Archive | January, 2014

Sue Monk Kidd: The Invention of Wings

25 Jan

As you can tell, I read a lot. Most books are good, and largely unremarkable. This book, and this author – this book is a treasure. I lived in this world, I cared about these people, I could feel their struggles and understand their pain. Incredibly well written, Sue Monk Kidd brings to life the slaves on the plantation, the Quaker abolitionists, and the women who power this story. Her in-depth research informs the book, giving us a fresh look at a time and place and people that we have overlooked. This is an instant classic – should be, and no doubt will be, required reading. Highly recommend.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

25 Jan

The latest in a series starring 11 year old sleuth and chemist Flavia de Luce, this book is brilliantly written. Quirky and self-assured, both Flavia and the author follow their own path. While clearly one in a series, that I haven’t read, the author’s deft hand whisked me into this world and now I need to go back and read all the other books. Charming, interesting, recommend.

Blood Orange Soda – True Blood for Teens

25 Jan

True Blood meets the OC.  High school is tough, what with bullies and cute girls, but it all gets better when Darius speeds up his transition to adult vampire by consuming daily bottles of Blood Orange Soda. Set against the backdrop of St. Cloud, Minnesota – no idea why that slice of “god’s country” was chosen other than to contrast the normalcy of ice fishing with vampires…but I digress.  Although, I guess that is really the point of the whole book – we connect with the paranormal characters recognizing that the agonies of small town life apply to us all.  Good YA read.

The Mark of the Dragonfly

25 Jan

A nice combination of steam punk meets Elysium – interesting and new characters.  I thought the characters were the best part of this novel – fleshed out, novel individuals, good dialogue.  The back story to the world, and the motivations of the “bad guys” were not clearly expressed, sketched out here potentially to be expanded upon in future stories?  The magical mechanical creatures, ala Hugo, and the heroine’s talents seem to demand more of a story arc, so I’m thinking there will be more. Fun YA read.

The Path of the Novice Mystic

25 Jan

Paul Dunion has written a helpful and thought provoking guidebook to approaching life with the mind of a mystic, albeit a beginner’s mind.  I found this best in doses – reading a chapter or two at a time, and then digesting it. Approachable and comprehensive, this book provides an additional pathway towards understanding.

The Collector of Dying Breaths

25 Jan

The connection between alchemy and perfume and the connection between doomed lovers across multiple life times comes to a head in the latest novel by M.J. Rose. Beautifully detailed as the story goes back and forth between 16th century Europe and modern times, I felt an emotional detachment from the characters. While the plot drives this novel, I was not invested in the outcome.  I could see this as the script for a Da Vinci Code type of movie, waiting for some actors to invest these characters with some warmth. Well written, but ultimately not engaging.

YA Fiction: Dare You To

25 Jan

YA writer, Katie McGarry, deftly brings us into her characters’ challenging world and delivers another compelling and contemporary romance. The characters feel authentic and the story delivers.