BOOK REVIEW: The Hobbit – by J.R.R. Tolkien

brthehobbit Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Adventure
First published: September 21st 1937
Finished reading: April 29th 2013
Pages: 388
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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

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I only first found out that The Hobbit existed AFTER I finished reading The Lord Of The Rings trilogy as a teenager… Which is a shame, since The Hobbit is considered to be the prequel story to the series. That said,  I think I actually like this novel better than the other books. One of the (minor) problems I had with the other books is that the pace is so slow because of the many descriptions (although they are necessary for the more than excellent worldbuilding in all J.R.R. Tolkien‘s books). I didn’t have that feeling of a slow pace with The Hobbit. The young Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorite characters of the book exactly because he seems so out of place during the mission… And I love the fact that he is able to cheat his way through all those dangerous moments anyhow. If you are looking for a good fantasy read with excellent worldbuilding, character development and well written prose, don’t look further. The Hobbit and its mission to defeat Smaug the dragon and win back the home and treasure of the dwarves is more than worth it.

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Bilbo Baggins is living like any other hobbit, enjoying a comfortable and unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag-End. He is not prone to adventures at all, but the wizard Gandalf decides to change his life forever when he picks Bilbo as the ‘thief’ on a dangerous mission. Bilbo only realizes this when a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one evening, and not long after that he joins them and Gandalf on a journey ‘there and back again’. Their mission? Travel to the former home of the dwarves, now inhabited by the enormous and dangerous dragon Smaug the Magnificent. The dwarves want their home AND huge treasure back and are determined to defeat the dragon… Will they succeed?

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The Hobbit tells us the history of the famous ring of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and how it came into the possession of Bilbo Baggins in the first place. It’s a well written adventure packed fantasy story that will both enchant the young and old… This novel by J.R.R. Tolkien has all the elements of a succesful story that is essentially timeless. If you like the genre, make sure to read this one some day.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Awakening and The Struggle – by L.J. Smith

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Title: The Awakening And The Struggle
(The Vampire Diaries Series #1-2)
Author: L.J. Smith

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Vampires, Romance
First published: 1991
Finished reading: April 8th 2013
Pages: 492

Rating 1,5

“I can awaken things inside you that have been sleeping all your life. You’re strong enough to live in the dark, to glory in it. You can become a queen of the shadows. Why not take that power, Elena? Let me help you take it.”

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I must admit I was really bored and without other and more interesting books when I started reading The Awakening and The Struggle. I have a problem with most cheesy vampire books and I’m sorry to say I just couldn’t enjoy this book. Sure, it wasn’t difficult to read, but the character development of the mayority of the characters just didn’t make sense. Also, the relationship between Elena and Stefan just wasn’t believable and the role of his brother Damon quite cliche. I should have known not to touch this one, but at least now I know for sure. I’m just annoyed for having wasted my time…

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Just so you know, The Awakening and The Struggle is about two vampire brothers and a mortal girl Elena. The brothers Stefan and Damon have fought over a girl in the past, and Elena is dangerously similar to the girl they both once loved. Only, this Elena seems to be quite a snob who likes to get everything she wants. She’s hard to sympathize with, and the mere fact that the mysterious Stefan (the ‘good’ vampire) shows interest in her is annoying. Sure, he ignores her for about half of the story, but when they finally talk they instantly fall in love… Which just irritated me. A lot. His brother Damon is looking to revenge Stefan and determined to steal Elena away.

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Damon is the typical bad guy and at least credible. He was at least able to spice up the story slightly, which was good since at that point I was already as bored as I could possibly be with a book before throwing it in the trash. But still, I only finished The Awakening and The Struggle because I almost never leave books unfinished. This book might be just a case of not-for-me, but still I would approach this book with care if I were you. Unless you don’t mind cheesy teen vampire stories…

BOOK REVIEW: The Forgotten Garden – by Kate Morton

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Title: The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance
First published: July 1st 2008
Finished reading: April 5th 2013
Pages: 549

Rating 4

“Cassandra always hid when she read, though she never quite knew why. It was as if she couldn’t shake the guilty suspicion that she was being lazy, that surrendering herself so completely to something so enjoyable must surely be wrong.”

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I’m normally not a big fan of the romance genre, but The Forgotten Garden convinced me. This novel might start bit slow, but as a whole it is definitely interesting. Kate Morton takes you on a journey through the past and present, trying to find out who Nell exactly is and what happened to her. She combines various story lines: the most important ones being the story of Eliza Makepeace, the author of little Nell’s book of fairy tales, and Cassandra’s story where she tries to discover the lost identity of her grandmother Nell. The prose is easy to read and all in all it is a pleasant read with interesting characters. Recommended to those who enjoy reading historical fiction.

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It all begins with an unnamed girl playing a hiding game on a ship. A few pages later, a girl named Nell is turning twenty-one and her father reveals to her a devastating truth: she is not their daughter. He discovered her when she was only four years-old, standing alone holding a small suitcase with inside only a book of fairy tales and an extra dress at the dock where he worked. Many years later, Cassandra feels like she has lost everything dear to her after the death of her loved grandmother Nell. But Nell left her a surprise: she inherited an old house in the UK. This mysterious inheritance turns Cassandra’s life upside down and she travels to this mysterious town where the house is located. She also inherited a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace, a Victorian writer who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century. Cassandra continues her grandmothers search to find the trust about her history, family and past; and she’s starting a new life for herself in the process.

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The Forgotten Garden might not have the fastest pace on the planet, but it’s still an enjoyable read that made me forget I normally don’t really enjoy novels that involve a lot of romance. Kate Morton was able to convince me with this novel and I would say this is a definite must read for those who love historical fiction!