Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Review Extravaganza!

Love that Dog
Sharon Creech, pub. 2001, 86 pages.

This short little volume is great fun. It appears to be the poetry journal of a grade school boy. He is very reluctant to write poetry at the beginning of the year, and wants to know what is up with that "snowy woods" poem. But soon things start to change.

Poetry lovers of all ages will like this one. In fact, I'd recommend it to those who haven't been bitten by the poetry bug yet too. All of the poems that are referenced in the book conveniently appear in the back. It was a quick, fun read. Go for it! You've got nothing to lose. Even if you hate it, you won't have spent too much time reading it since it's so short! But you'll like it.

These is my words: The diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901
Nancy Turner, pub 1998.

As the title suggests, this is the (fictional) diary of Sarah Prine. She lives in "the Territories" -- out West -- during these years of her life. The book follows her from her teen years into 30's. There are horses, Indians, wagons, books, guns, adventures and a little bit of romance.

A word of warning: the first little bit of the book is rather gruesome and depressing -- people just keep dying! But that was the way of life on the trail. Soon enough though things start to settle down and then the story gets really good. I was hard pressed to put it down. I'd recommend this book to older audiences, as there are some quite suspenseful and/or frightening scenes. The characters are so alive though, and you really grow to love them. Try it out!

Robin McKinley, pub. 2003, 389 pages.

In a world that seems a lot like ours except for the fact that magic is rather commonplace, Rae Seddon has an encounter with "the darkest Others" -- vampires -- and lives. That has never happened before. No one has ever survived vampires, let alone saved the life of one of them. This pulls her into an intriguing adventure of both human and vampire politics.

A great thriller. Not too scary, but not boring in the least. This one is action packed, and you've gotta love the leading lady. A few scandalous, sensual moments dot the book here and there... I don't know if my high-school self would have picked up on all of them, or would have handled them well. The only other thing about the book that wasn't top notch is that our narrator was prone to lengthy asides and explanations -- very helpful usually, but they were a bit confusing sometimes. You could have fun with this one.

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Libba Bray, pub. 2004, 403 pages

Raised in India, sixteen year old Gemma finally gets the chance she's been waiting for to go to school in London. The experience is tainted, however by a mystery that's been waiting to be unlocked for a long time. What really happened at the school 20 years ago?

I found this one a little bit cliche. Everyone is raised in India! (A Little Princess, Secret Garden...) and then goes to boarding school (Dead Poets Society, Emporer's Club, etc.). It was fine though. It had some nice plot twists and such. I probably would have liked this book a lot when I was, oh, thirteen or so. But to me it's not one of the classics. I still might read the sequel, Rebel Angels, though.

So I've put the above reviews in order of recommendability, with the most recommendable book at the top. You could enjoy reading any of these books though -- I have. As you can see I've been doing a lot of reading. And I haven't stopped yet. Right now I'm in to Austenland and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I, The Pox Party. And in less than a week Jacob and I will be in Michigan, livin' it up!

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