Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

By on Monday, January 26, 2015 – Leave a Comment

Animal Farm is a short 95 page story full of satire and genius from the mind of George Orwell. The book was first written in 1943 and published in 1945 about the dictatorships of Stalin, Communism, and what has become one of the darker spots in world history. The book mirrors some of the horrors of war, politics, and deception in what Orwell called "A Fairy Story" about dominating pigs, ignorant horses, and dumb sheep.

The story begins with Mr. Jones, the human owner of the Manor Farm. Jones' rule on the farm is harsh, and when an old boar named Major gathers the rest of the farm animals together to incite them to rebel, they eventually do. After Major dies, the animals run Jones off the farm, claiming the land as their own, and they adopt a system of thought known as Animalism. Animalism, of course, is none other than Communism and Mr. Jones represents the ruling Tsar and capitalism.

Once the farm is under the animals' rule, the pigs assume a dominant role of leadership because, as the book says, the pigs seem to be the smartest of the animals. All of the animals then sing their own anthem called the Beasts of England, which is in celebration for their victory from Jones' tyrannical rule to their own freedom. However, these animals unknowingly move from one tyrannical rule to another.

They rename the farm "Animal Farm" and the pigs, the dogs, horses, sheep, and chickens set up their seven commandments of Animalism dictating how the farm will be run. Out of all the pigs, two become prominent figures on the farm: Snowball, who is the mirror image of Trotsky, and Napoleon, who is none other than Stalin.

Napoleon and Snowball feud about how the farm should be run now that all animals are declared comrades and all animals are equal. Only man and his vices are the enemy. Yet Napoleon has other ideas and nearly has Snowball killed as he runs the pig off the farm. The other animals then fall under Napoleon's rule.

The strongest of the animals is a cart horse named Boxer, who adapts his own mantra of "Napoleon is always right" and "I must work harder" whenever he is faced with an obstacle or opposition. The old donkey, Benjamin, has the worst temper of the animals and is generally a sourpuss, but he seems to have the steadiest head on his shoulders compared to the other beasts. Even though he avoids giving his opinions on many matters, he, unlike the majority of other animals, learns how to read and comprehend.

The other cart-horse, Clover, is a motherly mare always willing to help. Mollie is a vain young mare with an affinity for sugar cubes and ribbons for her mane. The sheep always dumbly parrot what they are told by the pigs. While the dogs work as the pigs' bodyguards and kill any of the animals that step out of line or whom the pigs deem worthy of death.

As the book progresses, the animals successfully build a windmill which brings power to the farm for a time. But none of the animals seem to benefit from this new power except for the pigs. In fact, the pigs are the only ones truly benefiting from the resources of the farm while the other animals live in poverty.

The pigs move into the main farmhouse and begin sleeping in Jones's beds, wearing human clothes, and walking about on two feet. By the story's end, the animals of the farm find it hard to tell the difference between the pigs and humans, their enemies.

Overall, Animal Farm paints a tragic picture of war and how men became not better than beasts. The terrors experienced during WWII in Communist Russia and the rest of the world will forever haunt history, and I think Orwell's book captures that fearful scene quite well. There is not much about this book that I dislike. I would certainly recommend Animal Farm not only because it is a classic but also for its historical significance as a great satirical piece.

The story is humorous at times and so is some of the animals' dialogue, especially the pig Squealer. And many times I found myself wondering, why couldn't the animals see what's going on? But that is one of the points of the book. The lesser animals on the farm represent the types of people in the world and, sadly, their ignorance and misplaced hopes. What's most interesting about the book is its appeal to both young and mature readers after all these years.

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Genre: Classic, Satire
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Plume
First Published: 1945
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 0452284244

Find the book on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads
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Free eBook: Light in the Gloaming by J.B. Simmons

By on Friday, January 23, 2015 – Leave a Comment

Looking for an intriguing fantasy? You can get the Light in the Gloaming by J.B. Simmons for free from Noisetrade Books. And be sure to check out J.B. Simmons second book in the series Breaking the Gloaming.

About Light in the Gloaming

"The Gloaming was worse than the grave..."

Or so Tryst believed when he banished the former prince to this secret and brutal exile. Now Tryst sits on the throne of Valemidas. He feasts with nobles and prepares an army to conquer the world.

But things are never as stable as they seem. Old loyalties remain. The people of Valemidas groan under Tryst's heavy yoke and his network of spies. While the seeds of rebellion are planted, Tryst's own family is divided. His sister has ambitions exceeding her brother's, and their half-sister wants vengeance for the disappeared prince she loved. No one escapes the Gloaming, but perhaps the fallen prince is different. What would happen if a man emerged from a place worse than the grave?

Alliances will crumble, battles will rage, and souls will transform in the Gloaming.

Download the eBook

Download for free on Noisetrade Books. You can also find the book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Support the Author

J.B. Simmons writes thrillers with an apocalyptic twist, and political philosophy clothed in fantasy. His latest novel, Unbound, tells the story of a rich kid from Manhattan with nightmares of a dragon and the world ending in 2066. In his Gloaming books, J.B. carries the torch of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis into an underground city with an exiled prince.

J.B. lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, two toddlers, and an intriguing day job. He writes before dawn and runs all day. His secret fuel: coffee and leftover juice boxes.

You can follow J.B. at his Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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Top Reads of 2014

By on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – Leave a Comment
Well, 2014 was an interesting year. In-between traveling and everyday things, I actually found the time to read. I read in quick spurts mostly and a lot of my books were comic but, hey, reading is reading. So, here is my year in review of my favorite books of 2014.

1. The Walking Dead

by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, et al.

Comic | Horror

I've really grown to love The Walking Dead. After reading through Issues #1-99, I've come to realize that no character is safe in this story. Each of the characters are fascinating and even the zombies are cool. At first read, I thought this series would be a rehashing of the old zombie tropes but it actually spins a fresh view on a zombie apocalypse with a storyline that's totally addicting.

Now that 2015 is underway, I've read past Issue #100. And I haven't been more devastated by the death of a fictional character in any series. Ever. But I won't get into that. The series is still on-going and my reviews are on the way.

2. Saga

by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Comic | Science Fiction, Fantasy

Wow, just wow. Saga is a series intended for a mature audience, so I'm warning you beforehand. Seriously. There's sex, space drugs, a forest that grows rocket ships, a cat that can detect if anyone is lying, a broken robot prince, and the most adorable wartime love child. Yes, this is Saga, which happens to be one of my favorite on-going series.

Writer Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator Fiona Staples have crafted a comic that's visually stunning, funny, and romantic in a sci-fi, fantasy quirky sort of way. So far I've read Issues #1-24 and can't wait for #25.

3. Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

Novel | Classic, Horror

I have to admit that Frankenstein was easily my favorite book of the year. And I don't know why I had put off reading it for so long. After seeing so many films of the classic monster, I just wasn't too hopeful I'd like the book. Apart from the film Young Frankenstein (a hilarious movie), I wasn't a real fan of the whole thing. But my goodness. I was so wrong. So very, very wrong.

This book is almost a life changer for me. Honestly. We've all read them, books that change our outlook on life even if that change is small. Well, Mary Shelley's is that kind of masterpiece. It made me pity the monster and sympathize with Frankenstein. All of the movies over the years do not do this book any justice. I simply loved the book.

4. True Grit

by Charles Portis

Audiobook | Classic, Western

Talk about top notch narration. True Grit is probably one of the best audiobooks I'll ever listen to. Ever. I loved the audiobook version from Recorded Books with Donna Tartt as the narrator. And I wasn't a big fan of westerns before but True Grit completely changed my mind. Read my review for the full details.

5. Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

Novel | Classic, Science Fiction

Seeing as I already reviewed this, I'll recap. I enjoyed reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This science fiction classic offers a thought-provoking study of human character. Its vivid detail, strong and almost poetic prose, and futuristic yet all too relevant theme tells a story of society’s ignorance and one man’s willingness to learn. You can read my full review here.

6. Tollesbury Time Forever

by Stuart Ayris

Novel | Psychological Fiction

Tollesbury Time Forever is unlike any book I've ever read and it's for this story's oddness and the author's perspective into mental illness that I fell in love with this book. Or mostly the book's main character. This is a lovely, strange tale that is somehow both disturbing and moving. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to review it yet but it's on my list.

Full Reading List

Overall, 2014 was a great year of reading for me. If you're curious to see all of the 137 books I read last year, you can find my full list on Goodreads.
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Avenge by Amity Hope - Book Blast

By on Monday, January 19, 2015 – Leave a Comment

Avenge is a young adult paranormal romance by Amity Hope. This is the second book in the Malice series and to celebrate its release, Amity is giving away an Amazon gift card. You can also buy Malice book 1 on sale now from Amazon for only $.99 cents.

About Avenge (Book 2)

Description from Goodreads:

Tristan Johnson is not an easy guy to get to know. He’s quiet, shy, and borderline elusive. That never stopped Samara Cavanaugh from claiming Tristan as her best friend, her tutor, her longtime crush.

She knows Tristan better than anyone. Sam was the one person that Tristan had allowed himself to get close to. But even Sam wasn’t aware of the secrets her best friend had been keeping.

When Sam’s life was in jeopardy Tristan didn’t hesitate to protect her. Now that he’s gone, Sam will do whatever it takes to get him back.

Buy on Amazon

About Malice (Book 1)

Description from Goodreads:

Samara Cavanaugh has grown up in a world filled with magic users. She’s used to bizarre and peculiar. But when a stranger checks in at The Bella Luna, the bed and breakfast her family owns, the strange occurrences in Granite Falls escalate.

Many people are leery of Levi, their new guest. He claims to be in town doing research but Samara’s friends aren’t so sure that his claim is as innocuous as it appears to be. When two of her classmates disappear, her friends seem convinced Levi had a hand in it.

Those closest to her have been keeping secrets from her. Those secrets put everyone close to her in danger.

Suddenly, her unrequited crush on her best friend, Tristan becomes the least of her troubles.

On sale for $.99 January 19th - 31st
Buy on Amazon

About Amity Hope

Amity lives in beautiful northern Minnesota with her two sons, two cats and their Rottweiler. She has a degree in elementary education and worked in that field for ten years before deciding to self-publish.

Her first self-published novel, Twisted, was listed by Amazon as a Top 100 Kids & Teens Kindle Book of 2012. It hit Amazon's Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance Best Sellers List in several countries. Truths and Dares held the #1 position on Amazon's Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks in the UK.

If she's not writing, or spending time with her boys, she's most likely reading.

You can follow Amity on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads.


You can enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from the author. The giveaway ends on January 31st at 11:59pm (EST).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Deviation by Heather Hildenbrand - New Release

By on Thursday, January 15, 2015 – Leave a Comment

The two books in the young adult, science fiction fantasy from Heather Hildenbrand are now available. You can begin the Clone Chronicle series with Imitation and continue Ven's tale in Deviation.

About Deviation

Until a month ago, eighteen-year-old Ven had never set foot outside the windowless warehouse where she was created. An Imitation of Raven Rogen, Ven spent her days confined in the lab, studying videos of her Authentic, all so she could step into Raven’s life at a moment’s notice.

Now, Ven lives in Raven’s penthouse apartment, kisses Raven’s boyfriend, and obeys every order from Raven’s dad, Titus Rogen—the very man who created her. But Ven has a secret plan. She doesn’t want Raven’s life. She wants her own.

In the action-packed sequel of Imitation, Ven wages a dangerous war against Titus. First she’ll free herself, then she’ll free every last Imitation. . . .

Buy Deviation on Amazon

Haven't started the Imitation series yet? Begin the series with Book 1.

About Imitation

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven... until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Fans of Cinder, The Selection and Sara Shepard’s Lying Game series will love Imitation, a thrilling, action-packed novel sure to keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Buy Imitation on Amazon

About Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She's only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she's published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon Author Page.
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