Thursday, October 31, 2013
Good Kings Bad Kings
By: Susan Nussbaum
Genre: realistic fiction
5 out of 5
I love when books grab you from the very first page. I knew right away I would love this book. Even though it was a heart-wrenching read the characters were true to themselves and had a great sense of humor. The saddest aspect of the book is that even though it is a fictional book, I’m sure it is also very true – what an eye-opener. I felt for all the characters and even the adults that were causing some of the devastating circumstances because they were just trying to survive and make a living himself. That is except Tim, who was only out to better his and his family’s lifestyle. I am tired of reading books that are in trilogies or worse, series; however I really felt I knew these people and would love to hear what happened to Yessie, Joanne, Ricky and the others in the future. My only criticism would be that the novel doesn’t have a catchy title or appealing cover, if this wasn’t a recommendation I probably would have never picked it up AND that would have been a true disappointment.
This is Susan's first novel and I hope to see more.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
By: Terry Pratchett
Genre: YA historical fiction/famtasy
1 out of 5
I very much disliked this book. I found it very difficult to follow mainly because of the writing style. I would have given up except I choose it as a YA book club selection. As a member and, in this case, the moderator of the book club I would not give up. I have found that the primary reason I give up on books is the writing style because I find my mind wanders too much and if I read even 30 pages and you asked what I read I would be unable to tell you. I don’t feel the writing was poor; it was actually very well written – I just have a hard time following some styles and this was one. This book reminded me of the style of Wicked by Gregory Maguire or Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
Terry Pratchett has written numerous books, both YA and adult.
His website is www.terrypratchettbooks.com.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey
By: Margaret Powell
3.5 out of 5
First published in 1968, this biography is written in the high standards that avid readers place on books today. This was not only impressive, but also unique. In the retelling of her life as a servant, Powell does so with humor and grace. The reader won’t feel sad for her, but instead proud of her and her accomplishments. I do believe this was her intent and the book was not written to gain sympathy, just awareness. This biography also exemplifies the difference between good and bad employers. Powell stresses several times throughout the novel, what a difference a good employer is to a servant’s, or any employee’s, attitude towards work. My favorite aspect of the book was the comedic side of Powell’s storytelling.
Margaret Powell, who died in 1984, also wrote Servants’ Hall: a Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance which was published in 1979.
Friday, October 18, 2013
The Wild Girl
By: Jim Fergus
4 out of 5
Fergus truly has a gift for writing such beautiful fiction you forget it is indeed fiction. The novel is written in journal entries as the “events” unfold and with Fergus’s descriptive entries of the Apache’s and their surroundings the reader is transported into the story. As an added benefit, the character of Tolley, the gay expeditioner, creates much needed humor in the sometimes horrendous story of the battles between Americans, Mexicans and Wild Apaches of 1932. There is also a beautiful side story of a romance between “The Wild Girl” and the protagonist, Giles. However, for me the fact that Giles so quickly accepted the relationship, proved that men, or at least young men, don’t know the difference between sex and love.
I enjoyed both his fiction novels, which you can read more about at www.jimfergus.com
The Mostly True Story of Jack
By: Kelly Barnhill
Genre: Juvenile fiction
3 out of 5
This book is for fans of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Tweens will be attracted to the premise of Jack’s story because it is mysterious and the kids know more than the adults in this story. The chapters are short and catchy to keep the readers interest. Jack is a boy who feels invisible to everyone- even his parents. He has never even seen a photograph of himself - that is until he abandoned by his mom to his aunt's and uncle's house. People begin to acknowledge him and he finds a photo of himself. Something is strange, Jack just isn't sure what it is or why? However, with the help of his new friends in his aunt’s and uncle’s town the mystery will be solved. The only downfall to this book is there are a lot of characters and plots so the younger readers may have trouble following along as the story develops.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The Summer I Learned to Fly
By: Dana Reinhardt
Genre: juvenile fiction
Audiobook: 4 CD’s (4 hrs and 25 mins)
4 out of 5
A coming-of-age story that is truly remarkable, funny and sad at the same time. Drew doesn’t have many friends, but she does have three names, a pet rat and her deceased dad’s Book of Lists. As with most teens her age, she discovers that adventure and freedom can be right around the corner or, in her case, the back alley. The narrator of the audiobook version has the animated voice needed for the retelling of Drew’s story and blossoms the story to life. While this is the story of a thirteen year old girl, I believe boys could relate to the mischievous nature of Emmett Crane, Drew’s troubled and mysterious friend, and enjoy the story as much as girls.
Dana is the author of several juvenile novels. You can read about them all at www.danareinhardt.net
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Songs of Willow Frost
By: Jamie Ford
Genre: Historical fiction
4.5 out of 5
William is an orphaned boy who is searching for his semi-famous mother and the truth of his childhood. The character development of William will having you feeling for William so much you want to reach out and give him a great big hug. Fans of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet will not be disappointed in Ford’s latest book. His novel is written so extraordinarily well, that as you read you will forget that it is actually fictional. The other surprising fact is that Jamie Ford is a male and he portrays the female protagonist, Willow, William’s mother so well that you will be amazed he is a male author. The only reason I gave it a 4.5 rating instead of a 5 star was because a couple times throughout the novel it will repeat the story, which was a tad annoying.
Jamie Ford’s website is www.jamieford.com