From the Bookshelves: Book Reviews and Reading Update
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
The middle of the week can feel slow - at least to me! To help me power through, I often turn to books. There's something about escaping mid-week to another world that rejuvenates me and gets me back on track.
Here's a look at some books from my bookshelf. These aren't new titles, but with so many books in the world I can't get to everything right away. The good news is that this means they're super accessible. I've linked to them on Amazon through my affiliate link (no extra cost to you and few cents to me if you purchase). And most of these books are available anywhere you can buy books and, of course, the library!
Here we go...
There is something enticing about reading remade fairy tales. It brings me back to my childhood and nights spent reading under the covers. Possibly because I've found most books in this genre fall into the Young Adult (YA) category.
I love reading good YA books! Here's a look at a few re-made fairy tale books for young adults and adults alike.
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce - a book I genuinely enjoyed. Pearce takes the story of Hansel and Gretel and turns it into a modern-day story about brother and sister (Ansel and Gretchen), but she adds some major changes and a serious twist. I can absolutely see teens digging this book. It's fast moving, fun, scary (but not too scary), and there's a little romance, too.
Second in the YA grouping is Beastly by Alex Flinn. In this tale based on Beauty and the Beast, an obnoxious high school boy is cursed by a witch in order to learn that it's what's inside that counts. I had a bit of a harder time with the story as the characters felt a tad over the top - even for a fairy tale. Still, the book is easy to read with a strong plot and an interesting storyline.
What a fascinating read Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier is. I haven't read Marillier's other novels, but after reading this book I will.
I understand why this book is categorized as YA (the main characters are all teens), but I believe the language and writing is not your typical YA stuff. It's far more literally. In addition, this is a "slow-to-warm" book and requires patience before the action sets in.
Set in Transylvania, this story takes The Twelve Dancing Princesses and some of The Frog Prince (and maybe a few other stories!) and changes things up in big ways. Interesting, I didn't like the book at first. But as it went on, I was hooked and need to see how things would end.
What I really enjoyed is how different this book is from most other YA books I've read. But apparently (according to other Marillier fans), it is not so different from other Marillier books. Being new to the author, I enjoyed the change and recommend this book for adults that enjoy fantasy/fairy tale reads.
State of Wonder
Lest you think I only read YA books, I have also read some plain old adult fiction. First on the list is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (author of Bel Canto). I know people love this story, but I am not one of them. Enough said.
Next, House Rules by Jodi Picoult. I feel somewhat lukewarm about House Rules. It was interesting, and I think Picoult did a good job of portraying different aspects of autism and Asperger's. However, the story felt forced compared to some of her other novels. (Maybe because ten years have passed since publication.) It kept me interested until the end, however, and I learned several things about forensics, which is a wonderful thing. Ultimately, I walked away from this book thinking, "I am so lucky."
Now for three books I'm currently reading: Push by Sapphire (turned into the movie Precious), Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, and The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaajte. So far, all three are good and all three could not be more different.
The first two I picked up on my own, and I can already tell Push is going to be a five-star read. Mudbound is also drawing me in and keeping me reading, and I'm curious to see the film to compare.
The Cat's Table is for a book discussion group - not a book I would have necessarily picked up if not for the group, however, I'm glad I did. Ondaajte has an interesting way with words and absolutely stunning imagery. As I read, I see the story unfold. Always a good sign!
That's it for now. More books later. :)
Happy reading, and happy creating!