January 15, 2012

Home By Morning By Alexis Harrington

Home By Morning

It's hard being a female physician in 1918.

Dr. Jessica Layton is returning to her hometown (Powell Springs, Oregon) after completing medical school and working for a while in New York City. After horrors witnessed and lives saved and lost, she has decided to take a job in Seattle, Washington that is a little less alarming. But along the way, she decided to stop in her hometown to visit her sister Amy.

At least she tells herself that Amy is the reason for her return. She won't let herself even fathom that it could be the fact that Cole Braddock still lives in Powell Springs. Unfortunately, she has a tumultuous past concerning Cole. And she certainly does not want to relieve any of her memories concerning him. At least that is what she trying to tell herself. It doesn't help that Cole is now courting her sister.

Nevertheless, Jessica finds herself stepping off a train in Powell Springs, Oregon. But only moments after arriving, her medical genius is needed. You see, her father was the town doctor, but he had died, and the town did not have a replacement yet. She tries to help Eddie Cookson when he faints in the middle of a parade. Shortly after she takes care of Eddie, she is called to the mayor's office. The mayor asks her if she would take up the position of town doctor until the new one arrives from Connecticut. She consents.

The problem is that her new living arrangements are right next to Cole Braddock's smithy. The other problem is that what happened to Eddie Cookson seems to be happening to the whole village as well. It seems as if very single person is infected.

The epidemic takes over the town and Jessica is working day and night to take care of the townspeople. She grows closer to certain town members, but rekindles hardships with others.

In this tale of passion, science, treachery, and the Spanish Flu, follow Dr. Jessica Layton in her quest to find who she really wants to be.

The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

I am guessing many of you have already read this book, but I love it more every time I read it. I'm sure that you'll agree with me that Ms. Collins has spun a masterpiece.

North America has been destroyed. Of course that was a long time ago. After the initial destruction, the continent now known as Panem was split into 13 districts. Ruled by a cruel and ruthless Capitol, the districts were forced to live life as best as possible.

After a "disagreement" with the Capitol, district 13 was literally wiped off the face of the earth. Gone. Completely obliterated.

All the citizens of Panem live in fear of District 13's fate becoming their own. They fear horrid and cruel punishments for minor crimes they must commit in order to feed their families. 16 year old Katniss Everdeen is no exception.

She spends most of her time beyond the fence of District 12 (her home district) with her best friend Gale, constantly hunting to provide food for their families. They live life trying to smile, but never really succeeding 'cause there is always that ghastly event tugging at the backs of their minds. What event, you say, could be so bad that it is on their minds 24/7?

Yep. That's right. The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games are the Capitol's way of, shall we say, reminding the districts that they have absolutely no power and the Capitol will forever be in charge. Kind of a bummer, right?

Every year, each district sends one boy and one girl (ages 12-18 - called Tributes) to the Capitol where they must fight the other Tributes to the death. And the people of the districts are forced to watch as their own children are killed. Come to think if it, it's rather a large bummer.

Katniss has put up hard and brittle emotional walls that protect her conscience from prying and evasive strangers. But she has always had one thing she could rely on for joy. Her family. Especially her little sister Primrose (Prim for short).

After her father died, Katniss' mother receded inside herself, and Katniss was practically forced to raise Prim on her own. The love she possesses for Prim always outweighs the few measly scraps Katniss manages to bring home from hunting. Prim is, in a sense, Katniss' savior, as Katniss is hers.

Now, it is possible for someone to volunteer to be a Tribute in the Hunger games, but that only really happens in the lower districts (1 + 2). But you can probably imagine what Katniss did when Prim's name was called to participate in the "Games". She volunteered.

Before Katniss could blink an eye, she was swept up in fancy clothes, interviews, and the finest food she had ever eaten in preparation for the Hunger Games. Oh yeah, and I should probably also mention that the other Tribute from her district, Peeta Mellark, divulged that he had a lifelong crush on her. But that wasn't gonna get very far, seeing as they were supposed to be killing each other.

Unfortunately, that's all I'm gonna tell you about this book, so you better read The Hunger Games if you want to figure out all the bloody, nasty, and maybe even sappy (: details.

January 2, 2012

Jane Eyre By Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre

First of all, this book is a classic. And I loved it.

I have read a few classics before and found a couple of them boring and lethargic. I have found joy in some, however, such as A Christmas Carol and, of course, Jane Eyre.

This book possesses highly advanced vocabulary, for speech was much more advanced in the 1800s (when the story takes place) than it is now. The book is, essentially, a novel concerning the finding of one's true self, although said theme is not particular to the main character (Jane), but to the secondary character as well. This book may not interest others my age, but I found it enlightening and quite entertaining.

Now for a (rather long) synopsis (excluding the ending of course!):

Jane Eyre is a miserable and under appreciated girl living with her wealthy aunt and cousins as a result of both her parents dying when she was very little. She persuades her cruel aunt to send her to school, for Jane despises her cousins and wishes very much to learn.

She goes to school, has a rough start, but eventually makes a friend by the name of Helen Burns. The school is dirty, and the supervisor brutish, but Jane learns quickly and grasps the concept that she will internalize more information if she behaves. But soon, Helen grows ill and is in danger of dying. Jane is forbade to see her, but sneaks into her adopted room anyway. Jane spends the night with her friend, and in the morning, Helen is found dead with Jane's arms around her.

Jane finishes her education and becomes a teacher at her school for two years. She then decides that her life needs change, so she puts out an advertisement stating that she is a governess and wishes to teach children. A couple days later, she walks to the nearest town hoping for a reply to her ad. Fortunately, there is a response stating that there is a young lady in need of a governess at a place called Thornfield.

Jane sets out to her new post. On the road to the manor, a man is thrown off his horse and Jane helps him back onto the beast. He sprained his ankle, but is otherwise unharmed. After this incident, Jane continues on her way to Thornfield.

Shortly after arrival, Jane realizes that the man with the horse is the master of the manor, Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester. Mr. Rochester is not handsome, but neither is Jane for that matter. He has jet black hair, a prominent brow, and rather large eyebrows. The two talk occasionally and seem to get along well.

Jane's new position proves adequate for her skills. Her pupil (Adele) is very fond of her, and Jane gets along well with the other servants at the manor.

As time goes on, Jane and Mr. Rochester spend more time together. Jane is very learned, and Mr. Rochester yearns for someone to debate with, and someone with whom he can speak about complicated and difficult subjects of knowledge. Jane learns much about Mr. Rochester's character as he does hers. She finds that she is falling in love with him, but she is afraid of her emotions. It is also believed that Mr. Rochester is in the process of proposing marriage to a certain Blanche Ingram, a wealthy and beautiful woman. What Jane doesn't know is that Mr. Rochester loves her too.

As Jane readies herself for Edward Rochester's proposal to Miss Ingram, he readies himself for the act of admitting his love to Jane. When she finds out that he loves her, they plan to get married. Unfortunately for Jane, Mr. Rochester has a secret that threatens to separate them eternally.

The secret is discovered by Jane and admitted by Rochester on their wedding day. The two are still in love, but Jane sees fit to leave Thornfield, despite Mr. Rochester's protests. She leaves in the early morning, taking 20 shillings and a crust of bread.

Two days later, half-starved and playing the part of a beggar, she lands at the door of St. John Rivers and his two sisters, Diana and Mary. Their housekeeper won't admit her, and Jane faints of hunger on the threshold of the building. St. John happens to be arriving home, and saves Jane.

While recovering at Moor House (for that is the name of the house in which she stayed), Jane becomes good friends with Mary and Diana, but St. John remains distant and refuses her attempts at friendship. Through a letter divulged by Mr. Rivers, it is soon discovered that Jane's uncle (formerly married to her merciless aunt) has died and, consequently left her with 20,000 pounds. Upon Jane's questioning, St. John also tells her that her dead uncle was also his (and his sisters') uncle as well, therefore making Jane their cousin. Jane splits the money between the four cousins (herself, St. John, Mary, and Diana) and is temporarily happy.

Thinking that Jane would make a good missionary's wife, St. John asks her to marry him. I must make it clear that this proposal was made out of duty and not love. Although St. John is very good-looking, Jane blatantly refuses his proposal, seeing as she is still in love with Edward Rochester and that she does not love St. John in that way.

Jane begins to rethink her decision to leave Thornfield. But she decides to return only upon hearing Mr. Rochester calling her name, his voice whispering on the wind.

Jane sets out for Thornfield, not sure what to expect, but clinging onto the hope of seeing her love again.

Will he be there?

Will he be at Thornfield, yet married to another, namely Blanche Ingram?

Will he accept her even after she left him? What if he doesn't?

To all these things and more does Jane desperately seek answer. Whether you like it or not, upon reading this review, so do you.

Read Jane Eyre and find out exactly what is waiting for her upon return to Thornfield Manor.