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Book Review

Rebecca

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier
on December 17th 2013
Genres: Classic, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 393
Format: Paperback
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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

It’s no wonder Alfred Hitchcock adapted Rebecca for the silver screen.

Daphne du Maurier’s gothic tale of horror follows the tumultuous relationship between Maxim de Winter and his second, much younger, wife, whom he meets while virtually escaping the memories he has of his home in England, Manderley.

Maxim quickly marries his young bride and whisks her away to Manderley from Monte Carlo, where she is a paid companion to Mrs. Van Hopper.

Only the second Mrs. de Winter does not find herself welcome at the estate, especially by the private maid to Maxim’s dead first wife, Rebecca, and house manager, Mrs. Danvers.

Mrs. Danvers is very creepy, showing up at the oddest of times.

du Maurier’s description of Mrs. Danvers is enough to scare the hell out of me.

The newest Mrs. de Winter soon feels that Maxim doesn’t truly love her, as she firmly believes he is obsessed with the deceased Rebecca, who holds power over Mr. and Mrs. de Winter’s relationship from beyond her watery grave.

After much heartache and humiliation, Mrs. de Winter ultimately wins Maxim’s love and trust upon their becoming forever bound by a secret that comes to light months after the marriage.

The only thing I will say bothered me about this book, and it’s most likely because of the time in which it was written, but there is a minor character, Ben, who is described as a ‘half-wit’ and other derogatory terms.

Normally, I could overlook details like that description, but since my brother is autistic, I am especially sensitive to material regarding the mentally challenged.

However, Rebecca gets a resounding five stars for its amazing story and character development.

I cannot wait to watch Hitchcock’s take on the novel!

Love, Maggie

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Book Review

Saga, Vol. 1

Saga, Vol. 1Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics on October 23rd 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: Paper Girls, Vol. 1

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Collecting: Saga 1-6

My first foray into the world of the graphic novel, Saga blew my mind – in an excellent way.

I did have a sneaking suspicion that I’d enjoy Saga, as it was recommended to me by a bunch of avid readers and bloggers.

Let me just say that this book very much exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Saga’s plot begins with a bang – instant action. The book opens with the all too realistic birth of a baby girl, who in turn narrates the story about the plight of her fugitive parents as well as her childhood.

The story is surprisingly inspirational – the power of love is so very strong, as is the bond between parents and child.

On the run from the wars that ravage their homelands, Marko and Alana take newborn Hazel and begin their adventures as a trio.

The first volume in this epic tale of parents and child, Saga is intriguing, suspenseful, and dramatic. Virtually everything that happens in the book took me by surprise; I certainly didn’t guess where the plot would eventually lead.

Saga features well-developed characters who are either easy to love or easy to despise. I fell in love with baby Hazel, who doesn’t speak, of course, but tells the tale from her point of view, as though she is an omniscient being.

I even liked the mercenary character, The Will, who is tracking the little family on the run. I loved the names of the characters as well, especially those beginning with ‘the’.

Fiona Staples is a wonderfully gifted artist – her drawings are flawless and lifelike. The Stalk, another mercenary character, gave me the creeps SO bad – she’s a messed up looking huge spider! The attention Staples paid to the details of The Stalk’s sickening looks is divine!

Love, Maggie

Book Review

I Am Malala

I Am MalalaI Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
on October 8th 2013
Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
Pages: 327
Format: Paperback
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I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala is a beautifully written memoir recounting the violent relationship of the Taliban with the people of primarily Pakistan. This relationship is akin to that of an abusive domestic one, as the militant group seeks to isolate, control, and terrorize its mostly unwilling subjects.

Malala describes an idyllic existence in Pakistan’s Swat Valley prior to the arrival of the Taliban. Her words slowly take apart her beloved homeland, as militants destroy important ancient landmarks and attempt to rewrite history and infiltrate Pakistan’s rich culture.

Named for Malalai of Maiwand, Pakistan’s version of Joan of Arc, Malala is a special girl who is very close with her family, especially her father, the founder of the school she attends. Malala and her friends find respite from the near constant bombings and shootings on the streets of their city at school six days per week.

Unfortunately, Malala’s school and father are under threat from the Pakistani Taliban to close the school’s doors, as its values do not coincide with those of Sharia Law.

Following in the footsteps of her beloved father, Malala began speaking out against militancy and championing the rights of girls to be educated and giving interviews to various news outlets at age eleven.

Amid suicide bombings and the mass blasting of schools, Malala perseveres, continuing to attend school despite constant threats to cease her education.

The Taliban virtually takes over Pakistan, while authorities stand idly by, merely allowing mass killings, all in the name of Sharia. Malala bravely asserts in an interview that the Taliban “are abusing our religion.”

In October 2012, Malala was targeted and brutally shot by a member of the Taliban, along with two girls sitting on either side of her, due to her standing up for the education of girls and speaking out against terrorism.

Miraculously, Malala and her two classmates survived the attack and escaped Pakistan. Malala is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and continues to advocate for universal education through her personal fund.

I never thought I would be interested in reading Malala’s whole story, but I was captivated by her words. Not only am I in awe of Malala’s accomplishments and good deeds, I am amazed and deeply saddened by the destruction of her homeland and culture.

Malala tells her story in such a way that makes it easy for the reader to empathize with her and her situation. As I read I Am Malala, I imagined what it would be like if my home country, the US, were overrun by terrorists who want to destroy everything that I love and believe in.

I admire Malala’s courage very much and truly hope she is able to one day return to her beloved Pakistan.

Love, Maggie

Book Review

Paper Girls, Vol. 1

Paper Girls, Vol. 1Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson
Series: Paper Girls #1
Published by Image Comics on April 5th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
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Also by this author: Saga, Vol. 1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.
Collects Paper Girls #1-5.

I absolutely adore Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga series and decided to give Paper Girls a chance. While I expected the book to begin slowly for some reason, punches of action occur almost instantly. The story centers around, you guessed it – paper girls – coming of age in the late ’80s.

My favorite of the girl gang is MacKenzie Coyle, a rebel with a cause, made even more mysterious by being a cigarette smoker, even though she’s a teen. MacKenzie and company become pals with Erin, a younger girl new to the paper route circuit.

The best part of this story is that it is nothing like I anticipated – it exceeded all of my lowly expectations. A mystery begins to unfurl almost immediately, with the girls racing against time to seemingly save the world.

The paper girls definitely experience a great deal of trauma in this tale as a result of sudden changes in the world the morning after Halloween. The girls are met with danger as well as potential allies in this set-in-the-past-but-futuristic-at-the-same-time graphic novel.

The muted colors of the illustrations didn’t blow me away, but as I made my way through Paper Girls, I realized the color scheme fits with the time period in which the story is set.

Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with each character, even the ones who only stick around for a short time, as well as with the story – it has an excellent concept that is brilliantly executed. I can’t wait to get my eyes on volume two!

Love, Maggie