I admit, I like things to be tidied up. I like my loose ends tied. Here we are, nearing the end of the year and I have a handful of books I never blogged about but they won’t stop nagging at me because of it. I deemed each of them unworthy and yet, here I am blogging about them. Darn those unbloggable books. You might be wondering, what makes a book unworthy of me sharing my opinion willy-nilly? Mostly it was because I couldn’t think of anything spectacular to say that would either deter readers or cause them to leap from their computers and dash to the library. Those are the two reactions I prefer to instill in people. Some of these I loved and some I hated, but the most I can conjure up is about a paragraph each.
I read one book this year that I so completely disliked that I didn’t even want to think about it after I read it. Usually, if I really don’t like a book it’s just that much more fuel for my fire. But this book was repulsive to me and I didn’t want to think about it ever again after I read it. My Abandonment by Peter Rock is about a girl, Caroline, and her father who are living in a state park in Oregon, off the grid and avoiding people. Their past is mysterious and you gather that the father is a veteran with mental illness. They do get discovered and people try to help them in their situation, but everything just deteriorates more and more. It’s based on a true story but the whole thing made my skin crawl. That’s all I want to say about that.
Mark L. Van Name’s newest installment of his books about Jon Moore and his intelligent ship Lobo is just as awesome as I thought it would be. If my blogging about the previous books haven’t gotten you to pick up a copy of the first book yet, me writing yet another blog about it probably won’t do the trick. Overthrowing Heaven is more action, more great sci-fi and focused much more on Lobo than Jon. Loved it.
When I was at my uncle’s funeral, I met the father of an upcoming author, Aprilynne Pike. It’s a long story, but I decided to read her young adult novel, Wings. It’s about a girl who suddenly sprouts a blossom out of her back that resembles wings. Ends up, she’s a faerie and never knew it. This story could have been very cool and original and yet, it just reads like a Twilight knock-off, love triangle and everything. Except in Wings it’s the girl who’s supernatural, not her love interests. Well, one of them is, but whatever. If you love Twilight, read Wings, but I can’t endorse it much more than that.
Caren went to a midnight release party for The Gathering Storm by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan and didn’t know what the hubub was about. My husband was seething with jealousy that she went and had pre-ordered a signed copy of the book months before. Caren sent us the bumper sticker she got at the party that said, “Bela is a Darkfriend” and my husband giggled like a schoolgirl and then dashed upstairs to plaster it to his bookcase. The fact is, if you’re already a fan of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, you’ll have read the latest installment finished by Sanderson after Jordan passed away. You don’t need me telling you how awesome it is or how perfectly Sanderson accomplished the task of taking over this epic book series. You already know. And those of you who don’t know probably would be hesitant to start a series that includes twelve books, one prequel and a nearly rabid fan base. I don’t blame you.
I like fairy tale retellings, like Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl or Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. They’re fun and interesting and flesh out a tale so creatively that it gives it new life. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George falls directly into that category and the caliber of Hale or Levine. George retells the tale of the twelve dancing princesses, which was one my favorite stories growing up. It was riveting and exciting and very well done. I read it, then passed it on to both my eight- and six-year-old daughters who both adored it. I would gander that any child on a skilled enough reading level would love this book and would also be a great read-a-loud. I’m going to have to do some more reading of George’s books if this is what I have to expect. Excellent stuff.
Speaking of excellent writing, I recently re-read The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. This book is a perfectly crafted dystopian future story about a tyrannical drug lord, cloning, and corrupt governments, but written for the young adult age group. Nancy Farmer has written many books but Scorpion has to be my favorite. Matteo, the clone of drug lord Matteo Alacran of the nation of Opium, a strip of land between Mexico and the U.S. is just as clever as his original version and with the help of some other clever people is able to make more of his life than as spare parts. Very cool, very exciting and some interesting deep thinking about the idea of cloning in general and the value of life.
Ahh, I’m feeling better. Now I can dive into books for the new year knowing that I tidied up my pile. Now if only I felt that way about my desk…