Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone

Set amid the perils of illegal border crossings, The Iguana Tree is the suspenseful saga of Lilia and Hector, who separately make their way from Mexico into the United States, seeking work in the Carolinas and a home for their infant daughter.

At my college orientation a few weeks ago, we were given this book to read over the summer for a book report we will have to complete sometime this fall. Naturally, I wasn't too ecstatic. I can't recall a time that I enjoyed a book assigned for me to read. 

This time was totally different. The Iguana Tree was a beautifully-written tale of a hardworking Mexican man named Hector and his struggle with his hard-headed wife to find what's most important to them. 

I can't write too much in this review without giving away the many twists and turns this plot takes. What I will say, however, is that this is one of the only books that has made me laugh out loud while crying all at the same time. I'm not joking, people, this book literally made me bawl. 

The characters were so believably hilarious and endearing. Michel Stone (being from South Carolina herself, a Clemson grad!) really captured the essence of the friendly, honest Southerners. We'll do anything for people who are kind to us. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a heart-wrenching story. Heck, I think this could even become a movie. I'd watch it. 

I rated The Iguana Tree 5/5 stars, just because I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. This book solely relied on them, and a plot as amazing as this one couldn't have been executed without the amazing characters behind it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

If you readers are anything like myself, you've grown up on this series. Reading and rereading the books, joining the fan clubs, going to movie and book premieres at midnight, decked out in Gryffindor robes with wands in hand. The works.

When I decided to reread the series for fun this year, I was little scared that the magic was going to die for me. I was afraid that I was too "grown-up" for a middle-grade adventure book. I was so happy when I got through the first few chapters and realized that I was wrong.

The writing in this book is something that I can't even compare to even the other YA and adult books that I've read. The descriptions and the plot just blow everything else out of the water. I became immersed in a world that I haven't truly visited since my childhood.

The characters were just brilliant, too. You've got Harry, the scrawny kid who proves that good will always triumph over evil, along with his sidekicks, Ron and Hermione, who are just as lovable. Together, they have to reveal the secrets hidden within their school of witchcraft and stop someone from stealing the Sorcerer's Stone for the evil Lord Voldemort (who is also the most evil villain I have ever encountered in a series. Seriously, he gives me the heebie jeebies).

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars, which isn't surprising. Anyone who hasn't read this book, please, please, for the love of all that is good, read it. I promise you'll love it, and the series only gets better from here. I hope to re-read the rest of the series by the end of this year, between all of the other books I have in a big TBR pile!

Monday, July 22, 2013

(Mini) Book Haul #2


But sadly, I can't start it until I finish the book that Clemson is required us to read over the summer. It's called The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone. From what I've heard about it on its Goodreads page, I think I'll really enjoy it. I plan on starting it once I finish The Sorcerer's Stone (and reviewing it, of course!). Its cover looks a little something like this:

So yeah. Cool things to come. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Okay, so, I have quite the predicament on my hands. With my copy of The Elite by Kiera Cass in transit to my house as we speak, I won't have time to finish The Luxe by Anna Godbersen before it gets here. Not to mention that The Luxe is beyond boring! 

So I figured my best option would be just to read something short and sweet while I wait on The Elite. What's shorter and sweeter than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? It's one of my favorite childhood books, and so I've decided to reread the series between new books this summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July TBR

Since I finished The Selection and posted a review of it today, I figured I might as well post my July TBR pile before I decide to change it. It was hard to choose what to read this month, but this is my final decision:

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
I'm really interested in reading this mainly because I haven't read Historical Fiction in such a long time. From what I've heard, this series can be a bit scandalous. So I guess my curiosity got the best of me. 

The Elite by Kiera Cass
I literally just ordered this from The Book Depository, and I can't wait for it to get here. I need to know what happens in this series! If I don't, I might just explode. 

Also, if there is enough time in the month and I enjoy The Luxe, I plan on reading its sequel, Rumors.  

That's basically allI have planned for reading this month, because I have other things going on college-wise. But hopefully it'll be a good month, and maybe I'll get in a few short standalone novels as well!

The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I did it! I finally read The Selection! It only took me forever. I'll admit, at first, I was scared of what I was getting into. The first few chapters were filled with nothing but America Singer (such an unfortunate name) whining about not being able to marry Aspen, the boy she has been secretly dating for two years. I found this a bit ridiculous because if I remember correctly, she's supposed to be sixteen. That would mean she started "dating" Aspen at the age of fourteen. I can vouch for the majority of girls when I say we don't know what love is at the age of fourteen. At all. 

Despite the lovey-dovey crap, I read on, and I'm really glad I did. I was introduced to Maxon, the glorious prince. He's such a gentleman, and I really loved his character. Heck, I'd marry him. 

My only complaint about the plot was that the political disputes weren't given much detail. But maybe Kiera Cass will delve into them more in the sequel, The Elite, which I definitely plan on reading, despite all of the bad things I've heard about it. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars. Mainly for Maxon, but whatever. He's definitely typical swoon-worthy prince. I guess it's safe to say that I'm Team Maxon from today on. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

June Wrap-Up

Okay, so maybe I lied. I didn't finish  The Selection by the time July started. I'm just not thrilled with it so far, and it doesn't help that I've used my graduation money to buy a new toy: a 4th generation iPad. My parents bought me a Bluetooth keyboard for it yesterday, so of course that's what I'm using to publish this blog post. Which is further putting off reading The Selection. Whatever.

The only book I read this month was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I really, really loved it. Everyone reading this blog: go pick up a copy this very second. It will not disappoint. You can find my review of it here.

So that's basically it for June. Not too exciting on the book-reading side. I hope to read more books during July. I have more free time; the only thing remotely important that I have going on is Clemson orientation.

I'll have a TBR pile up soon, once I decide on what I definitely want to read. See you soon!