Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Goodreads review: Beautifully written! Jane Eyre is a wonderful character in whole.

Jane Eyre is one of those classics that I recently read should be in your Top 10 reads that you shouldn’t miss in your lifetime (I read it recently somewhere).  It makes me so much happier to be on track with that.  Being a completely dedicated bookworm these days, its been fun to dive into different types of books.  I used to really dread reading classics when they were assigned in school but so far, it has really opened my eyes.  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was mysterious and had my mind working while Pride and Prejudice (before I did book reviews here) had me completely mesmerized with its writing.  I have determined myself a Jane Austen fan and I have so many more of her novels to read.  So since Jane Austen is an amazing author, I decided to venture into the world of the Bronte’s world.  I had started reading Wuthering Heights about 3 times and never finished so I was really hoping that Jane Eyre would be a whole lot easier, a different Bronte sister, a different style, right? And plus, with the movie Jane Eyre that I reviewed for Valentine’s, it was an extra motivation.

Jane Eyre is a girl who has been orphaned at a young age.  She was then taken into the care of her uncle, her father’s brother.  Her uncle treated her very well but when he passed away, he made his wife Mrs. Reed promise to take care of her.  Mrs. Reed however, did this reluctantly and found her a burden.  She would favor her children over Jane and after some incidents, she sent her at the age of ten to boarding school, outcasting her from her own family.  She ended up staying here and eventually when she was older and accomplished, she taught at the school until she found a job as a governess.  It was then that she set off to other independent endeavors in life to Thornfield Hall to be a governess for a little French girl called Adele.  At Thornfield Hall, she meets the rude and odd Mr. Rochester, the master of the house who is rarely there. Even though, Thornfield had its mysteries and eerie feeling due to unexpected noises and odd events that occur. Slowly, she found herself growing to enjoy Thornfield as her own home, her housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax as a elder companion, Adele as an obedient student and mostly, becoming attracted to the presence of Mr. Rochester.  Eventually, they grew to love each other passionately and on the day of they were to be wed, a dangerous secret is revealed and she has to make a choice for her future.

Jane Eyre is a charming heroine.  One whom learns to be independent and used to being without any relations.  We follow her to learn about how she opens up to accept joy, passion and heartbreak.  How to be courageous and brave as she accepts the choices set before her and pick one that she feels is morally correct to her and to God.  At the same time, Jane Eyre is a beautiful character because of her growth from enduring mishaps and pain throughout her life.

A classic novel is beautiful because of how its shaped and the use of the beautifully contructed language used.  It feels grand and elegant.  This draws me in as I read more and more classics.  At the same time, classic novels like this one are great because of their crafted characters who bound us to them.  Jane Eyre is possibly so far one of the best characters I have read about.  Her life, her descriptions and her words pulled me right into the book and made me never want to put it down till the end.  It made me wanting to know her ending, whether it would be happy or not.

I’m not exactly sure that I’d classify this as a romantic novel despite it seemingly being marketed as one, even the movie Jane Eyre seems to focus on that. Its more the story of a girl who strives to be strong and independent in a society that doesn’t accept those ways easily.  She is strong minded and she knows what she wants.  She has principles and she keeps them even if it means having to suffer a bit with her choices, but following her principles also make her happy.  To me, what makes this book absolutely wonderful, is that Jane Eyre is a very complete character, she is not exceptionally beautiful but plain and most of the time, she knows where she’s going and what she wants, she is independent, strong, imaginative and intelligent.   However, to say its not completely a love story would be false because at least half the book is about her love with Mr. Rochester, the feelings that were developed and how loving someone is a deep, passionate and unforgettable feeling that even when apart would never fade if one was sure about it.

I really don’t know how to end this review right now and its getting really lengthy so I’m just going to say, I recommend this so if you haven’t read it, run along and read it.  This one is fantastic classics.  I’m going to be digging up more of Charlotte Bronte’s novels in hopes that it’ll be as awesome as this one.

What do you think of Jane Eyre? Did you have to read it in school? Have you read other novels by Charlotte Bronte? Which would you recommend?

Book Review: Sunshine in Darkness by Beth Winokur

A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger and Goodreads friend and author Beth sent me an invite over in Goodreads to pick up her free ebook from Amazon, Sunshine in Darkness.  I thought why not since I always love to explore new novels and also check out the ebook reading experience.

sunshine in darknessGoodreads review:  This is probably one of the first demon possession book that I have read. I didn’t really know what to expect at first but that doesn’t matter because it has a way of helping attach us to Sunshine/Rose right of the beginning from where she tries to reclaim her body. Her struggles and the feeling of desperation to reclaim her life just makes us root for her. And when she gets back her body, her life turns around and as she tries to cope with everything around her, I couldn’t help but to read on and on. Its gripping and the attachment to her made me want to know more and more what happens around the corner as things start spiraling out of control. I loved it! It was fun and suspenseful! 🙂

Lets start with a little plot.  We start off with the character of Sunshine who is just a soul floating about because ever since she was young, her body had been possessed by an evil demon.  This demon has ruined her life and has made her mom’s life miserable as well.  However, she still keeps finding the opportunity to reclaim her body and take her life into her own hands.  One day, that opportunity is offered to her and she takes it.  Slowly, she needs to grasp the aspects of basic living that she hasn’t had in the past seventeen years and at the same time, learn to the control her emotions.  This leads her to hurt someone and eventually her mom put her into a mental institution to help straighten her out.  As Sunshine’s life crumbles, she realizes that these evil demons are everywhere.  As things get from bad to worse, she has to find a way to escape from their grasps but also, pretend that she is normal.

I don’t think there’s any spoilers in there.  My Goodreads review really covers it all.  This book was great because it was a gripping story.  I think of the best parts of the book is that right from the start, it gets the readers to fully attach themselves to our main character Sunshine.  We understand how she feels as a floating soul just observing a demon ruin her actual life.  It makes us feel her sad she is that she can’t control any part of it but she tries to get it all back.  There’s a lot of emotions and sometimes, the way the author puts it makes us feel and experience everything and makes us want to read on. It makes the readers want to hope for the eventual hopeful days even when things start crumbling down around Sunshine.

I love easy reads.  This one is extremely easy.  It was my first experience reading a complete ebook and I can tell you that the story and the writing was so good that I didn’t bother me one bit where I was reading it.

If you get a chance and you’re into this sort of thing, go for it.  Its a simple but complex story at the same time, but does a really good job and holding onto your emotions and taking you for a gripping ride through demon possession and learning to live life. I’ll definitely recommend it.  There isn’t much scary moments but more suspenseful and intense ones.  A thrill to read! One of the best young adult novels I’ve read so far 🙂

Book Review: Mailman by J. Robert Lennon

Haven’t had one of these in a while, eh? So we’re back with the book review of Mailman by J. Robert Lennon.  This one is a recommendation from Eric at IPC.  You should definitely check out his site.  I put the link there. A big thanks to Eric for recommending this to me!

mailmanGoodreads review:

Mailman is a weird and bizarre concept of following the life is a USPS mailman who is located in Nestor, NY. He is nervous and worries about everything around him. He is divorce and there is a part of him that seems indecisive and maybe even a bit bitter about his life. We follow as he looks at his downfalls in life and all the failures that he goes through. He seems to go into denial about situations easily and he has slight anger issues. As we move back and forth from his past to his present, it seems like his life is simply going out of control.   This is a book full of details and descriptions of feelings, emotions, the surroundings, the people around Mailman. Sometimes, when it first started, it felt lengthy in parts and it felt like there was no point to any of it. As I read on, you feel more attached to the character of Mailman and even though he seems pathetic in many cases, or just that something is wrong with him, as he moves forward, I couldn’t stop but to feel a bit sad for his character. 

Its a heavy book and it did make me think a lot afterwards about all that I’ve read. However, it is a very unique idea, even though it is odd in many situations, it accomplishes in captivating the readers to want to know what happens to Mailman as his story progresses.

I always take it as a good sign when the book (or the movie or whatever in question) is sold out from your local bookstore.  I don’t live in a small city, so it shouldn’t technically happen.  But it did.  My bookstore didn’t have it, nor did the neighboring ones.  So I finally went to Amazon and they  had ONE copy left.  You know, after all that work, I’d expect this book to be extremely awesome..I mean, pure awesomeness. Now the question is, was it?

The story of Mailman is briefly explained up in my Goodreads review. Mailman is about a mailman (which is frequently referred to as in the novel) located in the Nestor, NY area.  He is divorced, has a bit of anger issues (or maybe emotional imbalance?) and has a very weird habit of illegally reading other people’s mail. He often (over)analyzes the situation and the people around him. He’s indecisive and nervous.  As we follow the present day him, he’s going through a phase of looking at his past and all the failures he’s gone through.  When his supervisor and a citizen starts suspecting him of reading mail and he starts developing a weird lump under his arm, his life slowly spirals out of control.

The character of Mailman, his real name Albert Lippincott, although most of the book, he is referred to as Mailman instead.  We never really know why until the very end.  The importance of the relationship of mail and mailman is relevant to our life.  The character is odd and awkward, and sometimes even in the beginning, I found him annoying and almost put down the book.  Once you tough out those parts, you realize that even this character has the elements that make you feel that you want to know what happens because he seems to always do the unexpected.  As the story starts building up in intensity, it made me feel exponentially more attached to the character.

To focus mostly on the life of one character and just rarely bringing in other people in his life for recollections, I have to give a lot of respect to the author because he did do a pretty amazing job.  Its like doing a movie where its focused just on one character, like The Phonebooth (or something along those lines).  Its a challenging task and I personally think the author succeeded.  I’m sure that this merits another read just to get an even clearer message and because of all the detail, sometimes, I have the habit of skimming through it.  It may be an odd story but something about it also makes it very unforgettable.

Another HUGE thanks to Eric for recommending this! And right now, I am recommending it to all of you. Its a different experience but also a very good one!

If you have any book recommendations, feel free to mention it to me by email or even just in the comments. I’m always looking for new books to read 🙂

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap…Paperbacks vs E-books

This week’s Mind the GapHow do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand?

To check out this weekly writing challenge, please follow the link HERE and join or check out other entries!

My answer: Paperback — nothing beats opening up a brand new book or rummaging through a bookstore.

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This covers its all: Young adult, fantasy, fiction, mystery, mangas…

Call me old-fashioned but I have to go with paperback. I’ve considered buying an ebook reader before I got my tablet.  At least it would beat having a crazy growing collection of books, that have not infested my bookcase to the point where I don’t know where to put any other ones.  I even tried to test run that by reading the sixth and seventh Harry Potter novels on the computer.  I did finish it but it took eternities.  My eyes would ache after scrolling through 10 pages max.  It takes away from the excitement of the text in front of me.  That’s a feeling that I don’t particularly enjoy.  Of course, you could argue that ereaders don’t have a glare and maintain the nice gentleness on the eyes because of that feature.  That would make it more bearable than a computer (or even a tablet).

What doesn’t cut it for me is the experience of reading.  That idea of going to the bookstore and browsing through a physical book in your hand. The feeling of the spine and the texture of the pages in your hands.  When you bring it home, it can sit on the desk as a constant reminder to pick it up and read it to enter into another world that sucks us away from reality.  As the book hits the peak and excitement grows, you can flip the pages. When you reach the end, you can close the book quietly (or loudly if you’d like) and hold it in your hands and reflect on everything you’ve read, the adventures, fun or not fun.

When you return it to the book shelf, you can look over days, months or years later and think about re-reading it again.  It’ll bring back the good and bad memories of what you did read.  And then if it was good, you can send it over to a faraway good friend, or lend it to a relative.

The satisfaction of reading a physical book is almost irreplaceable.

How about you-paperback or ereader?

Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

adventures sherlock holmesMy Goodreads review: Following Sherlock Holmes through a series of his investigations with Watson is really engaging. Most of them always start with some form of peculiar  detail and then turns around to change around just from the little details that he observes.  That is the charm of Sherlock Holmes and it keeps us wondering what his next step is and how each case will end.  Its a very enjoyable read. 

This is a book with 12 investigations of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  Dr. Watson, his trusted companion, is the narrator of each of these stories.  He documents each one through his eyes and his experience.  When Holmes exits the picture or when certain characters involved in the case leave his field of vision, we jump forward to when he witnesses some more.  This allows us a lot of mystery as we read.  We know that its the most accurate version from Watson`s mouth and this is also what pulls us in.  He puts in his initial assessment and then his discussion with Holmes who clarifies his route of action most of the time after the fact.

I never thought about this but the image of Sherlock Holmes created by Arthur Conan Doyle is compelling because of this missing detail and because its the opinion formed by Watson himself.  The missing parts of where Holmes investigates on his own is where we wonder when he comes back what crazy approach he is going to use next to track down or capture the unknown culprit red handed.  It leaves the readers wondering and often times I found myself trying to figure out what the next move was or who the next culprit was.  There was maybe 3-4 times that I figured out who was the culprit but I usually would get the twist and details of the actual story wrong.

This is also what makes Sherlock Holmes a very attractive character.  He inspects and sees the little details that we normally would not associate with how he gathers his information.  It takes a lot of general knowledge (I guess, or extensive) to be able to pull those links together from the people he observes or the evidence that he finds and inspects.

Overall, I really did find this a very fun novel to read.  I loved the character of Sherlock Holmes and will probably seek out his other novels.  I always like a good mystery and makes me guess throughout reading it.  It allows me to be involved throughout the story and that makes it very recommendable and a great Classic to me!

Agatha Christie vs. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This question has been been a huge debate for me during the last year.  Sure sounds like I have nothing better to do, but when you have been reading as long as I have, I’m guessing Classics turn into something of a debate (once in a while).

Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

Last year through some coincidence, I came by the idea of reading several Agatha Christie’s novels featuring the investigations of Hercule Poirot.  Agatha Christie is considered the Queen of Mystery.  Have you read any of her books? I read And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.  I still have a lot of reading to do because she doesn’t only create the character of Hercule Poirot but also the character of  Miss Marple which I have yet to explore.  Her stories are pretty amazing and a lot of times, it involves some sort of sudden unexpected twists in the end.  Hercule Poirot is a quiet Belgian man who has a quick mind and investigates a lot into details.  He has this ambiguous, vague way of showing his cases.  Its been a year since my last time I picked up one of her books.  And Then There Were None is the first book I read from Agatha Christie and I believe its also one of her most popular.  This one is an independent story and frankly, it may start a bit slow but it sets up this beautiful scenario so we know our characters and the flow of events are pretty awesome because it keeps you guessing all the way.  I’ll probably go back and write a better review eventually.  So Agatha Christie is definitely the Queen of Mystery to me and I’ve only read just a bit of her long list of novels.

On the other hand, the one who is more popular is our dear Sherlock Holmes.  Who created this character? The pioneer of mysteries himself, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  My first confession here is that I actually never finished  Hound of Baskerville. I’m currently reading The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes.  I will have a review on it when I’m done but so far, I’m about half way through the book.  I’ve read maybe about 5-6 short stories and I’m getting a jest of what his style is.  Maybe its because I’m older now so I appreciate his writing a lot more than when I first picked up Hound of Baskerville.  He has a pretty cool writing style.  Sherlock Holmes is all about the details in the case and that’s how he makes his deductions.  Its also the idea of the chemistry he has with Watson that makes the story interesting.  The stories are normally narrated by Watson’s point of view.

Point of this is that I’ve only recently dived into the world of both of these phenomenal mystery authors and I wonder what others think about them.  I subconsciously started to compare the two authors and wonder which one is more liked amongst other readers. As for me, I’m still undecided…and I’m guessing I should base my final preference after I’ve read other books.

So, Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes? Hercules Poirot or Sherlock Holmes?

Have you read novels from these authors?

If you have, what do you think about them? Do you prefer one over the other?

If you haven’t (and you are into reading fiction), what are you waiting for? Go and read them 🙂

Oh right, and if you have read them, suggest and recommend away! I love to expand my reading list.

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Splash of Colour (and more…)

I missed THREE challenges already.  I’m shaking my head at myself now.  This is the fourth week and I will be doing it.

I really want to do last week’s writing challenge, I just never got around to finishing it up.  I have to start budgeting in time to do these.  They require a bit more thinking than the normal post I do usually.  So this week, it will be a double feature with last week’s And Now For Something Completely Different and this week’s A Splash of Colour.

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: A SPLASH OF COLOUR

How do you choose one colour to splash? My brain is processing thoughts in different colours (especially after the two photo challenges the last two weeks).  So let me give you a few snippets of my palette of colours!

PURPLE

The shades of purple are the significance of my youth.  It reminds me of the times when my mom did my shopping when I was a little girl.  It was the days when I dressed in puffy little princess dresses and was young, innocent and naive.  The days when life hadn’t taken away so much of my energy and passion for living (something this blog and reading everyone else’s blog has helped bring back).  I broke out of that phase pretty much in purple and my palette after that was dark shades of blue and black all the time.

I don’t know what happened in between but life has brought me back to the love for purple.  Although it is a darker shade of purple, my room (as of 2007) is not a nice shade of lavender purple.  My clothes and accessories are preferred when in the shade of light purple, violet, dark purple.  This happened before I even acknowledged that maybe the things you loved when you were a child never really leave you.  Or is it simple a wave of nostalgia?

YELLOW ORANGE & RED

Man, that font was painful for me in test run.  So I just decided to spare you all painful eyes.  Yellow was for walking into my front yard before work and noticing that despite frost a few days, the yellow chrysanthemums are still alive and brightening up my almost hibernating garden.

In regards to the garden, other than the chrysanthemums, orange and red are around as the leaves are changing colors as fall comes in.  I just noticed that I had fall colours just in my front yard and around my neighborhood, the maple trees were looking really pretty that I wanted to double back on my way to the bus stop to get my camera and snap a shot (but I didn’t have time).  Fall colors are in my mind right now! Red for all the leaves, Orange for the leaves and pumpkins, and yellow for the beautiful strong chrysanthemum’s.

GREEN

GREEN EGGS AND HAM! Who has read that book and enjoyed it immensely? My boyfriend bought me Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss two years ago for Christmas.  Silly as it may be. Green is grass and moss and all these natural beauties, but thinking about Green Eggs and Ham makes me happy.  Its about trying new things pretty much and to not pass judgement until you’d tried it on your own.  Such a simple story with such a meaningful moral behind it.  Maybe its also to just encourage us to be adventurous. Actually, there is brunch chain around here called Ben and Florentine’s (not sure where it originated) but it even has Green Eggs and Ham on its menu.  I’ve never tried it, but I’m definitely curious.

“You do not like them.  So you say.  Try them! Try them! And you may.  Try them and you may, I say”- Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

This was incomplete last week so I didn’t end up posting it up but I made changes this time around.  The point was that I had wanted to add a thing or two to this blog.  I have been thinking about it for a while and wondering how to make a few changes so that I can have more content for all of you.  Another passion I don’t share with everyone is my love for reading.  I have recently linked my Goodreads account here and it was my first step in starting to do something different–Book Reviews.

What made last week so hard to finish was the fact that I had coincidentally finished The Phantom of the Opera.  That book is hard to review because there was a lot of aspects to reviewing classics.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to form it.  I will work on that though.  For this time though, I’d like to bring your attention to a review of the book mentioned above: Your Favorite Dr. Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the one and only Dr. Seuss.

Book Review: Your Favorite Dr. Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the one and only Dr. Seuss

This book is a hardcover compilation of 12 favorites of Dr. Seuss.  I like the majority of Dr. Seuss but these ones are quite good. There is Green Eggs and Ham (mentioned above), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears a Who and my all-time favorite, The Lorax just for starters.  It also had Mulberry Street, If I Ran a Zoo, McElligot’s Pool,  The Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, Happy Birthday to you!, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and The Sneetches. If none of these works as bedtime stories, here’s another one included: Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.

If this book is for children, it has fantastic collection for bedtime stories.  I can tell you nostalgia affects me here because I may not have kids but I read the stories out loud to myself before bed sometimes.  Its quite soothing and enjoyable.  The world of adventure and make believe words and creativity is what envelopes you.  That is the magic of Dr. Seuss!

The value of Dr. Seuss to me is equivalent to the Hayao Miyazaki of children’s book.  Hayao Miyazaki’s movies always have a message behind what he write and its his inspiration and creativity.  It has positive traits to grab from any situation. Dr. Seuss does the same thing in his children’s books.  He gives us positive stories.

Other than the stories that are in this, it also has little write ups from people who knew Dr. Seuss and talked about the particular views and interpretations of each of the stories after each one.  Its an interesting read.

So how was that? Just an idea of a book review until I figure out how to make it better.  It should come in effect by next year! Challenging and fun to do something different!

So what do you think about my additional segment in my blog? The occasional book review sounds like a decent idea? I’m actually thinking of maybe tying it in with the other parts.  I still have a bit of time before the new year arrives.

Another thing! BIG THANK YOU to you all for reading this whole writing challenge.  I will strive really hard to do this on time from now on.  I’ll leave you with a few quotes a la Dr. Seuss! Enjoy!

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”-The Lorax

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”-Happy Birthday to You!

So be sure where you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”-Oh, The Places You’ll Go!