Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 in Books

A really good month of reading for the most part with one big dud in the bunch.  Lots of books that made me think and some really sweet and wonderful stories as well.  Coming up next for me are a couple of Ellie's Battle Books (the next battle is Friday and this is the first time I haven't read them all in time), The Age of Miracles, and The Sun is Also a Star.  Would love to know what you've read this month!

The Bitter Side of Sweet - Tara Sullivan - juvenile fiction - five stars - About two boys in Africa who look to find work in another country, but are tricked into slavery on the Ivory Coast.  They have given up on going home when a young girl arrives at the camp and she inspires them to escape.  A really compelling look at modern day slavery and exploitation of kids in other parts of the world.  This is a juvenile fiction book and I would let Ellie (in 5th grade) read it. 

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots  - Jessica Sofer - fiction - four stars - The story of Lorca, a girl who is having a hard time and whose mom wants to send her to boarding school, and Victoria a recent widow.  They are both searching and in doing so find one another through a shared love of cooking.  As they get to know one another, they being to feel they might be connected by more than just cooking.  I enjoyed the book, I thought some of it was kind of contrived and I am not a huge fan of teenage angst (very much not looking forward to the teenage years here), but overall I really enjoyed the story and how it was told.  Some really interesting twists and turns too.

Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #3) - Heather Vogel Frederick - juvenile fiction - four stars - Another installment of the series that Ellie and I have been reading.  In this book they girls are reading Daddy Long Legs and they have joined with a book club in Wyoming with whom the girls become pen pals.  Besides that, Jess is going to a boarding school, she misses her friends and hates her roommate, Cassidy's family is about to grow, and Megan's grandmother comes for an extended visit.  Just as enjoyable as the rest of the series.

The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman - fiction - four stars - I have read all of Wiseman's books and have always enjoyed them.  She's a great storyteller and here weaves the story of an albino girl who her parents hide her in the attic because she is different.  Eventually her mother sells her to the circus where she ends up thriving.  Years later a woman inherits her parents house and begins to unravel the story.  It was a really good read, but I just didn't like the ending/climax at all and felt a little let down at the end. 

The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey - fiction - five stars - The story of a couple who move to Alaska to escape when they are unable to have children.  They live reclusively until one evening, almost if by magic, they are visited by a child.  She is almost like a stray dog who comes and goes.  They build a relationship with her, but most folks don't believe she exists.  She becomes a big part of their lives and is almost a good luck charm who helps open their hearts to other friendships as well.  Sad and sweet and hopeful.  I really enjoyed this one.

The Luster of Lost Things - Sophie Chen Keller - fiction - five stars - Such a sweet story about a boy named Walter who has a hard time communicating due to a speech impediment, but a huge gift for finding things.  When his mother's bakery loses a special book that brings magic to the store, it's up to him to find it again.  In his journey he meets and helps a series of strangers and finds a way to bring life back to the store.

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead - historical fiction - five stars - A great book!  It's the story of Cora a slave who runs away.  In this book the underground railroad is depicted as exactly that, a railroad under the ground.  It's kind of an interesting concept that blends historical fiction and fantasy.  Aside from the undergroundness of the railroad, it's a really compelling story describing her movements through the U.S., the attitude towards slavery in different states, the practice of slave catching, etc. 

The Best of Adam Sharp - Graeme Simsion - fiction - two stars - I had high hopes for this as I really liked his Rosie books, but I kind of hated this book.  It's basically about a guy on the cusp of a mid-life crisis and an email from his old girlfriend, the love of his life, the one that got away sends him over the edge.  Basically a bunch of messed up people.  Generally if I get to the end of a book and really don't like any of the characters it's a bad book, right?

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself - Bob Pflugfelder - juvenile fiction - four stars - This is one of Ellie's Battle Books.  Nick and Tesla have been sent to California to stay with their slightly wacky inventor uncle while their parents are working overseas.  There are strange things happening in the neighborhood and they and some new friends work to get to the bottom of things.  It's a fun story, and a really easy read that will appeal to boys as well as girls.  There are actually directions for different experiments inside too which are pretty easily duplicated which your kids might also find really appealing.

To Be Where You Are - Jan Karon - fiction - five stars - My mother-in-law introduced me to the Mitford series many years ago, before kids, so at least a decade ago.  All the books are sweet and charming and I've a vested interest in the characters now.  The characters have also aged and many that have been with us for a long time have passed, or are getting to retirement age.  This book deals a lot with that next stage in life for some of the older characters, but lots of hope and new beginnings for the younger set.  For me, Mitford never disappoints and I love to see how the characters are doing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your book finds every month. You inspire me to read!
    I read all the earlier Mitford books quite a while ago. I lost track of them and it looks like there are a few I missed. Thank you for mentioning them so I can get back into it. I think they'll be a perfect antidote for the world these days!!!