Friday, May 31, 2013

The Summer Book Binge Begins!

1. Grail of the Summer Stars, Freda Warrington - This is the third book in Warrington's Aetherial series...books that I absolutely adore.  They are a different type of modern fairy tale...which, of course, you know that I love.  It should come of no surprise that Warrington came to my attention because of a book blurb by my beloved Charles de Lint, who's advice on new authors I try to always follow!  If you are interested, I would start with Warrington's first book in this series - Elfland - because this particular book does use a lot of characters and plot points that began back in that book.

2.  The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can Eat, Edward Kelsey Moore - I listened to this one, courtesy of my local library's downloadable audio services, and I'm soooo glad I did!  The two readers were amazing, and really brought the story to life, so I highly recommend tracking down the audio if you are interested.  A Books on the Nightstand recommendation, The Supremes is the story of three friends who've known and loved each other since high school.  If not for Moore's excellent characters I would say it's a bit of a lightweight book....but wow....his characters are so very full of life! 

3.  Dead Ever After, Charlain Harris - Yep, it's the LAST of the Sukie Stackhouse books!  (Kudos to Harris for knowing when to call it a day instead of dragging her series out beyond it's sell by date.)  She's said in interviews that she's known since day one where she wanted to end it all, and I have to say that although I was a small bit surprised, I am very satisfied with where she left Sukie.  In fact, if I didn't want to spoil it, I would be doing a dance through town, yelling, "---- for the win!"

4.  Faery Tale, Signe Pike - A friend of mine recommended this book, which is a young woman's memoir about her search for Faery magic while coping with the death of her father.  Yes, that is a pretty odd little set up...and in fact I did find it an odd little book.  Having said that, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It was one of those reads where I was glad I was using my iPad because I kept having to look up various people and places that she referenced.  If you aren't into faery tales, mythology, magic, etc....don't bother.  If you are - even a little bit - it might be worth your time. 

5.  Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte - Yep, my promise to finish the Bronte collection is actually happening!  I thought Agnes Grey was unintentionally hilarious, a bit on the simplistic side, and very sweet in an innocent sort of way.  Having read much of the Bronte biography, I know exactly where it came from!

6.  Talulla Rising, Glen Duncan - A couple of years ago I read Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" which was published around the time that literary horror was gaining steam as it's own genre.  I liked it...but not as much as I'd hoped or expected to.  Talulla Rising is the sequel...and my, oh my, it's amazing!  I think we can thank two things.  1.  Duncan, having already created his world, has settled into it comfortably and could focus purely on the story.  2.  Oddly enough, I think his writing about women is better than his writing about men.  Anyway, I love the title...and the power and promise behind it...and I absolutely love Talulla.  Be forewarned - it's not for the faint of heart.

7.  The Dinner, Herman Koch - A Books on the Nightstand recommendation, and library download.  I don't know what's in the water in the Scandinavian countries, but the writers there have been producing some amazing work for the last handful of years.  The Dinner is the story of an evening out shared between two brothers and their wives as they cope with the fallout of a recent event.  I'll be honest - I liked it more for the brilliance of the technical writing than I did for the actual plot.  It was like a masterclass in how to write a novel...the pacing, the revelations, the relationships.  Amazing.  Glad I read it, but also glad it was a library book! 

8.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs - I don't know what I expected from this book, but WOW!  First of all, building an entire novel around a collection of crazy, creepy vintage photographs collected from a large variety of sources is absolutely genius.  (And it was a surprise....I didn't know about the pictures, and didn't know until after reading the book that they were the origin)  Such a fun book!  So very new and inventive!  A sequel is due next year.....

9.  The Hum and The Shiver, Alex Bledsoe - So about once/week I check out iBooks discount book page...and The Hum and The Shiver showed up on that page a couple of weeks ago.  I'd never heard of it, and was pretty shocked to find that it was on the Kirkus Best of 2011 list when I checked it out.  (I've spent a lot of time over the last few years going through Best of lists to put together reading lists.)  So I bought it....and was completely blown away.  Yes, it's firmly in the modern fairy tale category...but it's got enough of it's own unique twist as to feel new and different.  Plus, it's one of those books that's so steeped in traditional music that you can almost hear it playing in the wind while you read.... Also - Best. Title. Ever.

10.  The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obreht - I believe this was our local One Read book a few summers ago, which is probably part of why I ignored it for so long.  (My old suspicions about anything popular....)  I saw it available for library download, though, and thought I might as well give it a go...and I'm so glad I did.  It's nothing more than myth and fairy tale...which again, I adore.  I perhaps had a little more trouble relating to the characters than I normally do...but when Obreht got into full storytelling mode she did an amazing job!

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