Saturday, January 25, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne: Book Review (School Edition)!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review! This semester, I'm taking a popular genre class, and we are focusing on Science Fiction. We started the semester with a novel by Jules Verne called Journey to the Center of the Earth. That's what I will be reviewing today. Now, on with the review!

I read the free version on my Amazon Kindle, so the names for the characters may be a little different from other translations. In my book, a young man named Harry goes on a expedition with his uncle Professor Hardwigg and the stoic Icelander Hans. Together these three men make a trek to the center of the Earth after the Professor finds a message from a long gone famous alchemist. The message says that he made it to the center of the Earth and states the point from which he started from. The professor hopes to make the same journey, Harry just hopes he doesn't die, and Hans is more concerned with getting his payment every Sunday. They face hunger, thirst, wrong turns, explosions, raging storms and some very dangerous beasts.

Now, I find the concept behind the story to be a really cool one. At the time the novel was first published, people had only theorized what could be at the center of the Earth, but this book explores what could actually be down there. They found some really fantastic things from the scenery to the animals that they found there. I found this really cool; however, I found some things hindered the story.

One of the biggest setbacks I had with novel was how long it took them to really start their journey to the center of the Earth. For over ten chapters, Harry talks about their journey to Iceland where they need to find a crater that will make it to the center of the earth. He talks for a long time about the villages and the townspeople that I found unnecessary considering I never heard anything about them after they make it to the crater.

The other aspect that I didn't really like about this novel was its use of scientific jargon. He goes in detail about the temperature, the direction they were going, what each layer of the rock represents time-wise, which animals came from which period of time, not to mention what each piece of equipment they brought did, and so much more. There were several parts that I just had to skim read because I couldn't actually bare to read it or understand it that much.

My professor explained to us that this book was supposed to seem like a travel journal or even a how-to of a journey of this nature, which is why some novel elements don't seem to be in the story. While that is true, I review books based on how well the story is and how that story is conveyed. Of course, in the case of school books, I also decide if the SparkNotes website is needed. With that in mind, I give this book two and a half mushroom trees out of five.

The concept of the story I found interesting, but the execution was lacking. While the jargon is a bit confusing, heading to the internet for answers isn't necessary to complete the story. You'll still get the main gist of it without understanding every little scientific detail. 

That's it for this review, but there's more to come really soon! If you want to see more posts as soon as they are uploaded, add your email to the Subscribe Box down below. You can add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button to the right. You can get up-to-date information about the blog and about my life by following me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. I also have a tumblr for the blog now, and it can be found at this link. More reviews are up ahead. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Book Review (School Edition)!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with a much needed update. In this post, I will be reviewing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is another one of my school books, except I read this book last semester. I just never had a chance to review it since exams began right after we finished the book. Now, I'm back on track, and let's get started with the review!

The Great Gatsby is the story of Nick Carraway and his experiences after he meets his new neighbor Gatsby. Gatsby is constantly throwing wild parties but doesn't actually partake in them. After befriending Gatsby, Nick finds out the reason behind Gatsby's actions, and Nick decides to help him. This book has nice cars, old flames, cheating spouses, and murder!

There are several things I like about this story. I love the mysterious Gatsby, and I may love him more after finding out his intentions. I also like the relationship he has with Nick. Gatsby throws Nick off his game, and Nick finds him fascinating. I also like how Fitzgerald has horrible characters, horrible as is horrible human beings rather than terribly written characters. Tom Buchanan is a horrible husband who just happens to concern himself with whether or not the white race will die out, and there's a mobster that has human teeth for cuff links. They are such a good foil to Daisy, Gatsby, and Nick. I found them to be a very interesting read.

There is a major problem I have with this novel. The Great Gatsby was part of the Modernist Movement in response to the Realist Movement. This means two things: one, it has a lot of symbolic imagery and two, it doesn't move in one continuous time line. Now, I'm all for imagery in books, especially when I can't tell something is meant to be symbolize something else. This novel did have some rather obvious symbols, but I had a bigger problem with the timeline. Sometimes, I felt like I was jumping around for no reason, and it forced me to reread a few sections because I couldn't quite understand what was going on.

With all of this in mind, I will give this three yellow cars out of five! While this book had some misgivings, it was still enjoyable, and the SparkNotes website won't be needed!

Well, that's it for this one! If you want to subscribe to the blog, enter your email address to the Subscribe Box down below. You can add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off the to right. You can also get ridiculous updates about my life and up to date information about the blog by following me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. Also, now I have a tumblr account for the blog, which is this link. I'm hoping to get a few more posts done before the weekend is up, including a fun book (or what I like to call "not a school book") about a certain movie. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth: Book Review!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review. This time I'm reviewing Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the final book of the Divergent Series. I'm very excited about this review, but enough of that. On with the review!

As I've said before, Allegiant is the conclusion of the Divergent Series. It follows Tris, Four, Christina, and their ragtag team as they travel beyond the fence, all while Evelyn and the factionless use their control to destroy the faction system. Tris and Four make many discoveries that change the way they see their society, the society outside the fence, and each other.

This novel is incredible! I really love it. One thing that I like most about this novel is the way that Roth describes how Tris's Chicago came to be. When you first read Divergent, you couldn't imagine this actually happening in real life. Then you read the explanation in Allegiant, and suddenly you're terrified. Everything starts to make sense, and you can see just how easily our society becomes Tris's society. I found this aspect both exhilarating and terrifying.

Now in the review of Insurgent, I said that it didn't have many moments of rest. This book did. It had moments between Tris and Four, Tris and her brother, and many of the other characters' relationships with each other. I don't think there needs to be anymore than what was actually shown to the reader. I think that these moments made the action sequences even better because there was such a stark contrast.

Now, there is a part in this book that had many Divergent Series fans up in arms. This is a spoiler-free review so I won't say exactly what that is here, but I think it was important to the story that it happened the way it did. If it had gone the way (which you will understand once you read the book) I wouldn't have believed it. I wouldn't have thought that Tris could do it, especially with what she thinks it means to be good.

I think my Intro to Fiction professor said it best, "I like books that make me feel something. Anger, sadness, joy - whatever, as long as I feel something." This novel will definitely make you feel all of those things, but it also does something else. It makes you think. What makes us, us? Is it our genes, how we're brought up, our memories, or some mix of the three? We can't do much on how we were raised or what we were born with, but I think Tris is Tris because of the choices she makes. She chooses to be good, which is something we can all learn from.

All together, I have to give this book five airplanes out of five! I was really amazed by this book, and I'll be nagging everyone I know and love to read the Divergent Series.

Well, that's it for now. Leave some comments down below about this series and other novels you want me to read. You can subscribe to the blog by entering your email down below in the Subscribe Box. You can add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button to the right. You can get updates about the blog and ridiculousness about my life by follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

The World of Divergent: the Path to Allegiant by Veronica Roth: Book Review!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review. This is a different type of spin-off of the Divergent Series. This book is The World of Divergent: the Path to Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Let's get on with the review!

So, as I said before, this is a different type of spin-off book. This book doesn't have a story, it is just a source of information about the dystopian world the Tris, Four, and the other Divergent Series characters live in. It comes with a note from Veronica Roth in which she talks about utopian/dystopian worlds, the factions, and the names of her characters. It also comes with a quiz that determines what your faction is, manifestos from all five of the factions, and quotes from Allegiant.

There is so much I want to say about this book, so I think I will go through it part by part. Now, usually I'm not one for author's notes, but I do like what Roth has to say about her books and the choices that she made for her books. Something that really spoke to me as an individual was her discussion on names. Names sort of define who we are and how we see ourselves. I knew from when I was little that I wouldn't go by my first name because my middle name felt more "me" in a way. So, when she explains why Tobias chose to go by "Four" instead of his given name, it made sense to me. Being able to read Roth's insights about not just her own works, but about utopian and dystopian worlds in general is something that I found both informative and entertaining.

The next part of the book is the quiz that determines which faction you would belong in if you were a part of Roth's dystopian society. I took it, and turns out I would be a part of Candor with Erudite being a close second, which surprised me. I got answers in all of the factions, so maybe I'm actually Divergent (but don't tell anyone). When you finish taking it, it shows all of the possible answers along with a little tidbit about your personality and how others may see you. I was really happy to see a quiz that surprised me and wasn't too obvious on what you would get if you choose a specific answer.

The faction manifestos section was probably my favorite part of the book. Each of them are completely different in the way that they think and the way that they are presented. Abnegation's manifesto is presented as a poem. It doesn't state specific acts that they must follow, but it is still able to express what this faction represents.

Amity's manifesto is presented a group of stories. Each story has a theme: trust, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, kindness, and involvement (although involvement was later removed from the manifesto). It gives example about how the Amity should act, which I thought was a clever way to do it. It reminded me of parables that I was taught in Sunday School.

The Candor faction manifesto lays it out honestly (see what I did there). They don't hide it from the reader. They have it in big bold letters of what dishonesty does to the society. What they say about children learning to face the honest truth makes a lot of sense, even though revealing your deepest darkest secrets does disturb me greatly.

Next is the Erudite manifesto, which states logically why knowledge is the solution to conflict. It states what is the problem (ignorance) and the solution (knowledge, though not to be confused with intelligence). Their manifesto also makes sense to me, which I guess is the point. It also scares me, especially when it comes to the elderly. I'll let you read that on your own.

Lastly there is the Dauntless manifesto. It almost looks like a written chant, which is so along the lines of the Dauntless mentality. It's a bold, brash, in-your-face type of manifesto that is very abrasive in a way but also emphatic in a way.

At the very end of the book is a series of quotes from Allegiant. All of them state who says the quote and has the background of the Allegiant book cover. They are really cool, and I like to try to figure out how the quotes fit into the next book.

The last thing that I'll mention about this book is that it is absolutely free for kindle on Amazon. If you don't have a kindle, you can get the kindle app on your smartphone or tablet, also for free. Something that I found this interesting for free just put me over the edge with liking this book.

This book does what it sets out to do, and the price is wonderful considering what you get. I have to give this book five out of five name tags!

If you've made it to the end of this post, congratulations! You win my undying love! If you want book reviews and other fun stuff sent to your email, feel free to add you email to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button to the right of the screen. If you want up to date information about the blog and ridiculousness about my life, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. That's it for tonight, book lovers! We'll be reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth next. Read on, lovelies. I'll see y'all next post!

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth: Book Review!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review, and this one is all about Insurgent by Veronica Roth. After reading Divergent, I was really excited to get to the next one, and now I'm even more excited about the third book and the conclusion of the series.  But enough about that, let's get on to the review!

This book is very much a suspense-filled novel. The novel picks up where Divergent leaves off. Tris and her group are trying to figure out Erudite's next move. One thing leads to another ending with a full out war between the different factions and the factionless. There is hardly a moment where you can just set the book down and take a break because so many things are happening.

One thing that I loved about this novel is that we get a better picture of all of the other factions. Last time, we mainly saw Abnegation and Dauntless and a little bit of Erudite. In Insurgent, we see more of Amity and Candor and even more of Erudite. The way that each faction works is so interesting to me. When you first see a particular faction, you feel like that they are doing everything in good faith and that what they are doing is good. Then you see them do something that is so against everything you believe in, and then you remember that your reading a dystopian novel and cringe. For example, I thought Amity was a pretty cool faction until the book revealed how they decide to keep the peace. It's scary to think about how a group of people believe that this was a good idea and then execute it.

Another thing I found that I really loved about this novel is that you never know who to trust and who would end up surprising you. Some people have their moments, while others turn out to be the exact opposite of what you expect. Then there's the relationship between Four and Tris. They have a roller coaster of a relationship that could easily break the both of them. I find it to be compelling to read and can't wait to see what happens next with them.

There isn't much that I didn't really like about the novel.  The one thing I think that I miss from this book that I got from the first one is a moment of rest. In the first one, the tension wasn't as in-you-face as it was in this one. The first book escalated in almost a gentle slope up until the climax of the story. In this novel, everything escalates quite quickly. There are few moments when the characters could just be people, instead they are mostly warriors or soldiers. The few moments they did have really stood out though, which made me crave them more.

Overall, I will give this book four Erudite symbols out of five. It would have been higher, but I enjoyed Divergent more.

Now, I've said before that I've been spoiled for Allegiant by the likes of Tumblr. So, I do know one major aspect of the book that is unsettling, yet I still can't wait to read it. I've already read The Path to Allegiant, which is a free book on Amazon that delves into the world of Divergent with manifestos and a quiz the reader can take. That review will be up later today. 

If you want to subscribe to the blog, please enter your email address in the Subscribe Box down below. You can add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. If you want up-to-date information about the blog or ridiculousness about my life, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. That's it for now, book lovers. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Transfer: A Divergent Story by Veronica Roth: Book Review!

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review on another book from the Divergent Series.  It is a another spin-off book from Four's point of view. It's "The Transfer: A Divergent Story" by Veronica Roth. Now on with the review!

First off, I did not read the summary of this book before I read it. So, going into it, I thought it was going to be like "Free Four," which is a scene from Divergent in Four's point of view. That's not the case. This story is before the Divergent story begins, when Four or Tobias transfers from Abnegation to Dauntless. It gives further background on his character along with further detail on how he got his nickname.

I really loved this story. I like how there were some similarities between how he transferred and how Tris transferred, but I also liked seeing how they were different. Tris transferred because she knew she was selfish and brave. Four transferred because he didn't want to be afraid anymore. I also thought it was funny how both Four and Tris did a process of elimination in order to figure out which faction they would fit into.

Another aspect I loved about this story was Four's relationship with his father. Roth does not shy away from the abuse that Four endures, and I think that's important for the story. You sympathize with Four more, and I think there's a better understanding that this is a man who is tough and abrasive on the outside and still has his own demons he deals with.

Of course, the one thing that gets me is the price. This one is longer than "Free Four," and this one sells for $1.99 on Amazon. Now, this story will be released with the three other stories that follows Four's story after they have all been released separately. From what I understand, which this may or may not be correct, is that it would be cheaper to buy all of them one time rather than one by one. If you don't have the burning desire that I have for knowing Four's background, I would suggest waiting until you can get all of these short stories at once.

Now I have to give this book the overused rating of four belts out of five because I thought it was such a good story with a not so good price.

So tell me what you thought about this book or about other spin-off books that you think we should read together. Up next I plan to read Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I'm thinking we can get this series done before I have to go back to college. If you want, you can subscribe to the blog by adding your email address to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right side of the screen. If you want up to date information about the blog or ridiculousness about my life, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. Read on, my lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story by Veronica Roth: Book Review!


Hello, everyone! I'm back with another book review. This time I'm reviewing "Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story" by Veronica Roth. Since this is such a short story, I'll also try to keep the review short. Notice the word "try." Now, on with the review!

This story is the knife-throwing scene from Divergent, but it is in Tobias's point of view. You probably won't have any idea what I'm talking about unless you've read Divergent already. So, if you haven't, please do before reading this review.

Now, whenever your reading a first person narrative, you never get the full picture. You can get bits and pieces and maybe eventually put it all together, but there may still be some small holes in the background. What I love about this book is that we get an entire scene from someone other than Tris. We see it differently; therefore, we view the scene a bit differently and get a fuller picture. That makes it all the more interesting. I also love seeing how Tobias pines after Tris. Some of the lines he says about her are heart-warming. Like how looking at her was "waking up." For a man that's been going through the motions without really thinking about them, this is a pretty interesting turn of events. The entire short story just made him more lovable.

One of the problems that I had with this short story is that it is sixteen pages and ninety-nine cents on For me, that's a little steep. I've gotten entire books for free from Amazon. So, I feel a little cheated to pay for a short story that I can read in about ten minutes when I also bought a novel for free that will take me a least a day to read. I also know that many authors are doing this now where they will write short spin-offs or scenes with different points of view in order to make an extra buck and make the fans go crazy. I find a little crappy, but I know where they are coming from. It still makes me a little upset though.

With all of this in mind, I give this short story a four out of five throwing knives.

I would have given it the full five stars if it weren't so short. Sixteen pages is not enough for a dollar, even if the content is excellent.

That's it for this review. Tell me what you think about short stories and their prices down below in the comment section. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the box down below, as well. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button to the right. If you want up to date information about the blog or the ridiculousness of my life, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth: Book Review!

Hello again! I'm back with another book review. If you haven't guessed yet, my new year's resolution is to do more posts, which is why this is the second one in one day. I've heard a lot of hype for the Divergent Series from its popularity as a young adult dystopian novel series and that the first one is about to be turned into a movie. I wanted to give this book a shot and I'm glad I did. So let's get to the actual review!

Divergent is a dystopian novel about a girl named Beatrice "Tris" Prior who lives in Chicago in the future. In this dystopian world, each sixteen year old has to decide which faction they belong in. There is Candor for the honest, Amity for the kind, Erudite for the intelligent, Abnegation for the selfless, and Dauntless for the brave. The choice between staying with her family and doing what she feels is right is tough for Tris, especially when she finds out that she is Divergent: someone who does not fit into one singular faction. This paints a target on her back. The story tells of the results of her choice and how her divergence effects not only herself, but the entire system that holds this world together.

This is a really interesting concept to take on in a young adult novel. To us, the world is clearly dystopian, but Tris does not really see it in that manner. She is only concerned with trying to find her place within a faction, not completely change the system. She is our reluctant hero that pushes the story forward, which makes her interesting and frustrating. I do happen to like her. She's strong and constantly puts herself in danger for other people. Then again, she is always calling attention to herself that clearly screams, "I'm Divergent! Come and get me!" It frustrates me, but I think that really rounds out her character and makes her interesting.

I also like Four. I think that he is a really cool dude with a toughness that is trying to hide vulnerability. It doesn't hurt that I've seen the trailer and find him quite attractive. But I'll talk more about the movie once I've seen it. He makes some really interesting choices as well. I will probably read the spin-off books that are written in his point of view just to get the full picture and see what's going on in his head. From his name to where he comes from to how he treats people makes him really interesting. I can't wait to read more about him.

Lastly I want to talk about the world itself. The idea of being factionless is a really big deal for Tris, and at the beginning I didn't think that getting into a faction would be that big of a deal. Then I read the initiation process, and my mind was blown. There are so many people who become factionless that it's almost ridiculous. I mean, Abnegation is pretty easy, but Dauntless only allows ten people to join, which I find crazy. I'm also impressed with the technological advancements. Some of the stuff that Erudite comes up with gets a little syfy-y, and yet everyone still travels by car, bus, and train. I just found that a little confusing.

All together, I have to give this four and a half Dauntless symbols out of five because I literally did not want to put it down.

This book left me with a craving to know more about this world and the people in it. I told myself that I wouldn't read this book until I wrote the review for Clockwork Princess, which did not happen. I couldn't put the book down. When I had to, I was haunted by it. Totally worth a read, but make sure you do so before the movie comes out!

Comment down below about this dystopian novel or other ones that you've read the past year. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email address down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. If you want instant info about the blog or ridiculousness about my life, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!

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Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare: Book Review!

Hello, everyone! Happy New Year! We're starting the year off with a book review of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This is the third and final book of The Infernal Devices, although there are some spin-off books that I do plan on reading very soon. Without further ado, let's get started!

This book picks up where Clockwork Prince leaves off. Will is dealing with his sister's arrival. Jem's disease is taking a toll. Tessa is dealing with loving two people at the same time. While all of the drama between these characters occurs, Mortmain puts the final touches on his clockwork army, which puts everyone into high gear. The London Institute heads off to find Mortmain and his army, with near-useless weapons and almost no backup, in this thrilling conclusion of The Infernal Devices.

This book held a lot of surprises for me. I wrote in my review for Clockwork Prince that I had an idea of what might happen in the next book, but I was completely off. I was surprised with the direction that Clare decided to take, but it was welcomed. I love the way that she builds suspense, especially when it ends with a battle!

Even with all of the suspense, I have to say that I was a little spoiled by the internet for one of the characters, but that was because I was an idiot and went on tumblr. Everything is spoiled on tumblr, but I won't rant about that now. I do think that it was a good plot twist, despite the spoiling. But like I said, I was still hanging in suspense. I knew some of the major plot twists, and Clare was still able to surprise me!

There were some tragic moments, but those only made the happy moments better. The ending was interesting in that way, and I say that in a good way. It was something that I didn't expect, but it made sense with all of the characters involved. I believed that it was something that they would do when faced with a love triangle.

Lastly, I have been one to be upset with character deaths, especially when I've become this invested into a book series, but I have accepted the deaths in this book. I was actually very happy with one character death who wasn't necessarily one side or the other, but I thought that this character's death was very fitting.

All in all, I thought that this book was very good, and I would have to get it four jade necklaces out of five.

I think that I would have given it a five out of five, except it left me wondering one thing. I won't say what it is here because I think that'll spoil the book for you. But go ahead and read it! Comment down below what you thought about it, and let me know if you were left with a question mark at the end. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email down below. Add me to your circles by using the Google+ button to the right. Also, if you want ridiculous info about my everyday life and instant updates about the blog, follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog. That's all for now! I hope that y'all have a great new year! Keep on reading, lovelies. I'll see y'all next post!
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