Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reading recap 5/13

Since I try to post weekly, you'd think I'd have an easier time remembering what I read from one week to the next, but it always seems to be a struggle! (I'm blaming it on pregnancy brain . . . for now.)

I found--and devoured--Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan. This was another great middle grade book (why did I  not know there were so many amazing middle grade writers out there?). I didn't like it quite as much as True (Sort of), but it was a lovely story about Ida B., who lives an idyllic life on a farm with her parents until her mom gets sick, Ida B. has to go to public school (instead of being homeschooled) and she generally thinks her world is falling apart. But Ida B. has a plan to save everything . . . maybe. The writing was sharp and the characters were interesting--I was amazed at how Hannigan managed to keep things interesting even when it was only Ida B. rambling around the woods on her own.

I also read Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre. I'm still mulling over what I think about this one. I liked the basic premise--a 16-year-old girl named Emma finds herself living out Jane Eyre's storyline after getting struck by lightning. For once, an adaptation author seemed not only familiar with the original story but capable of thinking and writing critically about it (I suspect that Mont has some kind of literature background). Emma flips back and forth between her own story and Jane's, and makes some important discoveries about herself along the way. While I really wanted to love this book, ultimately I didn't. I thought there were some great intense scenes between Emma and her love interest, but I also found some of the points the book made a little extreme/dramatic and at times contradictory. (Possibly I'm also influenced by the fact that Mont is ultimately critical of Rochester, and I had a huge crush on him in high school and am apparently not quite over a residual fondness for the character. That, and the fact that I know a fair amount about 19th century British Women's literature.) For instance, after coming across critical of Rochester's actions, Mont still paves the way for a parallel romance in Emma's real life. However, I liked it enough that I'd probably read the sequel (which picks up Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter).

I started, but couldn't finish, Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang (the family was ultimately a little too dysfunctional for me--it was painful to read. I'm pretty sure that was the point, but it still didn't hook me).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reading Update 5/8

I spent the weekend at the LDStorymaker's conference in Provo, so of course I didn't update my reading list. Let's see if I can even remember what I read!

I've been reading several books off the state's Beehive Award List, and, for the most part, they've been great.

I read Kiersten Gier's Ruby Red (the first in a trilogy) about a girl from a time-traveling family. Everyone thought her cousin was the pre-destined time-traveler (she's the one who's been getting all the training), and everyone (except of course the reader) is surprised when Gwyn discovers it was really her all along. I liked the main character, and the snobby boy Gideon, who's assigned to be her time-traveling partner. This first story introduced several mysteries that I'm curious to figure out, and I'll likely keep reading. The only issue for me with this book was the writing--this is a translation from German, and sometimes that shows in odd syntactical expressions.

I read--and adored--True (Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan. (Now I need to go find her Ida B.) This book follows Delly (short for Delaware), a good hearted little girl who can't help but get in trouble all the time. When she's threatened with suspension if she misbehaves one more time--and when her mother threatens to cry (and break Delly's heart) if she's suspended--Delly decides it's time to make a change. Trouble is, she doesn't know how. She finds herself intrigued by the new girl at school, Ferris Boyd, and befriends her, even though Ferris won't talk and communicates only through writing. I thought the book was lovely--the writing was strong, the characters were interesting and unexpected and Delly had a vivid, well-drawn family. Although the secret at the center of the novel is fairly dark (most adult readers will see it coming), it was dealt with sensitively.

Finally, I read Georgette Heyer's Footsteps in the Dark. Oddly enough, I think this was the first time I've read this one, although I own most of her books (except the histories, which I don't like). This one was okay--I never really connected to the characters like I'd hoped.