Friday, May 23, 2014

Dark Eden

This is a review for Dark Eden by Chris Beckett.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

Dark Eden is the story of a small group of humans living on an alien world with no sun.  There was an accident and two humans were left behind on Eden while their three companions went back to earth for help.  The two left behind started a family and told their children to wait by the circle where their space ship had landed.  Now it is 160ish years later, the family has grown 532 members and food is getting scarce for them.  The oldest members of Family want to continue staying by the circle of stones and wait.  John Redlantern is just a teenager but he knows that if food is scarce now, it will only get harder to find the bigger Family gets.  John can't stand sitting still and waiting, he wants to make things happen.  John dares to do what no one else before him ever has.  His actions have consequences far bigger than he ever could have imagined.

The first third of this book moved really slowly.  It set up the basis for the story, showcasing how different life on Eden is from the life that the reader knows.  It showed how dull and boring it is just to live day to day waiting for something that may never happen and struggling to find food for 532 people every single day.  Once the set up was over and things started to happen this book was really good.  Chris Beckett did an excellent job portraying human nature.  His characters aren't perfect, they have good and bad traits.  The impatience of youth is shown really well but not demonized.  Beckett did a good job showing that just because something is different doesn't mean it is bad, just because someone has a different way of thinking doesn't mean they are wrong.  The world that Beckett created here is fascinating, the creatures that live on this dark planet with no sun, the amazing trees that have flowers that bloom with light.  The animals are similar to ours and yet completely alien.

This book takes a long hard look at what would happen if two humans were left alone on an alien world with little technology and had to rebuild from the ground up.  What things get left behind and forgotten and what gets carried on?  Do you sit and wait for rescue or do you do the best you can with what you have?

I would definitely recommend this book.  It is less Star Trek and more primitive humans but very good.  It is worth a read.  Once I got past the set up for the story I had a hard time putting it down!  You can read an excerpt of this book right here on the retailer's website.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Howl's Moving Castle

This is a review of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I give this book 5 stars, I loved it! 

In the land of Ingary it is well known that it is a misfortune to be the eldest child in a family of three. Sophie is the eldest of three so it is no surprise to her when she is cursed by a witch. To break her curse she seeks out the Wizard Howl who lives in a moving castle in the wastes. Howl turns out to be much more difficult than she imagined possible. Howl and Sophie have to work together to break the curses the Witch of the Waste put on each of them. They struggle through all sorts of adventures as they try to free themselves from their curses.  Not everything is quite as it seems with both Howl and Sophie.  They each have to set aside their preconceived ideas about the other person and the actions of those around them!

I initially read this book after seeing the film adaptation. I loved the film and wanted to read the source material. The film and book are quite different but they are both beautiful stories. The characters are compelling and you can't help but feel sorry for poor Sophie as she struggles with the effects of her curse. There is more to these characters than meets the eye.

If you enjoy stories about magic, witches, and wizards then you should read this one! Diana Wynne Jones weaves a beautiful tale of magic and just a little bit of mayhem in her amazing new world. I want to know more about the world of Ingary and it's people and inventions!

The Search for Wondla

This is a review of The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I give this book 5 stars, I loved it!

The Search for WondLa is the story of Eva Nine and her robotic mother Muthr. They live quietly in a hidden underground Sanctuary.  Eva Nine longs to leave the small sanctuary and explore the surface of the earth.  Muthr says the surface is not safe and Eva Nine is not prepared for life up there yet.  One night their quiet world is invaded, set on fire and torn apart. Eva Nine is suddenly thrust into a harsh world teeming with dangers and everything is different than her survival simulations led her to believe.  She sets off to face this harsh world with the help of her Muthr and all of the companions she picks up along the way. She faces many strange animals and wanders a desert searching for other humans. She encounters many kinds of unusual creatures and not all of them are friendly! How to survive when nothing in your life has prepared you for the things around you. How to survive and even thrive in a hostile wasteland? Eva Nine has a fairly good strategy!

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting books for my whole family. My son is a voracious reader and keeping him supplied with good books is a never ending task. I usually read the books I buy for him before he gets to read them, most books pass my inspections, rarely with such flying colors. The Search for Wondla blew me away! It is absolutely fantastic!  This book deals with some heavy things in a no nonsense way. Death, imprisonment, human rights and depression are all touched on and discussed in a mature and responsible manner. DiTerlizzi doesn't gloss over the hard subjects but he deals with them in a sensible way that will help kids struggling with these things.

If you enjoy fantasy, survival or futuristic stories this is definitely a book that you should check out, no matter how old you are! 

Gregor the Overlander

This is a review for Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I give this book 5 stars, I loved it!

Gregor the Overlander is a really cute story with some really good messages for both kids and adults. The plot is pretty easy to follow for kids but the story is intriguing enough to keep adults entertained. My husband and I both read the whole series in less than a week each! It is similar to Alice in Wonderland in some ways.

 Twelve year old Gregor and his two year old sister fall down a hole in their laundry room and end up in a new world.  Gregor is a very responsible child.  He is the oldest child in his family.  His father went missing before the series starts and Gregor stepped up to help his mother take care of his family.  When Gregor finds himself in a whole new world away from his mom, all he wants to do is get himself and his baby sister safely back home so his mother doesn't worry.  When Gregor finds out that he is important to the survival of Underland he faces a new kind of responsibility and if he chooses not to help them their world will end. The animals in Underland are huge and intelligent, they have their own tribes and rulers.  The lives of the people in Underland are much different from what he is used to.  There is an old prophecy that the humans in Underland think involves Gregor. Gregor has to decide if he will help these people or not, but first he has to decide if he even trusts them! 

This series is by Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games.  This series is geared for a slightly younger audience than The Hunger Games but it holds up well for older readers as well.  If you enjoyed the Hunger Games you should definitely give this book series a read.  If you or your child likes a good adventure story then you should read this book!

Monday, May 12, 2014


This is a review for Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ I give this book 4 stars out of 5.  I liked it a lot.

Mind the Gap
Neverwhere is the story of an average man who discovers that the world is not a simple as it seems.  Richard Mayhew makes his fiance very angry when he stops to help an injured girl on the way to an important dinner with her boss.  He knows the dinner is important but he can't just leave a young girl bleeding on the sidewalk.  This act of kindness turns his world upside down. 

Everyone knows that you have to mind the gap on the London Underground, everyone hears the warnings over the loudspeakers but Richard is about to learn the real meaning behind the warnings.  He quickly learns there is more to London than meets the eye and those who are unlucky fall through the cracks.  The more he tries to help the girl, the deeper he gets dragged into the "underground" and the harder it is for him to go back to his normal life.  Richard has fallen through the cracks and he has to learn to cope with a whole new set of rules.  He has to survive in order to get his life back, but the new world is much more dangerous than the one he is used to.

Gaiman's story is well written, you can't help but sympathize with the nice guy who got dragged in over his head trying to help someone.  The underground world works in a whole new way and keeps the reader guessing right along with Richard.  Just when you think you know how the story goes, Gaiman throws you a curveball and you have no idea if Richard will find his way through the underworld and back to his ordinary life or if he will stay where he landed when he fell through the cracks.  Gaiman has a way of telling a story that just grabs you by the hand and drags you along until the end and then leaves you wondering how it ended so fast.

If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman you definitely need to read this one.  If you enjoy stories about the secret worlds hidden within the ordinary one, you should read this one.  If you have ever wondered why you need to "Mind the gap," you will not be disappointed with the answer.

House of Many Ways

This is a review for House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I give this book 5 stars, I loved it!

House of Many Ways follows the story of Charmaine Baker as she suddenly finds herself house sitting for her magician uncle while he is away.  All Charmaine wants to do is quietly read a book and help the King with his private library but nothing goes quite according to her plan.  Her uncle's house is a huge mess, he forgot to mention that he had an apprentice coming and Charmaine is completely unaccustomed to dealing with magic or doing housework.  When the King agrees to have her help with his library she thinks she will get a break from all of the weird things in her uncle's house but she soon finds that not all is as it seems at the palace either.  The King is scouring his library for clues to find a large pile of gold missing from the treasury for over 200 years and the Princess asked a witch to help them search.

Charmaine is pulled into the mystery when she saves a toddler from falling off the roof of the palace and finds herself talking to a fully fledged wizard in disguise.  A spell is cast to help her find any clues in the library that they need to save the kingdom. With the spell cast all of the seemingly unconnected things happening around Charmaine begin to connect.  It is a race against time, she has to follow the trail of clues and solve all of the mysteries before it is too late.

Diana Wynne Jones weaves an interesting tale.  I was half finished with the book before I even noticed!  She reveals just enough to keep you interested and keeps leading you along until the very end.  The seemingly random events of the book all tie together in a surprising way.  You can't help but love the characters from poor Charmaine who just wants to read peacefully, to the directionally challenged apprentice wizard, to the doddering old King and the wizard disguised as a precocious child who loves rocking horses.  Nothing is quite as it seems in this story and if you aren't paying attention you'll get lost in the House of Many Ways!

(This book is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle and Castle In The Air but it can stand alone.  Some of the characters from it's prequels make appearances but it is not necessary to have read the prequels to follow this story.)

Welcome to my Blog

Hello readers,

I am Lorelei, on the internet I am known as Laurahonest.  I am a 31 year old stay at home mom.  I am a huge bookworm.  I have shelves and shelves of books.  I am always looking for new books to read.  I read every spare moment I can.  I have an elementary school aged son who is also a bookworm.

When I was a kid my favorite gifts were books.  My Christmas list was usually all or almost all books.  I grew up in a very rural area and we didn't have tv until I was 12, by then my bookworm habits were firmly established.  My parents would send me outside to play and find me camped out in the shade somewhere reading. 

By the time I was 4 years old I would correct my parents when they read me bedtime stories if they skipped a word or read something out of order.  I could read to myself by the time I started kindergarten.  I started reading chapter books to myself in first grade.  I read The Hobbit by myself the summer before I started third grade.  I was 9 when I received the Little House on the Prairie box set and read it for the first time.  I have since read the entire series more times than I can count.  When I was 12 my dad took me into our family library and told me I could read any book on his western shelves.  I devoured Louis L'amour and Zane Grey.  In my sophmore year of high school my mother gave me a list of 150 classic books to read before I graduated.  In two years I read nearly all of the books on the list.  The few that I didn't read where ones that I couldn't find.

Now I am an adult and I haven't slowed down my reading at all.  My husband dreads me entering bookstores because we will always leave with at least one new book if not an entire stack of new books.  The bookshelves in my house are double and triple stacked.  There is always a stack of books on my desk waiting to be read.  My local librarians and the clerks at all of the bookstores within 25 miles of my house know me by name.

This blog is something new I am trying out.  When friends and family ask me for book recommendations I forget every book I have ever read.  I would like to be able to list off more books than the current one I am reading.  I hope to keep this blog filled with reviews of books I read.  Hopefully the reviews will be mostly positive but I promise to be honest in my reviews.