Thursday, April 19, 2007

Recent Reads

I figure that every month or so, I will post the books that I have read recently. It will help me keep track of the books I've read (so that I don't go to the library and think-have I read that already?) and give other people ideas of good reads. So here they are-along with the genre (adult, young adult or children) and a short summary. They are in order of must read-top to bottom (best read at top)

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange-Adult-Fiction
Yes, it's about THE Mr. Darcy. In fact, it even includes insights to their married life. Includes some of the classic lines from the original book (such as Mr. Darcy's proposal). Also, ties up a few ends that Austen left hanging. If you liked P & P-you'll love this book!

Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper-Young Adult-Hist. Fiction
Most of this book takes place at the court of Charles II-interesting facts about social hierarchy at the time. Mystery, love and history!

Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski-Young Adult-Hist. Fantasy
The Spiritualist movement was very prominent during the late 1800s. Lucy is forced by her father to lead seances in order to earn money. She is shocked to find that she actually makes contact, and even more surprised to find the girl she makes contact with lives in the future. Really interesting, kind of Back to the Futuresque book.

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith-Young Adult-Fantast
Sounds like a romance novel, but it's not. In fact, it's a story about werewolves and vampires. Quincie Morris (yes, a tribute to original Dracula) is a typical high school student, except for the fact that her best friend is a werewolf and she runs a vampire themed restaurant. Quincie is faced with her worst fears when the fiction of the restuarant becomes a reality. Not my usual kind of book, but pretty good all the same.

Marie, Dancing
by Carolyn Meyer-Young Adult-Hist. Fiction
Marie's entire life revolved around her practices and performances as a dancer in the Paris Opera ballet. Her two sisters, one older, one younger, are also ballerinas, but her family is very poor. In order to pay for the rent and food, her older sister becomes the mistress of a wealthy patron of the ballet. Marie doesn't want to follow in her sister's footsteps, but knows that she must help her family survive. She finds a side job posing as a model for the now famous Degas and in the meantime is able to meet Mary Cassatt. Interesting integration of art history!

Bread and Roses, Too
by Katharine Paterson-Young Adult-Hist. Fiction
About the Bread and Roses strike in 1812. Follows Rosa Serutti and Jake Beale as they deal with the repercussions of the strike and being sent away to live with a different family until the strike is over. Piece of history I'd actually never even heard of.

Here Lies the Librarian
by Richard Peck-Children-Historical/Realistic Fiction
Similar to Peck's other books-takes place in rural America early 1900s. Funny moments-about a small town getting a library and the changes that take place because of it.

Vive La Paris by Esme Coddell--Children-Realistic Fiction
Paris takes piano lessons from Mrs. Rosen, but learns a lot more than just middle C. She finds out about bullies and being your "brother's keeper." This is a companion novel to Sahara Special.

Lunch Money by Andrew Clements-Children-Realistic Fiction
Greg realizes how much money changes hands during lunch and wants to start earning the money from other kids. He comes up with innovative products to sell while dealing with the competition from his nemesis Maura. I like Clements because he is very kid empowering in his writing. This would be a great read-aloud.

Forever in Blue
by Ann Brashares-Young Adult-Realistic Fiction
Fourth book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. More sexual content than the others. Same girls-not much to say about this because it is similar in caliber to the others. I think the first one was the best.

Innocent Man
by John Grisham-Adult-Non-fiction
I am a big fan of Grisham-this book was a little different than his others because while it was still about lawyers and crime, it was a true case. It was interesting but a little graphic and took me awhile to get through.


Audra Bollard said...

Wow Beth! I feel like I read a decent amount, but I can't get through that many books in a month! That's how many I've read in the last four months!

Speaking of which . . . I loved The Thirteenth Tale and will probably pick it for my book club in June. It was reminiscent of Rebecca, Wuthering Heights & Jane Eyre for me--very much your classic Gothic English, somewhat melodramatic, novel. It kept me up until midnight to finish, which only very engaging books do these days. Also, it made me think about the plot after for awhile--did the twist at the end really work? etc. and it was interesting to go back and realize that it did. I'm a little nervous that some might feel it's a bit too creepy & dark (the whole relationship between Charlie & Isabelle and all), so I'm having one other girl in my ward read it before I make my final decision. Tell me what you think?

Thanks for recommending a great read.

Audra Bollard said...

OH! And I've been meaning to tell you, since you appear to be on a Historical Fiction kick, you must discover the world of Sharon Kay Penman. Katie & I got obsessed with her in high school and we still talk about her books all time. We considered driving to Pasadena to her book signing, but we didn't quite make it and I still regret not getting to meet "Sharon Kay" in person. I'm not saying these are the most amazingly well-written books from a literary standpoint, but her history is solid and Kate and I need another groupie to talk with! Start with Here Be Dragons and then you'll be hooked and will have to read the two sequels (The Reckoning and Falls The Shadow). Then she has another really good trilogy too. Skip her mystery novels, they aren't nearly as good.

Okay, now I've used up all the comment space for this post . . . sorry!

bethany said...

I tend to go a little overboard with the nights I stay up till midnight. I LOVE historical fiction, so I'm often on that kick-thanks for the recommendation, I'm going to the library tomorrow and I'll try and find her books. About the Thirteenth Tale...I think the Charlie/Isabelle thing is pretty subtle. I tend to judge the appropriateness of books on how much is insinuated-it's not like anyone ever really knows about those two. It's like the "boots next to the bed"-you never get any details, you just know it happened. That's just me. I've thought about using it for book club as well. How does your book club work? Is it just people in your ward?
And with the whole creepy and dark thing-I would NOT recommend Tantalize (from my list) if you are trying to stay away from that.
I would love to get a group of P & P readers together and read Mr. Darcy's Diary though-just to see what others think about it.

Melissa said...

That is a boat load of books, Beth. Again, I really beileve you should have a website with your reviews. I think it's great that you read so much. I'm sure if I cut my tv time in half, I would be able to read a lot more than I do. But I just can't seem to turn it off!

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