Anne of Greene Gables by L. M. Montgomery


I love the Anne of Green Gables series. I fell in love with it about a year and a half ago when I first read the stories on the recommendation of a friend. I loved them so much my husband bought me the box set for Christmas LOL. When I ran out of audiobooks, I found that I still had the first Anne of Greene Gables on my iPod so I just started listening to it. I forgot how good the book was. Anne is such a fun, imaginative, and energetic character. It would be so hard to not like her. She sees life in such an interesting way it is hard not to be thoughtful about how you think life compared to Anne. She is so open-minded and imaginative that it makes you begin to think things would be like in your life if you follow her example.

The story follows Anne after she is adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Throughout the five or so years the books cover you see her grow from a fascinating young girl into an interesting young woman. She makes a series of amusing mistakes and gets into a lot of scrapes. She makes friends, learns about herself more, and becomes loved by the town. She read about her growing relationships with her adoptive family, her best friend, and the rivalries she develops at school. Throughout it all, Anne renames places to make them more interesting, talks about her dreams and desires, and uses her imagination to create such interesting stories it is hard not to enjoy.

The is a wonderful coming of age novel that demonstrates the value of being yourself and following your dreams. Anne is a great role model for young girls and the book is light-hearted throughout, even in the sad places thanks to Anne’s interesting thoughts and insights. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even adults. It’s one of my favorites and I think everyone could find some value in it, the least of which is wholesome, clean, and light-hearted entertainment.

My rating:

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J. K. Rowling

 

Another winner by J. K. Rowling. This book again was very in-depth and strongly emotional. It seamlessly continues the story of Harry Potter as he ends the summer and begins his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

At the end of the summer, Harry is invited to the Weasleys’ house to attend the Quidditch World Cup being held in England for the first time in a number of years. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are impressed by the game and are eager to talk about it afterwards. However, terror reigns in the camps around the arena as Death Eaters enter and begin to torture muggles. The Dark Mark appears in the sky and everyone scatters. No one knows what to make of it and people leave the game feeling very uneasy.

At school, they announce the Triwizard Tournament will be held at Hogwarts, inviting two other schools to join them on the Hogwarts campus. The tournament is known for its deadly tasks, and there is an age limit for those who can sign up to enter. Somehow, Harry’s name is entered and selected, making him the second champion from Hogwarts which has never happened before. Throughout the school year, the champions participate in three deadly tasks to show their skills and bring glory to their school. The champions are Fleur Delacoure, Viktor Krum, Harry, and Cedric Diggory. There is a lot of division within Hogwarts about who to support – Cedric or Harry. There is also a lot of strain placed on the friendships that are present throughout the book. A journalist is constantly digging up gossip on the people at Hogwarts causing additional problems, as well as strange goings on at the Ministry of Magic. In the end, Harry finally comes face to face with Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and the truth about the past and who he is meant to be.

You can see the students growing into teenagers. There are several themes present that were there before. Lust, attraction, jealousy, poverty, and mistrust begin to develop in this book. The characters are rounding out well and you are really getting to know what they are truly like deep down. You learn who supports Voldemort and who doesn’t. You get a lot of the backstory of what happened as the reign of Voldemort ended and how it is impacting the things going on in the book. Everything is starting to get tied together. Sirius Black begins to get woven in to the story and you learn more about Severus Snape. Dumbledore as well begins to show some of his history and power. It is quite a heartwrenching book. The emotions run so strongly throughout you are constantly being pulled in different directions on who to side with. I actually would have loved to see part of this book told from Hermione’s point of view. She is becoming quite an interesting character. As a woman, I would be interested to see how she viewed everything and what she was feeling and going through at different points in this book. I understand why the book has to be told from Harry’s point of view, but it would be interesting to see.

I would not recommend this book to anyone under seventh grade. The themes, the characters, and the darkness of the story line are too advanced for someone of younger years. However, as an adult reader I felt I could much more easily relate to this book as the characters are starting to grow up and see the world through the eyes of an adult. I had trouble deciding whether to rate this book with a 4 or a 5. I went with a four only because I am hoping the next books are even better.

My rating:

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

I loved this book when I was in middle and high school. I wanted to read it again. I actually still owned a copy of it. With my current book challenges, I had the perfect reason to read it again. It did not disappoint. Unlike many stories, this book was just as good as it had been when I read it as a teen.

The story follows young Charlotte Doyle. She is scheduled to travel on a merchant ship back home to Rhode Island from England. There is supposed to be two other families on board, but they fail to show. As soon as she boards, the young lady knows there is something amiss. Vague warnings and unusual occurrences start the warning bells buzzing in her head.

After a failed attempted mutiny, Charlotte joins the sailors. She becomes one of the crew, working along side them from dawn to midnight, taring the deck and taking a watch. Danger from both human and ship lead to a very gripping tale on the sea. Every day, Charlotte adds some to her journal, leaving evidence of the crimes committed on board.

I love this book. It is fascinating to watch Charlotte grow from a young, sheltered girl to a hardworking, independent young lady. You learn a lot about what the crew goes through on a long voyage, as well as the differences in social classes that were prevalent at the time. It would be a great book for a tween/teen girl. Also, anyone who wants to learn some basics about old-time sea faring would like this book. It is an easy read, but keeps you engaged throughout. It actually has a lot of suspense for a young adult book (at least those I read when I was younger, I don’t know about today’s books). It is simply a great book.

My rating:

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