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Showing posts with label Premium Books. Show all posts

The help by Kathryn Stockett

The help by Kathryn Stockett


4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,636,495 Ratings  ·  78,723 Reviews
Download or read online for free The help by Kathryn Stockett
The help by Kathryn Stockett
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”




Reviews


Here is an illustrative tale of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi. There is such deep history in the black/white relationship and this story beautifully shows the complex spectrum, not only the hate, abuse, mistrust, but the love, attachment, dependence.

Stockett includes this quote by Howell Raines in her personal except at the end of the novel: There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism. An eloquent way to describe Stockett's intentions for this novel. I know most reviews will probably focus on the racial relationships in the book, but to me the most haunting statement was that when you are paying someone to care for you and their livelihood depends on making you happy, you can't expect an honest relationship.

I did not expect this book to hit so close to home. After all, I did not grow up in the South and completely missed the racial mind shift in the country. But the book isn't just about racism and civil rights. It's about the employer relationship too. And I did grow up in South America with a maid trying to keep herself out of poverty by making our crazy family happy. As much as we loved her, I can see so many of the pitfalls from these complex relationships in my own history. I know our maid was stuck between pleasing my mother and raising us the way she believed appropriate. I know it was physically hard to work from sunup to late everyday and emotionally hard to never relax because she wasn't the decision maker of our home and at any moment she could be reprimanded for making the wrong decision. She had absolutely no power, and yet she was all powerful to shape and mold us.

I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her. I took her for granted. Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers. And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact. Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie? It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid. I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and more than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you. It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life. "They say its like true love, good help. You only get one in a lifetime." I know. Believe me, I know.

The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me. I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security. Stockett captured all these emotions.

I also loved the writing style. When style compliments plot, I get giddy. I don't always love grammatically incorrect prose or books about an author trying to be published, but here it works because it's honest. The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids--and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids. The styles parallel each other as do the messages. The point of Skeeter's novel is to make people see that people are just people no matter the color of their skin and Stockett's novel beautifully portrays that with both good and bad on both sides. The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding. To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity.

This book is Stockett's masterpiece, that story in her that was just itching to get out. From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people. I loved Aibileen, but think I loved Minny's voice more because she is such a strong character. Besides the maids, I loved Hilly as a portrayal of the white Southern belle with the ingrained belief that black people are not as good as whites, verbalized as "separate but equal" so it doesn't sound racist. My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there. She's a bit over the top, but if you've been to the South, not that far of a stretch. I just would have liked to find some redeeming qualities in her from Skeeter's perspective.

While there are some instances where I felt Stockett was squeezing historical facts into the novel, forming the plot around these events instead of letting them play backdrop, and occasionally I could read the modern woman in this tale pushing her message too hard, Stockett's sincerity to understand and appreciate shines through. She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her. Because it's important to her it becomes important to me.
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“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

Color me surprised. I’m not one to read many historical fictions, especially when they don’t include any fantasy elements. They read like nonfiction, and nonfiction is only good for me if I’m in need of sleep. B-but…

The Help is different. It doesn’t only describe the life of housemaids, in the second half of the 20th century, in Mississippi; it’s overflowing with raw emotion. It doesn’t put every white person in a box and every black person in another… It underlines the difference of thought between people, but also how similar we actually all are. We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

I really felt it, when Aibileen and Minny talked about their work, how they wanted – needed – things to change and how hard their lives were. It made me sad, of course, because they just didn’t deserve the animosity that was directed toward them and that’s why I was so eager to turn the pages: I couldn’t wait to see some things change over there.

Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story. She’s not loud, she doesn’t look for trouble, but she does have a weapon no one expects her to use in her advantage: her writing. She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down? No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit.

I can’t believe the author never made Skeeter and Celia interact: they would have connected from the start! And was Stuart’s character’s purpose only to make us see how differences in ways of thinking can drift people apart? He is the most frustrating part of the story, really. We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book.

Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book. Equality. Freedom. Racism. Respect. They’re all so fascinating because they are cleverly developed and included and intertwined in a way that makes this story such a precious and worth perusing one.

I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie. Seriously. Breath-taking.

“All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.”
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Enthusiasm!!!
This book and i almost never met. and that would have been tragic. the fault is mostly mine - i mean, the book made no secret of its existence - a billion weeks on the best seller list, every third customer asking for it at work, displays and reviews and people on here praising it to the heavens. it practically spread its legs for me, but i just kept walking. i figured it was something for the ladies, like sex and the city, which i don't have to have ever seen an episode of to know that it's not something i would enjoy. i figured that this book was on the ladder one rung above chick lit. so i am to blame for my snobbish dismissiveness, but have you seen this cover?? what is with that sickroom color scheme? and i hate those stupid little birds. what is chip kidd so busy doing that he can't just pop over here and lend a hand?? it is not my fault for thinking it was a crappy book when that cover wanted me to think it is a crappy book.

but this book is good. really, really good. again, i thank you, readers' advisory class, for fixing me up with this book. it has been a long time since i have read such a frankly entertaining book. (if a book about the emotionally-charged early days of the civil rights movement can be called entertaining.) this is just an effortlessly told story, split between three different women, whose voices and perspectives never run together - the secondary characters are also completely believable and are all different brands of repellent, with some token sympathetic characters tossed in for the halibut. i don't even know what to say, i just feel all "aw, shucks, i loved this book" about it - there were several times i would catch myself grinning at a turn of phrase or a situation, and every time i would start to doubt myself, that maybe i would like sex and the city. or buffy the vampire slayer or all these things i have formerly judged without having read/seen/eaten. maybe i am like these white women in the book, taking their help for granted and assuming they have nothing to say to each other because of their unwillingness to talk to them and know them as human beings. maybe buffy and i have so much to learn from one another...

then i would snap out of it and remember that my gut opinions are 99.99% foolproof.

so for you other people, who need to be swayed by hype - i give you hype. this book's hype is merited - it would be a perfect book to read this summer when you are melting from the sun and need a good story.. this is a very tender and loving book, about hope and sisterhood and opportunity, but also about beatings and terror and shame.

still hate those birds, though.
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One of my co-workers, a guy who isn’t much of a reader, borrowed The Help from the library based on his English professor’s recommendation. The guy just couldn’t stop talking about the story, so I decided to borrow the audio book. It’s not very often I get to discuss books with people in real life and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. Audio books are good for me. I was so engrossed in the story and characters that I drove the speed limit on the highway and took the scenic route while running errands. Sometimes I went out at lunch and needlessly drove in circles, or sat in the parking lot at work, waiting for a good place to stop.

It is 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi. Twenty-two year-old Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan has returned home after graduating college to find that Constantine, her family’s maid and the woman who raised her, has mysteriously disappeared. Aibileen is a black maid in her 50’s who works for the Leefolt family and cares deeply for their daughter, Mae Mobley. She is still grieving for her young son, who died in a workplace accident. Minny is Aibileen’s closest friend and a wonderful cook, but her mouth keeps getting her into trouble and no one wants to hire her, until Aibileen helps secure her a position with Celia Foote, a young woman who is new in town and unaware of Minny’s reputation.

The story jumps back and forth between the three characters, all of them providing their version of life in the South, the dinner parties, the fund-raising events, the social and racial boundaries, family relationships, friendships, working relationships, poverty, hardship, violence, and fear. Skeeter’s mother wants her to find a nice man and get married, but she’s more interested in changing the world. Her plans to anonymously compile a candid collection of stories about the maids’ jobs and the people they work for will risk her social standing in town, her friendships, and the lives of the maids who tell their stories.

I loved this story! The characters really came alive for me, and the author did a good job acknowledging actual historical events which lent richness and authenticity to the story. I laughed and cried, felt despair and hope. This is an important story that is a painful reminder of past cruelty and injustice. It shows how far we have progressed and how much more we still have to accomplish.
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I read this book at least 4 years ago... and now I'm going back to ensure I have some level of a review for everything I read. It's only fair... if the author took the time to write it, and I found a few hours to read it... I should share my views so others can decide if it's a good book for them.

That said... did anyone not love or like this book? I'll have to check out some other people's reviews... And I wonder how many people just watched the movie... Oh well... I'll keep this review short and not in my usual format, as probably everyone I'm friends with on here has already read it! :)

The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is because I felt like some of the stories needed a better or stronger ending. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past... and probably still happening in some parts of the country today. Scary thoughts, but in the end, at least the right people got something back they deserved, even if it wasn't as much as it should have been.

The characters are very clear and strong. And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task. Each and every one shows you a different personality: leaders and followers, movers and shakers, smart and silly, strong and weak, tolerant and intolerant, thirsty for all the world has to offer and content to stay the same for an entire lifetime.

When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future.

I haven't read anything else by this author, but just thinking about this book, and realizing I haven't looked at her other works makes me want to run to her profile now and pick one. Perhaps that's what I'll go do
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"I know what a froat is and how to fix it."

Aibileen Clark knows how to cure childhood illnesses and how to help a young aspiring writer write a regular household-hints column for the local paper. But she's struggling mightily to deal with grief over the death of her 20-something son, and she SURE doesn't think conditions will ever improve for African-American domestic-engineering servants in early-1960s Jackson, Mississippi or anywhere else in the South.

Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a maid since she was very young, and on the first day of her first job her mother admonished her that sass-mouth, especially her degree of it, is highly dangerous--but it's not long before she's just gotta mouth off....and look for another job. As Minny's first "episode" of the book opens, she is yet again looking for a new job, and this time an opportunity pretty much falls into her lap. Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante. Oh, one more thing: she needs to keep Minny a secret, at least for a while. I think this plotline was my favorite part. Celia's husband had formerly gone with (even been engaged to?) somebody else; did any of you wonder how they would have gotten along if he had married her instead of Celia?

But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny: a good sass-mouthin' or a good slice of her extra-special chocolate revenge pie?
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Kathryn Stockett has created this wonderful story that depicts life in America’s South during the early 1960s. 
A mix of humour and social justice, the reader is faced with a powerful piece on which to ponder while remaining highly entertained. In Jackson, Mississippi, the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement presented a time where colour was a strong dividing line between classes. Black women spent much of their time serving as hired help and raising young white children, while their mommas were playing ‘Society Lady’ as best they could. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan may have been part of the clique, born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she held herself on the periphery, at times looking in. Skeeter was unwed and with few prospects, though her time away at college left her ready to tackle the workforce until an eligible man swept her off her feet. Skeeter returned to Jackson, only to find her family’s help left under mysterious circumstances and no one was willing to discuss it. Skeeter sought a job as a writer, prepared to begin at the bottom rung, but not giving up on sleuthing around to determine what might have been going on in Jackson. Skeeter scored a job writing an informative column in the local newspaper, giving cleaning tips to housewives in need of a little guidance. Who better to offer these tips that the hired help of Jackson?! Skeeter fostered a slow friendship with one, while building up a trust, and has an idea for a book that could offer a unique perspective in Mississippi’s divided society. Skeeter sought to write a tell-all from the perspective of the hired help, in hopes of shining a light on the ongoing domestic slavery taking place within a ‘freed’ America. With secret meetings taking place after working hours and Skeeter typing away, a mental shift took place and the idea of class became taboo, at least to some. Full of confessions and struggles in Mississippi society, Skeeter’s book may just tear the fabric of what has been a clearly demarcated community since after the Civil War. However, sometimes a book has unforeseen consequences, turning the tables on everyone and forcing tough decisions to be made. Stockett pulls no punches in the presentation, fanning the flames of racial and class divisions, as she depicts a way of thinking that was not only accepted, but completely sanctioned. A must-read for anyone ready to face some of the treatment undertaken in the name of ‘societal norms’, Stockett tells it like it was… and perhaps even still is!

Race relations in the United States has long been an issue written about, both in literature and pieces of non-fiction. How a country as prosperous as America could still sanction the mistreatment of a large portion of its citizens a century after fighting a war on the issue remains completely baffling. While Stockett focusses her attention on Mississippi, the conscious reader will understand that this sort of treatment was far from isolated to the state. One might venture to say that racism continued on a worldwide scale, creating a stir, while many played the role of ostriches and denied anything was going on. The characters within the book presented a wonderful mix of society dames and household help, each with their own issues that were extremely important. The characters bring stereotypes to life in an effort to fuel a raging fire while offering dichotomous perspectives. The interactions between the various characters worked perfectly, depicting each group as isolated and yet fully integrated. The household help bring the struggle of the double work day (triple, at times) while the society dames grasp to keep Mississippi from turning too quickly towards integration and equality, which they feel will be the end of all normalcy. Using various narrative perspectives, the characters become multi-dimensional. Additionally, peppering the dialogue with colloquial phraseology pulls the story to a new level of reality, one that is lost in strict textbook presentation. Stockett pushes the narrative into those uncomfortable places the reader hopes to keep locked in the pages of history, pushing the story to the forefront and requiring a synthesising of ideas and emotions. This discomfort is the only way the reader will see where things were, likely in a hope not to repeat some of history’s worst moments in America’s development. However, even fifty years after the book’s setting, there remains a pall of colour and class division promulgating on city streets. While racism is not as sanctioned in as many laws, it remains a strong odour and one that cannot simply be washed away by speaking a few words. This book, as entertaining as it is in sections, is far from fictional in its depiction of the world. The sooner the reader comes to see that, the faster change can occur. All lives matter, if we put in the effort and have the presence of mind to listen rather than rule from our own ivory towers.

Kudos, Madam Stockett for this wonderful piece. I am happy to have completed a buddy read on this subject and return to read what was a wonderful cinematic presentation.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4667024-the-help

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


4.21  ·  Rating details ·  402,999 Ratings  ·  31,756 Reviews
Download or read online for free Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive

“They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”

“All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?”






Reviews


 Probably the funniest book about murder and domestic abuse I'll ever read. 
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This one was 480 pgs. that read like less than 300. I was thoroughly captivated, found this to be brilliant in plot, structure and tone. Gulped it right down.

On the surface this was about a group of parents whose children were starting kindergarten. We have the typical cliques, the do-goobers and many, many who think their children are oh so special.Over parenting to a T. Working moms against stay at home moms, fulfillment vs. involvement. Humorously told, there are so many times this book had me laughing, some of these moms were so over the top, absolutely absurd.

Under the surface was another layers, the author tackles many issues, among them bullying, spousal abuse and others. These women and their marriages all have issues, problems with their marriages, dealing with traumas from the past. Considering everything that was tackled in this book it should not have worked but it did, and that is to the author's credit.

Everything leads up to trivia night at the school and that will bring revelations, disasters and many will find themselves changed. Loved every minute of this one.
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Liane Moriarty has done it again – written a book that kept me up way too late because I couldn’t put it down. 
She has a knack for creating characters who are so believable they could easily be someone you know. Big Little Lies is a story of parents acting badly. It is also a smart and witty story about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, and exes. You are teased from the beginning with something awful that happens at the annual Pirriwee Public School fund raising. You know the what but not the who or the how. Along the way you discover some of the dangerous little lies that people tell just to be able to face the day. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what happened that night but at the same time I was sorry that I wouldn’t be reading any more about the inhabitants of Perriwee.
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You know how sometimes you get to the end of a book and you wish you could wipe it from your mind, just so you could have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again?

This is one of those books.

I can't think of another author off the top of my head who does relationships so well and with such humour as Liane Moriarty. Her characters love and laugh, rub each other up the wrong way, extend the hand of friendship, spread gossip, resolve to do better, cry and keep secrets -- just like real people.

In Big Little Lies, the little lies we tell ourselves and others -- sometimes to disguise the big ones -- blow up into murder and mayhem at the P&C Trivia Night at the local public school. Though we know someone has died from the beginning of the novel, we don't find out who it is till the end, as we go back through the histories of the participants to uncover the nagging jealousies and seething problems that led to the fatal moment.

So we spend the book in a state of breathless anticipation and worry. Who died? Was it bubbly Madeline, struggling to connect with the teenage daughter of her first marriage? Or beautiful Celeste, whose perfect life hides an ugly secret? Or was it single mum Jane, trying to start afresh, who finds that playground bullying isn't just for the kids any more?

Moriarty will keep you up late flipping pages as you follow the story of these three and the colourful characters who surround them, desperate to find out who died -- and why. The answer is enormously satisfying.
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I think Stephen King summed up Big Little Lies perfectly when he said it is "a hell of a book, funny and scary." I found it to be like the first two seasons of Desperate Housewives before the show started to slowly fall apart (and I've seen every episode so I feel like I'm right... right about the comparison to the book and the fact that the show was never all that great after the first two seasons, but the bigger question is why did I watch all of the show in the first place, and I'll never really know the answer to that question, but I'm OK with it and can live with myself).

The moms in Big Little Lies are written so well. I loved all the different stereotypes represented in each of them and how the different dynamics played out between them and their families. I'll admit, I was a little confused early on and could have used a family tree to help me see who belonged where (and that only got messier along the way), but Moriarty kept me updated in subtle ways to make sure I was tracking with her as the story unfolded.

Hang on, taking a quick coffee break.

Alright, much better. There are a couple of other takeaways from the book I want to share.

First off, the whole suburban-everything-is-awesome facade in which the book is firmly nestled, and in which I find myself now. I really loved how the book started out in a fun, whimsical way by introducing me to the various characters and making me feel like everyone has everything together and life is just so swell all the time. Then, as the book rolls along, more and more is revealed from the past, mysteries are solved, and you learn that these women's lives just aren't what you thought they were. And, man, isn't that life? All of us walking around all carefree making sure everyone thinks we are just fine and dandy thank you very much, and maybe there aren't things as dark as some stuff in this book happening, but we are all stressed out with kids and jobs and life and whatever. Anyway, I just liked that slow descent into the darker layers of the major characters in the story. That's all I'm saying.

So no spoilers, but I thought it was important for me as someone who isn't a woman to read about how events can shape the lives and thought of someone who is a woman. That's a lot of unnecessary words. What I'm trying to say is you never know how much your actions can impact another person. In this case, the words and actions of men had a deep emotional impact on women. Some of it was tough to read, and to know that stuff is happening that we often don't even know about is scary. It's bad enough that so much evil and darkness exists out there, but what about all the stuff that hasn't been brought into the light yet? Life is hard.

And, last but not least, the minor characters chiming in at the end of many chapters to kick in a little foreshadowing was an excellent plot device. That trivia night was something I was anticipating from the very beginning. The timeline worked down to that single night, and there was lots of statements from police questioning sprinkled in early so the mystery slowly rolls down to that night and a little beyond. It made the book so easy and quick to read, but it wasn't some mindless page turner to just get through for mild enjoyment. It was written really well, and the payoff in the end was worth it.

I may have to get some more Liane Moriarty in my life. I never thought I would say that out loud, but here we are. Looking forward to the HBO series!
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     "A murder. A tragic accident....
    Someone is dead. But who did what?"


WOAHHHH!!!! This book was freaking amazing!!!

It was a total genre change for me -- this is women's fiction and mystery, not romance -- but I was just in the kind of mood where I was craving something totally different than what I usually read.... so I tried this one! And I was BEYOND impressed with it.

Like holy WOW impressed.

The writing was  fantastic  — starkly honest, detailed, introspective, observant, multi-sided… the story kept me guessing right up until the end. There were these  twists  that totally shocked me (I mean like jaw-drop omgdidnotseethatcoming shocked) and I just had these chiiiiiiills run through me at some of the reveals.

This author really just "gets" people and interactions on a very deep level in a way I’ve seldom seen before. Gah. It was powerful . I mean really. Holy woman power!!! I loved the writing, I loved story, and can honestly say that it had one of the single most satisfying endings ever. EVER.

So... what's it about?

It has a large cast of characters, but focuses mostly on three women's lives. They all have children entering Kindergarten in the same year. They're lives are vastly different but closely connected in ways that even they don't realize at first. And there's a murder. Someone dies at a trivia night. But you don't know who. And you don't know who killed them. No clue! Part of the whole mystery is figuring this out, and it's done in such a cool way -- a fascinating mix between the story of the weeks counting down to that night mixed in with snippets of interviews being given after that night of people describing what happened.

I'm not going to say a word more but I will assure you that the ending delivers on every level!

This whole book really highlights how the same event can be seen in so many ways, from so many different perspectives, and from each of those sides, it can appear vastly different. You never really know what someone else is thinking or going through, what they're capable of, what secrets they're keeping...

Gah. Fascinating!!!

Just so you know, this is not a dark read at all. It's very serious at times, very light at others. But it's also not dark and it's not scary. A few people were asking me so I thought I'd clarify that.

Actually I saw someone describe it as a "juicy drama" and I think that's the perfect description!

It's just the kind of story that raises a million questions in your mind. It makes you THINK, keeps you wondering, theorizing, questioning everything. It's detailed and engaging. Can you tell I loved it?

There are some very serious themes -- domestic violence, single parenthood, motherhood in general, bullying, murder, secrets, and more. It's almost scarily accurate in many of it's depictions.
Hehe this was my status update from 91%:

    GAAAASPPPPPPPPP — did NOT see that coming!!!! Holy SHITTTTT!!
    CHILLS. O_O
    HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.
    I mean WOAH. WOAH. WOAHHHHHH.



This author is just so skilled. The plot was cleverly woven and it just delivered all the right details at all the right times. In fact, I think I actually have all of a certain chapter highlighted. ALL of it.

It was an incredible reading experience. I totally get why they’re making it into a movie (with Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman) because I could literally picture it in my mind as I was reading.

I have a ton of quotes highlighted in my book, but in case you're wondering why I don't have them included in this review, it's because in retrospect, I realized that given this type of story, they might not make sense out of context. So I'm just going to let you read the book for yourself and read them that way!

I've also read another book by this author, The Husband's Secret, and even though I thought that one was really good, I actually loved this one more because I was much happier with this ending. This one left me with such a strongly good feeling while The Husband's Secret left me feeling a little... unsettled (like the price paid was too great)... but this one was just WOW.

I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone women's fiction/mystery (not romance).

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No lie...I loved this book :)

I read this book almost exactly a year ago. I didn't write a review as back then I usually updated that I read a book and gave it a rating. Plus it had a zillion ratings so I didn't bother. Looking at the reviews it seems to have quite a range of ratings.

But recently I decided to write a short one as I recently heard what I thought was exciting news. Well exciting for me as a lover of this book!!

I was looking through the new line-up of fall TV shows and came across a 2016 TV series entitled "Big Little Lies". At first I thought it was a coincidence but then looked on IMDb and it said for the series summary:

Things take a dark turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel.

So far not a lot more information but it does say it's starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I love Reese and l am so excited to see her in this. I love the fact that it is a series and not just a movie!

Now as I'm typing this I'm wondering if this is old news. I read through some reviews and didn't see it mentioned but if it was oops... it's new to me though!!

Murder at a school trivia night ....

I loved the characters and story-line and I was guessing right up until the end. Full of wonderful brilliant characters, lots of school gossip and politics, drama, mystery and humour.
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I can't NOT give this book 5 stars. There's truly nothing I didn't like about it. It's one of those special books that completely captured my attention—while I was reading it, I was lost in the characters' lives. 
And that's one of the things that makes this book soooo good: the characters. Moriarty is a master at crafting vivid characters from the first page. I felt like with each introduction of a new character, I had a grasp on their personality pretty quickly. But they weren't boiled down to that single moment of characterization; they were complex, flawed people who you could root for and empathize with. On top of that was a well-crafted, engaging and suspenseful plot that kept you turning the pages. I was never bored. And her writing style was substantial and had a lot to say about real issues. This book isn't afraid to go to some dark places, but it brings with it a bit of comedy and sometimes even a little sappiness that satisfies your appetite for a little bit of everything in one book. It's definitely a book that compelled me to read on, and also to want to read more from this author...and I'm sure it'll be one that stays in my mind for a long time.
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5 huge stars. I’d give it 6 if I could!

This was one of the most captivating books I’ve read. An emotional joy-ride and an absolute favorite!
Based in a small exclusive coastal town in Australia. It’s orientation day into kindergarten when one boy is accused of choking a little girl. For the parents it’s a moment when bonds are formed and lines are drawn in the sand.

A full complement of emotions are cleverly weaved throughout. Laughter, tears, smiles and pain. Three wonderful friends (Madeline, Celeste and Jane) brought together on that orientation day by their children. The adventures they share together as well as their private struggles at home. Broken dreams, broken hearts and broken families. And the healing of hearts and souls.

"Every relationship has its glitches. It's ups, its downs."

Everything revolves around something as simple as trivia night at the school. Then a situation arises that has both police and media questioning everyone present. The responses from the interviews are hilarious! I was always on the look-out for more of these little gems as a tasty bonus, near the end of every chapter.

There are two distinct sides to this book. The fun, whimsical side that leaves you with a permanent grin on your face, desperately wanting to be part of this group of friends. Then, of course, there’s the dark side that proves you never really know what goes on in the privacy of one's home. Even between the closest of friends.

There are three sides to every person…the side we show to everyone else, the side we show to friends and loved ones, and the side we show only to ourselves.

In other words, this book is simply about life. Those we love and those that make us crazy. Very often, one in the same!

I loved every minute of this book. Occasionally shaking my head at the silliness.

Never expecting a twist in this story...I got a delicious jaw-dropping moment! Like icing on a cake.
I absolutely adored this book! I am so sad it's finished. Now onward to the TV series!
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*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

Kristin (KC)
Oct 29, 2014
Kristin (KC) rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychological-thriller, thriller
*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

▪  Genre/Category: Adult Contemporary/Mystery
▪  Steam Caliber: No steam
Romance: Not a romance
▪  Characters: Well constructed
▪  Plot: Murder mystery that follows the lives of three school-moms who've become friends.
Writing: Fluid, intelligent, engaging.
POV: 3rd Person Perpective
▪  Cliffhanger: None/Standalone
▪  HEA?
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486412-big-little-lies

Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden

Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden


4.44  ·  Rating details ·  289,882 Ratings  ·  20,843 Reviews
Assassin's Creed Book Collection 3 Books Bundle Gift Wrapped Box Set Specially for you includes Titles in this Collection :- The Secret Crusade, Brotherhood, Renaissance.
Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade is the thrilling novelisation by Oliver Bowden based on the game series.Niccolò Polo, father of Marco, will finally reveal the story he has kept secret all his life - the story of Altaïr, one of the brotherhood's most extraordinary Assassins.Altaïr embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altaïr must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.
Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden download or read it online for free here
Assassins Creed The Complete Collection by Oliver Bowden

Box Set Collection Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood 'I will journey to the black heart of a corrupt Empire to root out my foes. But Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't be restored by a lone assassin. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This is my brotherhood.'Rome, once mighty, lies in ruins. The city swarms with suffering and degradation, her citizens living in the shadow of the ruthless Borgia family. Only one man can free the people from the Borgia tyranny - Ezio Auditore, the Master Assassin. Assassin's Creed: Renaissance 'I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore di Firenze. I am an Assassin...' The Year of Our Lord 1476 - the Renaissance: culture and art flourish alongside the bloodiest corruption and violence. Bitter blood-feuds rage between the warring political families of Italy. Please note these are normal standard books supplied by publishers which are then gift wraped in a generic slipcase specially for you to create your very own special gift box set ideal for Christmas, Birthday and any other special occasion.
Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance. To eradicate corruption and restore his family's honour, he will learn the art of the assassins. To his allies, Ezio will become a force for change, fighting for freedom and justice. To his enemies, he will become a threat.
 I will journey to the black heart of a corrupt empire to root out my foes. But Rome wasn't built in a day and it won't be restored by a lone assassin. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This is my Brotherhood...

Rome, once mighty, lies in ruins. The city swarms with suffering and degradation, her citizens living in the shadow of the ruthless Borgia family. Only one man can free the people from the Borgia tyranny- Ezio Auditore, the Master Assassin.

Ezio's quest will test him to his limits. Cesare Borgia, a man more villainous and dangerous than his father, the Pope, will not rest until he has conquered Italy. And in such treacherous times, conspiracy is everywhere, even within the ranks of the Brotherhood itself...

NICCOLO POLO, FATHER OF MARCO, WILL FINALLY REVEAL THE STORY HE HAS KEPT SECRET ALL HIS LIFE - THE STORY OF ALTAIR, ONE OF THE BROTHERHOOD'S MOST EXTRAORDINARY ASSASSINS.

Altair embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altair must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.

Altair's life story is told here for the first time: a journey that will change the course of history; his ongoing battle with the Templar conspiracy; a family life that is as tragic as it is shocking; and the ultimate betrayal of an old friend.



Reviews


I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked this book. I bought it mostly because I am somewhat obsessed with the game, and I wanted more Ezio, now please! I expected that at best it would be bearable to read because I don't tend to think too highly of novelizations of either movies or video games. But this was really good and fun.

Most of the story in the book is in the game as well, so the plot wasn't particularly surprising. But there were a few additional details - like, say, Leonardo's homosexuality, which wasn't even alluded to in the game (or if it was, I missed it) - that were fun to read about. Overall it's solidly written, and I have to say that considering the amount of both climbing and fight scenes he had to cover, the author did a really good job with this, and apparently had fun with it too (the Machiavelli jokes are a bit silly, but *I* loved them!).

I can imagine parts of the story are a bit harder to follow for people who haven't played the game, and I wish the book had covered the parts involving the present tense as well, but as it is I really enjoyed it. Especially because Ezio spends a ridiculous amount of time thinking about Leonardo ;)
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I first heard about Assassin's Creed from my brother in-law. He loves the games, was constantly commenting how Ezio was badass, how his moves and kills were impressive, and how the graphics were fantastic. When the novel came out, I spent months craving it, only now having the courage to buy, and finally, read it.

Oliver Bowden transports us to Italy, 1472, where a young man is about the learn the power and secrets of his family. After a brutal attack and betrayal, Ezio takes the name Auditore to a whole new level, seeking vengeance from those who took blood from the ones he loved. Ezio becomes an Assassin, as lethal and skillful as one can possibly get.

When I start reading a book in which the main character is an assassin, I immediately wonder if he's evil. I bet almost everyone cringed upon the words "I am an Assassin..." that's written in the back of Assassin's Creed. I know I did. So you can only guess how satisfied I was when I found out Ezio's not evil at all. He's what I would call fierce, in every single way. He loves his family and would do anything for them. At the same time, he kills without a drop of mercy, but only when he has to. I loved that. He's the kind of guy that I would be proud of, if I were his sister.

That said, I enjoyed his relationship - if multiple, and brief, encounters over the years can be called a relationship - with Cristina. I didn't expect him to be in love, and I certainly didn't expect for him to be so caring and ... cute... with Cristina. His love life was very, very different from the game, and by that, I was disappointed. But really, since I never played Assassin's Creed, my disappointment was short-lived.

To say Renaissance was a fast-paced book would be the understatement of the year. Ezio's 17 (if I'm not mistaken) when his story as an Assassin begins. At the end of the book, he's 44 years old. No, I didn't type that wrong. He's 44 years old. This means basically half of Ezio's life is described in 500 pages. I both love and hate that. I understand that the author wanted to show us what it means to be an Assassin. It's tiring and bloody. Ezio would spend years trying to find a guy, and months figuring out how to kill him. It makes the Order of the Assassins look way tougher than it sounds.

However - and that's the negative part of my review - it leaves no space whatsoever for character development. Sure, Ezio is more mature on the last chapters than he was on the first ones, but still, to write someone else's whole life, you have to describe their experiences, how they changed over each blow that life had landed upon them... and none of this happened with Ezio. It was so fast paced I was confused sometimes. The narrator would say that Ezio spent a long time searching for someone. I thought this "long time" would be weeks, months, or even a couple of years. And then I found out this "long time" was actually 8 years. How can you describe what happened to someone as special and broken as Ezio in 8 years with less than 3 pages? If the author keeps this pace up, how old will Ezio be on the third book? 89 years old?

Now, the ending itself. I liked it, but it was definitely not what I had expected. Really, it blew me away. I never thought Ezio's mission would be so important. I won't give anything away, but if I was playing the game, I'd have to pause to just absorb the ending for a moment. Just... what the hell?

Assassin's Creed is an excellent book for those who played, and enjoyed, the games. If you never played it - like me - you can read it anyway. It's a good way of learning Ezio Auditore's story, and reading an action-packed book.
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Even though I played the game, I found this book most entertaining. I have noticed that a lot of people have read The Secret Crusade as their first book. 
Which is totally understandable due to the fact that Altair was the first assassin in the game series. However The Secret Crusade is actually the third book in the series (still a bit shocked as you are)but I think I understand why Bowden did this. In the game Revelations, you go back learning about altiar's life, which is key of the game. What i think he wanted to do was make us read The Secret Crusade (after Assassins Creed Brotherhood), before Revelations so it wouldn't confuse the reader. Reading Altair's story first was a bit confusing so I put it off. After finally reading Renaissance, which ezio learns a bit of altair and gets his amor (don't rave, i have read brotherhood as well), it sort of makes sense to learn about Altair in the third book, since he is key in the 4th book.
Sorry fellow reviews I needed to get that off my chest, because a lot of people seemed confused in the comments.
Renaissance goes well with the video game in my opinion, so I give a 5 out of 5. Please don't rant because I didn't get "every detail" in the game to make me not like this book like the other people out there today. However Bowden does a good job so I'll continue to read his series. BOOK FANTASTIC
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A book that far exceeds the games plot and story. It goes more in to detail and simply floods your mind with great thoughts. 
Its one of those books where they don't get to the point very quickly and you have to be patient with it. Do not skip pages, or even chapters if you find it boring. And unless you play the game, or have read the first book, It might not be that easy to understand like the powers of the apple and how it plays in the story. But everything else in the story is pretty easy to catch on. A simple villain and hero story, but that's how its supposed to be.If it was complex, like one of those sagas where you have to read the first one, then I would not have enjoyed this book as much as I did, because I did not read the first one. But I pretty much got the idea. This book is perfect for any assassin's creed fan, or for readers who just want a wild ride, because that is simply what this book is. Now,I must go, for I am on my way to barnes and nobles to buy the first book,so I fully enjoy the second one.
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I have one word for everyone, and that's "Awesome". 
The book is so much better than the game. In the game they only showed the basic idea of what the book is, but the book it shows us what we missed out in the game. I guess being a gamer might have its disadvantages, but if you already know the story from the game then there are no surprises left for you. No matter which assassins creed it is, it always leaves you in the end saying " What the @#$% happened?). Oliver Bowden has done a amazing job of putting a game into a book, maybe there might be a movie about this series as well. Just a bit shorter though.
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Do you want to know to story of a master assassin?

This book is about the story of a master Assassin- Ezio Auditore. The novel is based on one of the most famous game, Assassins creed, more specifically, AC brotherhood. If you played the game before, you're going to understand the story a bit deeper. Because the books story simply tells more than the game itself. If you didn't play the game before, it's your best chance to understand Assassin's creed. But you won't understand a lot of things, so I still recommend you to read the previous books, since you have a lot of catching up to do. Both the story and it's characters are well written. The story starts with Ezio's successful assassination of a evil pope, and lots of problems came after it...

One thing I really like about this book, is how it keeps the original story just like in the game but simply tells more. And the events always keep you engaged, just like how the game keeps you engaged. However, the book also narrates all the violence and killing in great detail. I like it personally, but for people who dislike violence and blood, it's going to be a hard time reading the book. The author describes almost every kill in detail. And those words are so strong it actually forms a image in my mind. Again, it is in great detail.

I will recommend this book to all AC fans, game fans, or readers that likes action/adventure book. But I strong suggest people who can't take the blood and violence not to read the book, because there is a lot of killing and fighting scenes in the book.
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I love this game, I love this story, I love this book. I've been a fan of the Assassin's Creed franchise since playing the first game.

This is the third Assassin's Creed novel by Oliver Bowden but chronologically, timeline and game release wise, it comes first. Readers are not disadvantaged at all if they have not read the first two novels.

This novel is extremely faithful to the source material, it is clear Bowden worked closely with Ubisoft Montreal as most of the dialog is word perfect when compared to the game script, events and assassinations also play out almost exactly the same (albeit probably more skilled and professional than some of us gamers did it back in the day).

The story for those unfamiliar follows Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, an Assassin from Masyaf who is stripped of his `Master Assassin' rank very early in the story due to his arrogant attitude and lack of respect for the assassin way of life - the Assassin's Creed. He is offered a chance of redemption by his master, the assassin leader Al Mualim, the agreement: Altaïr's rank and status restored in return for the lives of nine corrupt men.

What starts as a righteous vengeance mission, quickly unfolds into a deeper, darker conspiracy that leads Altaïr to question his own way of life, his skills, and his beliefs. The story is quick paced and effectively told, the chapters are short but have the right structure; Altaïr will often track a target over one chapter, assassinate them in the next, and escape in the third.

As with the previous Assassin's Creed Novels by Bowden, it does add some extra details into the tale. Primarily it adds a sub story that covers Altaïr's childhood and upbringing, these additions are very welcome and really help to develop Altaïr and gain a better understanding of his character. More importantly, this novel also covers events after the "main story". Specifically, Altaïr's voyage to Cyprus that was the present in the Bloodlines PSP game, as well as his later family life that was touched upon within the Codex pieces of Assassin's Creed 2 - These additions make up the latter half of the book and detail the closing years of Altaïr's life subtly setting up the Revelations story arc.

Simply put, this novel is very faithful to the source material. It is the most complete and in depth account of the life of Altaïr. I would recommend this book to any fan of the franchise and it is certainly a great way to recap (and expand) upon the life and times of Altaïr ibn La-Ahad in preparation for Assassin's Creed Revelations. I can't wait to read next Assassin's Creed novel by Oliver Bowden.
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No words can describe my feelings for this book. Mainly because it is Assassin's Creed for goodness sake. I love the game so much. And I really, honestly, doubt on reading it due to recent reviews on this book which I still don't understand. This book is good. The story is amazing. Altair is amazing. He is such a good role model.

I have to admit that, yes, it was followed exactly from the video game. And partly that's what makes it so nice too. Because I fangirl a lot to the video game and I like to you know, read everything back; the stories, the dialogues, the feelings. And I thought the story will end like in Assassin's Creed one but it did not. It continued and I was so surprise because I didn't expect more. I didn't know the rest of Altair's tales so reading it was a thrilling and excited experience for me.

There are so many lessons that can be learnt from the assassin's creed. That's why I really love it. It's not just a game. It's more than that. So, the book was really worth it to me, I can't stop reading it though I never want to finish the book. I want to be in the assassin's world for as long as it takes but that is unacceptable. I want to listen and understand Altair. He is so smart and wise. Never will I meet such a person like him.

Rambling. Gosh. wat am i doin. these feelings I can't help.
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I recently read Assassin’s Creed: The last Crusade by Oliver Bowden, Its about a this group of Assassin’s and Altair one of their top assassin’s fails to follow orders and gets the title of master taking away from him in front of clan. Throughout the story Altair has to prove him worthy of being named master assassin once more.

The setting takes place in 11th century Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. The assassin’s had a fortress in Masyaf where they lived and trained to be great assassin’s. The characters you will get to meet are Al Mualim (Altair’s mentor) and Abbas (Fellow assassin and good friend of Altair)and much more other characters.

One of the main conflicts in the story is that their is a constant fight between the assassins’ and the templars. Altair is then sent by al Mualim to assassinate specific leaders that are corrupted so that he can show Al Muanlim that he is worthy once more. Throughout the story Altair has this inner conflict with himself about how he thinks he's better then everybody when others say he’s not. The conflict is resolved when he starts to change make himself feel equal with the rest of the group while then knowing that his mentor Al Mualim was the who was corrupted.

In my opinion this book was great because I like reading books that take place in the 11th century and 15th century. Also its good because it shows how Altair started from the bottom and made it to the top, even he was at the top before. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a story with a good plot and setting.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10048834-assassin-s-creed, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7205214-assassin-s-creed, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8909631-assassin-s-creed

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon


3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,139,511 Ratings  ·  18,481 Reviews
Paolini, Christopher - The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon download or read it online for free
Paolini, Christopher -
The Inheritance Cycle 01 - Eragon
Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .



 

 

Reviews


I LOVE the Inheritance books. 
I had never heard of Christopher Paolini before, and was walking through Barnes and Noble when I saw this book on the end display. What caught my eye was the dragon on the front cover (I love dragons, and my "artistic eye" was captivated by the artwork). This is a great fiction/adventure/fantasy novel. Anyone who is a Lord of the Rings would truly have an appreciation for this book. I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book and began reading. The story begins with a young farm boy, named Eragon, from a small village. While hunting in the wilderness in search of food for their family, Eragon comes across a rare stone (which is later revealed to be a dragon egg). He takes it home with him and to his suprise the egg hatches and out comes Saphira. The two are instantly connected as a Dragon and Rider making them inseparable. Once Saphira is big enough to fly they set out to seek revenge for the death of Eragon's uncle who was murdered. This is just the begining of their journey throughout the land battling mysterious, evil forces. A very good book to cuddle up with on a cool fall day or during the winter when you need a good adventure to bring you out of being stuck in your house.
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Seriously, Me. Why have you not read this sooner. This beast has been sat on your TBR pile for years. What is wrong with you? Was little Ben intimidated by the size?

I FINALLY READ THIS BOOK
and
breath

I honestly think this is one of the best fantasy YA stories. Such a classic!

ERAGON YOU ARE MIGHTY FINEEEEEEE
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 Before we get started
-Please,please do not judge a book by its movie.
-I read Eragon for the first time when I was 15 years old.I've re-read it 5 times since (I didn't own many books back then so after I took advantage of my neighbor's and my cousin's library,I kept re-reading my poor collection) and every time I loved it just the same,because it was the book that introduced me to the world of fantasy.
 The story
When I got this beauty in my hands,I thought that Eragon was the dragon (laugh all you want,I deserve it).But it turns out Eragon is the teenage boy who finds the dragon named Saphira and together they are the only ones who can fight the powerful and corrupted tyrant Galbatorix.With an old storyteller as his mentor,Eragon travels in Alagaesia,finds dwarves and elves and rebels and embraces his heritage and his responsibility as the last Dragonrider,the protector of the weak and the only hope of an oppressed people.

    “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.” 
 Thoughts
I know there is a great amount of readers who found this book boring and slow paced and nothing special.Maybe if I read it for the first time as an adult I would agree,maybe I wouldn't.But as things turned out,this is the first book that took me away in uncharted lands,it was my Brom to the fantasy world.I know by heart the ancient language,I still use the dwarven curses (and it is very satisfactory),I still look at it with great affection and love.Eragon could be immature but it is expected from a teenager,and there were so many interesting and vivid characters,like Brom and Murtagh and Arya and Roran and Orik.The world building is fascinating,and there are epic battles and ancient swords and deaths and magic and prophecies.
It is a wonderful journey to embrace one's destiny and purpose.

    “Books are my friends, my companions.They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”


And that's exactly what Eragon is.I can't guarantee that you will like this book,but you should give it a chance to bewitch you and make you a Dragonrider!
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I hadn't read this in a super long time, so it was fun to come back to. This is still one of my favorite YA fantasy series! The writing is a bit clunky at times, but then I remember that the author was only a teenager when he wrote this and everything becomes just straight up impressive.

Yes, there are obvious Tolkien influences (Aragorn Eragon + Arwen Arya the elf, the urgal/uruk similarities, and a lot of other names)... but I kind of like it when authors can create entirely new worlds that are inspired by material I already love. Like this book is waaaaay more than just LOTR with dragons. The whole world is gorgeous, incredibly detailed, and has stuck with me just as clearly as Middle Earth, Hogwarts, or Narnia.

But oh my goodness: DO NOT LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK. Saphira sounds like a deranged Yoda. I don't even know what that narrator was doing...

Also, the movie totally butchered this book.
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A wonderful rec from my GR friend, Anish :) Thank you! :)

Also a super great BR with Sweet Pinky , Lovely Saphy's Trainer and Gentleman Grumpy Cat :)

I saw the movie and loved it, but when I heard about the book recently, I was curious together with a slight feeling of worry as reading the book after watching the movie adaption works quite bad for me. But I wasn't disappointed, this book is wonderful!

RL keeps messing up with me, so, sorry in advance for a short review. This wonderful books is worth way more praises.

Christopher Paolini's book charmed and drew me in with wonderful world building, interesting adventures in the world of elves, dwarves and other mythical creatures. The amazing thing is that the author started writing this book when he was a teen, 15 years old and his skill shows a lot as he managed to lure me into world of "Aragon" , charming with magic, action, creepy baddies, wonderful goodies, monsters, dragons and way more.

The journey to the magical and mystical world of "Eragon" began, it's full of adventures, toils and wonder, so call your dragon and lets explore this world together :)
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I learned that this book kicks butt i mean common ppl you see this explosion in a forest gather up the guts to go see what it was and its a hue piece of saphire (or is it?) well then eragon goes around trying to sell it because his family is poor but know one wants it because it came out of the spine! (for those that dont know what te spine is its a collection of mountians only the brave go in but only the lucky come out) i seen the movie and i literally wanted to send a P.O. email to him i swear he didnt get one thing right. first of all its not a burn with a spiraling dragon its a scale on his palm.. seocndly the dragon took moths togrow so instead of making this newborn fly into the sky and then amazingly come down all grown up yeaa what a piece of crap the movie was.. but third thing is about how brom says that rajak is tough and both movie and book and it takes forever for them to kill the rajak in the book but brom and eragon goes and takes them out within 10 minutes after saying that.. totally contradicting thierself.. and the director cut so many places out of it he didnt even introduse the witch .. who was a big character in second book... i mean did the director even read the book i want a god foresaken remake of the move its nothing like the book i hated the movie loved the book... god will thier ever be a smart director or do you consist of bringing idiots to hollywood grrrr.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/113436.Eragon

The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie 


4.27  ·  Rating details ·  78,814 Ratings  ·  2,643 Reviews
The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie  download it here or read online for free
The First Law 02 - Before They Are Hanged
by Joe Abercrombie
Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.
This story is a trilogy, so if you haven't read one, this are the links to the other books:






Reviews


"We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged" - Heinrich Heine

Before They Are Hanged is Abercrombie's second entry into the twisted and grim world of The First Law. It follows on from the three story arcs that The Blade itself stylishly led towards. Bayaz, the first of the Magi is venturing to the end of the Earth with his bizarre collection of distinctive personnel for reasons unbeknown to all apart from the Mage himself. Superior Glokta has traveled South to infiltrate the politics of an allied nation, hoping to find out what happened to his ill-fated predecessor and preparing defences for the attacks soon to be initiated by an advancing and ultimately imminent rival army. The remaining narrative intertwines the stories of the rough-living, legendary warrior group of Threetrees and the Dogman with the troubles in the North where the Union is tackling the Northern King's great forces. Here we follow the action of "the worst-armed, worst-trained and worst-led army in the world"

For one of the narratives arcs, three points of view presentations are followed, often within the same chapter switching between actions and opinions. The second has two viewpoints from very different characters summarising the happenings in the unwelcoming harshness of the cold real world with battles looming. The final is presented by Superior Glotka alone. A former dashing fencer who was tortured, crippled and now is an inquisitor/ torturer. Trust me, you would have to wake up pretty early in the morning to outsmart this gentleman! He is perhaps the finest creation in this series, for his tortuous past, achingly uncomfortable present and also his internal monolgues which are as highly gritty as they are humorous. I mentioned he is the only POV section in this arc, but his internal thoughts are often so comically different from his statements and actions that it is like two amazing viewpoints. His character is outstandingly well written. There is also a pretty distinctive juxtaposition in his presentation of events and environments. He still sees beauty in the world in his descriptions of things and then a second later could be commanding a subordinate to cut off a traitors body part.

I very rarely read other reviews before writing my own, but I did catch one snippet from a status update that was very apt. It stated that Abercrombie's stories are full of "bastards that grow on you." I think that that is a perfect analogy. I honestly shouldn't care about most of the people written here. Why do I truly care about vain, flamboyant, selfish officer Jezal when something bad happens to him? Perhaps he deserves all he gets for his previous outlook and analysis of existence. Why do I care about Logan Ninefingers? He seems like an average warrior guy with scars encompassing his body, who people say was pretty handy with a sword and did some damning things in the past. I really cared about the majority of the main characters. Although a few fantasy character tropes are presented, spoilt King in waiting, mages, Devils etc... Nothing at all seems cliche and that cannot be said for a lot of modern fantasy works.

My review of The Blade Itself raved about the characters and from my previous paragraph, you can see my opinions there haven't changed. If anything, my views have been reinforced and heightened about how much of a knack Abercrombie has for this aspect of his fantasy work. Although not really too negative and off-putting, I did comment on the lack of action throughout the first book. Action wise, Joe truly has raised the bar high here. Battles, sieges, and The Bloody Nine - all are expertly presented and adrenaline pumping. It doesn't all need to be full guts gory and bloody to have an emotional dark impact either, and there are a few moments here that are poignant in their effectiveness for that reason. I call this the (just made this up but it sounds cool) "pushing Bran from the Tower technique," very intricate actions that have long lasting effects even though the act in question was simple. In addition to the lack of action, my other grating issue with The Blade Itself was the world and the histories, although not hollow, did seem a bit unfulfilled. I was unsatisfied that there was still no map, but a lot of the above has been rectified here. Most of Bayaz et al's scenes are travel based (the end of the world isn't close) so we are presented cool stories by the characters to pass the time at campfires. Bayaz talking about the history of the world, his relationships with other important, almost legendary figures and his past failings are memorable. A scene that stood out to me was very simple, perhaps twelve pages where an ensemble discusses their scars. So not only have the already complex characters become deeper, the world and its past are filled in pretty well here. There is also a bit of a "love story" here to look forward to.

I was highly satisfied with the majority of what I read here. Abercrombie is a genius is his moulding of characters and of all things "grim". Normally, the ending of a story can add a star to my rating. The finale to one of the arcs of this book had the opposite effect. I will not go into details but I will be interested in the comments to see if people agree and/or know the narrative I am discussing. I felt let down and almost like I had wasted my time waiting for that culmination. This is probably a 8.5/10 but "Last Argument of Kings" must give me a reason for the arc ending this way. If it does, I will re-evaluate what I have written in this little section. To conclude, this trilogy seems to be a character driven fantasy that is unequaled in the genre. Gripping, thrilling, gritty and pretty damn awesome.

Glokta is an excellent torturer. Some would even say the best, but somewhere down his crooked path he made some rather nasty enemies. Such is life......

So, as a polite death sentence, he gets sent on a mission that is suicidal and near impossible to complete. Anybody else would fail. However, this is Sand Dan Glockta: the most ingenious torturer and manipulator to ever wear the Union’s colours. You can’t simply get rid of him. His enemies have made a terrible mistake in underestimating him. Physically, he is very weak. Mentally, he is brilliant and ruthless. You’d be a fool to cross him.

A party of haters

Abercrombie certainly likes to give a dark twist on what could have been a conventional fantasy series. Instead of having a company of friends and allies, there is a company of misfits who absolutely detest each other. Bayaz, the first of the Magi, has brought them together to recover a deadly weapon; it’s clearly for his own ends, but he has concocted a persuasive lie about his intentions. Despite his supposed moral superiority, he is just as bad as the rest. Indeed, the group’s members are mean, selfish and they’re all killers. This makes for an amusing, and somewhat unusual, group of travelers. The chances of a member being murdered are just as high as the party working together.

As the novel progresses this dynamic begins to shift. The hatred doesn’t evaporate, though it does develop into a mutual need to succeed and survive. They learn to rely on each other’s talents, and even go as far as to pay the odd compliment on each other’s killing skills. Such comradery! In the end, they’ve got each other’s backs. Either that or there all dead. It was a slow development that was appropriate to their personalities; it would have been very strange if these guys suddenly became best mates overnight. These just aren't the sort of people that have friends, at least, not for very long.

It’s all about Glokta, the nastiest bastard in fantasy.
Superior Glotka was once a hero. Those days are long gone. He now enjoys to torture in the same ways he was once tortured. But, he’s not malicious. It’s his job to torture. Someone’s got to do it, right? So why not an expert? Why not get some fun out of it? Except on his mission he learns to torture people in another way; he manipulates them emotionally and forces them to aid in his hopeless defence of Dogoska whilst he tries to uncover who murdered his predecessor. It’s not an easy task, but Glokta can handle it. He’s one tough, remorseless, bastard.

"Honour, eh? What the hell is that anyway? Every man thinks it's something different. You can't drink it. You can't fuck it. The more of it you have the less good it does you, and if you've got none at all you don't miss it."

I love his characterisation; it’s dark and powerful, but most importantly it’s utterly unique. I feel like I should hate this guy, though somehow he comes across as sorrowful. He’s a pragmatist; he knows what his weaknesses are, and he knows what he is. No other writer I’ve come across in fantasy can write such villainous characters that can so easily be sympathised with. Mark Lawrence certainly couldn’t pull it off in his Broken Empire Trilogy. I think Abercrombie has earnt his reputation as King of grimdark fantasy. What’s not to love? There’s war, political drama and evil vs evil. These early books are so much better that his newer stuff!

Don’t write off the fantasy tropes just yet, all you unbelievers. This trilogy shows that there is still an enormous amount of life left in some of them.

This dark sequel to The Blade Itself is everything I hoped it would be. I would be hard pressed to select a favourite out of the multiple plot threads featured in Before They Are Hanged, but I’m probably partial to the sequences featuring the Named Men. Again, there is an old school sense of wonder to this novel, despite the modern fantasy grittiness. There are some nasty surprises between these pages and many issues aren’t resolved in quite the fashion that the reader might have expected, or even had hoped for. But, as Logen Ninefingers would almost certainly say: you have to be realistic about these things. A great mix of epic and heroic, fantasy-heads can do far worse than giving this trilogy a spin. Unless they are averse to some swearing, violence, dark humour and the occasional rather, um, unrefined and comical hop in the sack. It is at times an uneasy and unsettling read, yet I can’t help but feel that this is part of its charm.

The action scenes are relentless and splendidly written, albeit somewhat gruesome on occasion. The book showcases everything from minor skirmishes to full scale pitched warfare. There is even a siege thrown in for good measure. Two wars being fought on two separate fronts inevitably equal a high body count. Abercrombie certainly appears to have a knack for this kind of thing. You’d think that the character development would suffer in all this chaos and madness. Oh, how wrong you’d be!

As the second novel in a trilogy, this could easily be seen as a bridging work. However, I enjoyed it even more than the first. There’s certainly a lot more going on. The Blade Itself was very good, but it didn’t really go anywhere and left the reader somewhat mystified as to where the story was headed. Before They Are Hanged rectifies this in spades, and there is a lot of progression. Here’s hoping Last Argument of Kings continues this run of good form and closes the trilogy in spectacular fashion.

Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie, say that he's a hell of a writer. With this, he proves that he earned his status as a Named Man of fantasy.

This picks up where "TBI" left off, and carries the characters and plot away in new and unpredictable directions. There's political intrigue, betrayal, torture, fights galore, broken hearts and twisted limbs, love, sex, laughs, and going back to the mud. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll refrain from talking about the travails of Collem West in Angland, of the Dogman and the rest of Ninefingers' old crew, of Glokta in a no-win situation on the edge of the Gurkish Empire, and of Logen and Bayaz's group on a journey to the End of the World.

Once again, Abercrombie deftly uses the tropes of heroic fiction in ways both satisfying and surprising. The fight scenes are top-notch, approaching the Bernard Cornwell-level of excellence. Abercrombie keeps the story moving, but it is driven by the characters. He never falls victim to the fantasy trap of privileging world-building over character and plot, or of using made-up words when perfectly good English ones will do (Stephen Erikson, I'm looking at you!). I learned more about the social structure of the Union and the North, but it was through the characters and not through needless exposition. The violent meritocracy of the North is contrasted with the rigid class stratification of the Union, with serious results.
Source: www.nytimes.com, www.amazon.com, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/902715.Before_They_Are_Hanged