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Update: Traveling and Guest Posts

Hey all!
Just wanted to put out a small update.

So I will be traveling in a few days for about a month! I’m heading off to Japan to study abroad! I’m so excited, and of course nervous too, but it will be amazing!

Because of this I will not be able to post as much. And when I do, the time I post may be strange!

So to help keep my blog going and to keep posts coming up, I will be using the help of my wonderful M.O.M. to keep the blog going for the next few weeks.

Don’t worry, I will be taking tons of pictures, and may be posting things form my trip when I’m there too!

But I just wanted to let you all know so you don’t get concerned about a severe lack of posting (especially in the summer when I am most active) or different kinds of reviews.

I can’t wait to see you all when I get back and I’ll be doing a massive post about my trip!

See you in a few weeks!

Happy Reading!

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The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry Summary

“London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Accompanied by her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, where she hopes fresh air and open space will provide the refuge they need.

When they take lodgings in Colchester, rumours reach them from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar.

Like Cora, Will is deeply suspicious of the rumours, but he thinks they are founded on moral panic, a flight from real faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, he and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other’s lives in ways entirely unexpected.

Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.”

-From book jacket

Review

This book was an absolutely exquisite read – there really is no other way to put it. First of all, a little bit about the author. She is highly well educated with a PhD in creative writing from Royal Halloway, which is a very well respected university. Additionally, she has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library as well as the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague (summarized from book jacket). So clearly she knows her stuff in regards to writing and this is clearly evident within the book.

It is written in an older English kind of style as there are Old English contractions between words, as well as English spelling and longer sentences. It is more like a Jane Austen novel than a newer piece of literature, which I absolutely love. This book is nothing like you will find in the ‘new’ section of your bookstores.

It was definitely a challenging read, to get into it, as it was so different from any other book that one may generally read. It took a few chapters to get into the book and understand the flow of how it would be progressing, but once you did, it was a wonderful story. It was vividly written with beautiful descriptions and you were really able to feel the atmosphere of the book and locations mentioned with great ease.

If you are looking for a book that is fast paced, then this is not your book. It is a very slow story but it keeps you interested. I do not mean slow in a negative way, but there are no fights or action scenes as such. It was a calm book and not once did I have any of my emotions go to an extreme where I had adrenaline pumping or tears streaming down my face. It was all so calm and peaceful which I loved.

There was one small sex scene, which shocked the living daylights out of me. It was so soft and nothing really happened but it was obvious what was happening. And for the time period and what was happening in the story, it shocked me overall and was just so scandalous. In other books I wouldn’t have even batted an eyelash however in this one I was internally going “oh my gosh, wait what?!”

Overall this book was fantastic! It won’t be released in the United States until June 6th, so this is definitely hot off the press. It has been released in the UK for a few months however, like all good things, other countries had to wait for it.

So I do recommend adding this to your wishlist and giving it a buy. It’s an amazing read and a wonderful gift for any book lover in your life. I mean, just look at the cover! Who wouldn’t love to receive a book that was beautiful as that?

Happy Reading and let me know what you all think!

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A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata

Vietnam 1973. What  Y’Tin wants  in life is to be an elephant handler. But not just a handler,  the best handler in his village. He loves his elephant, Lady, and his deep devotion and attachment to her is makes him want to spend all his time with her. Though the Vietnam War has been fought in his country, and his father worked for the American Special Forces Y’Tin has had a peaceful life in his village. However, it changes suddenly with the arrival of fighters from the north who overtake his village. Everything Y’Tin thought his life was about changes.

Set in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1973 – 1975 this story is set in the later stages of the Vietnam War, after the United States has withdrawn and  the south of Vietnam is left to defend itself against the onslaught from the north. Cynthia Kadohata paints the details of the lives of  the Dega people of the Central Highlands  clearly and draws the reader into the joys and sadness of village life. The world of a teenage boy and his elephant comes to life in her descriptions of school, family, war.

Cynthia Kodahata weaves a story that is brutally real and engrossing. Her writing draws you in and through her words you are able to discover the world of the Highland people of Vietnam. She spares no one in setting out her story, and the American role in the later stages of the war aren’t overlooked. She doesn’t skimp on the details of the brutality of war and its impact on people, and has clearly researched the topic thoroughly. I found myself wondering several times if the content was too much for the younger reader, as the details of conflict are clearly described. However, that is what makes the books so powerful. It is a fictionalized account of what happened, and serves as a lesson to younger readers who don’t know the history, or older readers who have forgotten.

This is great writing, and it is no wonder that Cynthia Kadohata is an award-winning writer. An excellent, but sobering read.

by Guest blogger M.O.M.

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King Matt the First

by Janusz Korczak
Translated by Richard Lourie

Summary

His parents are dead and he is probably the youngest king to ever rule. He thinks that he can do a good job but the ministers and others in his kingdom think that he cannot do it. The only problems is that he has to prove them wrong. And the only friend that he has is Felek, the son of a platoon leader. With the help of Felek and some other friends, he makes his rule good. Until a war comes and then he has a bit of a problem. The only question is “to be or not to be!”

Review

I didn’t think that this book was going to be good. My mom showed it to me and I thought that it was either going to be too mature for me or it was going to be too babyish for me. It is a big book, maybe 300 pages but I have to say it was really good. I would definitely recommend reading it. The only thing that annoyed me was that it was a cliff hanger. It just ended suddenly. Janusz Korczak, the author is dead and unfortunately there is not a follow on. So this books just ends and you do not know what ever happens to the king. This book was really good and I would definitely recommend reading it, but I just have to warn you, you are left wondering.

*Janusz Korczak was a Polish physician and educator who wrote over twenty books–his fiction was in his time as well known as Peter Pan, and his nonfiction works bore passionate messages of child advocacy. During World War II, the Jewish orphanage he directed was relocated to the Warsaw ghetto. Although Korczak’s celebrity afforded him many chances to escape, he refused to abandon the children. He was killed at Treblinka along with the children.

*From Amazon.com