What I’ve Been Reading Lately (June, 2022)

After a lot of rereads last month, I brought home a big bag of books from the library and have been off on a lot of new reads more recently.

I continued my T. Kingfisher reading with Paladin’s Strength, sequel to Paladin’s Grace, focused on a supporting character from the previous book.  It was very good with some nice turns to the story, if not quite as good as the first in the series – but Paladin’s Grace is a serious contender for best of the year right now, so it’s hardly fair to set the bar that high!  I very much enjoyed the second one too, and plan to finish the trilogy.

I got up to date on the Morrigan Crow series with Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend.  I believe the next book is due out later in the year.  I liked Book 3 better than Book 2 in this case, as Morrigan got to do much more with her magic and that was very fun.  I was not prepared for a plague story, though.  I guess the title should have tipped me off, but I genuinely didn’t make the ‘pox connection!  Still good, but I’m glad I didn’t read this a year ago – and I think some of the “terrible” government restrictions trying to curb the pox (like…a curfew) may read differently now than they would have pre-Covid…

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (June, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (May, 2022)

I’ve been so busy writing the last few weeks, I’ve done less reading than usual!  I have enjoyed rereading some old favorites, though, and trying a couple new books too.

Gordon Korman was my favorite funny author of my childhood.  A couple of librarian friends tell me he’s known for survival stories now, but back in his early career he wrote some hilarious stories, including my favorite and one of the earliest reviews on this blog, A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag.  I recently bought one missing from my collection of his early books, Son of Interflux.  I got a used copy online, and was pretty delighted to open it and unexpectedly find a signature!  The book was also as fun and hilarious as I remembered.  In the same mold as Semester, it’s a high school setting full of kooky characters and increasingly escalating chaos.  In this case, an art school takes on a big corporation to save a forested area – but it’s not remotely as serious as that plot makes it sound. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (May, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2022)

Lately I feel like I’m always on a hunt for more light-hearted books.  I’m not sure when that became a hard thing to find?  I’ve had some interesting reads in the last few weeks, but it’s been…mixed in terms of the tone!

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell sounded brilliant, a Disney-sponsored novel with a twist on their Beauty and the Beast movie (they have a whole series, in fact).  The first twist was that Belle’s mother was the enchantress who cursed the Beast, and the second twist was that Belle accidentally destroys the enchanted rose, making the curse much worse.  There were good parts to this, but…!  Too much of it was almost word for word retelling the Disney movie, and then when it diverged we somehow plunged off into an insane asylum where some seriously creepy torture is going on, which sat…very weirdly in a Disney movie-inspired book!  You don’t expect lobotomies in a Disney story!  I also thought the romance got very little attention, so that when Belle’s father eventually remarks that Belle and the Beast are “obviously” in love…it was really, really not obvious. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2022)”

Video Review: Anne of the Island

I’ve been rereading the Anne of Green Gables series by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.  Today I have a video review of Book Three, Anne of the Island.

This volume follows Anne to college, with new romance and a new character I especially enjoy.  I think it’s an improvement on the second book of the series, and definitely well-worth reading.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (March, 2022)

I’m not doing any formal reading challenges this year, but I have still been continuing to read.  I thought I’d share a few highlights from my recent reading – it’s been mixed!

If I Were You by Lynn Austin is one I encountered while doing research for my WWII novel.  It appeared to be about the aftermath of the war – Audrey, a British widow goes to her American in-laws for help, only to find her best friend already there, pretending to be her.  Sounded fascinating!  But as it turned out, most of the story was actually about the women’s lives before and during the war, with the identity-theft only a frame story.  Interesting, but not what I was hoping for – and since it was set in England, not France, only limited value as research for my novel.

One of my favorite books is Jane Eyre, so of course I was curious about The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, a purported modern retelling.  It was well-written and had some clever takes on the story, which felt part Jane Eyre and also part Rebecca.  There was a very good twist most of the way through that made the final portion especially gripping.  I liked the read, except – virtually every character, Jane included, was made much darker and more morally ambiguous than the original.  Which is…fine, but I like characters who are likable!

After a couple dark books, it was nice to pick up Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, which felt like a delightful breath of fresh air – even in its earliest chapters, when Morrigan is a cursed child in an unloving family.  She escapes to Nevermoor, magical and colorful and full of eccentric characters.  It’s a very fun magical child story with a great landscape and some good mysteries.

I’ve done other reading on the nonfiction side, mostly research for my World War II novel.  I enjoyed Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinskoff.  It’s twenty years old, but felt incredibly relevant about the social pressures on parents to make everything educational for their children, starting in the womb.  Spoiler: it’s better for children to play than to use flashcards.  I’ve also been rereading The World’s Religions by Huston Smith, which is brilliant and insightful and really feels like the collection wisdom of the world.

What have you been reading lately?  Recommendations are welcome, especially ones that aren’t too far to the dark!