The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I listened to most of this book in the car on my way to and from work, as well as just around the house,or when running. I really enjoyed it. I like that it had different people reading the different characters. It was easier to distinguish, and it was fun. The book is written from three different perspectives. Minnie, Abeline, and Skeeter (Eugenia), and they tell the story beautifully. Minnie and Abeline are Black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. And with the civil right movement they are gonna be in a heap of trouble if anyone discovers they are telling stories about their employers. Their selfish, rude and lazy employers. I really like Skeeter and was rooting for Minnie, Abline is just so sweet and the little girl she takes care of just made me want to cry. How could a stay at home mom, be so busy with clubs and other nonsense that she needs a nanny and a maid to take care of her house? They don't seem very rich either, can't they just do their housework themselves. Ugh they made me so angry. Skeeter is awesome, she has an open mind and doesn't care to get married and drop out of college. This book made me sad, angry and laugh out loud. It's a great story about friendship, trust, life and different people coming together to create change.

 

I watched the movie right after I finished the book, and boy did I hate it. There just isn't anything good about it, I understand that they had to fit a whole book into a 2+ hour movie, but they really botched it up. I watched it with my boyfriend, and he never read the book, I had to explain most of what was happening. I don't think it's easy to follow if you didn't read the book first, they left a lot out and changed a lot of what they didn't leave out. I was waiting to watch this movie since it came out, and I got to say I wish I never had. The book is a 100% better. I do not recommend watching the movie. But please read the book.

The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall

I really don't know what to make of this book, it wasn't bad by any means, it was super easy to read, and fast paced, usually what I like, but this was a little too good to be true. I know Jim Stovall is a motivational speaker and this book is supposed to teach us how life itself is a gift from God. But it's just a little too cheesy. And too predictable, we know whats going to happen from the first page. Plus the quote on the cover kind of gives it away, well I guess it's not a mystery book so who cares.
 
Uncle Red dies, the whole family gathers at the lawyers office to collect their inheritance, he leaves money for all his family members, except his great nephew Jason. Even from beyond the grave he wants to teach this little punk a lesson on life, because all he's ever done is spend money and not appreciate where it comes from (like the rest of his family, so I don't understand why he only focuses on this kid). So he makes him do certain things each month for a year and then he can receive his Ultimate Gift, which Jason believes, or hopes is a big sum of money. Each month he is supposed to learn something about life, each of those lessons are called gifts. So Jason not realizing what exactly his uncle had in mind, but still thinking of the money, agrees to this little game. He has to meet up with the lawyer and watch a video that his great uncle recorded, then do as he instructs and than report back to the lawyer. Each month. But as you can guess by the end he is a changed person who no longer cares for the material things, but cares about people and life. I don't believe it, you can't change a person that much in one year. This book is too imaginary. It's a story that you would hear from a visiting speaker at your High School. They are good lessons to learn, but I just don't believe in reading fiction to fix your life. If you're trying to be motivational I think you should give examples from real people. 
 
I guess people have liked it and will like it, but it just wasn't for me.  It's short enough though that I don't feel like I wasted my time, and I guess I would recommend it to some since it is a very fast paced book. And I hear there's a movie?

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I was instantly drawn to this book, as soon as i read the first sentence I knew I was going to enjoy it. It has a sort of charm to it, being that it's a fairy tale for kids. I wanted to see the movie but I had to read the book first, so I finished it in one day and went to see the movie. I would say this is one of the few books that I read and saw a movie on that didn't ruin either one. I would say I liked the movie just as much as I did the book. Although I didn't know that they were making more than one movie out of such a short book.
The story is told from the point of view of the Hobbit, but I guess you can say the narrator talks more about him than as him. So for those of you that don't know the story of the Hobbit, it's about well a Hobbit, his name is Bilbo Baggins, he lives in a hole, and is deadly afraid of adventures or any type of journey, as all Hobbits are. He prefers his alone time and enjoys good food and all the comforts of living in a cozy hobbit hole. Yet he gets a surprise when Gandalf shows up with some friends and tricks him into hosting a party, and Bilbo being Bilbo gets interested and agrees to an adventure. And that is the end of Bilbos quiet life, he gets to go on a journey that will change his and everyones’ lives.

Of course being a children's tale we have the princes, kings, fairies, trolls, and of course dragons. It's beautifully written, simple enough for kids yet it also satisfies an adult. And It's a quick read too, I read the whole thing in a few hours. It just pulls you in and you have to finish it.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to read to kids as a bedtime story.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The story changes perspective in the first 3rd of the book so many times it becomes a bit confusing, and a bit redundant, but in hindsight is really important to the story. The prose writing that McEwan obviously has a great dexterity in is really special. The events are so elaborate, a few times I couldn't wrap my head around them. And the sexual connotations, that Briony's crazy imagination doesn't interpret correctly, play a big part in the story, making me hate her even more. The ending came as a shock, I really didn't see it coming, I had so many different endings in mind, but this totally blew my mind.

The story is centered around three main characters, each one giving us their perspective throughout the book.

Robbie is the son of a gardener and a cleaning lady for the Tallis family, he is a bright young man, always aspiring to be more. Mr. Tallis paid for his education at Cambridge, where he studied along with Cecilia. (And this alone made me jump to conclusions)He is a good-natured guy, helping everyone around him, to the point when his good acts come to be seen as  a crime, according to a childs' imaginative mind. Cecilia, a liberal girl, is the oldest daughter of the Tallises. Her education has separerad her from her family, but for some reason she can't seem to leave home, even while dreaming of moving out.  Something is keeping her there, and just as she realizes what is it, her life is turned upside down. Briony can't seem to understand her, she is messy, unorganized and a smoker. Briony the protagonist, is the most abnormal and clueless character. She loves her family so much that she will go to GREAT lengths to protect them. She consideres herself a writer, having written short stories since she was 7, and constantly having her nose in a thesaurus. Like I said, she has a very imaginative mind, as well as a young one. Being 13, she is right between being a child and an adult,a folly young girl, which lead her to misinterpret events, having no common sense she ruines peoples lives.

I really hated Briony, even if she doesn't know any better. And I wouldn't say this was atonement on Briony's side, more like guilt and a cowardly attempt at an apology. But in her crazy mind she did make it all better, in my mind she just wanted to write another good story. After reading this book I am looking forward to reading other books by McEwan, his elaborate story telling, character development and subtle shifts in events are something special. Overall the book was really great, I loved it, and the movie doesn't stray far from the book. Only little details are changed, and they don't really play a big part in the storyline. I think the actors that play the characters were well chosen. Especially Briony, that girl did a great job playing her character. I would recommend this book frist, and then the movie. It's one of few that actually follow the book really well. 

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Hmm, this book was  not very good, and quite predictable. But I just had to have it once I saw the previews for the movie, which seemed great. And then finding out that there is a book, I ran to the book store to find a copy. Well lets say I wasn't happy when I finished reading it. Waste of $14, I should have just waited for the movie. Ok maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it just wasn't that spooky. So I'm hoping the movie captures the scenes and story better.
For a spooky gothic novel it should have been a lot longer, more suspense, and action. This one is around 170 pages, and it doesn't seem like the story evolves much. Everything seems to happend quickly and there isn't that much spookiness as I would prefer. I flew though this book in a few hours and didn't fell scared at all. There was some rambling from the main character, which all classics have, but it lacked suspense and mystery. The story and characters were cliché if anything. The first chapter was especially slow, the main character just sets the scene and gives a lot of background info that I didn't care for, and then he continues his rambling with not much happening. 
This isn't the type of story that is gonna scare you senseless, and have you up at night, it's a mellowed down ghost story. Something people talk about at bon-fires. But if you like classics then you might enjoy this one. Just remember it's not that scary.
The characters didn't sit well with me either, everyone in town knew that the house was haunted, why not tell the guy who was staying in it. What was the purpose of keeping it a secret, shouldn't he have been warned about what might happen, or why? 
 
Once I see the movie I will write a review on that too. 
 

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

This book is a love story, now don't get me wrong, I read a lot of love stories, and usually enjoy them, but this one just didn't do it for me. At first I was intrigued about the idea of a diary, and what type of secrets might be revealed, but as it went on I almost put the book down. The diary is for Nicholas, written by his mother Suzanne,which she started before he was even born. In it she describes how she met his father, Matt, how they fell in love, and how he has changed her life.

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Timeline by Michael Crichton

This was the first novel by Michael Crichton that I read, it was recommended to me by a co-worker, and I gotta say, I loved it. Who doesn't like time travel, especially when it's well written. Crichton gives enough scientific details that you might think parts are non-fiction. He bases his writing on actual scientific studies, and lots of research, so you do end up learning something too. And personally I like the way he explains quantum theory and why this would work. But maybe it's just because I like science. Others might get confused with all the science talk. The story comes alive with all the details, and the characters take turns in telling their part of the journey. It's a great way to get to know everyone on a deeper level. 

The story is set in 1400's France, after a team of archaeologists is sent back to find their professor who accidentally got left there. Now they must not only find the professor but also stay alive, as France is in the middle of a 100 Year War. I found the ending a little bit predictable, not much, but if you really pay attention to the characters personalities you might guess what happens at the end. I still loved the book, will have to check out some of his other work.  I watched the movie after I read this book, but it was so awful I'm not even gonna go reviewing that. 

Secret Life of Bees MOVIE

So I watched the movie "The Secret Life of Bees" and I gotta say it's really good, follows the book really closely. And I found myself feeling kind of sorry for the dad, I know in the book he is represented as this evil person who tortures his daughter, but in the move they kinda made it look different. I sort of understood where all the anger came from, going from being madly in love and then your wife leaves you. And then she dies. And then your daughter leaves you. That's a lot to take in. Well I know some of you might not agree completely with me but that's just my opinion.  Overall the movie is really great, and they picked really great actors too.
Check out the book review here.