Tag Archives: Books

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Book Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Hello!  Welcome to another book review!  The Calling by Rachelle Dekker is the second book in the Seer Series, the first of which, The Choosing, I reviewed a few weeks ago (find that review here).  You probably haven’t read the first book yet since my review about it was only posted a few weeks ago, so I’ll make sure not to totally give away how it ends.  Enjoy!

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker:

This book follows the story of Remko Brant, a character from the first book and main character of The Calling.  Remko has fled the city to escape the corrupted government, known as the Authority, and has chosen to follow Aaron.  Aaron is a man who contradicts the Authority by telling people to let go of their fear and live in peace, knowing that they are loved.  The group of people who have chosen to follow him and his ideas are called The Seers, and Remko is the unofficial leader of the group.  He leads the other Seers on missions into the city, where they try to rescue prisoners that the Authority have locked up and recruit more people to join the Seers.  But, as these galavants into the city become increasingly risky, Remko questions whether they are any good, or if The Seers should just stop fighting.  Is Aaron telling the truth?  If so, are his words worth all the Seers who have been caught or killed?  Who can be trusted?

My thoughts:

As I mentioned in my review of The Choosing, these books are dystopian novels.  The Calling is a typical sequel to any dystopian series; in the first book the characters realize the problem and rebel against it, and the second book usually consists of the continued rebellion, fighting, some betrayal, and almost victory.  This pretty much sums up what happens in The Choosing and The Calling.  The plot line is basically the same as any other book of this genre, but that Biblical twist I mentioned in my first review is present in book two as well.  Characters struggle internally with what they believe to be true and have a hard time “letting go of their fear” as Aaron instructs them to do.  This Biblical allusion aligns with what the Bible says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Though this book followed closely to a classic dystopian story, it was nice to have a new element to keep it fresh.

Like the first book, The Calling is written in a few different perspectives- mostly from the perspective of Remko, but also from the perspectives of Carrington Hale (the main character in The Choosing) and Damien Gold, the new Authority president.  There was some mystery in this book that kept me hooked on the story, as well as some enjoyable action scenes.

I would give this book 3 and a half out of five stars.  Out of the two books in this series, I definitely liked the first book better.  In The Choosing, there was a lot more variation to the events of the story, whereas with The Calling it seemed like the characters kept doing the same thing over and over again.  There was plenty of action, but it was just repeated a lot.  As for things to be aware of while reading this book, the only comment I would make is that there is some violence, the extent of which being description of dead bodies and fights involving gunshot wounds.

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Book Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

Hello everybody!  I hope you are having a wonderful summer, and Happy Fourth of July to all of you.  One thing that I like to do during summer when I don’t have any school or homework is read a lot of books.  I recently found a new series of books at the library that I had never heard of before.  Book one, The Choosing, and book two, The Calling, by Rachelle Dekker.  I decided to give them a try and tell you guys what I thought about them.  After reading through my past book review, I realized that I outlined the entire story without leaving anything out for you guys to read for yourselves.  So, my reviews are going to be a little different now, more reviewing and less summarizing (also, I started a summary of this book and it got to be three notebook pages long and I hadn’t finished it yet…….).  So, without further ado, let’s get on into it!

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker:

This book is about a girl named Carrington Hale who lives in a world about 250 years from now, where the way of life is completely different from today.  The government consists of The Authority, a group of men who pretty much dictate everything.  They institute The Choosing ceremony, where every girl who is 16 goes to be chosen by a man for his wife.  If a girl does not get chosen, she becomes a Lint, someone who spends the rest of her life working, and is considered worthless.  This is what happens to Carrington.  She is devastated, and basically disowned by her family and the community.  She goes to work as a Lint, but soon discovers a man named Aaron who tells her that life could be different, she is not worthless, and her Father loves her.  Carrington wonders, could this be true?  Should she follow this radical man and go against the only values she has ever known?  When she realizes the corruption of the Authority and their twisted ways, can she find the light amidst all the darkness?

My thoughts:

This is a dystopian novel, but it has a surprising Biblical twist.  The character of Aaron that I mentioned above is a Jesus figure, a man who comes along with radical beliefs and is happy to share them with anyone who wants a new way of life.  The Authority hates Aaron, and those who follow him are persecuted, almost always killed.  Characters struggle to know if they should follow Aaron and risk their lives, or continue living under The Authority’s rule where everything seems to be safe.  I really liked the addition of this Biblical twist because it made the book less of the typical and generic dystopian novel and more of an interesting read.

The Choosing is written from multiple perspectives, the majority of the book being from Carrington’s perspective, but also from the perspective of the antagonist (who will remain unnamed until you read the book, ha ha) and Remko, an Authority security guard.  I liked reading each character’s perspective and getting to know more than one character more deeply by reading about their emotions and how they personally deal with circumstances.

Overall I think I would give this book four out of five stars.  This was one of those books where it took me a little while to get into it, but when I did, I enjoyed it.  There is nothing whatsoever that I would call inappropriate in this book.  Just as a heads up, there is a little bit of violence (description of dead bodies, some description of murder, and mild description of a girl being tortured), but I think anyone in middle school or above should have no trouble reading it at all.  For those who have read The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is lighter violence than either of those.

Tell me what you think in the comments!  Are you going to read this book?  In a few days I will be posting a review on the sequel to The Choosing, The Calling, so stay tuned for that!

 

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Wonder: Book Review

Hi everyone!  For this week I wanted to write a book review on a book that I’ve recently read called Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  This book is geared towards kids ages 10-12, but I think it can be impactful for any age!  (NOTE: There will be spoilers in this review so read with caution.)

Summary:                                                                                                                                                                             The main character in this book is a boy named August Pullman.  August has a major facial deformity and his parents, in order to protect him from teasing or bullying, homeschooled him for his elementary school years.  When he reaches 5th grade his parents decide that he needs a more advanced education therefore they send him to a traditional school.  August is very nervous at first, but soon finds that though some kids do stare at him, a lot of the kids are super nice and want to be his friend.  He makes friends with a girl named Summer (yes, they make a lot of jokes about how their names are August and Summer) and a boy named Jack.  However, Jack finds it hard to keep up the “cool” reputation while still being friends with August, so he says some pretty mean things about August to some other “popular” kids, not knowing that August was nearby and could hear.  August goes home in tears and doesn’t plan on ever going back to school until his sister (Via) persuades him to go back.

When Jack finds out that August heard his mean comments, he sincerely sees the error of his ways and ask August if they can be friends again.  Meanwhile, Julian, the most popular kid in school, is appalled that Jack (his former friend) would choose August over being “cool”, so he gets pretty much the whole school to give August, Jack, and Summer the silent treatment.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The kids send mean notes and do anything to show the three that they are social outcasts.  One night when the fifth grade class is on a nature field trip, Jack, August, and a few other boys in their class find themselves alone in the woods.  They run into some extremely rude 7th graders who not only say some of the meanest things you can think of about August’s face but they also get into a physical fight with the 5th grade boys.  August is beyond hurt and on top of that humiliated at being seen crying in front of his classmates.  But when those 7th graders said those mean things about August, his classmates (the ones who weren’t talking to him) stood up for him and didn’t like those big kids pushing around their fellow classmate.  Their eyes were opened to what it’s like to be bullied, and they (like Jack) changed their ways.

Why I liked it:                                                                                                                                                 This book shows you that people who look different or seem different to you are just people who can be fun and nice if you get to know them.  Also being “popular”, if you think about it, really doesn’t matter.  What matters is being a good friend and making others feel loved and included.

In Wonder you get a peek into what it’s like to be teased and bullied.  You may not have someone at your school with a facial deformity like August, but anything you say can impact someone’s feelings just the same.  School is coming up (I know, I can’t believe it!).  Think about what you say about someone else before you speak.  Start the school year off well!

Thanks for reading this review!  I hope you enjoyed it, and make sure to look for future posts.  (If you subscribe to my blog then you won’t have to look for a new post- you will get an email anytime I post something new!)

 

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The Bookshelf Tag

If you have read about me on the About page (if not, go do it) you know that I love reading.  Reading is a great thing to do during summer when you need something to do or you’re bored.  Today I am going to do something a little different than usual, but I’m really excited about it.  I am going to do the bookshelf tag, which I read about on Me, You, and God: A Blog for Christian Teens.  I am also hoping to give you some inspiration for new books to read and give you a little more info about me.

Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from:                                                                                      My bookshelf is a tall, light brown bookcase with 16 small cubes/cubbies to keep things in.  I got it from Ikea.  What I love about it is that it is big enough to fit a lot of things even though its main purpose is to store books.

Do you have any special or different ways of organizing your books?                                                      Not at the moment….just wherever I can fit them.

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?                                                                   My Merriam Webster dictionary, 1623 pages.

What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?                                                                                               A children’s version of The Wizard of Oz retold by Rosie Dickins.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?                                                                                           Uh, yes, I just can’t remember which ones.

What’s the smallest (by height and width) book on your shelf?                                                                   An information book called Mammals that my brother got me for Christmas a long time ago.

What’s the biggest (by height and width) book on your shelf?                                                                Another one of my children’s books; A DK reader called A Children’s Book of Art by Lucy Micklethwait.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?                                                                                                    Yes; A book called A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. (Looking for a weird but good and funny novel?  Read this.)

Most expensive book?                                                                                                                                          Uhhhhh…….no clue.

The last book you read on your shelf?                                                                                                                            Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker.  I loved this book so much.  I highly recommend it.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first one you read?                                                        Back to my favorite kids books from when I was little that I kept; Probably Your Very Own Name, a book for really young kids where the book is personalized to your name.

Do you have a more than one copy of a book?                                                                                              No way!  If I get a repeat book as a gift or something along those lines I usually give one of my copies to someone else like a sibling.

Do you have the complete series of any book series?                                                                              Yes, Percy JacksonAnne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, etc.  My brother has all the other good stuff like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Chronicles of Narnia so I like reading or listening to some of those also.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?                                                                                                   Chasing Jupiter. (Again.  This book comes up again at least once more in this list!)

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?                                                                                                 The Little House on the Prairie series.

What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?                                                                       Probably Graceful by Wendy Mass.

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old).                                                                                 I have a few books that were my mom’s when she was a kid, but not very many old ones because my mom took all the old classics out of my room to put in our “family library”.  The oldest still on my shelf I would say is either The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. or Ribsy by Beverly Cleary.

A book you won?                                                                                                                                                  Uh, no, I don’t think I’ve ever won a book.

Most beat up book?                                                                                                                                            Not on my shelf, but my brother’s copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is literally ripped in half because we’ve read it so many times.

Most pristine book?                                                                                                                                                    A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park because I haven’t read it yet.

A book from your childhood?                                                                                                                        All the above children’s books I’ve mentioned, but other than that Miss Fannie’s Hat by Jan Karon.

Book that’s been on your shelf longest that you STILL haven’t read?                                                              The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  I just have never gotten around to reading it.

Any signed books?                                                                                                                                                 Yes!  My copy of Chasing Jupiter (I know, again) is signed.

There you have it!  I had a great time putting this together and investigating my bookshelf.  If you want to do this on your own blog, go right ahead!  Comment below answering any of these questions you want, or requests for future blog posts.