Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Goodreads Summery

The acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling author presents a spellbinding tale of a mother's tragic loss and one man's last chance at gaining salvation. Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth? 

One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen. 

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child. 

Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish? 

Once again, Jodi Picoult mesmerizes and enthralls readers with this story of redemption, justice, and love.

Issues regarding the death penalty, blended families, weight, mothers and daughters, sexual abuse, organ donation and religion.

My Review:

I’m probably one of the very few who would say this, but I hated My Sister’s Keeper!

The reason why I say this is because it made me very hesitant to read other books by Jodi Picoult. Finally after 2 years, I decided to try Change of Heart by her and all I can say is: Wow. I was hooked from the very first chapter!

I loved everything about this book.

I’m not really a fan of having multiple narrators, but I became genuinely interested in these characters. It was really interesting to see how they play out in a story that wasn’t really about them. Sure you get to see June (the mother)’s perspective sometimes in the story, but the real storytellers are Sean’s spiritual advisor Michael, his lawyer Maggie and his friend and cellmate Lucius . I remember getting really excited whenever the narrators interact. That’s how I was into these characters.

Jodi Picoult does a great job in giving each character a distinctive voice. Each of them responds to things differently and they have their own perspectives on life and faith. These characters felt really real. You can feel their emotions. I specially felt very sad whenever I read June’s perspective because it really shows how the people you loved and lost never go away.

Remember when I said the story isn’t really about the narrators? Well, it’s because it’s not. The story is really about Sean who killed a father and a daughter. And it’s also about the mother who deals with the pain of losing them while also trying to save her other daughter. However, as I said, I’ve become so invested with the narrators that it didn’t bother me who was telling the story.

Some people may get annoyed of the sudden shift between the narrators, but I didn’t find a problem with it.
The story is amazing. It’s about loss, faith, forgiveness, and injustice. Sometimes the world is unfair, but it’s okay as long as you have something to fight for.

I highly recommend this book especially if you are a Jodi Picoult fan.

Final Grade: 5/5

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire, the fellow-up to the highly popular The Hunger Games certainly does not disappoint. I loved revisiting this world and found myself more emotionally involved with the characters than I did with the first book. Suzanne Collins is definitely one of my favorite authors now!

The plot structure was a little different from the first one. I like it when authors don’t fallow the same formula when they write a series; it gives every book a special flavor. While the Hunger Games was marking the beginning of a greater storyline, we get to go deeper in this book and explore new things and themes that were not addressed in the first one.

The characters were amazing! Katniss is a great main character because she doesn’t try to be anything but herself. She knows her own flaws, but doesn’t care enough to try and be better. She only has one thing in mind, and that is keeping the people she loves safe. Peeta is a great character too. It has been a long time since I've read a character that is genuinely good. It’s not as bad as some people thing. Sometimes we need characters like that in our books and even in our own lives. The rest of the characters were amazing as well. I don’t have much to say about them because I didn’t get to see enough of them, but I can say that Haymitch is one of my favorite characters.

I love Katniss’s voice. Collins knows how to make you feel the character’s emotions. I felt like I was there with Katniss. I usually don’t like books with first person narration and this one is the first to make adore that style of storytelling and writing. That’s saying something! The ending doesn’t bother me that much because I’m reading Mockingjay right now, but I can see how readers must’ve felt when Mockingjay wasn’t released yet.

The thing I found was annoying about Catching Fire is that sometimes it summarizes some of the events that I wanted more details about. This is something I didn’t like in the first book as well, but there was more of it in Catching Fire. However, this is just a minor complaint. And because I’m a character person, it bothered me a little that we didn’t get to see more of the other characters like Gale or Prim, but it didn’t change how I felt about this book.

This book is certainly for everyone! If there is a series that deserves all the hype it’s getting, the Hunger Games is definitely it! If you haven’t read the Hunger Games yet, you’re missing out one of the best YA series ever published!

Final Rating

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: As You Wish

Goodreads Summery

Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for.

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce was just what I expected to be. I really love Jackson Pearce. I think she’s an amazing person, and I do fallow her on Youtube. However when I read the back of this book, I knew exactly where it was going.

Things I Liked About the Book

The characters. I really like Viola as a character. She wasn’t perfect or annoying. She was just a person who makes mistakes and has flaws just like any other human. She was very relatable. I really could feel her desire to belong and how she didn’t know what it means to be empy or whole. I think everyone feel that way in some point of their lives. You don’t know where you belong in this world and you don’t feel that being yourself is good enough.

I also liked Jinn. He was a fun character and unique in his own way. He also adds this question that what if your life wasn’t as perfect as you thought it is, that it is okay to just be normal and flawed. Although Jinn were the supernatural creature, he was the most human of all.

I liked the rest of the characters as well, and I’m so sad that we didn’t get to see more of them.
The writing had its flaw, but it’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed the book so much. I was never bored while reading it. The pacing is very good and it felt so quick. And I love Pearce's portrayal of teenagers. It felt so real with the way they talk and act.

Things I Didn’t Like About the Book

The first thing is the cover. I really, really, really hate the cover! Reasons: It doesn’t hold any significance to the plot what so ever, it doesn’t do the book’s justice, and it’s the reason why it took me so long to buy the book!

Like I said before, I knew where the story is going. It was very predictable in my opinion. Although it had a unique premise, it didn’t add anything special to it. I wished it focused more on the jinn’s world and added more conflict into the story. It instead focused more on the love story between Jinn and Viola, and the ending didn’t really satisfy me because it felt like an open ending. Not all my questions were answered.

My biggest complaint is the love story itself. I do think it was adorable, but it wasn’t believable. I thought they fall in love too deep, too fast. I just didn’t buy it that this girl whom Jinn has known for only few days made him question his own life the way it happened in the story, especially considering that they didn’t spend much time together. As for Viola, it was even more unconvincing on her part. She was deeply in love with Lawrence that it seemed impossible for her to let go. Yet after Jinn showed up, it seemed so easy. What she couldn’t give up on for 2 years seemed to be easily forgotten because of someone she has known for only few days.

How Would I Have Preferred the Story to Be

Okay, I’m not a writer, and I don’t consider myself better than the wonderful Jackson Pearce or any other published author out there, but you have to admit it, some readers intend to fantasize the plot when they read the back of the book or the first few chapters. I’m one of these people. Feel free to skip this section if you don’t want to read my fantasies.

I honestly would have preferred it if it was a friendship story instead of a love story. Even after I reached half way through the book, Viola and Jinn didn’t seem more than friends to me. The love connection, though I knew it was coming, happened so suddenly. I imagined the love connection would happen slowly as Viola gets over her issues, gets to know more about the jinn world, even goes into the jinn world, and then falls in love with Jinn. The book would have been longer that way, maybe 400 pages or so.

Well, these were my fantasies. Don’t take it too seriously.


Definitely for teens. Most of them would relate to Viola and enjoy Jinn’s sarcasm and sensitivity. I think both boys and girls can enjoy this book, not so sure about the boys though. Adults who enjoy stories of a teenage girl falling in love with a paranormal creature will enjoy this as well.


Quick and entertaining read with some significant themes to it.

Final Rating: 3.5/5

I really liked it. I can imagine myself reading it again, and I’m looking forward to reading Sisters Red because I heard that one is so much better.