The Host

The Host by Stephanie Meyer
(Summary taken from the book jacket) “Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparentlhy unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed. When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves–Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, the set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.”
This book really took me by surprise. It takes awhile to get into, to figure out what is happening, but it is so interesting. Stephanie Meyer has outdone herself this time. This book is on a much higher intellectual level than the Twilight series. It really makes you think, and look at those all around you. I really liked this book! Up until the end I had no idea how she would end it, and it is surprising, but it is so good! It is worth the 600+ pages to delve into the lives of Wanderer and Melanie. How would I act in this situation? Would I give up? How do I treat those around me who may be different? My enemies? Could I survive? It is a captivating story. It takes a little bit longer to read at the beginning because you have to figure out what is going on. Meyer has a way of ending her chapters at the right time so you have to keep reading. It was a great read!
Rated: PG-13 (Some violence, death ) It is too much for younger minds to digest, I think. There are a few swear words here and there, but not too bad.
Recommendation: High School and up.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
(Summary taken from the back of the book.)  “As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini–the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik–the gentle giant; Inigo–the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen–the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.”
Wow! Do I love this book!!! I have read it before, and I will definitely read it again! My first experience with it was when my Dad read it to my siblings and me. I was hooked from the beginning. We actually read it right before the movie came out, so it was exciting to be able to watch the movie after reading it. I loved it, and as soon as I could read well enough, I read it on my own. It is a great read-aloud, for boys and girls. It has it all–action, romance, suspence, love, sword fighting, drama, ROUS’s, death, miracles, and one of the most beautiful girls in the world. Who could ask for more? I love the humor, the characters, the plot, and I think I have almost the whole thing memorized. Classic. That’s all I can say, classic! I recommend this book for about age 10 and up. I also recommend reading it out-loud for your child’s first time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the kissing parts!
Rated: PG (Kissing, I know…..ewww! Sword fighting, poisoning, and the fire swamp)
Recommendation: Fourth Grade and Up. In the book the author says he read it to his son at 10. Great as a read-a-loud or a read-to-self book.

The Lucky One

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
(Summary taken from the book) “When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck, winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph–his lucky charm. Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo–and the woman in it–out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina–Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son–to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart–destroying not only their love, but also their lives.”
The first few pages of this book definitely turned me off. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue reading it or see if it got better. The first few pages describe a creepy sherriff who takes pictures of girls skinny-dipping and is all-over a nasty guy. I kept going, and I’m glad I did. Whenever the sherriff is in the scene, you can count on his nastiness, but that is not the whole story. He is in the story, but isn’t THE story. So, rest assured, you will get more of him, but not as much as you at first think. After that first scene, I’m glad I kept reading. The story took me a minute to get into, but then kept me reading. I read the whole book in one day. There is a love scene, and talk of it after that, but it doesn’t go into any amount of detail. There are a few profane words, but the worst of it is the sherriff. This story is mysterious and intriguing. You wonder what else has happened to Thibault to make him who he is, and you wonder if he and Elizabeth will make it work. You wonder why he is slow to tell details of his life, but after you learn them you understand why. Especially at the end it is a page turner. I would recommend this book as long as you are okay with the warnings I have given.
Rated: PG-13 (For the creepy and yucky sherriff, the few profane words, and the “making love” scene.)
Recommendation: 18 and up

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Book #2)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Book #2)
(Summary from the back of the book) “Narnia…a land frozen in eternal winter…a country waiting to be set free. Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia–a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change…and a great sacrifice.”
I LOVE this book!!!! I love it from beginning to end!! I love the symbolism in it, I love the writing, I love the story, I think it is one of my all time favorites. C.S. Lewis did an excellent job in this book. I highly recommend it! I think it’s great for younger readers, and the best thing is that it is also great for adults! I think it meant a lot more to me when I recently read it because I understood the symbolism, but I remember loving it as a younger reader as well.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: 12 and Up. 9 or 10 if read as a read-aloud. (As in book #1, the symbolism may be over the heads of younger kids, but it would be a great read-a-loud for 10+, or they would enjoy reading it by themselves.)

Housekeeping

Housekeeping by: Marilynne Robinson This is not a fast read, but it is a very good human interest story. It is sad and depressing at times, but it really makes you think about your life and how you interact with other people. It is the story of a family. Two girls are left on their grandmother’s doorstep, by their mother. The story continues showing how the two girls react to the different women in the family taking care of them. Each girl reacts differently, and it is very interesting to see. I liked this story a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Rated: PG

Recommendation: High School and Up. I don’t think younger children would be interested.