Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mini Reviews of More Books I Read In September

Children's Literature: A Reader's History From Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer. (Non-fiction)
I only got through about half of this book before it had to go back to the library. Very informative, but rather dry. I love reading about the ins and outs of children's literature, but this book is text dense, ponderous and heavy, and is not a quick read.
I feel like I should give it another chance, but not right now.

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. (Middle Grade)
An odd little story; an allegory of peace, if you will. Despite being the inspiration of the animated movie The Iron Giant, the only resemblance between the two is the presence of a metal eating iron giant and the boy named Hogarth.

Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore. (Middle Grade)
This reminded me a little of the picture book The Paper Bag Princess. Plucky princess Ivy doesn't wait around to let life happen to her, especially when she learns that the prince who is supposed to rescue her from her dragon-guarded tower imprisonment is an evil jerk, and her word puzzle-loving dragon jailer turns out to be a real friend. Together, she and the dragon set off to find her fairy godmother to enlist her help in fighting the people plotting to take over her father's kingdom. I think this would make an excellent read-aloud for my girls, and I like that the story is about friendship, family, and resourcefulness. There is a sequel out just today called Ivy and the Meanstalk

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. (Adult Fiction)
I really enjoyed this story about two women in a small Southern town, connected through their grandmothers who were once best friends, brought together in a surprising friendship as they struggle to right old wrongs and forge new paths of community, belonging and love. It's a story that combines mystery, romance, coming-of-age, and just a touch of magic.

(I liked that the main character from Garden Spells, Allen's debut novel, made an brief appearance in the book.)

A feast of a book for illustration enthusiasts, highlighting a few of the very talented illustrators of children's literature. The "story" behind the art of: Hilary Knight, Trina Schart Hyman, Harry Bliss, David Shannon, Bryan Collier, Paul O. Zelinsky, Brian Selznick, David Wiesner, Betsy Lewin, Denise Fleming, and Lane Smith. Interesting and well-written. My only "complaint" is that I wish there were more artists featured. (It makes me sad that many of the books by Trina Schart Hyman are no longer in print.)

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. (Young Adult)
Pearl (please note the irony of a creature of death named for the jewel symbolizing purity and innocence) is a young vampire from an old and distinguished vampire family. When she is stabbed through the heart by a unicorn, her whole world shifts. Suddenly she can be out in sunlight without burning up. When a diabolical plan hatched by her scheming parents lands her in high school, Pearl finds herself developing a conscience and friends. What will happen when her two worlds collide?

Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith. (Adult/Young Adult Fiction)
I was so excited to read this sequel to Coronets And Steel, that came out the week after I finished the first book. And I wasn't disappointed. Excellent writing, same great characters, excitement, faster paced (than the first book), and a satisfying conclusion. (At least I'm guessing it's the conclusion?)

Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. (Non-Fiction)
A fascinating, excellently written, and thoroughly researched, enjoyable biography about the Darwin's life together.

Overbite by Meg Cabot. (Adult Fiction)
The sequel to Insatiable. I liked it okay, although I wasn't thrilled with where Cabot chose to take the story. Oh well. The writing seemed rushed, compared to her first book.

Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. (Adult Fiction)
My first Jennifer Crusie book. A fun, romantic story about an older divorced woman who reluctantly falls in lust/love with her younger downstairs neighbor. I liked it a lot. I'll be back for more from this author.

Amish Women: Lives and Stories by Louise Stoltzfus. (Non-Fiction)
A loving, intimate look at a few selected Amish Women, mostly in their own words, by a former member of their order. 

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (Adult Fiction)
A poignant, powerful look at life in early American history, as a young Puritan girl struggles with her place in the world, and her Native American friend is dragged, by circumstance, out of the life he knows. My first book by Brooks. Now I want to read her others.

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker. (Non-Fiction/Memoir)
Elna Baker is a Mormon living in New York City, something her mother, especially, is not comfortable with. This is Elna's frank account of her life as she struggles with her religious identity and what it means to her.


  1. Well you certainly read more than me! I need to find Overbite but it will be a library book for me. I wasn't that enamored with the first one. I want more Sherwood Smith but I can't find any but the ones I've already read. :(

  2. For some reason, my library only carries a couple of Sherwood Smith's books, so I buy all her books, because I like them enough to re-read them.
    All the other books read here came from the library.

  3. Ooh, I think I'd really like to read that book about illustrators!