Review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Hodder

Format: Hardcover

Released: February 3rd, 2011

Grade rating: B

Description: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Review: I’ll start off by saying that I have been waiting for this book ever since I saw it on Goodreads. I love dystopian books, and with LOVE as the theme? It’s like a dream come true.

Delirium tells the story of Lena Haloway. She lives in a world where boys and girls are segregated. (Sorry, just learned about the Civil War and that word came to mind.) Boys and girls get an operation when they’re 18 that prevents them from ever falling in love, which is also called amor deliria nervousa. Basically, it’s a disease. It drives people insane and causes them to do irrational  things. Lena cannot wait for her operation because her mother committed suicide because of the disease, and Lena can feel it swimming around in her inside.

Life in Portland is pretty different than what it is today. Oliver doesn’t address the year, but apparently there was a war between the love-crazed and the ‘healthy’. (Am I the only one who wants a book written about the events that lead us to this strange, dystopic world?) Only the rich have working cars and appliances, since oil is so scarce. Fans are used in exchange for air conditioning. The government controls what books, websites, music and movies you can experience. The US is isolated from other countries, and Portland is isolated from the US. Everything around Portland is called the Wilds. Basically, everything is different.

But then she meets Alex, a boy who she thinks is cured. So, it doesn’t hurt to talk to him, right ? Since he’s cured, he has a match, so she knows it can’t go any further than just friendship. Then she finds out that he isn’t from Portland. He’s from the Wilds. So he’s not cured and has feelings for her. Her operation is 3 months away, and she’s falling in love with an Invalid.  I thought Lena was a really great main character/ heroine. She’s torn between her old, safe world that she’s  known forever, and this new, dangerous world that Alex and Hana have introduced to her. Lying, sneaking out, and- oh my- kissing boys! are now what Lena does in her free time. She knows she has the disease running through her veins, but should she go with it or fight it? I really loved Lena because she reminded me of myself. Always playing by the rules, doing as she’s told. She’s been taught that love is a disease because what else is there is believe in? Unlike Lena, I’ve never had an illegal love affair, but I would do the same thing is I was in her shoes.

The world Oliver creates is simply phenomenal. I know there’s been a kick in dystopian novels in 2011, but I will always compare them with this beauty. Everything about it was unique, from the street names to the police officers.

And the writing? Oh my God. I have never read more beautiful writing than Lauren Oliver’s. Her sentences are like song lyrics; everything just flows together effortlessly.I enjoyed the little tidbits added at the top of each chapter from The Book of Shh. The Book of Shh is the rules and guidelines for keeping a successful society. The ending was the best ending I have read in a while. Oh my lord Jesus, I finished it two weeks ago, and it still gives me chills.

 

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Review – Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

Review – Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

Title: Cleopatra’s Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: September 2009


Summary (from Amazon): 

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian’s bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.

Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.

                                                                   ~~~MY THOUGHTS~~~

This story is about the children of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and what happens to them after the death of their parents. From Egypt they are taken to Rome by Octavian where they live with Octavia in her villa and are raised as roman citizens. As the years pass, one thought stays with them: Will they ever return to Egypt? and what do their futures hold?

Selene is very observant and I enjoyed reading the story from her perspective. She sees the differences between Egypt and Rome, the class structure and the slavery issue in Rome. Seeing as how Octavian has kept Juba alive, she knows that she will be kept alive if only she can prove herself useful to Octavian in some way.

While reading, I could tell that a lot of research went into the book to make things accurate. The maps, character list and glossary in the book were really useful. I didn’t get overwhelmed by some of the language and the many characters that appear in the story. Also the characters were all true to their personalities of what I knew of them before reading the book. Definitely worth a read for historical fiction fans!

Rating: 4 Stars

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman


Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Book
Source: B&N
Buy: Amazon ● The Book Depository ● B&N ● iTunes ● Kobo
Goodreads ● Website

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition’, and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn’t stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.


My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.



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Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman


Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Book
Source: B&N
Buy: Amazon ● The Book Depository ● B&N ● iTunes ● Kobo
Goodreads ● Website

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition’, and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn’t stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.


My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.



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