Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Summer Reading List 2013--A Wrap-up

Karen asked if I could fill in for her this week, and so I'm answering the question Sabrina asked in Thursday's post:

What have your great summer reads been?

In my reading posts, I typically throw a zillion titles at you, lumping the books I've loved and hated and the books I haven't read yet all into one big pile for you to sort through on your own. Since I have an extra week to post, I'm not doing that this time. I'm only telling you about the books I've already read and enjoyed. I'm a little embarrassed by the easy-readingness of these books. Deal with it Mom*.

1.  Wednesdays in the Tower (Sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle) by Jessica Day George

From amazon: A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it... Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel. 
When her brother Rolf dares her to catch magical Castle Glower creating a new room, Princess Celie takes the challenge! No one knows the Castle better than she does. But as usual, the Castle has ideas of its own.Celie finds the new room first, and inside it is hidden a giant egg. It looks like The Castle wants Celie to care for the egg and whatever creature it hatches! Celie hadn't bargained for a pet, and caring for this one will prove to be especially tricky, once Celie and her siblings realize what else the Castle is hiding....

I read this one out loud with my son out on the hammock on a sunny day with a cool breeze, so I doubt it's possible for you to enjoy it quite as much as I did, but you'll love it, especially if you share it with that 8-12 year old in your life.

2. Earth Afire: The First Formic War (Book 2) by Orson Scott Card
Science Fiction This is the prequel series to Ender's Game--all about the Formics coming to Earth

From amazon: One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. This is the story of the First Formic War.
Victor Delgado beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. Not soon enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. They didn’t believe that until space stations and ships and colonies went up in sudden flame.
And when that happened, only Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police could move fast enough to meet the threat.

I listened to this one on audio. I enjoyed the first book, but I was frustrated by the sparse mentions of  Mazer Rackham. This second novel fixes all of that. It's not Ender's Game, by any means, but it's still a great read.

3. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare
Steampunk YA. I've heard the audio is to die for

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever. 
As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army? 
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

I listened to this on audio as well, and the reader was great. Not "to die for" but apparently that was the reader of book 2, not the reader of this one. Oh well. Still good. I've always enjoyed this series, but haven't adored it like I adored the first 3 City of Bones books. However, the ending of this book was satisfying, and I'm very glad I finished it.

4. Edenbrooke by: Julianne Donaldson

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. 
From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke. 
Susan has recommended this book to me several times, so I finally bought it and read it this summer while we were on vacation. I enjoyed it. In fact, I haven't swooned over a book like this since Twilight. The one thing this book has going for it over Twilight is stronger characterization. The heroine has a strong personality, and the hero is swoon-worthy. There were problems with the book--mainly characters overreacting to small things and plots that didn't develop fully enough before twisting, but I look forward to more books by this author and in this line.

5. Guards, Guards  By Terry Pratchett. Recommended as a good jumping-in place for the Discworld books. Fantasy

Welcome to Guards! Guards!, the eighth book in Terry Pratchett’s legendary Discworld series. 
Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all...). 
How did it get there? How is the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night involved? Can the Ankh-Morpork City Watch restore order – and the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork to power? 
Magic, mayhem, and a marauding dragon...who could ask for anything more?

I was promised that Guards, Guards was the perfect jumping in point for the discworld series, and so I finally took the leap. It was lots of fun. I'm not a discworld aficionado yet, but I'll definitely read another one. What should I read next?

6.. Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society Book 3) by Ally Carter
Contemporary YA

From BooklistThe stakes are not only higher but also personal in this third Heist Society novel. Teen criminal mastermind Katarina Bishop gathers her fellow con artists to help one of their own, W. W. Hale the Fifth, when Hale’s wealthy tycoon grandmother dies suddenly—and mysteriously—leaving control of her billion-dollar corporation to underage Hale and the family’s greedy trustee lawyer. This time Kat’s not after cursed jewels or stolen paintings but the original will—even if it means losing Hale in the process. 
While jet-setting around the globe, scheming elaborate break-ins, and even pulling off a “Basil E. Frankweiler” maneuver in a high-security London museum, Kat must keep her feelings for Hale in check. Can she trust her usually steadfast partner? Further complicating this cinematic caper is the meeting of Kat’s under-the-radar relatives and Hale’s socialite family. With razor-sharp dialogue, twists and tight squeezes galore, and one quick-thinking heroine, Carter doesn’t miss a step as she continues to entertain her numerous fans. Grades 7-10. --Angela Leeper

I adore Ally Carter, partly because I love a good spy flick, but I am usually underwhelmed by spy books. I'm often disappointed by the lack of characterization and character growth. This is a spy book you can get through in a few hours, without needing to keep notes to keep track of the story. And this book was particularly good because the characters grew and changed and had cool backstories.

What have you been reading this summer?

*This is a quote from my soon to be published book Alchemy. Sheena's character, Sam, says it at one point. You'll probably be reading it again, so now you're in the know.


  1. Ooh, Edenbrooke sounds cool. I'll have to add it to my list!

    Yay! Glad you liked Guards, Guards!. The obvious next step for you is Men at Arms, which is one of my all-time favorite Discworld books, and one of the ones that made me laugh the hardest out of the group. It's another Vimes book, but with bonus Sergeant Angua, a much improved Carrot, and best of all, Sergeant Detritus, the first troll in the Watch.

  2. I've been meaning to start the Infernal Devices series for some time now. I loved City of Bones and that series. Can't wait to see the movie.

    This is a great list. I too will have to add Edenbrooke to my list as well. Sounds great.

  3. Good list! Now if I can only find the time to get to all these great reads.
    Thanks for the recommendations, and I'm glad you liked Edenbrooke.

  4. Eleanor & Park! Eleanor & Park! Eleanor & Park!!!!!! Seriously, I loved this book so much I'm dying for everyone I know - especially everyone who grew up in the 80s - to read it and share the love. :)


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