Review: The Good Earth: Classic Collection

Title:  The Good Earth: Classic Collection

Series: House of Earth #1

Author: Pearl S. Buck

Published: August 1, 2007 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1931)

Excerpts: Begun on simple farmer Wang Lung’s wedding day, the story follows his simple, sometimes naive, and often one sided view of the Chinese culture, times, and his connection with the land.

Quotes: “Now, five years is nothing in a man’s life except when he is very young and very old…

– Wang Lung”

― Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

My Review: Just finished listening to this for #ayearathon diversity challenge and I enjoyed it in the beginning but really didn’t like it in the end. After the readathon I may need to take a look at the criticism of the book to get the deeper meaning. Glad I listened to it anyway as it’s been on my tbr for a while now.

My Rating: I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: No, I really found this one of the most boring stories that I ever read.

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Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett Bahni Turpin (Narrator), Octavia Spencer (Narrator), Cassandra Campbell (Narrator), Jenna Lamia (Narrator)

Title:  The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Published: April 30, 2009, by Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

Excerpts: Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

If you’ve enjoyed the southern charm of Fannie Flagg or The Secret Life of Bees, you’ll find The Help a delight. Miss Eugenia Phelan (“Skeeter” to her friends) is a young woman of privilege who enjoys her fellow Junior Leaguers but sometimes finds their ways at odds with her own principles. She plays the part of her station in 1960s Mississippi but can’t help feeling dissatisfied with keeping house and acting as recording secretary at league meetings, and yearns for something more.

Minny, Miss Celia, Aibileen, and Yule May are maids employed by Skeeter’s friends. Each woman cooks, cleans, and cares for her boss’s children, suffering slights and insults silently and sharing household

secrets only among themselves. In the wake of the Junior League push to create separate bathrooms for the domestic help within private homes, Skeeter contacts a New York book editor with an idea. Soon she’s conducting clandestine meetings

with “the help” to capture their stories for publication. It is a daring and foolhardy plan, one certain to endanger not only the positions but the lives of the very women whose stories she transcribes — as well as her own.

Stockett is a wonderful novelist, and The Help is a charming, thoughtful novel about women finding their voices, and the truths we see when we have the courage to look unflinchingly into the mirror.

(Spring 2009 Selection)

My Review: While I did enjoy this story, I struggled to understand what was going on. Overall I enjoyed what I did understand and I’m looking forward to watching the movie.

My Rating: I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: Yes, mostly the story was interesting.

Review: Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Title:  Darklight

Series: Wondrous Strange #2

Author: Lesley Livingston

Published: December 22, 2009 by HarperTeen

Excerpts: Faerie can’t lie…or can they?

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt. Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magic is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power. Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom…or tear them apart.

With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with wondrous strange.

From the Publisher

Quotes: “What did the Faerie that attacked you look like?”

“Super creepy. Ripped jeans, weird tattoos, bad hair. And, come to think of it, really nice boots…”

“Where?”

“On his feet.”

Sonny winced and rubbed his temples. “Where were you attacked, Kelley?”

“Okay, see…that was a joke.”

― Lesley Livingston, Darklight

“He can’t die! He’s the bloody King of Winter.”

Don’t be absurd,” said Bob, rolling an eye at the wounded Janus. “Just because he’s immortal doesn’t mean he can’t die!”

― Lesley Livingston, Darklight

My Review: I started listening to this during one of my readathons and so far don’t get the point of the storyline. Must listen to the last one as I simply can not start a series and not finish it!

My Rating: I gave it 1 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: No, because the storyline really wasn’t appealing to me.

Review: The Locket by Richard Paul Evans

Title:  The Locket

Series: The Locket Trilogy #1

Author: Richard Paul Evans

Published: January 1, 2000 by Pocket Books

Excerpts: After the death of his mother, Michael Keddington finds employment at the Arcadia nursing home where he befriends Esther, a reclusive but beautiful elderly woman who lives in mourning for her youth and lost love.

Michael faces his own challenges when he loses his greatest love, Faye. When Michael is falsely accused of abusing one of the Arcadia’s residents, he learns important lessons about faith and forgiveness from Ester — and her gift to him of a locket, once symbolic of one person’s missed opportunities, becomes another’s second chance.

Richard Paul Evans, author of the beloved #1 bestselling classic The Christmas Box, begins a wonderful new series with this stunning New York Times bestseller — a bittersweet reminder of life’s most precious gifts….

Quotes: “Believe. Believe in your destiny and the star from which it shines. Believe you have been sent from God as an arrow shot from His own bow.

It is the single universal trait that the great of this earth have all shared, while the shadows are fraught with ghosts who roam the winds with mournful wails of regret on their lips.

Believe as if your life depended on it… for indeed it does.”

― Richard Paul Evans, The Locket

“I believe it’s after the honeymoon ends that true love begins. It’s in the hard times that the greater virtues of love reveal themselves, like tolerance and patience and kindness.”

― Richard Paul Evans, The Locket

My Review: This was such a touching book that I don’t know why I waited such a crazy long time to read it. I read it for #RYBSAT which is Read Your Bookshelf A Thon. Can’t wait to start the next in this series!

My Rating: I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: I would highly recommend this book. It had a great storyline and I really enjoyed the characters in it.

Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Title:  Wondrous Strange

Series: Wondrous Strange #1

Author: Lesley Livingston

Published: June 16, 2009 by HarperTeen

Excerpts: Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie’s enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.

This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley’s eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.

Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.

Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

Quotes: “Kelley. Your name is Kelley, isn’t it?” He didn’t wait for her confirmation. “Yes. Well. Tell me…that bit just now…was that from Dante’s Inferno?”

Uh…no,” Kelley stammered. Her face felt hot.

Really?”

I’m in for it.

Are you sure?” he continued. “Because it most certainly wasn’t from this play. And it bloody well sounded like hell.”

― Lesley Livingston, Wondrous Strange

“She drew herself up and took in a breath, concentrating on her inflection so that she could indulge him in his game. Then she leaned forward and, in her best, most sincerely love-struck voice, breathed, “I love thee.”

Sonny’s face was just inches from hers. His storm-gray eyes flashed, and the dark silk of his hair drifted across his cheek as he leaned in his head. “Perfect.”

So was the kiss.

Perfect.

“I love thee,” Sonny murmured, all pretense gone.”

― Lesley Livingston, Wondrous Strange

My Review: Because the primary storyline is based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night dream I struggled to understand what was happening. I’ve never read that story and guess I’ll have to add it to my must reads in order to understand the sequel to this book.

My Rating: I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: Maybe, if you have read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it because I found the plot totally confusing!

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy

Series: Paranormalcy #1

Author: Kiersten White

Published: August 31, 2010 by HarperTeen

Excerpts: Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Quotes: “Yes, I have a driver’s license.”

I leaned back against the wall, sighing. “Man, that must be so cool.”

“It ranks right up there with lockers. In fact, sometimes I put my license inside my locker, and it’s so cool I worry that the whole thing might explode with the sheer coolness of it all.”

― Kiersten White, Paranormalcy

“Lish tried to swear–which is always funny, because the computer won’t translate it. It went something like this: “Bleep stupid bleep bleep faeries and their bleep bleep bleep obsessions. He had better stop bleep bleep bleep the bleep bleep rules or I will bleep bleep bleep the little bleeeeeeeeeeep.”

― Kiersten White, Paranormalcy

My Review: I really didn’t get the whole point of this storyline. I felt it was mildly funny but lacked plot. The reason that I listened to this audiobook was because all of the high ratings I’ve seen from my fellow book lovers.

My Rating: I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Would I recommend: No, but only because I didn’t understand the point of the story. May have to reread it in ebook format.

Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Destined

Series: Wings #4

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Published: May 1, 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers

Book Description: Destined delivers all the romance and action that fans expect as it brings Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series to a deeply satisfying conclusion.

Laurel used to think she was an ordinary girl from Crescent City, California. She never would have believed she was truly a faerie from a realm called Avalon.

Now Laurel must risk her life to save Avalon from destruction by Yuki—a rare and powerful Winter faerie—and troll-hunter Klea. But Laurel won’t have to fight alone; David and Tamani, two boys she loves in different ways, will be by her side, along with her best friend, Chelsea.

Readers of the Need and Graceling series will want to follow Laurel’s story from its beginning in Wings to its heart-stopping end in Destined.

Quotes: “I’m begging you, to come be with me.” And she pressed her mouth against his and murmured against his lips. “Forever.”

For a few seconds he didn’t respond.

Then a groan escaped his throat and he thrust his fingers in her hair, pulling her mouth back to his with a fierce hunger.

“Kiss me,” she whispered. “And don’t stop.”
Aprilynne Pike, Destined

“Tamani pulled out his cell.

“He has an IPhone?” her mom whispered as the second ring sounded in Laurel’s ear.

Laurel nodded. “I was saving that little tidbit of ammunition the next time we discussed me getting a cell.”
Aprilynne Pike, Destined

Review: So good yet so sad. I really loved this series from beginning to end. It was quite different from anything I’ve read lately. I’m looking forward to reading more like it! And so far this has been the best fantasy and fairy story I’ve come across yet.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I would highly recommend this as it’s been my favorite YA/Fantasy series!

Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Illusions

Series: Wings #3

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Published: May 3, 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers

Book Description: “I don’t do patrols, I don’t go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life. I’ll keep you safe,” Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. “Or die trying.”

Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

This is the third installment of Aprilynne Pike’s Wings Series.

Quotes: “I’m not asking for forever,” Tamani said. “Yet. I’m just asking for a moment.”
Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

“Oh my gosh, is that an iPhone?!” Laurel asked, her voice unconsciously rising in pitch and volume.
Tamani looked up at her, his expression blank.”Yeah?”
“He has an iPhone,” Laurel said to David. “My faerie sentry who generally lives without running water has an iPhone. That’s. Just. Great. Everyone in the whole world has a cell phone except me. That’s awesome.”
Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

Review:  I started listening to this audiobook through scribd just before the new year and finished it after. I really enjoyed this story about Fairies and I was totally team Tamani. I really enjoyed Laurel’s character and was slightly sad when she didn’t accept David. I really loved the world of Avalon and would love to escape there. I also loved Laurel’s parents. These books really kept my interest and so far I have yet to find another series that I’m as hooked on.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I really recommend it if you want to read something fun.

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Spells

Series: Wings #2

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Published: May 12, 2010 by HarperCollins 

Book Description:  “I can’t just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can’t ‘steal’ you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you’ll ask,” Tamani said.

“And if I don’t?” Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Then I guess I’ll be waiting forever.”

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life – and especially her boyfriend, David – to return to the faerie world.

But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel’s feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice – a choice that could break her heart.

Quotes: “It’s going to be gone soon, isn’t it?” he said, more than a tinge of regret in his voice as he studied the large flower.

She nodded, craning her neck to look back at the blue blossom. “It should be gone in another week or two,” she said. There was a distinct lack of regret in her voice. “Maybe less, after last night.”

Is it really such a bother?”

Sometimes.”

David’s hands stroked one of the longer petals on the blossom from base to tip, then brought it briefly to his nose and inhaled. “It’s just so . . . I don’t know . . . sexy.”

Really? But it’s so . . . plantish.”
Aprilynne Pike, Spells

“Her two worlds, two lives that she tried so hard to keep separate, were crashing together. And she felt helpless to stop it.”
Aprilynne Pike, Spells

Review:  When I was listening/reading this one I was really let down by the progress of the storyline. I felt like the four books as a whole would have made one great book. I think I really enjoyed this because of my love of soap operas and the triangle of Laurel, David, and Tamani was very intriguing.

In the end, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  I still would recommend it as it was a fun series and the best one on fairies I’ve come across.

Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Wings

Series: Wings #1

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Published: May 5, 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers

Book Description:   Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Quotes:  “Whatever you need, I’ll be. If you need the science geek to give you answers from a textbook, I’m your guy; if you just want a friend to sit by you in bio and help you feel better when you’re sad, I’m still your guy.” His thumb slowly stroked across her earlobe and down her cheek. “And if you need someone to hold you and protect you from anyone in the world who might want to hurt you, then I am definitely your guy.”
Aprilynne Pike

“It’s your call,” he said softly, “but whatever you decide, I’ll help you.” He placed a soft, warm hand at the back of her neck and Laurel’s breath caught in her chest. “Whatever you need, I’ll be. If you need the science geek to give you answers from a textbook, I’m your guy; if you just want a friend to sit by you in bio and help you feel better when you’re sad, I’m still your guy.” His thumb slowly stroked across her earlobe and down her cheek. “And if you need someone to hold you and protect you from anyone in the world who might want to hurt you, then I am definitely your guy.” His pale-blue eyes bore into hers, and for a second she couldn’t breath. “But it’s all up to you,” he whispered.”
Aprilynne Pike, Wings

Review:  Of all the books I read at the end of 2014, I really loved listening to this one. I’ve been subscribing to Scribd and listened and read it through that app. The storyline kept me hanging the whole way through and I really enjoyed the fantasy storyline. When I started this series I was in the middle of a reading slump and this really excited my beginning of 2015.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet.