Monday, February 25, 2008

Wow. I've finished a bunch of books since I posted last a couple weeks ago.

Recent Reads:
Brooklyn Rose by Ann Rinaldi – This slim book has an interesting premise. Rinaldi attempts to write the story of her grandparents’ first year of marriage. It’s 1900 and Rose – who grew up on an island plantation in South Carolina - is only 15 when she marries 30-year-old Rene – an immigrant from France who lives in Brooklyn. Rene is a successful businessman, dealing in silk. Rose must adjust to life without her family near, and learn to be a wife and the mistress of the mansion where she and her husband live.

The story isn’t too shabby. It’s a bit droll in places, though, and the end leaves much to be desired. It’s as if the publisher forgot to put the last chapter into the book.

General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn - *yawn* Most of this book was boring. What could have been an excellent novel seemed forced and clichéd.

Averie – the 17-year-old daughter of General Winston, along with her chaperone, joins her father and her fiancé on their military campaign in Chiarrin. On her way there, she meets Lieutenant Ket Du’kai who, although a ranked officer in the Aebrian military, comes from a country conquered by them 100 years ago.

Averie finds herself falling in love with Chiarrin – despite the heat. She also finds herself questioning the relationship with her fiancé and her feelings for a particular lieutenant.

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande – this was a book group pick for February (which I didn’t get to attend again this month. :( ).

Mena is an outcast. The exact reason why isn’t said until about halfway through the book. She wrote – and sent - a letter. The consequences of the letter include church members being sued, daily bullying by her former friends and former crush, her parents grounding her and barely speaking to her. Life will never be the same for Mena.
On the first day of school, Mena is paired up with a science geek for a lab partner, who blessedly doesn’t know why her former church members hate her so much. Mena’s views on religion, science and life in general are changed as she becomes closer with her lab partner and her former church stages a protest against the teaching of evolution in her biology class.

Overall, the story was decent. I liked the changes in Mena, and how she kept her faith but opened her mind to what others had to say.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Another book club pick for February.

Hannah Baker is dead. She committed suicide. Clay Jensen in one of 13 people listed why.

A few weeks after Hannah’s death, Clay receives a package in the mail. It contains several cassette tapes…Hannah’s suicide note. Over the course of the evening, Clay listens to Hannah’s story and hears just why he is one of the 13 reasons.
The book is excellent. The text is intertwines Hannah’s words with Clay’s thoughts and actions as he listens to her speak.

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman – this short story (what else would you call it. It’s only one CD long) is just plain odd. It is supposed to be the dream of Helena, a teenage girl whose family owns and participates in a circus. When her mother falls ill and is hospitalized, Helena and her father stay with her aunt. One night Helena (who loves to draw pictures), has a bizarre dream. Bizarre enough that it was difficult to follow the story – at least in audio format.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this series of books. When I heard in January that the 1st title won an Odyssey honor for children’s and teen audiobooks, I wanted to listen to it. After speaking with the chair for the Odyssey committee and hearing her thoughts on the books, I knew I HAD to listen to it.

It. Was. Wonderful. Love it. Love Jacky and her pluck. Love the narrator’s voice and her style. The narrator fit the voice of Jacky like a glove on a hand. Perfect.

Thoughts on current reads:

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner – I’m just a few pages into this novel, so don’t know much about it or how I feel about it just yet. It’s set in ancient Greece, and the main character is Helen of Troy.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (audiobook) - I'm having a hard time with this audiobook. Why? Because the narrator's style. He recites the sentences in such a clipped, abrupt fashion that I find it difficult to get into the story. Perhaps I should send this title back and try it in print form. I've promised myself I will listen to at least the first full disc before I decide to go any further.

Montmorency: Thief Liar Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale - I haven’t picked this up for a couple of weeks. I think I am going to put it back on my “to be read” pile (I own it) and come back to it later.

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