Book Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

9750937Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 978-1594485183
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Pub. Date:  June 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/ Fantasy/ Historical Romance/Paranormal Romance/ Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:   The latest from Ann Brashares, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a magical story of reincarnation and a love that lasts more than a lifetime Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. But just when Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

My Reveries and Ramblings: My Name is Memory is one of those books where you read the first page, and you immediately know that it will be amazing. There is so much I have to say about this book, so bear with me as I try and collect my thoughts and communicate them to you.
I have a not-so-small obsession with stories that involve reincarnation and romance. Something about soulmates and love lasting lifetimes just warms my heart and makes me smile. There is a drawback, however, to reading so many stories like this; they tend to all start to mesh together because most of the time they are all too similar. This book is not like that at all! The story was so original. It was so grounded in reality! It barely felt like a paranormal romance. In fact, by the end I felt like it could totally be possible.
The book switches between Lucy and Daniel’s POV; It also alternates between lives. There are many chapters dedicated to Daniel telling the story of his past lives and how he came to meet Sophia (Lucy) in all the other lives. He can recognize her soul even though her body changes with each life. Her soul becomes a beacon throughout his lives. However, they usually are far apart in age and it almost always ends in tragedy. It was painful to watch Daniel in his past lives try so hard to be with her, make her happy, make her know, and to apologize for what he did to her in that first life they met, only to fail again and again.
Daniel and Lucy in the present spend most of book apart. We see Daniel falling in love with Lucy through the stories of his past life. When Daniel transfers to Lucy’s school, she immediately becomes obsessed with him and that scares her. It’s the insta-love syndrome, but the heroine isn’t giving in to it (like in almost every other book), instead she seriously questions her sanity. When he approaches her after two years at the end of senior year, she remembers some of a past life with him. That is what causes her to run. She leaves him, heartbroken, because she is scared she has finally gone insane. The rest of the book takes place in the six years following the incident. She uses this time to flesh out her thoughts and feelings and find out the mystery surrounding Daniel. But neither of them realize that a danger from the past has been following them and wants revenge. This danger could tear them apart once again.
I feel so bad for Lucy. She is a very realistic person. The fact that she is being haunted by memories that knows didn’t occur in her lifetime very nearly convinces her she belongs in an institution. She spends a lot of the book trying to come up with an explanation for her love for a man that she’s barely spoken a word to, and the strange visions and memories.
There was only one teeny tiny thing about this book I didn’t really like that much. The pacing was inconsistent. The beginning was good and super interesting. Then the entire middle was long and ever so slightly tedious. The end picked up, though. But the information presented in the middle is extremely important for the series. It sets up the story and the history; plus the reader gets to see Lucy and Daniel fall in love. So it was still enjoyable.
What I really loved about this book (other than the reincarnation romance part), was that Ann Brashares explored the consequences of having memory as a special power. Daniel’s character changes throughout his lives. He learns and grows like most people do, but in many lifetimes, carrying those experiences over from life to life. His love and dedication to being with Lucy strengthens with each lifetime.
Ann Brashares has written a beautiful novel that touched my soul. While reading this book, I realized one of the reasons why I love reading about love is because it IS so beautiful. Words can caress the heart, bring tears to your eyes, pull at your heartstrings, make you stop breathing, make you laugh until your side hurts, and so much more. There were moments where I felt like crying. Their love was so beautiful it tore at my heart.
This book is not stand alone. It’s the beginning of an epic love story. The only sad thing is that now I have to wait for the sequel (THANK GOD it is a series), which from what I’ve heard, may or may not happen. Let me just say, IT BETTER! I’m serious, I will write a letter to the publisher if i have to!
So my recommendation, is that you stop reading whatever it is that you are reading right now, AND READ THIS!!!!

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My Name is Memory

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Book Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

6882274Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Series: The Mockingbirds #1
ISBN: 978-0316090537
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: November 2, 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Realistic Fiction / Contemporary
Pages: 339
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds. Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way–the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself–you fight for it.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  The Mockingbirds is about date rape. The story begins with Alex waking up naked in Carter’s room with no memory of what happened the previous night. With her friends’ help, she goes to The Mockingbirds, a secret student run police force. The Mockingbirds are The Law amongst the students. In addition to taking Alex’s case on, they help protect her from Carter.
Alex begins the story a victim of a terrible crime. Over the course of the book, she slowly regains power over her life. She even acknowledges the fact that she’s letting the rape take over her life. Her schedule, eating habits, and personal life were all dictated by Carter. The Mockingbirds helped her get over all of that.
Martin, a member of the Mockingbirds, really helped Alex. Even though he somewhat blamed himself for what happened to Alex. Actually, many of Alex’s friends blamed themselves for what happened to her, even though it was no one’s fault but Carter’s. Martin was so sweet. I really liked how the romance in this book wasn’t overpowering. The rape and Alex’s transformation were the main points in the plot. The romance was more of a compliment to the story; it wasn’t necessary but at the same time it was much appreciated. Of course, their relationship wasn’t easy. Alex was raped, so its only natural for her to be hesitant about having a relationship with a guy. However, since Martin and Alex were good friends before she was raped, it wasn’t as difficult as it could have been if he was just some guy that asked her out.
The Mockingbirds was so wonderfully written! The dialogue was never awkward or choppy; it flowed nicely. The plot was well developed and it too was well paced. My favorite part, though, was not the plot but the actual writing. Ms. Whitney’s own experience clearly influenced her writing. By writing The Mockingbirds through Alex’s point of view, the reader can feel what Alex feels on a much more personal level than if she had written it in 3rd person. Ms. Whitney also uses quotes and draws inspiration from To Kill a Mockingbird. After reading The Mockingbirds, I want to go back and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Mockingbirds is a thought provoking novel involving rape and a girl’s decision to take a stand. I was reluctant to read it at first, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of serious books. I read to get away from all that. But I couldn’t help the fact that almost every review I read praised the book to the point where I said, “I might as well…” So far I’ve read the book twice, and loved it both times.

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The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1)

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