Review

Crusade in Jeans – Thea Beckman

downloadTitle: Crusade in Jeans
Original title: Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek
Author: Thea Beckman
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Pages: 363
My rating: ★★★★✫ 

When I was a kid I loved reading books by Thea Beckman. I think most of her books might be written for 12+, but I was reading so much at that age that I think I have read them all before I turned 12. The first Thea Beckman book I have read was ‘Crusade in Jeans’, I must have been 10 or 11 years old when I read it. And I loved it. Thea Beckman is an awesome storyteller. She has a way to make both history and her idea of the future so much nice and believable. I have read all of her books in Dutch, but I know that this one has been translated to English. So because of Children’s Book Week I have read this book again.

What the book is about

Crusade in Jeans is about Rudolf Wega, a teenage boy from Amstelveen, who happens to know two scientists who are working on a time machine. He tempts them into sending hem to the 13th century so he can spend one afternoon there and then let them know if the time machine is working. By accident someone he ends up in the wrong place and to make matters worse someone else takes his place when he is supposed to go back to his own time. He seems to be stuck in the past. He meets Leonardo, a student from Italy and together they join the crusade of children that is passing them that day. The children are on their way to Jerusalem to invade and conquer that city. Dolf thinks that something is off and he decides to join them and take care of as many children as he can. So where are those children really going and who told them to come along?

What I thought about the book

First of all I want to say that I instantly enjoyed reading this book again. It didn’t feel like reading a children’s book. The style of writing that Thea Beckman uses could please adults just as well. The story even contains some political and social factors that I must have missed as a kid. I just discovered new layers in the same story. That makes the book really interesting again and it makes me want to re-read all of her books in the future.

That being said, there are some things I want to say about Rudolf Wega. He is basically still a kid, and still he adjusts really easy to life in the 13th century. He doesn’t speak the language in the beginning but then he picks it up quite fast. He finds ways to hide that he is coming from the past and apparently he knows a lot about history that I sure as hell don’t. People don’t know that he is coming from the future and somehow they don’t even doubt that he is not from their time. They do notice the odd language and his clothes, his strange behavior but then again he is not German, he is from Holland. That explains it all in their eyes as they have never been to Holland. For me it was hard to believe that one can adjust so easily, but then again the book was written in 1973, way before my time and I do think that life was significantly different then.

As an adult I want more information sometimes, but I did keep in mind that this book was not written for a 30-year old. I remember that those things didn’t bother me 20 years ago. Over all Thea Beckman has a fantastic mind and a wonderful imagination, along with a ton of knowledge of history and that makes this story so good. If you haven’t read this story as a kid I would advise you to read it now. I promise you will love it.

This blog post is part of AJ’s Children’s Book Week.

The California Club – Belinda Jones

Tcalifornia clubitle: The California Club
Author: Belinda Jones
Publisher: Arrow Books
Pages: 517
My rating★★★★★

When I read my first Belinda Jones novel in 2008 I was instantly in love with her style. So far I have read about 5 books written by her and she has never disappointed me. I usually find her characters interesting women that have some qualities I admire, whether they pick up their stuff and go on a road trip or do something else completely, I always end up wishing I had that much courage myself. So when I noticed ‘The California Club’ on a book fair last year, I just had to buy it.

What the book is about

“When Lara Richards jets off to glamorous California, the last thing she’s expecting is to find her old friend Helen transformed from a clipboard-clasping frump into a shimmering surf goddess. The secret of her blissful new life? The mysterious California Club. So the offer of guest membership — one wish, guaranteed to come true by the end of their stay — is one Lara and her friends can’t resist.”

What I thought about the book

The book was everything I had expected it to be, and more. The California Club actually has six main characters, five ladies and one guy. Or five Belles and one Beau, as they describe themselves. Lara is the one who ‘tells’ the story, but as a reader you get a pretty good idea of what the other five are going through. Lara has been in love with her best friend Elliot since forever and even though they’ve known each other for ten years, she has never told him. Now that he is getting married to his girlfriend Elise, she thinks that her chance to get him is over. She is devastated. When she gets the chance to share her true wish, she is scared to actually ask for what she wants and she decides to write something else instead. I am not going to tell you what happens next, because then I’d get into some major spoilers, but I really loved this story. It’s funny, romantic and I loved every bit of it. Once again Belinda Jones has found a way to give her characters the courage they need to change their lives!

Tastes like winter – CeCe Carroll

TLWWhat the book is about

When home no longer feels like home – where can you go?

When your best friend won’t listen – who can you turn to?
When love makes you feel weak – how do you protect your heart?

With constant fighting at home, Emma decides working at High Street Books and practicing avoidance is the best method to save her from more heartache. She doesn’t expect to meet Jake, the shop owner’s nephew, who makes her stomach do crazy things. But Jake is intent on pushing her away, and Emma must ask herself: Is he scared? Or is he hiding something?

Tastes Like Winter is a story of love, family, and friendship and, when everything is uncertain, trying to figure out where you fit in.

What I thought about the book 

Emma is an introvert person with a passion for books. She loves to hide in her own world. Especially now that her parents are fighting all the time and seem to be close to a divorce. Emma starts working at a bookstore to be away from home. There she meets Jake, a mysterious and older student, who happens to be the nephew of her boss. He’s got a bad reputation, but Emma has never seen that side of him and she can’t help falling for him.

I really enjoyed this story. Jake is definitely the type of guy I would fall for. He doesn’t talk much about himself, but he gives Emma books as presents. Those books tell bits and pieces of his story. Emma and Jake have conversations about books, music, philosophy, life and more. I could talk for hours about these topics so I really enjoyed those parts. Of course it’s not cool that Jake is not really opening up to Emma, but that mysterious part makes me want to know what is going on in his mind. It makes me want to get to know more about him.

The story somehow reminded me of the books by Sarah Dessen, because of the dialogues and the way the main characters grew on me during the story. I really think that people who enjoyed books by Sarah Dessen will love this story as well.

CeCeAbout CeCe Carroll 

CeCe began writing as an escape from her days as a corporate slave laborer. She grew up splitting her time between the beautiful beaches of New Jersey and the bustling city of New York. Currently, she lives in Massachusetts with her super handsome and talented husband and two adorable, but often-sassy cats. CeCe gets excited easily, mostly about travelling, food, and of course, her first love: books.

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