Created by Cindy Hogan book review

Created (Watched, #3)
Created
Cindy M. Hogan
Genre
336 pages
The exciting conclusion of the Watched series.  This book kind of worked out like I had been anticipating, with Christy, or Ari, as she is known throughout most of this book, training to become a spy.  Until the terrorist threat can be eradicated for good, Ari and most of her original group from D.C. are moved to Belgium, to a secret spy training school.  Here, they are placed into groups according to their strengths so that they can train to become spies.  With all of her previous training, Ari scores too high to be placed in a group at this school and is kind of teamed up with the class about to graduate.  She begins going on missions, that are designed to apply the training to real life applications and scenarios.  They are dangerous and scary to her, but she has come a long way from being “Christy” that she was a year ago, and is excited about the challenge.
Through all this, she is still working to try to win back the love of Rick, or Reese, as he has become in this novel.  Reese is hurt over everything that has happened, especially between Ari and Alex, as well as the fact that her death was faked and he mourned for her.  He is in a different group, so it is hard to find time to even talk to him, but Ari develops real feelings for him and knows that he is who she wants at her side wherever her new life takes her.  Their time together is cut even shorter than they thought, as a real life spy mission that Ari is suited for perfectly comes up, and Ari has the chance to take it.
Now, she is thrown head first into the life of a spy, where any mistake could cost her her life.  She needs to befriend the daughter of a brilliant scientist who intelligence fears is up to no good.  She remains in her “Ari” character to do so, and fits the bill for the job perfectly.  If she can just make this mission work, she will be a full-fledged spy!  I don’t want to give away important details or spoilers about the novel, but it is very entertaining and exciting to see what Ari gets herself into and how she works to get her mission completed.  Especially once she went on the mission, I had a hard time putting the book down and just wanted to finish it to see what happened.  The terrorist threat was finally cleared up, and when most of her group decided to go home to their families, Ari realized that she couldn’t go back to her old life and grabbed the reigns of a new spy life that awaited her.
Throughout this whole trilogy, one thing I’ve been really impressed with was that anyone could read these.  And I mean that in the sense that there was no swearing, crudeness, or anything offensive to anyone of any age.  It is great to sometimes see a book not riddles with things like that that often don’t even add anything to the story.  The series as a whole was a very enjoyable read.  I liked the way it ended, because it left the door wide open for future adventures with Christy, or whomever she becomes from here on out.  I enjoyed my first series from and contact with Hogan, and I will actively be watching for her in the future and following her career as she continues to write.

Protected by Cindy Hogan book review

Protected book

Protected

Cindy M. Hogan

Suspense/Thriller

341 pages

 

 

Here is the second installment of Hogan’s first series. Christy is back home in Montana, and back to her normal life, basically as a loser at her school. Although it’s depressing to be back on the bottom, she assumes that all the excitement from D.C. is over, and wants to move on from that. Then, unexpectedly, Alex shows up again in her life by surprising her at her school. She had promised herself she was done with him and would choose Rick, but can’t keep herself from him. She takes him out on a tour of her town, and that is when things take a turn for the worse.

 

Apparently the terrorists have tracked Christy down and come to settle the score. They come for Christy and Alex and take them hostage. Without giving away any exciting details, the manage to escape, but now it’s clear that Christy can’t return to her old life. She will have to enter the witness protection program and start a new life under a false identity. Although her life was difficult for her, she finds it hard to say good-bye and leave everything behind. With no other choice, she finds herself training for a life she never thought she would have, as a popular cheerleader at a new school across the country.

 

It is hard on her, and takes some time to get used to, but Christy falls into her new life and is happy. During her months of training before beginning her new life, Christy learns how to look for attackers and hide from them, even how to fight them off. In her new life, she is able to adapt to her newfound popularity, although everything is completely new to her. One thing that is especially hard for Christy is remaining true to her values and ideals while she seems to be the only one in her new life that has them. She is forbidden to go to her old church, as that is part of her old life, which she must leave behind. She faces an internal struggle often, just as she is facing very real external ones. However, she must always remain alert and on her toes, never knowing when or how danger will come.

 

The ending of the book is great, packed with action and excitement, with a clear opening into the third novel in the series. I really enjoyed reading it and one thing that I’m really impressed with is the lack of offensive language or content. This really is a book that someone of any age could read. I’m excited to finish the series and see what will happen to Christy and who she will become in the next step of her life. The title of the next book, Created, leads me to believe that Christy will face even more changes and that the danger and excitement she never expected will continue to follow her wherever she goes.

Milkweed book review

Milkweed

Jerry Spinelli

Historical Fiction/War/Coming-of-Age

230 Pages

 

My mom gave me this book and I had no idea what it was going to be like. I ended up really enjoying it! First of all, I usually enjoy books relating to Nazis, because I think it is usually a very interesting subject. This book takes place in Warsaw during WWII. The Nazis were steadily taking control of everything and and doing whatever they could to control and overrule the Jewish people.

 

The story begins with a young boy who thinks that his own name is “Stopthief,” as this is what he is used to people yelling at him. He has no memory of life other than being on his own and fending for himself, which he does, of course, by stealing to survive. Stopthief meets a group of misfits and other orphan boys who take him in so they can all survive toghether, and they rename him “Misha.” For a while, things are great, with new clothes to wear and plenty of food to eat, until the Nazis decide to force all the Jews to move into the Ghetto.

 

Misha and his friends continue to sneak out and smuggle food, trying to feed themselves and help others. Misha is taken in by another family and lives with them through their own hardships, while trying to help. They give Misha part of the family life he’s never known, and he does the best he can to sneak out and provide extra food for them. Then the Nazis begin the “relocation” of the Jewish people. His adopted family warns him to take his new “sister” and fun away from the Nazis and keep her safe. Misha struggles with issues of his own and the book follows his own coming-of-age and maturation. I really enjoyed this book, I thought it was very entertaining, while heartbreaking. If you are interested in books of this nature or during this time period, I think you will really like this novel.

The Secret Life of Bees book review

The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd

Race/Coming-of-Age

302 pages

 

I had to read this novel for a class, but I ended up liking I more than I thought I would. The novel is set to take place in 1964. I always think books based on this time period that deal with race relations are interesting to read and learn more about. There is a movie based on this book too, and I thought that it followed the book pretty well, but as all of you know, the movie is never as good as the book.

 

Lily Owens lives alone with her dad, her mother having died when Lily was still very young. She carries unhappiness, loneliness, and guilt with her through her 14 years. Her dad is terrible to live with and Lily doesn’t feel like her loves her or cares about her at all. She decides to run away from her dad and home with Rosaleen, a Black woman who works at her dad’s house and helps take care of her. Rosaleen gets into trouble with the law, simply because she is Black, and Lily fears for her life, so together they escape to what they hope will be freedom for both of them. They make their way to a place Lily believes her mother has been and Lily finds herself alone in a house full of Black sisters.

 

Lily is forced to grow up fast as she searches to find who she is and where she came from. She finds new friends and a new life living with August Boatwright and her two sisters. She learns about the secret life of bees and the art of beekeeping. There she encounters additional problems of race but sees them in a new light. Her dad is searching for her, and when he finds her, will she be forced to leave the life she is making for herself and return home, or be allowed to stay?

 

This wasn’t my favorite book I have ever read, but I thought that it carried with it a good message. I think that if you are interested in this time period or race relations you would enjoy this book. Or, if you have seen the movie and enjoyed it, I’m sure you would like the book better because they always are better.

The Kite Runner book review

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Historical Fiction/Coming-of-Age

371 Pages

 

I picked this book up because I had seen a lot of people reading it which made me curious. It was not what I expected. The book is largely about a boy growing up in Afghanistan shortly before the invasion by Russian forces. His name is Amir and he lives in a house with his father, as his mother has passed away. The novel gets its name from an activity very popular at this time, a kite tournament. Amir’s closest companion is a boy named Hassan, who is actually the son of his father’s servant, and thereby the younger servant of the family as well. Although Hassan considers Amir his best friend and would do anything for him, Amir doesn’t even consider them friends. He is very aware of him importance and “rank” above Hassan.

 

When Amir enters the kite tournament, he desires to win to hopefully make his dad proud so that the awkwardness between them can end. His loyal companion Hassan is running kites for him and promises to bring the last kite back. As he is running to find it, his path is intercepted by some old rivals who have vowed revenge. The boys are abusing Hassan, and Amir finds him just in time to be able to intercede and stop them, but he is frozen with fear and does nothing. When Hassan finally returns with the kite, Amir is so ashamed with himself that he cannot even look at Hassan, and things between them are never the same.

 

This novel then follows the course of Amir’s life as he grows up and his life changes in ways he never could have imagined. He comes to America and his father, who was once a successful businessman struggles to make ends meet. He finds some happiness, but Hassan in always there in the back of his mind. He can’t help but wonder how things could have been different if he had found the courage to stand up for the boy that would have done anything for him that day. This is a sad story filled with drama and despair, but it is a good book. In the end, Amir is presented with a dangerous opportunity to possibly redeem himself, and it will take all the courage he can muster to face it.

 

There are definitely some situations and content that might not be acceptable for younger readers. This novel is a sad tale of things that you hope aren’t true as you’re reading it. It addresses topics such as bullies, courage, and standing up for others, with an overall good message in a powerful book that you will remember.