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Moorefield House Publishing



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The Golden Notebook Review

Posted on December 17, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments ()


The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Reviewed by Jacob Hammer

One of my friends had recommended this book for a couple of years before I finally picked it up. The last few books I’d read were fairly run-of-the-mill fiction and I had been promised a departure from that with this book. A departure was certainly what I got. At the outset, I was interested in the characters, but by the time I had dug into it, I felt like I was waist deep in the mud with them, trying to find my own way out.


I should explain a bit about the structure of the book before I go onward. The book’s main character, Anna Wulf, had a bestselling novel, but has not written anything else in some time. The novel begins with “Free Women,” a section that (strung together with the later sections of the same name) could serve as a short novel set during what we can call the “present” of the novel. Within this narrative, Anna has four notebooks in which she writes about different aspects of her life. The first is the Black Notebook which contains memories from her time in Africa that shaped her successful novel. The second is the Red Notebook which contains recollections and reflections on her time in and out of the Communist party. The Yellow Notebook is the beginning of a novel featuring a character named Ella whose experiences very closely resemble those of Anna in a recently ended affair. The final notebook is the Blue Notebook which is Anna’s own journal which she uses to keep track of daily goings-on and dreams etc. The reader begins with a “Free Women” section then moves sequentially through the notebooks to another section of “Free Women” and so on.


As I first encountered the structure, I thought it would be like any novel containing journal entries and letters. Some interesting overlap and discrepancies, but nothing too crazy. I expected more of the action of the book to be external and to take place in what I learned was only the frame narrative. A quick look at the table of contents corrected me there.

The notebooks are interesting at first due to sheer curiosity. The Anna Wulf of the first section of “Free Women” was intriguing enough that I wanted to know about her time in Rhodesia; that Anna was interesting enough that I wanted to know about her time with the Communists; I cared enough about Anna’s writing life that I wanted to know what kind of novel she would write, and I wanted to know what her honest thoughts about the things going on during and between the “Free Women” sections. When I began to dig into those sections, my interest in them shifted and eventually became tangled as opposed to linear and organized. For example, as I learned about Anna’s life and everything she was wrestling with from the Blue Journal, I began to see her trying to compartmentalize and try out new scenarios of her real life events in the novel she was working on in the Yellow Notebook. The notebooks all play into the creation of a larger vision of Anna Wulf for the reader.


The first couple sets of “Free Women” and notebooks seem fairly normal and Anna seems to the reader a mostly stable person who is especially organized for keeping four different journals and compartmentalizing her life so strictly. We know there must be connections, but they are not bleeding into each other. This won’t last though.

As we go on, the notebooks become to have their purposes changed. The Black

Notebook comes to be full of records of Anna’s interactions with others (chiefly people trying to obtain film rights etc.) because of her successful novel Frontiers of War. Later it returns to its original purpose, but nonetheless we know now that the notebooks are not as set in stone as they seemed. The Red Notebook continues on much the same, but makes many time jumps and the information we have learned from the other notebooks begins to seem increasingly intertwined. The Yellow Notebook begins to jump around and becomes a place to explore ideas that go no further than a paragraph or two as well as ideas and storylines that take up pages. The reader begins to lose themselves and the storyline among this. The Blue Notebook then draws us deep into Anna’s psyche, in turn revealing more and more about what was written in the Yellow Notebook and all the others notebooks. By the fourth section of “Free Women” everything has begun to bleed together irreparably. By this point Anna is revealing a mental state that she seems uncomfortable with and that leads to increasing self-critique, anxiety, and swinging moods that the reader is pulled right along into. The final section of the Blue Notebook felt to me like the real tipping point into no differentiation and no compartmentalization.

All the while, the Anna presented in “Free Women” and the Blue Notebook seems to be rebelling against this bleeding together and disintegration, yet failing. This failure becomes manifest when a man begins renting the spare room in her flat, Saul Green. Saul at first seems to just be a somewhat moody and evasive American who Anna will not enjoy the company of. The reader and Anna are both shocked as she falls in love with him and they begin to feed on each other’s madness within weeks. The narrative of the Blue Notebook becomes increasingly cyclical. Saul and Anna are happy, they become upset with each other and drive each other away (typically resulting in Saul’s increasingly transparent infidelities) then they recover and make up with each other and go back to the blissful oblivion they started with. This repeats a couple of times before Anna begins to read Saul’s journals out of anger or morbid curiosity while he is away and learns exactly what he says he has been thinking and doing. We as readers sink further into the first person narrative of Anna (as opposed to the third person of “Free Women” sections) and the cycle becomes painful and unstoppable all at once. We as readers begin to live for those times of bliss between the two of them. We turn on Saul and Anna when those times are over. Interestingly, Anna seems bizarrely aware and unwilling to stop this cycle, particularly after she finally reveals to Saul that she has been reading his journals and there are no more secrets between them. Yet the cycle continues unabated and increasing in intensity for some pages.


Eventually, in a time of clarity while Saul is away, Anna realizes the totality of their destructive cycle and begins to dismantle it. She buys a Golden Notebook to put all of herself into one notebook. The cycle begins to come around again to the fighting stage, but they both decide to stop the cycle at that point and for Saul to leave. Saul gives Anna the first sentence of a novel (which happens to be the first sentence of the first “Free Women” section) and Anna gives him the first sentence of a novel which Saul then goes on to write and achieve success with. Shortly after this exchange and his departure, we are returned to the final “Free Women” section. In this Anna rents out a room to an American (very little like Saul) and he leaves shortly after. Anna meets with a friend from “Free Women” one more time and they wrap up all the storylines from “Free Women” briefly and then move on with their lives. The end was incredibly jarring, but also very fitting, I think.


The notebooks allowed Anna to play with her own psyche, eventually this leads her down the self-destructive path with Saul; but from the darkness of that path we emerge with Anna into the light of new writing and a return to regular life, altered, but informed by the insights gained at the

deepest pit of the downward spiral. The dive that we as readers are able to make with Anna is what makes the book so valuable a read and why it has left and will continue to leave such an impact on me. Because of the depth of Anna’s personal history that we gain from the notebooks as well as insight into how she perceives herself (because they are all first person, excluding the Yellow Notebook) we are able to jump all the way down with her during the last Blue Notebook section. This full descent allows us to emerge with Anna at the end of the book as she comes out of disillusionment into a new realization of self.


This book was incredibly intense for me. I have not identified so strongly with a character in some time and it is only in writing this that I realize the depth to which Anna’s inner life became part of how I looked at my own inner life. The book is beautiful, dangerous. A necessary risk.

Sweet Thing Review

Posted on September 8, 2016 at 9:00 PM Comments comments ()

Sweet Thing by Renée Carlino

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


When words fail, music speaks. Sweet Thing by Reneé Carlino is a book about loss, discoveries, unexpected love, and of course music. Mia Kelly is an Ivy League graduate who has been classically trained on the piano. She has spent her whole life running away from her passion and using her business degree as a scapegoat. Unexpectedly, Mia’s father dies so she leaves Ann Arbor, Michigan and heads to New York City to get his affairs in order and run his café while trying to figure out what to do next with her own life.


Her father’s café is a beloved establishment where locally undiscovered musicians can perform their music to a non-judgmental audience. It’s also the second time Mia finds herself face-to-face with Will—a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist—who gives her a thrilling and unpredictable taste of the musician life she has denied herself for years. Mia and Will become friends, all though when you read the first chapter of the book you know there is no way they’re just friends because Renée Carlino gives the two characters palpable chemistry and builds up sexual tension right from the very beginning when they spontaneously meet and have a witty exchange on the airplane flying to New York at the beginning of the book. Mia and Will become roommates and she tries desperately to suppress her passions for him and everything he stands for—music.


If it is one thing that drives me absolutely crazy yet at the same time I get so emotionally invested in when it comes to New Adult romances, is their stubbornness to actually surrender to love and happiness. They’re always holding back from the man of their dreams or their talents and it makes them miserable. It makes the readers miserable, too! On several occasions I wanted to reach an arm into Sweet Thing and strangle Mia to make her see that Will is crazy about her and wants to love her and help her pursue her passion in music. But no. She just wants to be “friends” but secretly gets insanely jealous when Will starts dating after she has constantly rejected him. It doesn’t help at all that they live together while all this is going on. But in a way, it forces Mia to realize her own feelings for him.


What makes this book so special is seeing the forgiveness of wrong doings and learning from those mistakes. I think what touched me about Mia is that she didn’t want to feel out of control. Music made her feel happy and loosened her up to enjoy the everyday experiences of life. However, it’s unpredictable. This fear of giving in to her passions stems from the fact that her father was a musician and left her and her mother to go to New York. Until Mia discovers the truth behind her parents separation that threatens to tear her apart. Mia has a lot of regret for the thoughts she had of her father and how she avoided him for no good reason at all. She pushes Will away when he only wanted to love her. She has anger towards her mother for lying to her. This is a novel about forgiving yourself so that you can forgive other people. Renee Carlino’s novel poses a crucial question: how do you love someone else when you don’t even love yourself? It is questions like these that make me love Renee Carlino! I loved finding a little bit of myself in this novel. It reminded me that there are so many people in my life rooting for me and loving me every step of the way. I have to learn not to push that kind of love away even if it terrifies me.

I hope you enjoy this story beautiful story like I did. It will wrap itself around your heart and hold on tight even after you finish the novel. I still think about it till this day and if I had more time with my crazy English major school schedule, I would love to go back and reread it again. This complicated love story wrecked me. I know you’re wondering: Taylor how could you be so dramatic? I just am and you would understand the emotional struggle and tears I have shed because of it if you read the book. I have written a previous book review about Renee Carlino because she just has the juice. Meaning, I couldn’t put the book down because she has you emotionally invested in the plot and characters by the first couple of pages. To my utter shock and excitement, Renee Carlino wrote a companion novel to Sweet Thing as a novella called Sweet Little Thing. I cannot reveal anything about it without giving the whole story away. All I can say is that your heart will melt like sweet, sweet, milk chocolate when you delve into both novels.

Afterworlds Review

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM Comments comments ()

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief.


“Maybe the trick was not to panic. In life, as in the bewildering business of writing stories and flinging them out into the world, you had to focus on the page in front of you.” –Darcy Patel, Scott Westerfeld, Afterworlds


If you think about it, a lot of research and reflection is put into the act of purchasing a novel. As readers, we have to be selective with the amount of money we’re willing to spend on a book, fully aware of supply and bookish demand and how high prices are now for a paperback novel because of our uncontrollable desire to read. That being so, there are many factors of book-buying that come into play when a reader places one foot past the threshold of a bookstore. Factors of purchasing a novel include a reader’s personality, the mood they happen to be in on that particular day, the talents and hobbies they enjoy, and last but not least the hopes, aspirations, and dreams they hold near and dear to their hearts. I spent $11.99 on Scott Westerfeld’s YA novel Afterworlds because I knew upon reading the synopsis that the contents of his book was the perfect match for me.


As you walk the rows and rows of bookcases in your favorite genre section of the bookstore, you become a super speed reader, reading every title until a cover finally catches your eye, stopping you dead in your tracks. Immediately, readers turn the book to the back cover and read its synopsis. The synopsis of a novel is crucial to a book-buyer’s final decision. The first sentence of a book’s synopsis, in my opinion, is more important than a book’s first sentence because a potential book-buyer typically reads the synopsis of a book without ever reading the author’s first sentence in the first chapter until they get home. Therefore it is imperative to hook a reader right off the bat no ifs, ands, or buts, about it.


As an aspiring writer and a die-hard reader devoted to spending hours and hours of reading my life away, Scott Westerfeld irrevocably hooked me with the first sentence in the synopsis of his novel Afterworlds: “Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds.” I consumed the rest of the synopsis as it went on to give me insight into how Darcy gets wrapped up in the publishing world as one of the youngest debut novelists—a dream I hope to live someday.


My whole life, short as it may be, has been spent working towards my goal of becoming a New York Times bestselling author. Being twenty-one-years-old and the editor-in-chief of Moorefield House Publishing, I’m still learning the ropes of the publishing world. A year ago I read the synopsis of Afterworlds and it intrigued me, hence the $11.99 purchase. I had to have this novel because it went hand in hand with my hopes, aspirations, and dreams. I learned what publishing a book would be like; the process an author goes through. Darcy Patel signs a hundred thousand dollar book contract for her novel Afterworlds. She arrives in New York with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes with not a clue of what she should do. Then Darcy meets other fledgling YA writers and they show her how to navigate the publishing world and how to thrive in it.


This novel offers a dynamic plot with alternating chapters unlike anything ever attempted in Young Adult literature. The odd-numbered chapters are revelations of Darcy Patel’s life and her encounters in the publishing world. The even-numbered chapters are chapters in Darcy’s YA novel Afterworlds with her main character Lizzie. Scott Westerfeld wrote a YA novel inside a YA novel. Confusing but uncharacteristically brilliant. I’m amazed by how much talent Scott Westerfeld possesses to be able to create two made-up stories in one whole novel.


The even-numbered chapters of Afterworld is a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a vast place between the living and the dead. It is full of unresolved and terrifying stories. Lizzie is able to shift from the Real World to the Afterworld (aka. The Flipside) ever since the terrorist attack. Slipping between visible and invisible causes Lizzie to become a magnet for the ghosts who still linger in the real world—ghosts who are terrified of the Afterworld and the stories it possesses. A predator lurks around places where evil acts have occurred and it’s up to Lizzie to protect the souls of others with the help of the boy who protects the Afterworld and makes sure that things run smoothly.


I loved the publishing insight of Darcy’s world but ultimately got lost in her novel Afterworlds. I would read so fast through the odd-numbered chapters just so that I could get to the even-numbered chapters. I highly recommend Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds if you want to escape into a world within a world.


As writers, we all have the juice. Now we just have to pour it over the world.

[Read Afterworlds and you’ll know what I mean by this ;)]


Further Reading

Scott Westerfeld is the author of eighteen novels, five of them for adults and the other thirteen for young adults, which include the Uglies series, the Leviathan series, the Succession series, the Midnighters series, a new upcoming series of books beginning with Horizon, Peeps, So Yesterday, and many more.


Scott Westerfeld was born in Texas and divides his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. Also, he’s a brilliant man with a fact sheet about himself. It’s on his website. Check it out!


The Winner's Curse Review

Posted on August 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments ()

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


I love to read novels like Marie Rutkoski’s fantasy YA novel The Winner’s Curse for its strong female lead. For a couple years now, this idea of a strong female lead has been so popular in YA fiction and culture that everyone is jumping on the fierce feminist train. It’s marvelous. It gives women readers a good example to follow all the wonderful characteristics that the main female character possesses making it possible to look up to them as a role model. Female leads in stories are also lessons to men to never underestimate girl power. Kestrel, the main character in The Winner’s Curse, is beautifully developed.


She is defiant towards evil and loyal to what is right and good no matter who her allegiance is to. Her strategies in battle are as lethal as her strategies in love. She is determined to protect her heart from Arin’s betrayal—the same heart that treacherously yearns for him. Throughout the whole Winner’s trilogy, Kestrel doubts herself time and time again. Her father urges her to enlist in his army by fighting for Valoria in the war against the Dacrans and Herrani ultimately to conquer the world as they know it. Kestrel knows that she isn’t a combat fighter; a talented pianist yes, a war strategist, yes. She knows exactly where to place soldiers and how to persuade people around her into doing what she wants. Where would a feminine heroine in a YA novel be if she didn’t doubt the strength she possesses? Kestrel doubts her strength—her strength as a warrior, as a pianist, and as a woman. Every turn of the page, the reader sees how brave Kestrel is even if she doesn’t. It is admirable to read how determined she is to right the wrongs her people caused at all costs, even if it means losing her father’s love, or what little of his love there was to begin with.


One of the many reasons I love The Winner’s Curse is because it transitions from Kestrel’s point of view and Arin’s. Night and Day. The reader gets to see how two completely opposite people view each other in prejudice, love, and confusion. In a quote, Arin says, “He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.” This is Arin’s prejudice towards Kestrel in the beginning. And it’s beautiful to watch how the two morph into a powerful duo.


The Winner’s Curse begins with Kestrel’s love for Arin—a Herrani slave. They are forbidden to be with each other but when Kestrel buys Arin from the slave trade to save his life, she falls for him and vice versa. Arin is a Herrani man who happens to be Valoria’s #1 enemy which makes him Kestrel’s biggest enemy because her father is the Valorian General. She is torn between the love she has for her country, her friends, and her father, and also her gradual love for the Herrani people because of the Herrani woman who raised Kestrel when she lost her mother at a very early age. Kestrel’s heart is conflicted because she can’t ignore the cruelty that takes place right

in front of her eyes by her father and other members of the court towards the Herrani.


Find out where Kestrel’s loyalties lie in this amazing epic fantasy adventure of The Winner’s Curse. The trilogy continues with The Winner’s Crime and ends with The Winner’s Kiss.


Further Reading & About Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is a New York Times bestselling author. She’s the author of The Winner’s Trilogy, The Shadow Society, and the Kronos Chronicles Books I-III. She mainly writes children and young adult books.


Marie Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois as the oldest of four children. She knew that she was Someone Who Loved Books. She attended the University of Iowa and then lived in Prague and Moscow. After that she fell in love with Shakespeare as she attended Harvard University where she perfected her skill in referring to herself in the third person.


She is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College where she teaches Renaissance drama, children’s literature, and fiction writing. New York City is her home sweet home.


Check out her website at, she’s sarcastically humorous!

Farming of Bones Review

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments ()

Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


For those of you who have never read Edwidge Danticat’s incredible prose there are a few things you should know about her that influence how she writes and what she writes about. Edwidge Danticat was born in the third world country of Haiti in 1969. She has spiritually beautiful and deep roots to her Haitian history which is often a major topic she writes about in almost all of her novels. She preserves her country’s history with words printed on a piece of paper—paper that is considered a luxurious resource to her illiterate Haitian people. Preserving her people’s history is so imperative to Edwidge Danticat and it shows in the quote from her novel The Farming of Bones that, “Famous men never truly die…It is only those nameless and faceless who vanish like smoke into the early morning air.”


I like to say that authors are superheroes and in this instance, Edwidge Danticat is a real life hero. Reading one of Edwidge Danticat’s novels, especially The Farming of Bones, made me want to go out and change the world—to be a hero myself. The effects of this novel, containing her pure and heart-felt lyrical prose that reflect the repercussions of humanity’s actions, are forces like none else. She has the power to change the ignorant and biased ways people think about and view other people who are different from them.


In Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones she is the master of tugging on heart-strings through her realistic metaphors that latch themselves onto human actions and relations toward one another that leave you haunted and questioning why human beings are so hateful to one another. One of those powerful metaphors is numerous scars left on a broken body. Sebastien, Amabelle’s lover, is filled with scars from the machetes used to chop sugar cane. These scars are memories that tell stories filled with struggle, misery, and sadness in a person’s life that is brought on by other human beings. Memory is a very special concept to Edwidge Danticat for its powerful abilities to keep memories so as not to make the same mistakes, to remember the way we felt so as to never feel that way again, and to remember the lives of others who were taking unjustly and way too soon.


Edwidge Danticat, in her novel, also tackled the genocide of Haitians in the Parsley Massacre orchestrated by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The dehumanization of Haitians by the Dominicans was ghastly and ultimately made it easier on them to kill almost a whole race of people. One of her quotes in this novel that still haunts me to this day is when Amabelle Désir, the main character in The Farming of Bones, restates something her deceased father said many years ago: “Misery won’t touch you gentle. It always leaves its thumbprints on you; sometimes it leaves them for others to see, sometimes nobody but you to know of.” Her lyrical prose has you hanging on fiercely to every chilling sentence like this one.


The Farming of Bones is a tale about how a world you’ve built of semi-happiness can be ripped away at any moment. Amabelle falls in love with Sebastien and they have plans to marry until genocidal violence breaks out against all dark-skinned Haitians living in the Dominican Republic in an effort to ‘purify’ the Dominican Republic back to strictly one ‘superior’ race of people. Amabelle is forced to flee for her life back to a Haiti she barely remembers. Danticat preserves the memories of every Haitian who lost their life in the Parsley Massacre with The Farming of Bones as a memorial and a true testament to human memory and the power it contains.


One of my favorite things about Edwidge Danticat is that she flips the master narrative on its head, revealing the underlying story—the story that wasn’t written in all the history books. My World Literature professor explained in class as we read the novel that the master narrative, the main event, would be following the Dominican Republican guards to the Haiti and Dominican Republic border and watching how events panned out there. However, Danticat gets you to look at a Haitian servant like Amabelle and the relationships that bind her to the Haitian workers at the sugar cane factories and plantations that helped the Dominican Republic economy thrive. She shows how the Haitian people are repaid for their indentured servitude by being slaughtered in a genocide because they pronounced the word parsley (-perejil) differently than that of a Dominican.


I’ve been studying Edwidge Danticat’s work for many years in my college career and found that she bares her soul and truth effortlessly and it’s up to us to choose what to do with that kind of truth. At the end of The Farming of Bones, I also came to the realization that we take so many pleasures in life for granted—that someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure. Edwidge Danticat makes me humble and appreciative and it’s all because of her words in the books she writes that I absolutely adore reading.

Further Reading

Edwidge Danticat is the author a many books including, Brother, I’m Dying, Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Dew Breaker, and one of my favorites Krik? Krak!. All of these novels she has written are award-winning.

Danticat’s writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other magazines.

Vampire Academy Review

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 7:50 PM Comments comments ()

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


Being a borderline crazy book lover, I’m also a devoted movie-goer. I collect movies like I collect books, religiously. Then, one day, movie producers decided it would be a good idea to have the authors of beautifully written books like Richelle Mead’s novel Vampire Academy sign the rights over to them so that they can twist and warp the plot into a movie and call it art. This can go one of two ways: a complete and total disaster or Academy Award Winning. Since this phenomena of turning books into movies came into being, I have a very Holden Caulfield outlook on the movies. I live by one motto and one motto only:


Never, ever, judge a book by its movie.


My whole life, short as it may be, has been dedicated to spending hours upon hours reading young adult novels like Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. I give praise to the first novel in the Vampire Academy series and every other book after that.


Richelle Mead created a new vision of vampires that relates back to traditional folklore of the immortal creatures with a twist. The novel is centered on two types of vampires: Moroi and Strigoi. Moroi are the good vampires, the mortal kind who are still connected to their humanity whereas the Strigoi vampires are depicted in the traditional way of being immortal mindless monsters with intense bloodlust for humans and Moroi alike.


Introducing a sassy and dangerous human named Rose Hathaway who devotes her life to protecting her best friend, Lissa Dragomir, from the Strigoi who want to make her into one of them and abuse her power. Lissa happens to be a Moroi princess with an affinity to earth’s magic. The two powerful girls share a bond like none other, combining both human and vampire blood, Rose becomes a Dhampir. She can sense Lissa’s emotions and also see through her eyes.


The girls run away from St. Vladimir’s after some of the professor’s begin having mental deterioration from obtaining a rare affinity. The girls try living life on their own until an attack from the Strigoi have them running back to the Academy’s iron gates. Inside the gates are dangerous with the social lives of Moroi and the strict rules for Dhampirs, whose sole purpose is to protect the Moroi royal they’re assigned to. Rose finds herself attracted to her trainer Dimitri, but they are forbidden to pursue the attraction further lest it distracts them from protecting the Moroi they’re assigned to. Protect the Moroi at all costs.


Vampire Academy was such a wonderful world to get lost in that I constantly thought, “I wish

they would make this into a movie.” I had the same thought with many other novels such as Immortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare, Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series, and the Beautiful Creatures series by Margret Stohl and Kami Garcia. The movies didn’t do these novels justice, especially Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. The plot is less detailed than the book because of the two hour limit placed on a movie. There’s just no way to get every incredible description of her characters. The actors were all wrong.


When you read this novel, you’ll notice how the tone is very serious even though Rose is sarcastic and sassy at times. The movie was way too over dramatic and they went for funny more than serious. It was all off. The movie always leads to disappointment one way or another. Do not be deterred from reading the next book because you saw the movie! I always tell myself that I need to read the book first before seeing the movie because I’ll never read the book.


So many exciting things happen in Vampire Academy that sets up the next four books in the series. I hope you enjoy the roller coaster as much as I did.


Further Reading and Author Info

Richelle Mead has written over twenty-five books for young adults and adults. She is the international #1 bestselling author for her Vampire Academy series and its spin-off, the Bloodlines series. She is the author of Soundless and her new novel The Glittering Court.

Richelle Mead has always been drawn to mythology and folklore which is part of the reason I love her writing. I become inspired from reading myths and folklore, it sparks my imagination on a whole whacky level. She loves traveling and trying interesting cocktails. Originally from Michigan, Richelle currently lives in Seattle, Washington!

Beautiful Disaster Review

Posted on July 14, 2016 at 7:55 PM Comments comments ()

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


In Jamie McGuire’s new adult romance novel Beautiful Disaster every turn of the page gets more complicated and intricately beautiful. There’s no such thing as a sense of peace for the characters in her novels which makes for a nail-biting, heart-pounding, and intense emotional rollercoaster read.


I was so addicted at the time of reading Beautiful Disaster when it came out in 2012 that I read well into the late hours of the night and finished the book the next day. The dark circles under my eyes cursed Jamie McGuire and also praised her for her clever tactics of keeping her reader’s attention till the very last page with her use of action-packed scenes, lovable characters, and one original, never-been-done-before plot.


Jamie McGuire paved the way for the other authors of the new adult romance genre with Beautiful Disaster, the first book in her Beautiful series. I began noticing how many authors in the genre used similar instances from Beautiful Disaster such as the bad boy who is a “Walking One-Night Stand.”


Jamie McGuire’s novel is about a girl named Abby Abernathy who has had a troubled and complicated past and all she wants is to escape it and start over. Her new beginning entails becoming the good girl and to avoid everything and everyone who threatens that. Enter Travis Maddox, the tattooed underground fighter who threatens to bring more mayhem to her newly no-drama way of life. She resists his charms. He is intrigued. And so goes the cat and mouse game only the catch is that Travis has met his match.


It begins with a bet. If Travis loses a fight, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. This novel is a back and forth game between Abby and Travis’s stubbornness at the fact that they are the exact same. They’ve met their match and all they do is fight it. They fight their attraction for one another which is honestly the most infuriating concept on the face of this planet. I can’t tell you how many times I shouted at the both of them: “Just shut up and just kiss already!” The tension in the novel is marvelous and I know, without a doubt, Jamie McGuire is the master of tension.


I believe Jamie McGuire enjoyed toying with her reader’s emotions the way she enjoyed toying with Abby and Travis’s complicated relationship. She truly mastered the idea of choosing between the passionate mind-blowing love affair vs. the safe relationship with the paradox of Travis Maddox and Parker, the goody-two shoes rich boy. As a reader, we see eye-to-eye with Abby and her constant dilemma of following her heart or her head. Back-and-forth between being with Travis and not being with Travis was emotionally draining. I had tears every time Abby refused to see how perfect they were together. Every step of the way, you will find yourself rooting for Abby and Travis and their love. Jamie McGuire gave me hope that there is someone out there waiting to love me and protect me as much as Travis loves Abby.


This was one of the most complicated love stories I ever read.

When her past comes back, Abby questions everything. Travis is her only constant. Love is all about succumbing to the fear of falling and the fear of being hurt beyond imagination. But when it’s real love, you never give up. You never stop fighting.


Beautiful Disaster is a novel written for sheer entertainment. It isn’t some novel like A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens that can be analyzed for a deeper meaning within every word. What you read is at face value. It is raw. I like to think of Beautiful Disaster as watching a really good TV show and every book is its own episode into a larger whole.


It’s all connected—a beautiful disaster.


Meet the Author and Further Reading

Jamie McGuire is the New York Times bestselling author of three YA paranormal romance books: Providence, Requiem, and Eden. The second installment of the Beautiful series is Walking Disaster, the same story but from Travis’s perspective. The third is a novella called Something Beautiful and this story deals with Shepley Maddox and America. Then Jamie McGuire creates The Maddox Brothers series consisting of all the Maddox brother’s love lives. Those book s are called Beautiful Oblivion, Beautiful Redemption, Beautiful Sacrifice, and her new release of A Beautiful Funeral comes out this August! She’s written an apocalyptic thriller called Red Hill and also a dark sci-fi romance novel called Apollonia.


Jamie McGuire lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with her husband Jeff, and their three children.

Between the Lines Review

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 12:55 AM Comments comments ()

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


One sentence…that’s all it takes. Jodi Picoult and daughter Samantha Van Leer, in their thrilling modern-day twist of a spectacular fairy tale novel called Between the Lines, understand that one sentence in a book holds enough power to enchant a reader into falling so deeply in love with the plot, the characters, the setting that the words on the piece of paper come to life and alter the reader’s reality forever.


One of the reasons why I absolutely adored Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer’s novel was the fact that the main character, Delilah, came right out and said, “I’m weird. Everyone says so. I suppose it’s because while other fifteen-year-olds are talking about the best lip gloss and which movie star is hotter, I would rather be curled up with a book.” From this sentence on, I was completely and undeniably hooked on this magical novel because I felt like this quote sums up my love for literature and also the contentment I have towards who I am as a person. I’m sure this sentence relates to many fellow book lovers, artists, and writers out there as well.


I’m one hundred percent positive that every person in this world has felt out of place at some point and time in their life. I call this realization an out-of-body revelation. There have been numerous times where I found myself standing with a group of people I was associated with where something didn’t feel right. I always pushed the vibes away and told myself that this was normal when really I was hiding the real me because I was afraid of what other people thought of me. There is always this moment—a spark, so to speak—where I heard nothing, not a single word that had been said. Everyone in the room was in slow-motion as they carried on with whatever it was that they were doing. And what was I doing?


I watched the realization of every single block of lies I’d been telling myself about how happy I was because I told myself that I’ve found exactly where I was meant to be come crashing to the ground. In that brief and wonderful moment I realized exactly who I was by being in an uncomfortable situation and I told myself I never wanted to feel unwanted again. I found acceptance and love in the characters from my books the same way Delilah did.


While reading Between the Lines I noticed how it captures one unfathomable statement: we always want more. This novel is split between two narrators, Oliver and Delilah, as well as the events that happen on specific page numbers from the fairy tale itself. The two characters come from completely separate worlds; the imaginary world and the real world. Delilah wishes to be free from the chains of a normal and boring society whereas Oliver is going stir-crazy as he is strictly confined to the pages of the fairy tale book he was written into.


In the novel, Oliver is a prince in the elementary fairy tale book Between the Lines. The book fifteen-year-old Delilah becomes obsessed with when she finds it with no barcode in the nonfiction section of her high school’s library. Oliver is trapped in the same role and is compelled to act out the same storyline every time the binding of Between the Lines opens. However, the characters in this fairy tale are not what they seem. Everything changes when Oliver reveals that he is more than just a fictional character to Delilah but a person with individual thoughts and dreams of one day entering the real world. Oliver says, “Just so you know, when they say ‘Once upon a time’ …they’re lying. It’s not once upon a time. It’s not even twice upon a time. It’s hundreds of times, over and over, every time someone opens the pages of this dusty old book.” His only salvation from the tedious routine of the fairy tale he has to live every single day is Delilah.


Delilah reads this fairy tale over and over and over again (to Oliver’s dismay). Oliver looks up at Delilah from all the pictures he’s in on almost all of the pages in the storybook, pictures that us as readers also get the privilege of seeing. He thinks she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen and when they try to get him out of the book he tells Delilah: “Just in case it…doesn’t work. I want you to know, Delilah. You’ve already been the biggest adventure of my life.” A beautiful love story is made and I wish I could be so lucky as to fall in love with one of my fictional characters and have them fall in love with me right back. But that’s wishful thinking.


Referring back to the wonderful illustrations created by Yvonne Gilbert and Scott M. Fischer it really brought the story to life. Oliver was intensely detailed and well-imagined. Until I read Between the Lines I had never read a young adult book that had illustrations, colored font, and a fluctuation of different fonts all wrapped up in one intricately woven novel. Color is one of the most unique aspects about this book with Oliver’s sections dedicated to a soft blue, Delilah’s narration in a murky green, and the page number chapters of the fairy tale in black. I fell in love with the colored font in this novel because as a writer I, too, change the font color in my stories to add brightness to all the black lettering on my laptop.


Even though our imagination is the most natural, unique, and authentic crayon, marker, colored pencil we have to feel color with, it’s still lovely to see it.





Read the sequel to Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer’s Between the Lines called Off the Page for more of Delilah and Oliver’s shenanigans with literature!





Saint Anything Review

Posted on June 16, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments ()

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief


Sarah Dessen once said that when she was in her young adult years she read novels by marvelous authors that really struck her, so much so that she remembers every little detail of them till this very day. For me, Sarah Dessen is that author. I’ll be well into my forties buying her novels and eagerly reading them in a day or two, absolutely loving the passionate way she addresses topics of friendship, family, self-discovery, rape, loneliness, music, and the power of decision-making. I especially adored Sarah Dessen’s recently published young adult novel Saint Anything.

The title Sarah Dessen chose for her novel—Saint Anything—is so unique because of the fact that it is ambiguous. An oxymoron, I know. But in a way it makes perfect and total sense. Critics say that Saint Anything is Dessen’s most psychologically probing novel yet and a huge part of that is understanding the significant meaning of the title.

People all over this world pray to saints for many different reasons. Usually these saints come with their own pendants in the form of necklaces one would wear around their neck. Sydney acquires one of these pendants—an unknown saint that watches over her—from the warm and embracing Chatham family. Instantly, Sydney names the charm “Saint Anything” for any and all courage to help her get through the trials with her own family’s devastation over the horrific actions of her older brother Peyton. Instead of one particular saint’s pendant, why not have a completely ambiguous pendant that symbolizes anything you need to pray for?

If you love pondering the world in a philosophical way, Sarah Dessen truly captures every angle and possibility of a situation her characters go through with an astounding resolution. One of the main themes of Saint Anything is the fact that the main character, Sydney, feels invisible. She’s been in the shadows of her brother Peyton’s felony of drunk-driving, a hit-and-run incident that leaves a beloved boy in their town crippled for the rest of his life.

Like Sydney, I’ve felt invisible for almost half of my life and when I did gain attention it was always negative and full of bullying. In the book, Sydney reflects on her invisibility when she says, “I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close. I wasn’t shiny or charming like my brother, stunning and graceful like my mother, or smart and dynamic like my friends. That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.” The amount of times I’ve felt this way in my earlier years are astronomical. The feeling never really goes away.

I was a little girl, about seven or eight, making up stories and telling them to all the other kids at school. I said the stories were true, even willed them to be true so I would sound more interesting than I actually am so that I might have fit in among my peers, but in the end nobody believed me and I was bullied for it. I spent my whole childhood and adolescence believing I was dull and worthless because the kids at school made me feel that way every single day I stepped into the classroom. As the years went on, I realized more and more how untrue that was. As Sarah Dessen says, “…my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.”

In the midst of it all that, there were certain things that brought me joy and happiness, and I clung to those things with every ounce of strength I possessed. For Sarah Dessen’s main character, Sydney, her treasure was delivering pizza, supporting Mac’s band, and spending time with the chaotic Chatham family.

This major theme of invisibility in Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything shows her thousands of young adult readers and fans—all of whom most likely go through very similar cases of emotional turmoil—that it takes one person to notice you and make you feel like you are the most important person in the world. In an instant our world changes.

For Sydney, her person—more like group of persons—is the Chatham family. There’s Layla, who is admirably a French fry connoisseur and also falls hard for the wrong guys. Rosie, the older sister who has a beautiful singing voice but an ugly past. Mrs. Chatham, the mother who has a merciless disease, is the heart of the family and welcomes Sydney as though she were her flesh and blood. Most importantly, there’s Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—who really sees Sydney.

Sarah Dessen has taught her readers that you wind up finding things you never knew about yourself when you

do certain things that make you uncomfortable.

Reading Saint Anything, I knew that I wasn’t the only one who felt invisible.

Throne of Glass Review

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief

I’ve come to understand that a reader’s sole motive in choosing a novel at the book store is to be enthralled by the words—enthralled enough to be swept up in the story the way Dorothy was swept up in a tornado that blew her out of her dull black and white reality to the magically colorful imaginary world of OZ.

New York Times Bestselling author Sarah J. Maas’s epic-fantasy young adult novel Throne of Glass blew me away. Normally I can guess where a novel is going—who will fall in love with whom, how to solve the puzzle of a mystery, etc.—but every turn of the page, Sarah Maas exceeded my expectations. Like a tornado, she led me one way only to abruptly stop and proceed in a completely different direction.

Her creation of Throne of Glass began when she was sixteen-years-old. I’ve always believed that creative writers are naturally born to be writers. It’s because of their unstoppable imagination that is revealed early on through the extravagant stories they tell to parents and peers. Through the aging process, however, some children lose their wild imaginations because of their negative surroundings. Unfortunately, society does its best to squash the ideas of eccentric people, stressing normalcy. There are a few people who slip past the conventional way of thinking and learn how to further develop their imagination, their vocabulary, and grammar in order to create an amazing work of art. Readers around the world, myself included, need to realize how blessed we are to have authors like Sarah J. Maas tell us fairytales because reality is overrated.

Admirably, at such a young age, Sarah J. Maas’s brilliant imagination created the land of Erilea which was later illustrated by Kelly De Groot. All of Erilea has been conquered by the King of Adarlan, a ruthless king who sits upon his throne of glass in his massive shiny glass castle. He accumulated so much power by burning everything, banishing any and all magic from Erilea, and killing anyone who dared to stand in his way by sending them to death camps like Endovier full of the salt mines or the labor camp in Calaculla where prisoners become slaves who ultimately work to their death.

This story revolves around an assassin named Celaena Sardothien who has experienced the King’s cruelty firsthand when his soldiers invaded her home of Terrasen when she was eight-years-old making her an orphan. She was found and taken in by the King of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel, and against her will, he trained Celaena to be a killing machine, earning her the infamous title of Adarlan’s Assassin.

All Celaena wants is her freedom. So when the Crown Prince of Adarlan pulls her out of Endovier to be his Champion in a competition to become the King of Adarlan’s Champion, ultimately winning her freedom, she has no choice but to accept. With twenty-three other criminals competing for the title, the mysterious and gruesome deaths of the competitors, Celaena realizes there is evil lurking somewhere in the castle.

She is the only one who can save them all.

This is a book that tethers contradiction after contradiction. An assassin who holds onto her humanity by a thread in the hopes of attaining a free and better life. An assassin who winds up wanting to protect the people who ultimately enslaved her by sending her to her death in the salt mines of Endovier. An assassin who will change the world for the good through her defiance and resistance towards the tyrannical king.

Sarah Maas shows her readers that we all are born with a purpose—a greater destiny. That human beings ultimately try to be good and that the good will always defeat evil because the good knows love. Love and goodness have an indescribable bond and are always stronger together.

Even though this novel is fantasy—a fairytale—it still addresses a world full of good and evil that often reminds us of the good and evil that surrounds us in our own reality. Sometimes reality becomes unbearable. We look for an escape. As readers, we escape into the imagination of another who was able to write it down so that we may disappear for a couple hours, sinking into the black ink printed on a white piece of paper, resulting in a colorful prism that fills a hole in our inadequate reality.

I enjoyed getting swept away from the facets of this world only to find the truth of it in Sarah J. Maas’s remarkable fantasy-world in Throne of Glass.


Further Reading:

Throne of Glass is the first novel in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass Series. Other books in the series are Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and the series’ prequel The Assassin’s Blade. The fifth book, Empire of Storms, will be released September 6th, 2016!! She is also the author of A Court of Thorns and Roses and its sequel A Court of Mist and Fury.


Sarah J. Maas is a nationally and internationally bestselling author. Her books have been translated into twenty-three languages. She was born and raised in New York but currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.


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