Friday, August 31, 2012

What I Read Over Summer Vacation by Melanie Crouse

And my top 10 Must Read books for Fall...

On the first day of summer vacation, I posted my summer reading list. Unfortunately, I haven't read them all yet, partly because I strayed away from it on more than one occasion. Hopefully that won't affect my final grade on this report. J

A quick note about The Prosers Read: I still LOVE this idea, and long to do it. However, other projects have hit me over the head and hijacked my time, and I have made a conscious decision not to feel guilty about letting it slide. Some day I hope The Prosers Read will get the attention it deserves. 
Books I Finished:
1. A Spy In The House by Y.S. Lee

This was the first book I read over summer vacation, so many months ago that it seems like a dim memory. It is the story of a girl in Victorian England who works for a spy agency. This is her first assignment, and she makes a lot of mistakes, but things work out in the end. I'm only going to mention the complete implausibility of the story this one time, because it was fun. I will probably read the sequel someday, but I haven't rushed out to get it yet.

2. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Susan recommended this series. It starts with The Thief, which is a much more simple story than the rest of the series (kind of the way The Hobbit was such an easy read compared to The Lord of the Rings). I read this book three times this summer, because I love Gen so much. It hurts to watch a character I love so much purposely open himself up to such humiliation, but that just makes his comeback that much more fun to read.

I <3 Eugenides!

And, for extra credit, I read A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner. I still love Eugenides. J

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Gorgeous book. It's marketed as Young Adult, and it belongs in that category, but it's really for the older YA readers. There is some sex, which makes me cautious in my approval, but I did recommend it to my daughter in high school. This is a book I would love to read with a book club, because I long to discuss it with someone.

4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I've gotten stuck in a huge fantasy rut lately, and I thought a little historical fiction might help snap me out of it. Wouldn't you know that even my historical fiction would have a speculative element? I really enjoyed this book, though I try to read sad books sparingly. You can see my post about it here

5. Bloomability by Sharon Creech

You can see my post about Bloomability here. My family listens to this book on audio every summer. There are two versions, and we listened to the newer version for the first time this summer. I like the older one better, but it is still an amazing middle grade book.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Read by Jim Dale

I love Jim Dale's voice, and chose to listen to The Night Circus completely because he was narrating. I'm only about 2/3 of the way through, but I'm enjoying it. I probably wouldn't have gotten very far into the book if I'd been reading it myself. The plot is really just an excuse for the descriptions of the circus and the lyrical language throughout the book, and it's probably too slow for my taste. 

If it hadn't been Jim Dale's voice reading, the use of the present tense (and the occasional slippage into second person point of view) would have turned me completely off as well. It's my opinion that present tense should be saved for high action/suspense novels. However, 2/3 of the way through, I'm beginning to see why she chose to use it. She wants us to slip so fully into her novel that we feel like we are experiencing the circus, not hearing about it. If you like this sort of thing, I recommend it.

(I was completely put-off by hearing Jim Dale say the F-word a few paragraphs into the story. But I think it might be the only swear word in the whole book.)

7. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Sabrina recommended this one, and it was the catalyst for our own version of the Letter Games that I talked about a couple of weeks ago. It seemed appropriate to read it, so I finally checked it out from the library.

I'm almost finished reading it for the second time. These women are geniuses. I haven't had this much fun reading a book for a long time. I am in awe of the way the two authors, completely independently, were able to write two plots and merge them together. Besides, who wouldn't like an action packed version of Jane Austen, complete with magicians and the London Season? I highly recommend this one.

8. The Makeover of James Orville Wickenbee by Anya Bateman

I read this while I was on vacation in Utah. When I went to the library, I tried to check out as many books by LDS authors as I could, since I would like to find another one that I like well enough to purchase their books. This one was by far my favorite. It's about a girl whose brother becomes best friends with a nerd (James) who happens to be Mormon too. When he decides to run for student body president, she decides he needs a makeover--before her brother commits social suicide. Jana is not a very likeable main character, but she grew on me over the course of the book.

9. The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer

I've never been a huge Artemis Fowl fan, and I wasn't very impressed by The Supernaturalist either. I'm not sure what puts me off about them, except that the character development doesn't seem very deep. IMO, you shouldn't give your character so many flaws unless you are going to take the time to make us like them.

10. White Cat by Holly Black

Another YA read for more mature teenagers. I'm looking forward to reading more, especially because of the twist at the end. I'll say no more. Sh...

I know I read more this summer, but those are the only ones I can think of right now. If you compare this list to the one I wrote at the beginning of the summer, you'll see that I haven't read everything I wanted to yet. So, here's a quick peek at
My Fall Reading List:

1. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

2. The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (The sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia)

3. Legend by Marie Lu

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

5. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

6. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill

7. Red Glove by Holly Black (sequel to White Cat)

8. Kill Switch by Chris Lynch

9. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (sequel to Girl of Fire and Thorns!!!)

10. The Kill Order by James Dashner

11. The Outcasts: The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan

12. The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus book 3) by Rick Riordan

How about you? Are you planning to read/have you already read something you'd like to recommend?


  1. I forgot about Dead Reckoning until I stopped at the library today and it was waiting for me. I should add it to the list, but I don't have time to mess with the fonts right now.

  2. That's an impressive list! Good luck with your Fall TBRs. I'm trying to cram in about two dozen books before I start school next year. My months are dwindling fast. Right now I'm working my way through Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean, The Thief Lord, and a grown-up book, The Name of the Wind, which has beautifully crafted prose and an excellent story (so far.)

    1. I've never heard of Vampirates. How cute is that????

  3. Looks like you had a great summer. :) Thanks for the reviews. I've been thinking of reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bones. Maybe I can join your book club. :)

    1. Let me know when you finish it and we'll have a book club-like discussion. :)

  4. AH, you summed up the Night Circus very well! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Thief series have been on my to-read list for a while and I hope to get to them this fall/winter too. I think you'll like Legend! And I didn't realize JK Rowling's book had a title now... I'll have to look that up. Looking up Sorcery and Cecelia too, thank you! (I love these kind of lists)


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