Sunday, October 1, 2017

September 2017 in Books

Salt Houses - Hala Alyan - fiction - five stars - Wonderful book about the plight of a Palestinian family that is repeatedly uprooted first because of the Six Day war, then from Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invades.  They lose family and friends as well and the family begins to scatter across the globe as this occurs.  The book deals with survivor's guilt, relationships between parents, parents and kids from generation to generation.  There is much sadness, but also survival and hope.

Beach Party Surf Monkey
- Chris Grabenstein - juvenile fiction - four stars - The sequel to one of Ellie's Battle Books.  It's a cute and fun story about P.T., his friend Gloria, and the hotel they live in.  They manage to convince some producers to film a movie using the hotel as the set, and much chaos ensues.  These are a quick easy read, and I think especially suited for kids who liked books such as Captain Underpants, Lunch Lady, Big Nate, etc.  This is a step up, but still fun to read.

Savannah Breeze - Andrews, Mary Kay - fiction - four stars - Mary Kay Andrews' books are just fun and easy to read.  As usual, I loved her main characters, they made me laugh and I was rooting for them.  BeBe Loudermilk is swindled by a conman who basically liquidates all her assets (home, rental properties, bank accounts, etc.) and leaves her in the lurch.  All she is left with is a rundown motel that she starts to fix up in order to get out of the red.  Meanwhile, she tracks the conman down in Florida and heads down there to get her revenge.

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)
- Colin Mely - juvenile fiction - four stars - This has been on my radar for a while.  I do love kids books and I enjoyed this one a lot.  I tried to get Ellie to read it, but she was full up with books at the time, so I went ahead and returned it.  The story starts out with a little girl who is babysitting her baby brother and a murder of ravens comes along and steals him and heads towards the mysterious Wildwood where no one ever goes.  She of course is determined to rescue him and heads out with a friend into the mysterious wood.  I thought the story was good, the characters interesting and likable, and because it's the first in a series, I get to read some more.

Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #4) - Heather Vogel Frederick - juvenile fiction - five stars - This is one that Ellie picked up at the library.  I really enjoyed and so did she, although I wish that we had started at the beginning of the series.  It's a group of girls and their mothers who have a book club.  The girls are entering 9th grade and one of them is moving to England for a year for her father's work.  The book club continues, via facetime, and you get a glimpse of the different struggles, social, family, etc. that the girls face.  I really liked it, but of course the girls are going into 9th grade, so some of the social situations are ones that Ellie has had to deal with yet.  The first book (which Ellie is now reading) is set when the girls are entering 6th grade, so much more applicable to her right now.  But the series is really great.  I like the consequences the girls have for misbehavior, I like that they include fun facts about the books they are reading, and that it spurs interest in the book itself.  Ellie now wants to read Pride and Prejudice.  We're holding off a bit because I'm not sure she's quite ready for it, but as I mentioned, she's reading the first book now, as well as Little Women, the book featured in that book.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.D. Vance - memoir - five stars - This one has been on my list for a while now and was really such a good read.  Eye opening and in some ways leaves you kind of depressed, but on the other hand I think the message is one of hope.  That it just takes someone to encourage you and to speak some truth and provide wise counsel to totally change your circumstances.  Vance could very well have been just another statistic from Appalachia, but instead he became very successful.  People make a difference in others' lives.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old
- Hendrik Groen - fiction - four stars - This was an interesting one.  I wasn't sure if I liked it while I was reading it.  It's not a fast read because it's a diary, but I enjoyed it.  The setting is in the Netherlands, so there's a lot they talk about politics and royalty wise that I'm not as attuned with, but at the same time, so funny to read the thoughts of an elderly man in a home, for example, much discussion about purchasing a scooter and then taking it to the shop of the son of one of the other residents to get it 'souped up'.  I'd definitely recommend it, it's perfect for reading a few entries throughout the day, not necesssarily sitting down and reading cover to cover.

A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red, #1) - Phil Bildner - juvenile fiction - four stars - Another of Ellie's battle books.  This one is about a boy and his autistic friend who head into 5th grade thinking they know exactly how the year is going to go - teacher, schedule, etc.  Only to find that school is going to be VERY different that year.  There's a new teacher with a very different take on education.  The boys learn, but in a very different way.  This is another series and I really enjoyed the characters and will be reading more.  A great series for boys.

Savannah Blues - Mary Kay Andrews - fiction - four stars - I liked Savannah Breeze so much, I thought I should read the first book.  Just as much fun as the second book.  In this one, Weezie's husband has left her and she's trying to start her antique business.  She manages to find the body of the woman her husband left her for dead in a home where she is looking to buy for an estate sale.  Chaos ensues, she's arrested for murder.  She and BeBe must now clear her name.  Meanwhile she meets the new cook at BeBe's restaurant and sparks fly.

The Ice-Cream Makers - Ernest van der Kwast - fiction - three stars.  I picked this one up off the new books shelf at the library.  It was a disappointment.  It's about a man who forsakes his famiily's generations old ice cream business to become a poet.  I enjoyed the parts that told about how his family got started in ice cream and had lots of promise, but just disappointing and messed up.  Couldn't identify with or even like the main character.  Just blah.

1 comment:

  1. Love this collage!! I'm an avid reader and hang out on Goodreads but I've slowed way down in reading - way to go! Nice selections.