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Life Expectancy

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Jimmy Tock begins his story by telling of how he was born from what his parents have told him. He describes how his grandfather had predicted five terrible dates in Jimmy’s life as well as his weight, height, and other various things without even meeting Jimmy. After this, Jimmy is born and his grandfather dies. Jimmy’s father, having witnessed this all, recorded the dates and left for the expectant fathers lounge. Here, he waits only minutes before another man, a clown named Konrad Beezo, is told that his wife died while giving birth to his son. In a mad rage, Beezo draws a gun and shoots the nurse. Jimmy’s dad attempts to calm him down and only succeeds in stopping himself from getting shot. After that, Beezo goes after the doctor and shoots him before taking his son and leaving the hospital as well as Snow Village. After Jimmy tells the reader this, it skips to when the first of the terrible days started to come up. Grandma Roweena tells of many gruesome things that could happen due to this. Finally, after much debate on what to do, he ends up going to the library. As it turns out though, a man he met in the street is in there and shoots the librarian. Jimmy is taken hostage as well as Lorrie Hicks, an optimistic woman who had come into the library after Jimmy. Both hostages, Jimmy and Lorrie attempt to escape while the man is searching through newspaper files. This, at most, only gives them a steel nail file. They soon end up finding out the man’s real plan as they meet three other men who are working with him. They are planning to blow up places where Cornelius Snow had his so called evil concentrated. As they are following the group underground, Jimmy realizes that the person who had taken him and Lorrie as hostages was Punchinello Beezo, the son of Konrad Beezo. Punchinello had also heard of Jimmy’s father through stories and regarded as someone who wasn’t allowed to be killed. Eventually, Punchinello kills the men who were working with him and takes the money they were planning to split. Jimmy makes up the excuse that he and Lorrie were getting married but they couldn’t be wed if Punchinello killed her. Punchinello spares them and ends up being stabbed by the nail file after they leave the building. Jimmy ends up shot in the leg twice, putting an end to the first terrible day. Eventually, he and Lorrie do end up getting married. For them, though, the second of the bad days ends up coming early. As Jimmy takes Lorrie to the hospital to have their child, a car ends up behind them and pushes them off of the road down a mountain side. The two survive, but Jimmy leaves to try and delay the man in the car. After nearly being shot and falling off a small cliff, Jimmy fakes dying in order to follow the man. As it turns out, the man wants their child if it is a boy. This man, though, turns out to be Konrad Beezo. Thankfully, Konrad believes Jimmy is dead and doesn’t expect him when he is knocked out. Jimmy chains Beezo to a tree before finally going to the hospital. Lorrie ends up giving birth to Annie Tock. After this, Lorrie ends up giving birth to Lucy and then Andy. All of them have the typical monster in the closet fear, but Andy’s monster is the most ironic of them all. His monster is a clown. Jimmy and Lorrie can’t help but wonder about this since they had made sure that none of them could have heard of Beezo and his son. The day before the third terrible day, the police chief calls and tells of an FBI agent who has leads on Konrad Beezo and where he disappeared to after getting free of the chains. The FBI agent comes to the house later and Jimmy and Lorrie that Beezo is most likely in Venezuela. With the next day being one of the terrible days, Lorrie and Jimmy believe that he will be at their home the next day. The FBI agent repeatedly denies this until he reveals himself as Beezo. Konrad shoots Lorrie and then attempts to get Andy after being blinded by pepper spray. Jimmy soon after stops Konrad and kills him. Lorrie is taken to the hospital and her surgery is finished the next day in the early morning. Later on, on the fourth of the terrible days, the couple visit Punchinello in his prison. It is revealed that Jimmy and Punchinello are twins who were separated because of Konrad not knowing of Jimmy. It also turns out that the real Jimmy Tock had been a stillborn and he was given in replacement so that Jimmy wouldn’t grow up in an orphanage. It is also revealed that Annie’s kidneys are failing and is allergic to the solution that normally helps a person. The two ask that Punchinello donate one of his kidneys to her since Jimmy and Lorrie are not suitable donors. At first, Punchinello rejects this. After being reminded of what he would get if he helped them, Punchinello agrees. As it turns out, the reason the day is terrible is because Grandma Roweena dies. The kidney transplant, though, is a success. On the final of the terrible days, a box of fifty thousand dollars is given to them. A note has them meet at the same circus that Beezo was once a part of. As it turns out, it is his real father/grandfather who also wants Andy in order to become a great trapeze artist. He wants to pay Jimmy and Lorrie for Andy and the fifty thousand was the first payment. When Jimmy and Lorrie refuse, he shoots Jimmy four times while Lorrie ends up shooting the man twice. Thankfully for them, Jimmy was wearing a bulletproof vest. Lorrie ends up once more giving birth to a child, this one named Roweena Tock.Overall, the story was fairly good. Not one of the best that I’ve read, but certainly different enough to keep it interesting. One thing that I didn’t like about Life Expectancy is that it gave information that wasn’t always needed. It also informed the reader of information that would have fit better in a different place in the story, something that I didn’t like. I did like, however, how the story had a biographical sort of nature to it. The plot was unique and that was also a plus. The end was a bit odd with how predictions were made about Roweena. I haven’t read books besides this one by Dean Koontz, but he certainly seems like he’s a good one.
The Graveyard Book: Full Cast Production

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The Graveyard Book starts out by telling of how Nobody “Bod” Owens came to live in the graveyard with the Owens as his parents. After that, it skips to Bod when he’s older and learning to read and write. In the graveyard one day, Bod meets a girl named Scarlett Perkins. She quickly becomes friends with Bod and, one day, go down to explore the oldest grave in the cemetery. In there, they meet the Sleer, something which is guarding the tomb as it waits for its master. After this incident, Scarlett ends up moving to Scotland. Sometime after this, Bod’s guardian, Silas, goes away for a bit, leaving Miss Lupescu as Bod’s new care giver. Not liking his temporary guardian, Bod ends up running away and meets ghouls. They take him down through the ghoul gate to where the ghoul city is. The ghouls try to convince Bod that becoming a ghoul is great while he isn’t so sure. In the end, they end up taking him and planning to forcefully turn him into a ghoul. On the way to the city, Night-gaunts come and, thanks to Miss Lupescu’s teachings, Bod calls to them for help. This works up until the ghouls stop Bod from speaking. Another “monster” comes chasing after them and, after Bod gets out of a sack he was in, ends up saving Bod. This Hound of God is Miss Lupescu. After this incident, the two become good friends. After Miss Lupescu leaves, Bod falls down a hill and ends up meeting Liza Hempstock, a witch without a headstone. This fact makes Bod get a brooch from the tomb the Sleer protected in order to sell it for a headstone. Bod ends up leaving the graveyard and becoming trapped by a pawn store owner who wanted the brooch for a low price. After this, the owner calls a friend and also thinks about a man named Jack. The owner believes that Bod may be the child Jack is searching for. Liza helps Bod to fade in order to get away. When the two are finally back at the graveyard, Bod paints a glass sphere to use as headstone. As winter approaches, Bod starts to learn about Macabray, a dance between the living and the dead. Although Bod remembers, he isn’t allowed to talk about it due to the fact that the living shouldn’t remember. Around the time that Bod is eleven, Bod decides that he wants to go to school. This results in him meeting two bullies who, after he convinces students to stand up to them, try to figure out what Bod is like. One of them ends up being able to get Bod on his way to jail before Silas jumps in front of the car and the two leave secretly. Three years later, Silas disappears completely as well as Miss Lupescu, leaving Bod without someone who can freely move back and forth between the graveyard and the world outside it. Around this time, Scarlett Perkins comes back with no memory of the town. Scarlett and her mother end up becoming friends with Mr. Frost, a man who is interested in the graveyard. Scarlett soon meets Bod and slowly starts to remember him. The two start to research and find out that Mr. Frost lives in the house that Bod and his human family lived in before their murder. Mr. Frost, helping with the investigation says that he has some stuff that he found and wanted to show them. Before Scarlett and Bod go to Mr. Frost’s house, Bod talks to the Sleer who ask if Bod will be their master. At Mr. Frost’s house, Bod goes to talk with Mr. Frost in private. This reveals that Mr. Frost is the man Jack, the man who had killed his parents almost fourteen years ago. Scarlett and Bod quickly leave the house, running into three other Jacks, all of them a part of an organization which consists of men with the name Jack. They go to the graveyard and Scarlett hides in the old tomb that she had been in when she used to live in the town. Bod gets rid of two of the Jacks getting them through the ghoul gate while another falls into a hole. Bod finally goes to the tomb where Jack Frost has used Scarlett as a hostage. It is revealed that Jack Frost is the only Jack left since Silas and Miss Lupescu have taken care of the rest of the members. The Sleer end up talking to Jack Frost and, after he agrees to be their master, take him into a wall where they will “keep him safe.” Scarlett ends up moving back to Scotland and forgetting about Bod thanks to Silas. Bod ends up leaving the graveyard when he is fifteen and starts his life outside the graveyard.The Graveyard Book was quite a unique twist on a book. Though similar to the Jungle Book slightly, it was quite a unique way of showing a child growing up differently from normal. The book, though phenomenal, had a writing style that I didn’t care for much. The way the book said “the man Jack” was certainly odd to me and could have been written differently. Besides that fact, I find that the characters were made well. Each had a unique personality and way they acted, giving each of them the individualism that a character deserves. I believe that this is one of the best qualities of the book. Another thing that I enjoy about The Graveyard Book is how the life of living in the graveyard was. The description of ghouls and Hounds of God as well as many other creatures was good and gave them their own characteristics as well.
Angels & Demons

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The book starts off with Leonardo Vetra working in his lab when something gruesome happens and he is assasinated. It then goes to introduce Robert Langdon, a Harvard University symbologist who knows much about the mysterious Illuminati. Awakened from his sleep, he is called upon by Maximilian Kohler, director of CERN, to get him to help with Mr. Vetra's mysterious murder with which he was branded with the word "Illuminati." Upon seeing a fax of Vetra's body, Robert immeadiately agrees to come. When he arrives, he finds out that Vetra created a large container of antimatter, a substance that could destroy the Vatican City. After Vetra's daughter, Vittoria, arrives, they head out to the Vatican City where they have been called upon by the Swiss Guard. There, it seems, the antimatter has been taken and set up in front of a camera and transmitted to the location of the Swiss Guard. After conversing with the leader of the Swiss Guard, Commander Olivetti, they are finally aloud to see the camerlengo, a man with high religious conviction and temporary fill in for the pope who had recently died. After much discussion, and an interuption from the assasin of Vetra, it is decided that Langdon, Vittoria, and some of the Swiss Guard will follow the Path of Illumintation, the path which would, in the past, show the way to the Illuminati headquarters and the spots where the four preferiti, the four cardinals most likely to become pope, will be murdered. The Path of Illumination was shown as a path led by angels, pointing to statues that are, in secret, tributes to the elements. After finding out about this, the camerlengo grants Vittoria and Robert access to the Vatican Archives in order to find out where the path started. Leaving there after finding what they need, the head towards the Pantheon where the clue seems to lead them. Realizing that they are at the wrong place, Vittoria and Langdon quickly head to the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, real beginning of the Path of Illumination. Not long before they head over, BBC officials that were sent to record conclave are given the tip about the preferiti being kidnapped and killed every hour on the hour until midnight. Back with Vittoria and Robert, they head to the church and find the true demons hole mentioned in the poem about finding the Church of Illumination. When Robert heads down into the hole to see if the person that is seen within needed help, he finds one of the preferiti murdered with their mouth filled with dirt. This is the first of many murders that involve the elements that originally existed to the Illuminati. Earth. After being pulled out of the hole, they find the next marker, an angel built by Bernini, the secret artist of the Illuminati. They follow the direction which the angel is pointing to Saint Peter's Square. The BBC officials follow them in order record a more interesting story about the death of the pope. Arriving barely on time, Vittoria and Robert find the next preferiti killed by having his lungs punctured which involves the next element, air. Following the center breath of the angel, the two then go to the next place where the next preferiti would die by fire. As this happens, it is revealed that the Illuminati assasin murdered the pope. Going to the archives once again, this time alone, Robert nearly dies when the air supply is gone and the doors are locked. After this event, Robert returns with the location of the next church. When they arrive, Robert leaves and finds that Olivetti had been murdered by the assasin and, while trying to save the third cardinal, Vittoria is taken by the assasin who then attempts to murder him. This nearly works until Langdon gets trapped under a sarcophogus and goes unconsious. After being awakened by the special firefighters of the Vatican, he finds another play on words in the poem that described the Path of Illumination. Looking at a map, he realizes the the churches form a cross, mockery of the church that was so against science. Going to the last church in an attempt to save the last preferiti and Vittoria, Robert fights the assasin and pretends to die, in the end failing to save the last cardinal. He continues to follow the path in order to save Vittoria who at the time wakes up and tries to escape just as the assasin comes back. Arriving at Castel Sant' Angelo, Robert fights the assasin once more, this time with Vittoria's help. After the assasin dies, they run to warn the camerlengo of the attempt to brand and kill him by the one who led the assasin. They arrive just in time to see the camerlengo burned and Mr. Kohler shot because of the fact he held a gun and the brand near him. Rocher, the next in command after Olivetti's death, is then also shot when the camerlengo calls him an illuminatus, a member of the Illuminati. After this happens, they attempt to take the camerlengo to the hospital with a helicopter. When they go outside, the camerlengo seems to have a sudden delusion about talking to God and then runs to Saint Peter's Basilica, and the Tomb, when he believes he knows where the antimatter is. This turns out to be correct and, in a bizarre moment of thought, runs out and gets into the helicopter with plans to fly high above the city to let the antimatter explode. Robert follows after thinking that he plans to drop it over the ocean or quary nearby. Camerlengo then takes the only parachute and jumps while Robert throws himself at the last minute with a windshield cover which would end up saving him. The camerlengo is then thought to be a hero and nearly elected pope while Langdon hears a tape of the conversation that Mr. Kohler and him (the camerlengo) had before everyone burst into the office. This reveals that the actual person behind Illuminati scheme was the camerlengo himself, the pope's actual son who was created thanks to science. Believing that his father had betrayed the church by helping science and having a child, the camerlengo thought to renew peoples' hope by the death of the pope and cardinals along with his miraculous survival. After finding out that the pope was his real father, the camerlengo burns himself alive.I found that this book was quite as good as the Da Vinci Code, filled with odd knowledge and interesting twisted throughout the whole book. I love how Dan Brown always ends his book with a surprising villain and outcomes which aren't expected when you first start. I believe that this book brings out a more interesting idea that science and religion are the same through one of his characters. Filled with adventure, riddles, and death, I found this book to be a great read and am surprised that the movie was so different than how it originally had been.
Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

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The story begins by introducing what Nelson Mandela is like and who he was. It talks a bit about his usual routine and how it had differed the morning of the rugby match where South Africa would compete against New Zealand in the finals of the Rugby World Cup. It then tells of some people who affected his life and their opinions of the day. Next the story tells of how he had created a violent organization that was against the idea that wanted to end the apartheid. After being jailed, this violence changed and he became a peaceful, easier going man. He used the great charisma he had and the skills of his previous jobs to allow him to go through prison much more easily and arrange meetings with some political leaders in order to fulfill his new goal of becoming the first black president of South Africa. His goal, after using his charisma to get on good terms with Kobie Coestsee, a man who had first met Mandela while he was in the hospital, he next sought to charm P. W. Botha, the president of South Africa at the time. Mandela’s goal at the time, for the most part, was for a peaceful end to the apartheid at the very least. He wanted and hoped to attain equality in the segregated nation. Once again, Mandel did well with impressing those who had previously been against his acts. This activated Mandela’s next step to leave jail and work his charms on all whites of South Africa. About a quarter of the way through the book, François Pienaar, a man who was the captain of the Springboks and a man who would help, when Mandela became president, to bring unification of all South Africans by him along with team. As it turns out, François was never really interested and understanding of politics. He had always in younger years thought of rugby as just a sport and enjoyed violence for the sake of violence. This was great due to the fact that rugby is quite a violent sport that was thought to be savage. On February 11, 1990, Mandela was finally released from his sentence and left to make a speech as a free man. This he failed to arrive on time for and fell short of what was expected. He made up for this with a speech at a press conference to charm the world with his charisma, once again taking stage to make a better country. This conference caused some white Africans to believe that a black man would be capable of this internal dispute. Pienaar, who had been watching, no matter how much he wasn’t interested in politics, had been touched by what Mandela had said. Within a month of getting out of prison, Mandela was once again placed in prison, this time with a death sentence. Mandela, in the end, was not executed and was then released from prison. After that, many struggles of the white Africans and black Africans continued and even turned against whites who supported Mandela and his goal for a peaceful end to the fighting and separation. He then started his campaign to become the president of South Africa. Running against F.W. de Klerk, he had initially had little chance at winning. De Klerk would often be better prepared than Mandela and was winning the political campaign since near the beginning. A few days after a debate, De Klerk admitted that he believed that Mandela was a great opponent. Mandela won thanks to the fact that 89% of the votes were that of black Africans. Because of him coming into office, many whites originally thought that they would have to leave. Mandela was able to convince once again his powers of charisma by presenting himself as the kind old man that he was. Mandela and Pienaar finally meet when Mandela calls upon Pienaar for a meeting that would use rugby to unite the separated nation. This was influenced by the first meeting between Mandela and Pienaar where Mandela mentioned the power to influence people, the greatest weapon when being a politician. During the first game of the Rugby World Cup, many people disagreed with the idea of supporting the Springboks because they were a great symbol for the white side of the war on the apartheid. For this, Mandela was booed out of the stadium after having shook hands with each of the players. The key game in this way to uniting the two peoples of South Africa was the final game of the Rugby World Cup where the Springboks went against New Zealand. New Zealand, thought by many to be the likely winner, was quite terrifying and rough with the game. This win, in the end, was the greatest unification process between the two different races. This enrapture towards the game caused many people to become proud of what they believed was a symbol of their previous oppressors. Nelson Mandela succeeded in doing what was thought impossible.I found that this book was very moving and gave a very understandable perspective on the life of how black Africans were thanks to the apartheid. This book put Nelson Mandela in the light that he deserved for achieving something that had once been thought to be so impossible. This book was a great read that showed the raw emotion which caused the change in South Africa.
Howl’s Moving Castle

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The story begins by telling of Ingary, a land where if you are the oldest sibling out of three, you will have misfortune. Sophie Hatter, the protagonist of the story, is just that and works at a hat shop with her mother while her other siblings went off to make their fortunes. Sophie leaves on May Day to visit her sister Martha, who has switched places with Lettie using magic, since she has not talked to her since she left. On her way there, a man, later to be known as the Wizard Howl, flirts with her while she, strong headedness thrown down the drain from lack of contact, shyly leaves and continues to Martha. When she returns home, she encounters the Witch of the Waste who then curses Sophie so that Sophie becomes an old woman. After realizing this, Sophie leaves home and encounters a scarecrow and Howl’s castle afterwards. Entering the castle, Sophie ends up making a deal with Calcifer, a fire demon. Calcifer promises to remove Sophie’s curse if she can break the contract between him and Howl. Sophie agrees and stays in the castle so that Calcifer may study the curse, and she may find out about the contract since neither is allowed to speak the terms of their enchantment. The next morning, Sophie wakes to meet Michael, Howl’s apprentice. After starting to cook breakfast, Howl comes in and meets Sophie who is introduced as Howl’s new cleaning lady. Not long after, Sophie finds out about the door which opened from not only the place where she was, but three other towns. After cleaning the bathroom one day, Howl had decided to dye his hair. This led to an incident in which Howl became depressed because his hair didn’t come out right and had a tantrum about this. Sophie and Michael left due to howling in the castle and came back to find green slime covering everything. After the tantrum ends, Sophie finds out that Howl is trying to court her sister, Lettie. Sophie then decides to visit the Lettie who had ended up switching with Martha. This trip is stopped short when the scarecrow that Sophie had previously found chased after the castle. This ends up causing Calcifer to wither when he uses a lot of energy to make the castle move faster. The next day, Calcifer is better, and Sophie and Michael go to visit Lettie. They leave using seven league boots, each wearing one of the pair. Sophie ends up going multiple places at once due to the fact that she cannot gain her footing and stay in Upper Folding. Eventually, they correctly arrive at Lettie’s new house only to see that Howl has beaten them there. At one point after this incident, Howl gave Michael a spell to work on while he was away. Sophie decided to look at the one area that she had never seen through the door. Seeing nothing, she closes the door and ends up helping Michael with his spell. They then ask Howl about it since they are unable to figure it out and end up following Howl out the door that Sophie had snooped in. Ending up in a place called Wales, they meet Howl’s family and find out that the spell was actually Howl’s nephew’s homework. They then see Miss Angorian, the nephew’s teacher, and find out the rest of the poem which had come to be switched with the spell. Howl realizes that the poem was actually the terms of the curse the Witch of the Waste set upon him so that she may find him. Sophie then becomes Howl’s supposed mother in order to blacken Howl’s name to the king so that the king wouldn’t send Howl out to look for Prince Justin, the king’s brother. Sophie first goes to meet Mrs. Pentstemmon, Howl’s old teacher. Howl tells Sophie that the reason for this is to prepare Sophie for the palace, but the real reason is because he wants to try and remove the curse he learned about from Calcifer and Lettie. At this meeting, Sophie finds out that she had been able to talk life into objects. This made her realize that some of the things she had said to certain objects did indeed come true. After this, they go to the king as was planned and, though Sophie tries her hardest to blacken Howl’s name, she ends up having the king convinced that Howl was the perfect person to look for his brother and appointed Howl as the new Royal Wizard. Leaving the palace, she finds out from the witch that Mrs. Pentstemmon is dead by her (the witch) own hand. Howl ends up catching a cold and rushes about to fix up things now that the witch is so close to finding him. After he goes to his teacher’s funeral, the witch finds them, ending up causing them to duel. They cause a huge ruckus and capture many people’s attention with the clouds they create. In the end, it seems as though both have lost the battle, so Sophie and Michael return with low spirits. At the house though, they find that Howl had survived as well as the witch. Michael and Howl then make preparations to move the house while Howl’s cold gets worse. The main house then goes from the city of Porthaven to the town of Market Chipping, Sophie’s town, in the old hat shop there. Sophie then becomes cross as Miss Angorian had been bothering her along with the scarecrow again. Deciding to leave, Sophie ends up unable to leave once again after being reunited with her family. After the scarecrow comes back again, the witch calls and asks them to tell Howl that she had kidnapped Miss Angorian. Sophie takes action and goes out to try and rescue her. She ends up getting saved by Howl and the scarecrow that fought her. They return to the castle just as Miss Angorian is revealed to be the Witch of the Waste’s fire demon. She takes Calcifer, who has Howl’s heart, and threatens the group with it. Howl ends up going unconscious and Sophie talks life into a walking stick so that it only attacked Miss Angorian. Sophie ended up getting Calcifer and giving him a thousand more years, breaking the contract and giving Howl his heart back. Howl then woke up and destroyed Miss Angorian. After that, the spell breaks, and Sophie and Howl realize they’ve fallen in love with each other.I found that this book was certainly a lot better than the movie. The characters had faults which made them unique and loveable. The fact that the main character had changed into an old woman and was unlucky was different and new. I believe it was this that made the story so amazing. The idea of the moving castle was lovely, and the story was written wonderfully with a flow that pulled it all together. I find the way that Diana Wynne Jones writes is great, and I wish to read more of her books.
Bloody Jack

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This story starts out with a brief introduction to the protagonist of Bloody Jack, Mary Faber. It tells of how her family dies, and she is cast out onto the streets before being taken in by a group of children. This day is constantly referred to as the Dark Day in the book. It then skips to her life in the small group with the leader being “Rooster” Charlie. After she finds him dead one night, she takes his clothes and knife before going away towards the sea. There she finds a ship which is taking some boys aboard and, after mentioning she can read, is taken aboard in the guise of a young boy by the name Jack. She gets along well with the other boys on board who form a small brotherhood. She shows a knack for sewing in which ends up with the group having similar uniforms to help them be more presentable for roll call. At one point, they run across a pirate ship. During the time of this attack, Jack shoots a pirate in order to save Jaimy, a boy who is a part of the brotherhood and her love. After this, not only does a member of the brotherhood die, but Jack gains the nickname “Bloody Jack,” much to her displeasure. By the time they arrive in Palma after this, Mary starts her menstrual cycle for the first time and, believing that she is dying, goes to a brothel to see if there is any cure for “her friend.” The woman who helps her sees through her disguise and helps Mary. After finding out that nothing is wrong with her, she goes with the other members of the brotherhood to get tattoos. It is around this time that Mary starts to get bullied by Midshipman Bliffil, a brute who Mary tries to stay away from. After a fight with the brotherhood, Mary starts to sleep in a rope locker where she nearly get raped by Bill Sloat, a man who had been harassing her throughout her time on the ship. Trying to get away from him, Mary stabs him and kills him. After her fatherly figure aboard the Dolphin is put on trial, she admits to stabbing Sloat in self defense. She is then put on trial and decided as innocent due to the fight being in self defense. Afterwards, she is welcomed back to the brotherhood where things are still awkward, especially with Jaimy. He later finds her alone and admits to feeling for her even though she was a “he.” Having earlier decided to leave, Mary asks him to hold up the dress she had been sewing. Jaimy realizes that Mary is a girl and the two court in secret. Once this incident occurs, Mary decides to stay aboard instead of fleeing and living as a girl in Kingston. While there, Mary dresses as a normal girl and goes out on a date with Jaimy. Davy and Tink, two of the boys a part of the brotherhood, stumble across this and tease Jaimy about it afterwards. They had back aboard where they finally run into LeFievre, a pirate the navy had been hunting for. While it seems like the crew of the Dolphin is winning, the ship is sent a boat loaded with explosives, blowing a massive hole in the ship while the pirates flee. After slowly sinking at sea after this, the ship finally makes it to a deserted island where they start to make a small boat in order to get help. While there, Davy finds out about “Jacky” being a girl and is hooked up to a kite by the teacher, Mr. Tilden. The winds turn out to be too strong and causes Mary to go adrift in the sea while being tied to the kite, still hooked up to the tree that was supposed to keep her on the ground. She then gets stranded on a different island by herself and lives there until she gets a signal fire going to show the crew she is alive. As she sees the small boat finally built and heading for the island, she spots LeFievre’s pirates attempting to surprise the crew. When she tries to ward the crew away, she is taken by the pirates and hung. Mary wakes up later, found by the crew in Jaimy’s arms and her secret discovered. After this, she is constantly watched before her fate being decided as staying at a boarding school in Boston.Though I am not usually a fan of historical fiction, I found this book to be entertaining. It had a unique plot that I enjoyed. The way the story flowed was good and always had a reason for the events. I like how L. A. Meyer voiced the story through Mary and had the story spoke as a girl who grew up the way she did would speak in those times. It was an interesting read that made one wonder what was going to happen next. It was definitely a book that could have you relaxing one minute, then on the edge of your seat the next. Trying to think about how Mary survived as boy aboard a ship was certainly interesting and odd. I found that this book is refreshing and the beginning of a good series.
House of Many Ways

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This book centers around Charmain Baker, a girl who has lived a sheltered life thanks to her mother’s idea of being a respectable young lady. After her Great Uncle William becomes sick for unknown reasons, Charmain volunteers to help take care of the house while he’s gone. Accepted for the job, she arrives just as Great Uncle William, who she later learns to be the Royal Wizard of High Norland, is taken away by elves in order to find out what is wrong with him. When she starts to unpack, she meets Waif a dog who is male and finds that the house bends space and time. While exploring the house, she attempts a spell that would allow her to fly. When she goes through a window in her uncle’s study, she runs across a lubbock, a creature that eats humans or lays eggs in them. After barely escaping from it with the flying spell, she meets a kobold who is angry with the hydrangeas that are in Uncle William’s yard. After denying him the right to cut the hydrangeas down, she goes inside when it starts to rain. While reading, someone comes in, saying that Wizard Norland took him on as an apprentice. It turns out that it is Peter Regis, the Witch of Montalbino’s son. After confirming this, the two get into many arguments including one which reveals that Waif is actually a girl, even though both William and Charmain believed that Waif was originally was a boy. They then decide it would be best to settle down for the night and find out that Peter is unable to tell the difference between left and right. During the following days, Charmain receives a reply to her letter volunteering to help the king by working at the Royal Library, her mother visits, and is met with a group of angry kobolds afterwards. They then refuse to work for Great Uncle William. The king on the other hand accepts her offer and soon has her at the library, helping to organize some papers in order to help find the treasure that had disappeared. Through them she meets Sophie Pendragon, her son Morgan, and her lisping “nephew Twinkle.” They too are trying to help the king find the stolen gold. As the days pass by, Charmain continues to work at the castle; finding out the Prince Ludovic is the next successor, learning about the elfgift and the fact that her father uses magic. This explains how, in great times of anger, is able to bend things to her will by yelling at it. This includes stopping a pipe from gushing water, changing the water to the correct temperature, and changing Waif back to her original size after a spell by Peter gone wrong. During that time, one of the elves return with lubbock eggs, the reason that Uncle William had been sick. Charmain goes and brings back Calcifer, the fire demon the came with Sophie, and has him destroy the lubbock and its eggs. This unfortunately doesn’t happen until after Peter and Charmain watches as the same kobold that caused trouble for Great Uncle William being paid by the lubbock who plants eggs inside him after the kobold starts to walk away. After all of this, Calcifer seems to have disappeared after he falls off a cliff. Charmain heads to the castle the next day to tell Sophie of this. Before she leaves though, she finds out that Peter’s mother has come and finds out that Waif is a, literally, enchanted dog that chose Charmain as its master and even changed its gender to be the same as Charmain’s. She then leaves to tell Sophie of what happened to Calcifer an discovers the Prince Ludovic is a lubbockin, the offspring of a lubbock and a human woman. She warns Sophie of this just as the family is about to “leave.” Unfortunately, Prince Ludovic steals what at first seems to be Morgan but turns out to be Twinkle. After a chase after the lubbockin, they find where the gold is hidden and kill the lubbockin. It is revealed that Twinkle is actually Howl Pendragon, Sophie’s husband who is a famous wizard in Ingary. Howl reveals to everyone else that the elfgift is actually Waif.This book was definitely another good one by Diane Wynne Jones. I love how her characters have their faults. This book had many unexpected twists and turns that made it enjoyable and a good read. It had a good pace and a good ending. I think the Diane Jones writing style is delightful and entertaining. I think that it’s nice how she made Howl’s Moving Castle and the House of Many Ways separate but interwoven stories. The way that you can read each story separately and still understand it is good, and this story is amusing and entertaining by seeing how someone such as Charmain deal with the odd situations she is given. I would gladly reread the story again and watch the magic unfold again.
Beowulf

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The story, Beowulf, begins by telling about the Danes, specifically about the ones related to Hrothgar. After Hrothgar and his heritage are explained, it tells of how he built a hall called Heorot which is then threatened by the monster Grendel. Grendel constantly attacks Heorot and causes stress for King Hrothgar. When the Geats hear of this, Beowulf and a group of Geat warriors head to help the king. After explaining his mission to a coast-guard, Beowulf is taken to the king and explains of his previous heroic actions. Beowulf says that he will defeat Grendel due to an old friendship and a feast takes place. At the end of the feast, Hrothgar leaves Heorot in Beowulf’s hands to protect through the night. Staying alone in the hall at night, Grendel attacks, taking but one life before Beowulf ends up ripping one of Grendel’s arms off. The king holds another feast in Beowulf’s honor and adopts Beowulf in his heart as a son. In the night, Grendel’s mother comes and attacks the hall. This results in the death of many, one including the king’s advisor. When Beowulf hears of this, he returns again and they go to the home of Grendel and his mother. Beowulf goes into the water with a sword that has never failed to win and fights the mother. After that sword fails, another one made of what seems to be ice is found and is used to slay Beowulf’s mother. Angry with the Grendel family, Beowulf beheads Grendel’s corpse. When this happens, much blood is released, leading to those above the water to believe that Beowulf is dead. Beowulf, when he returns with Grendel’s head, is congratulated before he is warned of the fragility of life and what power can do. After this, Beowulf leaves and Beowulf tells Hygelac what happened while he was there. Eventually, fifty years pass in which Beowulf has ruled the Geats. A theft happens eventually, and awakens a dragon. This dragon attacks many different villages before destroying Beowulf’s home while he is away. Eventually, Beowulf does take on a dragon. With all but one person gone, Beowulf is wounded and, after the one person strikes the dragon briefly, fatally wounds the dragon. Unfortunately, Beowulf dies and is buried with some of the treasure the dragon had with him and is mourned by many people.The book, Beowulf was a very good poem, something that would not be easily recognized if it wasn’t for the structure. One thing that I do not like about the book, though, is the character Beowulf. I believe that the character had too many qualities that made the character perfect. Beowulf finished off the enemies of his too quickly. He also bragged a lot and always proved himself to be right. This sort of character quickly got on my nerves. I believe that besides that, the book was good. I think that if it weren’t for this, Beowulf would certainly be a five star book.
The Time Machine

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The Time Machine begins with an unnamed narrator speaking of how he met the Time Traveler whose name is not given. He tells of how he and a group of other people came to hear about what the Time Traveler thinks of time travel and the fourth dimension. This is then followed by the Time Traveler showing a miniature version of the time machine and tells of how it disappears as well as telling them his plans. A week passes before the narrator tells of how the group came back and waited for the Time Traveler as he had specified. When the Time Traveler comes into the room they are waiting in, they find him a mess and, after eating, learn of where the man had been and what had happened. The story from then on is continuous dialogue, save for the end and some actions by the Time Traveler, as the Time Traveler tells his story. The Time Traveler tells of how the trip through time was and what the land he saw upon arrival was like. He told of the creatures that were our descendants and how they acted. The Time Traveler described how humanity had changed and how Earth had also changed. Later on the night he arrives, the Time Traveler find that his time machine had been stolen. The Time Traveler speaks of his panic and tells of how he had spent that first night in the future. The day after the Time Traveler arrives, he tries to talk to the people in an attempt to find the time machine. He talks about Weena, a girl with whom he becomes friends with after saving her from drowning. The Time Traveler and Weena gain a deep friendship. Later, the Time Traveler catches the first glimpse of the Morlocks, a race that has also descended from humanity and those that stole the Time Traveler’s time machine. Living underground with great eyesight in the dark, the Time Traveler decides one day to go down a deep hole to where he had seen one climb. He describes how terrible this was for him after they had started to poke and touch him. The Time Traveler had run and started to realize that the darkness in which the Morlocks lived in was what terrified the “Eloi”, the race that the Time Traveler had become familiar with. The Time Traveler, also afraid of the Morlocks by this time, decides to go to a place he had seen earlier to try to take shelter during the new moon. Going to what he dubs the Palace of Green Porcelain, the Time Traveler finds out that this place is actually a museum which has various things that the Time Traveler knew of from his time as well as some newer things. This gave the Time Traveler a chance to get a weapon and some more matches, something that he had used to ward the Morlocks off when they came too close. On the way back to where Weena lived, the Time Traveler and Weena were attacked by the Morlocks while they set up camp in a forest at night and, unfortunately, left the fire unattended long enough for it to go out. The Time Traveler ends up running out of the forest as well as setting fire to it, leaving Weena who, if she wasn’t eaten by the Morlocks, to burn. As the Time Traveler returns to where the Eloi had mostly been, he sees a door which had been previously locked open. He heads down, thinking that if the Morlocks are down there, he would use the matches to ward them off. This backfires when he is unable to light a match and, luckily, clambers onto the time machine and goes further into the future. This results in the Time Traveler seeing the sun become large and create a constant sunset. The Time Traveler is nearly attacked again by large crablike creatures before he decides to go back to his own time finally. The tale ends with him arriving the week after he had previously talked with the group. When the Time Traveler finishes his story, many of the people do not believe this account while the narrator is curious. The day after this, the narrator goes to the Time Traveler who has decided to go to the future and take pictures as proof. After this happens, the Time Traveler is never seen again.Reading a book such as the Time Machine was different. The way the Time Traveler remained nameless is certainly interesting. How many of the characters remained nameless was actually very interesting. I like how H. G. Wells wrote the book. It was somewhat confusing at first since I was unable to tell from what sort of view I was reading from. I liked the way that the story was told through the narrator’s point of view but also had the Time Traveler tell of what the experience was like for him. The description of the Eloi and the Morlocks was incredible. The way that the Time Traveler described the future made it seem like a believable account of time traveling. The story is definitely great and understandably a sort of classic.
Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver’s Travels is a recount by Lumeul Gulliver of how he travels to different islands that are by no means ordinary. He begins by telling about himself. Gulliver is actually a man who, after losing his business on the mainland, becomes a surgeon for different ships, sometimes even being the captain of some ships. The first adventure takes place in Lilliput, an island inhabited by tiny human-like creatures. Gulliver arrives on the island through a shipwreck and wakes up bound to the ground. This is due to the people of Lilliput binding him to the ground. At first, they attack him when Gulliver seems to threaten them. After realizing that Gulliver won’t cause them harm, the Lilliput people bring food and drink to Gulliver. Taken to the capital city, he is introduced to the emperor, while Gulliver is flattered, who is entertained by Gulliver. As time follows, Gulliver is used as someone to help the Lilliput people fight against the Blefuscu people. The two have gone into a war due to the way the Blefuscu crack their eggs. While the Lilliput people were nice to Gulliver at first, he is convicted for treason after he puts out a fire in the royal palace. This leads to his punishments being shot in the eyes and then starved. Luckily, Gulliver is able to escape to Blefuscu and repair a boat, therefore being able to sail to the mainland. Gulliver arrives home and stays with his family for a bit before leaving again. This time he arrives on the island of Brobdingnag, a place where giants rule. At first kept as a pet, Gulliver is eventually taken to the queen. This results in Gulliver being an entertainer for the court and, though social life is easy, disgust for how large the people of Brobdingnag are. This enlarges pores and other physical flaws. With ignorance ruling the Brobdingnag people, Gulliver eventually leaves the island after a bird picks up his cage before dropping him into the ocean. This leads Gulliver to be picked up by pirates and staying on the floating island, Laputa. The people, though, are too out of touch with reality. With a small trip to places which have people such as Julius Caesar and immortals that prove that wisdom does not come with age, Gulliver ends up back in England. The final journey that Gulliver tells about is one in which he meets a group of intelligent horse people who, while beings friends with Gulliver, served by the human Yahoos. Unintelligent and causing distortions of humans for Gulliver, the Yahoos are a group of people that Gulliver would rather not be with. Though he wishes to stay on the island, Gulliver is forced to leave after the Houyhnhnms realize how Yahoo like he is. Regretful to leave, Gulliver is picked up by a Portuguese ship and taken back to the mainland. I believe that the book was quite a good one. I think that though it had some good points and some bad points, it was overall a good book. I love the first person perspective that Jonathan Swift used. I think that the book would not be as good if it weren’t for this. I love how the book gives a good time perspective and has great description. The way the Gulliver is describing what is around him is very realistic and gives me a good idea of what it would be like to be there myself. The book is something I would certainly recommend to other people. Gulliver’s Travels is definitely a five star book.
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