Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a coming of age novel about a black maid during the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the 1960s.  The relationship between black and white is a complex spectrum of hate, abuse, mistrust, as well as love, attachment and dependence. I love the Howell Raines quote that Stockett includes in her personal excerpt at the end of the novel:

There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism.

 

This in the expanse of words provides an eloquent way to describe Stockett’s intentions of this novel, while a lot of the reviews will more than likely focus on the racial aspects of this book , one of the most haunting things is pointed out by the statements that discuss the fact that while you are paying someone to care for you, and their livelihood is now dependent upon ensuring that you are happy, can you really expect the relationship to be an honest one?

I was born twenty years after the civil rights movement, and while I did grow up in the south, I did not have maids or things of that nature because I was a member of the poor or middle-class throughout my childhood, but the racial mindset of the South is still somewhat cemented in this hatred for the difference between blacks and whites.

 

This story is very strong and very touching and well written.  I love the fact that the style complements the plot, it makes for a fantastic read.  The grammatically incorrect pose is something that makes the novel all the more real, all the more honest in its delivery.  A white woman secretly compiling true accounts of the black maids of the well-to do households in Mississippi.  The good and the bad, Skeeter in her novel tries to portray the fact that people are just people no matter the color of their skin, no matter what “color” God has graced them with.

 

This novel was very well written, and I would recommend reading it.  It may take a bit of time to get into, but it is well worth the read and I think that the message is very important.

 

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

<i>The Iron Daughter</i> by Julie Kagawa, is the second book in the Iron Fae series, and has quickly rocketed up to my top twenty books.  I did not know what to think going into this sequal, because so many have been horrid, but this book was fantastic, much like the first book in the series.  I am glad that I have found this series with all of them out already, because otherwise I think I would go absolutely nutty if I had to wait to finish reading it, right now the only wait I have is on getting it from the library to my Kindle.

 

This story picks up after Ethan, Meghan Chase’s younger brother has been returned home and she fulfilled her bargain with Prince Ash, and returned with him to Tir Na Nog, the realm of the Unseelie winter court ruled by Queen Mab.  The half-human daughter of Oberon is once again faced by the challenges brought about by the existence of the iron fae, who seek to destroy the oldblooded fae, do away with the Seelie and Unseelie alike.   However, when the Scepter of Seasons is stolen shortly after it arrives in the court of the Unseelie, delivered by King Oberon himself (a rarity to be certain), war is waged between the two seasons.

 

However, the traitor lies amongst the most trusted and adored of Mab, not telling who.  The iron fae want this war, to weaken and descemate the oldblood and to come in and raze what is left of them, destroying them and having all of the Nevernever to turn into their own technologic domain.  It is once again up to Meghan, Puck and Ash as well as a few other familiar faces from <i>The Iron King</i> to once again save the day.  I have fallen in love all the more with this particular storyline, the hardships faced by the three, the love triangle has me frustrated beyond belief and everything about it makes me happy and aggravated all at the same time.
The end, I hate to say it, I needed some tissues because for a moment I thought I was seriously going to cry, there were sniffles and I shed a tear or two, but I am pleased with the decision made to a point, because it still leaves me wondering the what could have been if the decision had been made the opposite direction also,  it makes me wonder what will happen in the third book (which I will be reading soon).

 

Til next time…

 

Happy reading.

Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Minor spoiler alert, but not really XD

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, published by Harlequin Teen is by far one of my favorite fae series to-date. I decided to read this series after hearing so many rave reviews about it, and upon reading the first few pages I instantly fell in love with the characters. The combination of the Midsummer’s Night Dream mythos with elements from Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, the distinct worlds of the Seelie and Unseelie (Summer and Winter) is fantastic, but what truly blew my mind about this series is the birth of the Iron Fae.

Kagawa (whose name I absolutely adore saying and typing!) has outdone herself in the creation of the Iron Fae mythos. Having them essentially be a creation of human’s dependence and infatuation with all things technological it only seems to provide a plethora of ideas to create this new type of creature, that could be harmful to the oldblood of the traditional faerie mythos.

To rescue her brother, Ethan, Meghan Chase is thrown into a world she was never supposed to know. Nevernever is a terrifyingly beautiful place full of all things faerie and scary. Her best friend has turned out to be none other than the infamous Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck. Along the way she also meets Prince Ash, youngest son of Mab, and Prince of the Unseelie Court. Meghan herself is a Princess, half-human daughter of King Oberon, much to the annoyance of Tatiana, his shrew of a wife.

All in all I give this book five stars and will have a review of the second book in the series The Iron Daughter in soon, as I’ve just finished that one as well.
Happy reading!

Book Review: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

The ending of this book made me want to scream and throw a colossal, five-year old temper tantrum because one of my favorite characters’ fate is at this moment in question! Seriously?! CLIFF HANGER MUCH?!!!!!

 

If I had to wait extended periods of time for the next installment of this book (which thankfully it has already been published, I would only have to wait as long as it takes to get it from the library) I would go absolutely freaking CRAZY.  MacKayla “Mac” Lane was forced to grow up exceedingly fast when her older sister was brutally murdered while studying abroad in Dublin.  Mac is a stereotypical ditzy southern belle and is suddenly thrown into the world of Celtic mythology, Seelie and Unseelie and the war between the light and dark.

 

This series in and of itself has everything: bad faeries, druids, dark hallows, evil plots, mystery, unfulfilled sexual desires, men with indeterminate scruples.  The cliffhangers that Karen Marie Moning has created in this series are fantastic and something I have grown to expect from her writing and this book has proved a fantastic example of that.  I have quickly fallen in love with this series after reading the first book last year, now I am on the third book of the series and am looking forward to reading the remaining five to see what comes of Mac and the world as we know it.

 

My favorites from this book:
-Christian MacKelter – who doesn’t love a sexy, druid Scotsman? I mean really?! Brogue and all…drool.
-the MacHalo – This seriously made me giggle, but it is seriously one of the best inventions ever for Mac to deal with the darkness that isn’t entirely your average darkness.  That, and it made Barrons laugh, which prompted a total fangirl squee from me when I read that scene.
-V’lane – death-by-sex fae, who took the opportunity to dress Mac in a sleazy bikini (even going so far as to pull out the gold lamiae).
-More insight into the Lord Master who is given an actual name in this book
-Clues as to what/who exactly Jericho Barrons actually is which makes me giddy with anticipation because I want to know what he is – desperately.

If you have thought about starting this series and find yourself on the fence, I quickly urge you to scamper over the fence and start working on reading it!

Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is a very long book. I struggled to finish it, I fought with myself and almost debated on putting it down, but I cannot entirely do that with a book that I’ve started unless it is completely and utterly horrible. This, however, is not horrible, it reminds me of a soap-opera. Drama, drama and drama stacked upon more drama. There is rape, murders, revenge, greed, power, love triangles, witches, politics, knights, and quite a bit of architecture.

The story, the main line of the story, follows through three generations of a family of stone masons, extended family through marriage, re-marrying, and various other events. Several kings, monk/prior, morally questionable bishop, ruthless Earl all affect these individuals. The inter-relationships are constantly evolving between this group of people, EVERYTHING that could happen somehow happens to this one core group of people within this book. Every time that you think things are going to settle down, that they are going to have a few moments of peace and quiet something else happens to them.

We also get quite a decent view of medieval culture, with a major focus on religion and the political power of monastery, priory, or diocese – life is funded and how much it seriously stinks to be amongst the lowest ranks of society. Cathedrals, this one type of building holds so much focus throughout this book, in fact it is Tom Builder’s one goal to finally build a cathedral. The musings of Ken Follett in the Foreward of this book states that one of the things that he could not understand is why people in time of great destitution would put so much time, energy and resources into buildings of such a scale, this topic is one of the ones addressed in this book. There is a lot to learn about architecture and the evolution of cathedral-building throughout this book. By the time you are done you will know quite a bit about the following parts of a cathedral: nave, chancel, transept, cloister, and clerestory, as well as be able to use several different words for “horse.”
I started reading and at first could only get through about 5-10% at a time (reading on my Kindle), I considered giving up more than once, but when I hit the fifty percent mark, I forced myself to work through the remainder of it in two nights finishing the last 50% in two parts. The building is constant and is the main reason to keep the central family of masons from wandering off and having more illicit marriages, and it is the ongoing reason political power struggles. You might give some of the characters labels and you will change the labels that you give them multiple times throughout the story, and wonder more often than not wonder what else could possibly happen to these people.
I don’t like that the big climax came with just about 100 or so pages left to go, and that kinda sucked because the rise and fall of the wrap-up shouldn’t necessarily need 100 pages, because it tends to lose focus, and while lose ends are nicely tide up, you lose the gripping-page turner that you had within the first like 900 pages of the book, but since you are so close you will find that you will just plow through it.