have the same charm and snarky wit. Then, we learn that the Inquistor’s son, Stephen Herondale was part of Valentine’s circle, but was killed. His 8-month-pregnant wife was so grieved, that she killed herself. My theory is that Jace that unborn baby. He was saved after she killed herself, and raised up by Valentine. He wouldn’t look like Valentine, but he would act like Valentine if he were raised by him! Therefore, Jace and Clary are not related! To further enforce this theory, we have the scene with Jace and the Inquisitor on Valentine’s ship during battle. The Inquisitor pulls Jace aside to talk to him, but their encounter becomes pretty strange:

“She jabbed a finger at his shoulder. ‘When did you get that?’

Jace looked down and saw that the spider demon’s poison had eaten a hole in his shirt, leaving a good deal of his left shoulder bare. ‘The shirt? At Macy’s. Winter sale.’

‘The scar. This scar, here on your shoulder.’

‘Oh, that.’ Jace wondered at the intensity of her gaze. ‘I’m not sure. Something that happened when I was very young, my father said. An accident of some kind.Why?’

Breath hissed through the Inquisitor’s teeth. ‘It can’t be,’ she murmured. ‘You can’t be -‘” (390).

We never find out what she means by this because she sacrifices herself to save Jace. But we know she realized that he was her grandson. The scar had to be a family birthmark of some kind, and that realization is why she would even let herself die to protect him! CLARY AND JACE ARE NOT RELATED PEOPLE. I’M CALLING IT NOW.

Don’t even get me started on the ending when Clary was finally going to tell Jace she loves him, and he cuts her off saying he’ll just think of her as a sister from now on, because that was what she wanted (OR SO HE THOUGHT). UGH Cassandra, why do you do this to me?!

Clary and Simon

Lastly, we have the negative part of the book. The relationship between Clary and Simon pissed me off so much. Clary knows that she doesn’t see Simon that way, so I found it to be kind of a bitch move to lead him on and agree to be his girlfriend. She kisses him and even makes out with him in bed, all while knowing that she’s in love with Jace. The whole relationship dynamic was so messed up and disgusting to me. I thought it was really unnecessary. I was so happy (and very shocked, quite frankly) when Simon broke up with Clary. At least one of them realized that her feelings were way too ungenuine for their relationship to be okay.

I loved this book. I’m just so mad that I left Book 3: City of Glass at my house in California. Now I have to wait until December to continue the series! 😦

I hope you all enjoyed this review. If you’ve read the book, let me know what you thought about it! I’ll try to post more regularly!