[Book Review] Emma by Jane Austen

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma

by

Jane Austen

Blurb:

“Pretty, rich Emma Woodhouse loves to meddle and is sure she knows best when it comes to love. So why not play cupid and bring couples together? But Emma sometimes interferes too much in her friends’ lives. And none of the men Emma knows meet her own high standards for a husband. Will her good intentions ruin other people’s chance for love? Is there a man who can truly understand Emma and win her heart?”

My Review:

I love Jane Austen! I love the language, the flow, the characters, and the stories. I get sucked into the time period and find myself living in a world very different from our own. This book is no different. I read it when I was in junior high, so it has been awhile. It did take a few pages to get back into the language, but then I really enjoyed it. Emma drove me crazy because she always had her nose in someone else’s business, but she was adorable at the same time. Her father seemed old and cranky, but she loved him and took good care of him. The characters are so fun. I could just picture the neighborhood and each individual personality living there. I thought a lot about what they do with all their time. They don’t speak a whole lot about work, and yet they can afford big estates and servants. What did they do for work? What did they do with all their time? Sometimes I wish we could go back to a more quiet time like that. No tv or video games, no texting or soccer/dance/basketball/piano lessons. Just living and enjoying the moment. That would be nice. Then again, maybe not. I love most of our modern day conveniences. The story is somewhat slow moving, but that is what I like about Jane Austen books. I love that I can read and get caught up in her world.

The reason I read this particular edition of Emma was to showcase the new artwork on the cover. I really like it, and think it embodies the time period well. It is published by Splinter New York, and illustrated by Sara Singh.

Rating: PG (Only brief kissing and flirting)

Recommendation: 13 and up (I think I read it about age 13, and I loved it.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Forever and Forever by Josi Kilpack   Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen

First published: 2/25/13, Updated: 12/15/17

The Light Bridge Legacy (#1) Destiny’s Call

The Light Bridge Legacy (#1) Destiny’s Call by Elayne G. James

(Summary taken from an email the publisher sent me) ” [Destiny’s Call] is book one in a YA series that chronicles the adventures of an
American girl who learns just before her twelfth birthday that she has been
chosen by a race of ancients in Peru to inherit the most powerful magical
object in the world. Her move from the Mojave Desert to NYC in book one,
parallels her inner journey from sheltered little girl to self-assured young
woman, and her growing magical abilities intermittently aid her and get her in
trouble. The
underlining themes of overcoming fear and embracing who you really are, will
resonate with anyone who has had to overcome adversity while trying to find
their place in the world.”


I really enjoyed this book. It took me by surprise and hooked me from the beginning. I liked Ms. James’ writing style. I thought it flowed well, was easy to read and understand, and had just enough mystery to keep me reading. It was  a little confusing, at times, because some of the characters have unusual names, and there are some fantastical words introduced. It took me awhile to get the hang of some of it, but once I did, I read it quickly. It is fantasy, which I like, and there are some different worlds that brush paths. Not alien-like. I don’t do aliens, usually, but this is different than that. I liked the characters a lot. I especially liked Ani and Kahete. I liked the parents at the beginning, but didn’t like the dad at all towards the end of the book. I’m still not sure what I think of CJ. Sometimes I liked her and sometimes I didn’t. I felt bad for her and her circumstances, but didn’t approve of a lot of what she did. I found Kahete intriguing and wished there had been more about him.  Sophia also intrigued me. I wanted to know more about her, and her magic, as well. I liked the story and thought the lesson of finding yourself in a big world was very pertinent to today. I didn’t like the decision that Ani made without her father’s permission. I hope that doesn’t give any young adults reason to make similar decisions. I worried about it when I read it, but then when I started to think of other books I have enjoyed where younger characters make similar decisions, I felt better about it. Still, when my children read this we will definitely chat about not making that choice.

This book is fairly clean. There is some language, some stealing, and a domestic violence scene. A man attacks a 13 year-old girl. It is violent, but it is not a rape, and the girl gets out okay. She is injured, but heals fine. There are also a few sketchy choices made by Ani and CJ: disobedience, lying, that kind of thing.

The ending of this book definitely leaves you hanging. I am excited to read book #2, and I would recommend this book, with the previous warnings.

Rating: PG-13 (some language, stealing, a domestic violence scene, and some sketchy choices)

Recommendation: 13 years and up. I think a 13 year-old will be able to handle everything that happens. I would recommend that parents read it first to make sure it is appropriate for their child. Each child is different.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
 
 
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson
 
(Summary taken from an email the author sent me)
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess
gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever
after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when
you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and,
worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall,
devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years
old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed
life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school
mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all?
Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating
Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out
and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie
decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president
against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s
going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty
Jake, is going to stop her.

I loved this book! It caught me off guard and just drew me in. I liked Ms. Wilson’s writing style a lot. It is witty, well written, and fun. I really liked the characters, especially Mattie, Ella, and Jake. I loved Tilly’s wit and candor, and that she was normal, just like I was in high school: not especially pretty and definitely not popular. Nerdy, yes; talented, yes; unnoticed, yes; but fine with it, yes. Ella is the girl everyone wants to be in high school, but, unfortunately, there aren’t very many Ellas around. It’s hard to be perfect. And Jake sounds dreamy. If I didn’t already have my prince charming, I’d probably want to steal Jake. I also enjoyed the storyline. This book has almost everything you could want. It has high school drama (which I would never want to do again, thank you very much……..I hate girl drama, and high school drama is even worse), romance, revenge, sister bonding, and so much more. There are a few surprises, and some fun twists.  There are also some good “Ahhhhhhhh” moments. You know, where every girl in the room says, “Ahhhhhhh.” So cute! There are a few spelling and grammatical errors, but not enough to distract you from the story.  
 
Also, this book is clean! I can’t remember any language, there’s no “physical intimacy,” besides some kissing, and no violence, except some mean high school pranks. Yay! I love a true young adult book.
 
Rating: PG+ (High school drama, some mean pranks, some kissing)
 
Recommendation: 13 years and up.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Not a Princess

 
 
Not a Princess by I.D. Gallagher
 
(Summary taken from amazon.com)
“So you’ve met Mr. Right, your very own Prince Charming.

But what if you’re Not A Princess?
Susan, an average girl from the North
of England, is getting ready to marry the man of her dreams, BJ, with the
melodious voice and eyes the colour of melted chocolate. Perfect, in every way.

And then she realises he is not who she thought he was.
Will she ever
fit into his world?
Is there going to be an Happy-Ever-After?”



I loved this book! Need I say more? Ms. Gallagher pulled me in from the beginning. I loved her writing style and the tone of the book. It was easy to read and follow, and kept me turning the pages. It flowed well and continued to keep my interest. The character development is really good and I felt like Susan was my best friend. I felt like I was right there with her. I related well to Susan. Oh, and I would LOVE to have her closet! I really liked B.J., V.J., and Victoria. I also liked Mary, Quinn, and Miriam. There was just enough mystery to make me keep reading, but not enough to make it too dramatic. There was a point when something happened in the storyline that was a little corny, but I just kept on reading. In another book I may have rolled my eyes and put the book away, but in this book it just fit and worked fine. (Sorry, I don’t want to ruin the surprise!)

This book definitely ended too soon. I was not ready to be done with Susan yet. I kept trying to turn the page on my Kindle to see if there was more, but unfortunately there wasn’t. The author is from England and so there were some words that I had to guess the meanings of, but it wasn’t enough to really confuse me or anything. It was kind of fun learning some English words.  I loved that this book was clean! There wasn’t any language or “physical intimacy” scenes. There was some kissing, but even that wasn’t too detailed. There was a discussion of maybe after the wedding what to expect that night, but the actual word was never used and it was quite vague. They also discussed sexual purity before marriage. That is almost a quote and that is as far as it goes. It’s not in-your-face either. It’s not like a political or judgemental statement. There is a murder in the book, but it is tastefully done (if that is possible). It doesn’t go into a lot of detail, you just read more about the emotions and reactions following it.

I really liked this book and recommend it with the previous warnings. I would say it is an actual Young Adult approved book!

Rating: PG-13 (A discussion of sexual purity and about waiting until the wedding night, a murder)

Recommendation: 13 and up. As always, I would recommend that a parent read it first to make sure it is appropriate for his or her child.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Shells of Chanticleer

The Shells of Chanticleer by Maura Patrick

(Summary taken from an email the author sent me)

“Come to Chanticleer, a magical land without chores or parents
that abounds with festivals and forests, bountiful buffets, and the deliciously
addictive warm caramel sugar that’s the only thing to drink. In Chanticleer
there’s no reason to worry as eliminating your childhood fears is why you are
there. But in Chanticleer it’s best to learn your lessons quickly and get out,
as those who can’t, or won’t learn, are subject to a hideous fate.

For Macy Winters, keeping one step ahead of the powers that be
seems easy enough. She has friends in the right places and a swooningly romantic
secret boyfriend who she thinks will protect her. Unfortunately, she has caught
the eye of Crispin Sinclair, the sinister artist whose creative visions make
Chanticleer both delightful and terrifying. Can she escape his plans for her or
will she discover that getting out of Chanticleer safely is harder than she
imagines?

Enter a world of secrets where no one is quite who they seem
to be, where what you dream comes true, and where what you fear …
happens.

A mysterious world that, like life itself, is more complicated
than it seems.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, and I have to say I was surprised. The concept of the book is very different from anything I have read before. It was a little mysterious with some adventure and romance. It is an easy read, which I liked, and I do think it is young adult appropriate. I liked the main character. She was not perfect, but ended up not being too wimpy. She learned from her mistakes and became stronger as the book went on. The character development was good, and I liked a lot of the characters. There are some things in this book that are just strange, and a little creepy. The shells, for example, are creepy. I didn’t think that part of the book was resolved as well as it could have been. At first Macy thought they were creepy and wanted nothing to do with them, and then she was just okay with it? (Sorry, I don’t want to give it away, so this explanation will be a little vague.) And the whole concept of who the staff members are is strange. And, the whole thing about Macy having an “old soul” was a little creepy to me. I didn’t like that they allowed (and encouraged) her at such a young age to make such a monumental decision, especially if she wouldn’t remember making the decision……
I did like this book. It was entertaining and different. It had some good lessons about overcoming fears and being your best self. It was a little strange and a little deep in some places. It was not as dark and sinister as the summary makes it out to be. It is clean and that is why I think it is appropriate for young adults.
Rating: PG (It is clean-there was one swear word I think, but that is all. There wasn’t any “physical intimacy,” besides a kiss, and no violence.)
Recommendation: 13 or 14 years old and up. I think parents might want to read it first to make sure the concept isn’t too much for the younger or less mature readers.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

1378 Oak Street

1378 Oak Street by Lovely Whitmore

(Summary taken from www.amazon.com)

Kid’s today don’t know how to play… Growing up in Atlanta,
Georgia in the 80’s was filled with fun, friendship and lots of adventure.
Especially for me and my siblings, on Oak Street!

We weren’t rich, but we
learned to take what we had and have fun with it. We played restaurant, made mud
pies and had barbecue chicken made out of sticks and dirt. There was never a
dull moment as we fought monsters, played chase and took turns riding one bike.
It was a time when imagination reigned supreme and dreams were the stuff of
life.

Take a walk down my memory lane. Take off your shoes, grab a cup of
lemonade and stay awhile…you’ll enjoy your visit to Oak Street. A heartwarming
story the whole family will enjoy.


This is a short novelette and it is a fun story.  I went the entire story thinking it was autobiographic, and then on the last page she says that it is fiction, and that it is loosely based on her experiences. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed, but that’s ok. It  was still fun to read. I agree with her that children do not play enough these days. I’m always kicking my kids outside. I
 
I like the tone and voice of this story. Ms. Whitmore’s writing definitely makes you feel like you are standing right there on Oak Street watching the story unfold. I related to some of her experiences, but not all of them. I shared a room with my sister, as did she, and we had some fun times together. My siblings and I also made plenty of mud pies out in the sandbox, so that was a fun memory to remember. The experiences she had with the neighbor kids were interesting. They were not very nice. Thankfully I didn’t have neighbors like that.
 
I didn’t love the ending of the story, but it was ok. It just seemed out of place, I thought, but it did have a purpose. It was fun to read about life in another part of the country.
 
Overall I enjoyed the story. I would recommend it.
 
Rating: PG (It’s clean!)
 
Recommendation: 13 and up. It is clean, but some of the subject matter might disturb some of the younger readers (They eat goat at a bbq and there is a church scene with them getting baptized at the end. Also at the end a thief runs into their house and there is a police standoff.)
 
Disclosure: I received a free book in exchange for my honest review.

Dizzy Miss Lizzie

Dizzy Miss Lizzie by R.M. Clark

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Thirteen-year-old Kasey Madrid finally has the freedom she’s always wanted. Instead of putting up with sitters or camps, she can spend the summer home alone in their “new” house. Never mind that the house is a creepy old place built in the nineteenth century. The creep factor skyrockets when Kasey meets a nineteenth-century girl named Lizzie Bellows in the basement. It takes some time for Lizzie to convince Kasey she’s not a ghost, though neither girl understands why they can see each other when they live 120 years apart.The difference in their worlds doesn’t stop the two from becoming fast friends. Lizzie’s life isn’t easy though. In her time, her parents died in a fire many believe Lizzie started herself. As the summer passes and Kasey learns more about her own past, she is shocked to discover Lizzie is part of a terrible Madrid family secret. It’s up to Kasey to go back to Lizzie’s world to unlock the secret and clear Lizzie’s name.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but it was really fun! It was a fast, easy read, which is good. I enjoyed it! It is well written. I liked the writing style, and thought it flowed well. I liked the characters and thought they were well-developed. I liked how Lizzie and Kasey grew into good friends, and how Kasey tried to learn as much about Lizzie as possible. Even though the premise is impossible, Mr. Clark did a very good job making it seem very plausible. I also loved that it was clean! There was no language, no violence (except a small curse put on someone), and no “physical intimacy.” It was great and will be great for some of the younger readers. I don’t know if my 10 year-old son will like it, but maybe. Girls his age will for sure enjoy it. I enjoyed it and I’m much older than 10!

Rating: PG  (It’s clean!)

Recommendation: 9 years and up. The girls will for sure enjoy it, and possibly the boys that age.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, but that does not change my opinion. All my reviews are honest.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

(Summary taken from inside the book jacket.) “In Beatrice Prior’s Dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves or it might destroy her.”

I loved this book! It is captivating, exciting, suspenseful, and action-packed. I really like Ms. Roth’s style of writing. It pulls you in and keeps you reading. The characters are well developed, but there is also a hint of secrecy around them. I liked a lot of the characters, was scared of some, felt sorry for others, and didn’t know what to think of some of them. Ms. Roth did a really good job of drawing the reader in.  I was confused with all the factions at first, and couldn’t keep them straight, but by the  end I had it figured out. There are a lot of characters and trying to remember their names can also be a little difficult, but it works out in the end. There were some good twists and turns and the storyline is just so different and creative. I really liked Beatrice’s inner conflict. I like how she tried, in subtle ways, to be both her old faction and her new faction.

The premise of the book is very interesting. It has a hint of “Matched”, a spice of “Uglies,” and a little bit of “Hunger Games,” yet it is all its own. I have NO idea which faction I would choose, since I value all of the factions’ qualities. I try to be a well-rounded person, so having to pick one would not be fun for me. The decisions they expect 16 year-olds to make are crazy! I can’t imagine making one decision, at 16, that would determine the rest of my life. And how sad that faction comes before family. What good is it to have a family, then? Aren’t families there to support us and help us? I found it so sad that when those kids needed their families the most is when they couldn’t have them.

I was excited for the first 3/4 of the book that I might be able to let my 10 year-old read this book. It is filled with action and suspense but it is clean…..until the end. Oh man! There is considerable discussion at the end about “physical intimacy,” and it plays a role in Tris making it into her faction(She has to pass a test of her fears. She doesn’t have to actually do anything). The ending is quite violent as well, with main characters being killed.

I really liked this book and definitely recommend it (to those 13 and up)! The next book can’t come soon enough…..

Rating: PG-13 (Discussion of “physical intimacy” and violence)

Recommendation: Probably 13 and up. They don’t actually do anything, it is just discussed. And I think a 13 year-old could handle the violence.

Book Review of Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN

Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? by Julie Donley, RN

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “What makes change so H.A.R.D.? we struggle to lose weight, change jobs, improve our relationships or our financial condition and even give up addictions. We succumb to our habits and accept a life of mediocrity, wishing it could be different and incessantly hoping for that magic solution. The reality is that we are creatures of habit and change can be uncomfortable. Change requires hard work, consistency and time. We perceive it as a chore and most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Yet, there have been times in your life when you have made great change and it has brought you to a much better place. You were willing to do whatever it took to achieve the outcome you desired and you did it! You succeeded.”

I really liked this book. Ms. Donley has overcome a lot of change in her life and she has some very good insights into making change easier. Her writing style is easy to read and understand, and she explains everything well. She definitely made me think I could make any change I wanted to! I really like how she talks about preparing ourselves for change. Sometimes we get frustrated because we keep saying we want to change but we don’t do it. Well, her advice is to not feel guilty about that because maybe we really aren’t ready yet. We need to take the time to prepare ourselves for change. We need to mull it over and when we are really ready we will do it! Sometimes the “ready” point comes by necessity like having a heart attack makes you eat healthier or a spouse passes away. Other changes though, like losing weight or giving up addictions, need time to prepare ourselves for. Ms. Donley’s acronyms are helpful in remembering her steps.

Some of the book is repetitive, but I think that can be good and helpful in a self-help book. Sometimes we need to hear things over and over before they finally sink in.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to change something in his or her life, which is most likely everyone. 🙂

Rating: G Good, clean reading!!

Recommendation: Middle school and up, just because I don’t think children really need to worry about it. It could help a middle school child who is dealing with major change, like a divorce.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free book in exchange for this review. That does not change my opinion, however, I am always honest in my reviews.

Book Review of Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “The heavenly gift of Christmas transforms hearts and homes. Create lasting memories as you experience with family and friends the shared affection at Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph’s devotion to God and sublime caring for each other will bring you to experience the story as never before. As Joseph searches for comforting words to offer Mary, he is attended by angel children who sing along to welcome Baby Jesus. Discover how sharing the gift of Jesus’ love blesses relationships, as you enjoy the magic of children’s narration, original music, and song.”

This is a beautiful book! The gold-tipped pages are beautiful and give you a sense that what is in the book is important. The illustrations are well done and add greatly to the story. The story of Mary and Joseph is written in poem form and done very well. It is tender and not corny. The music on the CD is very soft and calming. The children’s voices are so sweet and convey the message of Christmas well. I love the idea of having the music, narration, and a downloadable script all wrapped up together with the book. This will make having the Christmas pageant in your home or church much easier. You can use her narration or just the music. There are many ways to make it fit perfectly with your needs. Thank you, Ms. Hanseen for such a beautiful book. I will definitely be reading this one to my children this Christmas season.

Rated: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Great for everyone!!

Discloure: I did receive a free book in exchange for this review; however, this does not sway my opinion. All my reviews are honest.