Book Review

Insurgent-4.5 Stars

It’s been way too long since I posted a book review! So lets get right to it. First off, I want to warn anyone reading this review that it HAS SPOILERS! I don’t usually include spoilers in my reviews, but I have so much to say about this one that it can’t be helped. Another warning, this review will be all over the place because I still can’t get my thoughts and emotions in line after finishing this book! Seriously, this series has taken over my life. I’m constantly looking at my family, friends, and co-workers and deciding what faction they could most fit in. Haha. I gave it 4.5 stars because I felt like the beginning dragged on, well just went kind of slow, then suddenly Jeanine is dead and they find the truth that has been hidden about outside the fence…. too quickly. I was kind of hoping Jeanine would be imprisoned, questioned ¬†and tested on like Tris, because there’s still another book and Jeanine is already dead! Otherwise, I liked this book, but I liked Divergent a little more. ūüôā

I want to start out with one of my favorite quotes from the book: “Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” (Tris, p. 377)¬†Tris has been through¬†so¬†much…from feeling like she betrayed her family when she chose Dauntless, to watching her parents die to help her, to having to shoot one of her best friends, Will, while he was under simulation. She feels so much pain-guilt, grief, despair… but I agree with her statement. You can feel terrible for hurting someone, being guilty for their pain, but the grief it causes you to feel hurts so much more.

One thing that really bothered me about Tris, though, is WHY THE HECK WAS SHE SO SUICIDAL?! Four values her as a lover, but also as someone who wants to honor those who lost their lives for her, but she just. does. not. care! She constantly lies to him, which, okay, in the end was a good thing, but I felt like she didn’t care how she hurt him. She acts so tough sometimes, but then falls apart, not even able to hold a gun anymore. I understand. She killed Will point blank. I¬†get¬†that. But the Tris I met in Divergent is not the same in Insurgent. That said, not being the same ended up being a good thing. I was getting annoyed with all her lies and stupid sacrificing herself, but she is a remarkable character. I began to realize she didn’t want to just be killed so she could be rid of the pain, but she felt she owed her parents and Will, and others who lost their lives when the Erudite attacked. On page 384 she finally sees that “I need to live my life in the light of their [her parents] deaths. I need to live.” THANK YOU, TRIS!

Also, ¬†I totally suspected Caleb as a traitor from the start. Ugh! And Peter…don’t even get me started. But its like Fernando said, Jeanine has a way of persuading those who aren’t naturally suspicious. I just can’t believe Caleb was such a suck up to Jeanine!

What I found really interesting is how the Amity put peace serum in the bread…WHAAAAT? The part where they pretty much overdosed Tris on it was hilarious. I guess after how the book ended, it makes sense that they had to put the serum in there, because everyone was¬†placed where they were. No wonder there are Divergents, and some people have to choose one faction over another, they can’t just conform wholly to a certain one! Now ¬†I get it. haha.

I can’t wait to read Allegiant!


Book Review

What She Left Behind- 4.5 Stars

I won this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

What She Left Behind tells the story of Izzy, in the 1990’s, and of Clara, in the 1930’s. Izzy has been bounced around from foster home to foster home after her mother shoots her father, and the grandmother she had been staying with dies. Izzy believes her mother must be mentally ill because why else would she shoot her husband? Clara is a wealthy, intelligent, strong willed woman who gets sent to the Long Island Home for Nervous Invalids when¬†she refuses to marry a man her father has chosen for her.

Clara’s story was very hard to read. I know back then the treatment of women was a lot different than it is now. If a woman disobeyed, she must be ill. So she got shipped off to the nearest facility. In Clara’s case, she is first sent to the Long Island Home and is treated somewhat gently, but the fact that no one will believe she is not ill is absurd. After the stock market crash, her father can no longer afford her stay there, and she gets sent to Willard Asylum. This place is torture. The nurses and doctors treat the patients inhumanely, and like Clara figures out, if you’re not insane when you go in, by the time they’re done with you, you will be. From ice baths to stale food, to having to sit in what’s called the “sun room” for hours on a hard bench…it’s enough to drive anyone mad. Clara promises herself she will not succumb to the horrors of the asylum but will make her way out. The way Ellen Marie Wiseman described the different wards of the asylum made me feel like I was actually there, seeing these poor people walking around in a haze of medication and lost dreams. (I actually had a nightmare one night about the asylum…LOL)

Izzy is living with the best foster parents she’s ever had. Her mother is in prison for life because she shot Izzy’s father. Izzy believes her mother is mentally ill and her greatest fear is that she will become her. Izzy deals with a lot of bullying at school from a girl who knows what pain truly is, yet she still bullies. I applaud Izzy for overcoming her fears about her mom and deciding she is her own person and can make her own decisions. While helping her foster parents gather information from Willard Asylum to be placed in a museum, Izzy uncovers Clara’s journal. She begins to piece together that Clara was not really insane, and she starts to wonder if she misjudged her mother…

There were times I was rejoicing with Izzy, crying with Clara, and wanting to punch the bullies who tortured Izzy at school. The author did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life and making me feel their emotions!

I enjoyed how Ellen Marie Wiseman intermingled the stories of Clara and Izzy. At first I was thinking, “Okay, so Izzy finds Clara’s diary and realizes she was never insane. What makes this interesting? How are these women really connected?” As ¬†I continued reading though, I realized just how important it was for Izzy to figure out the ending to Clara’s journey so she could work on her own journey.


Book Review

Hurricanes in Paradise- 5 stars

This past week for my birthday my husband took us on a Caribbean cruise! While cruising, I was searching on my kindle for something to read and decided on “Hurricanes in Paradise” by Denise Hildreth because it’s set in the Caribbean! I wanted a light read since I was on vacation, but still something with depth and this was perfect. It focuses on 4 women, strangers at first. Riley, a guest director at a hotel in the Bahamas, Laine, a snotty, rude author, Tamyra, a southern beauty queen, and Winnie, an aging, grieving widow from the South as well. These 4 women are all struggling with secrets, issues, and just a general sense of hurt within their hearts. Upon meeting at the hotel, their lives begin to weave together with each other and they learn more about each other as well as their own selves. Riley has moved from Charleston, SC with her young daughter to start her life fresh. She doesn’t want to open her heart up to another man, and she doesn’t really have any girl friends either. Laine at first is a bossy, judgmental brat, who is obviously struggling with something. By the end of the story though, my view of Laine definitely changed. Tamyra has done beauty pageants but after receiving life altering news that she has only shared with one person, she sells everything and gets away to the Bahamas. Winnie is an outspoken, heavy-set, southern principal ¬†who will always speak her mind. She was “forced” to go on a vacation by her children and she is set on not enjoying it one bit. (Or at least, she won’t tell her kids she’s enjoying anything!) She was my favorite character! I felt all of the stories of the characters¬†seemed real, like I could actually meet and be friends with these ladies. I enjoyed the fact that this book contained laughter and¬†tears (of sadness and joy)! It also not only displayed how complete strangers with each emotional and physical baggage could come together and heal each other, but how Christ’s unwavering love heals us as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Denise Hildreth Jones’ books.