I’ve decided the best way to illustrate my tastes in books is simply to give you a list. So, every month I’ll offer brief reviews of all the books I’ve read the previous month. I hope you get a good book recommendation or two out of this!
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
A novel I’ve been meaning to read for forever (if only because the cover is fantastic and I want that dress), I really enjoyed it, mostly because of the historical details. Set in turn of the century Manhattan, it was fun to see the lives of the wealthy, and how the teenage girls regularly ignored social conventions. Although the plot was a bit predictable, I’m still eager to read the rest of the books in the series.
Magic Tree House #2: Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne
I picked this book up while manning the craft activity at the library and waiting for kids to join me. I wanted to see why kids rave so much about these books- and I can see the appeal. They’re face paced adventures with relatable characters. As a medieval history enthusiast I wanted more historical details, but as an introduction for reluctant readers, I think they’re great.
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Another book with a stunning cover, the story of when Mibs gets a magical power at age thirteen, like the rest of her family, is so lovely. The book balances a lot of emotions that always feel real despite the unusual circumstances in the novel. Mib’s vocabulary is full of fantastic and usual words, which is great for an adult reader. I’m afraid, however, that this may be a book that appeals to adults selecting books for kids rather than kids picking it out themselves. Perhaps I’m wrong. A great read, however, and the sequel, Scumble, which just came out, looks equally promising.
Cocktails for Three by Madeline Wickham
I got this book when I visited a contact at St. Martin’s, and I have to admit, I really enjoy chick lit. They make great beach reads…I don’t think I’ve read a single one in a month other than summer. But still, they’re fun and quick reads. Cocktails for Three isn’t as good as Confessions of a Shopaholic and other novels by Sophie Kinsella (Madeline Wickham’s better known pen name) but it takes place in London, and I LOVE London.
Deception by Lee Nichols
This book has a special personal interest to me. During my last week interning at Bloomsbury Children’s books I did the first read for this manuscript. I loved it. My boss loved it. Her boss loved it. Within the week Bloomsbury had won the book in auction. It was so rewarding to know that after a summer with Bloomsbury I had learned what qualities they look for in a manuscript which could (and has) become a successful novel. When I walked into B&N this August and saw Deception in a centrally located YA display, I couldn’t have been prouder. And in addition, one of the literary agents I’m interning for (Joanna at Nancy Coffey) represents Lee Nichols. What a small (awesome) world!
I hate to say it Team Jacob, but Sam as a werewolf totally wins. I’m really not one for werewolves, vampires and the ilk, yet the love story between Sam and Grace is so beautiful and painful. The blend of fantasy with Grace’s real life problems with family and friends make the story relatable, too. A highly
recommended read (and I cannot wait for the sequel, Forever, to come out)!
The 39 Clues: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
Again, this book was selected so that I could understand what all the hype was about. I completely get it; Dan and Amy are relatable characters, the other characters are interesting and the plot exciting. Just like with The Magic Tree House, I wanted more details about the places they traveled to or history they were uncovering, but for an introduction (and great way to increase interest) these books are great. Also, this series appeals to both boys and girls, a big plus!
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
This has to be one of the sweetest books I’ve ever read, without feeling sicky sweet or didactic. I absolutely loved the fairytale voice that regularly addressed the reader and the repetitive narrative that made me feel like Kate DiCamillo was really addressing me. My first reaction to the tale of a small mouse with big ears was that it was going to be a book I read aloud to my future children just like my mom read Little House on the Prairie or Pippi Longstockings to my sister and me. The illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering were also charming, and although I haven’t seen the movie, I have high hopes for the adaptation.
Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
One of my favorite Hamilton professors recommended I read this series after being reminded of it by Meg Cabot’s newspaper article reviewing the series and reading them with his own daughters. They’re sweet episodic books that are great early reader books for girls. Betsey, Tacy and Tib’s innocent adventures, despite taking place in the early twentieth century, are still absolutely relatable to modern girls.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I only joined the Hunger Games craze this summer, just in time to attend a book signing (okay, she was stamping) event for Mockingjay’s August release. In all honesty, I only read the books because everyone was talking about them and I didn’t want to be left out. Dystopian fiction where teens are pitted against each other to the death as part of a reality TV show government ploy isn’t really my thing. I don’t think it’s anyone’s thing. Yet the Hunger Games trilogy is everyone’s thing. Katniss is a great heroine, Gale and Peeta competitive love interests (but she chose right in the end), and the minor character equally interesting. The end- without giving away too much- is haunting, but the perfect conclusion to a war torn world that the characters have barely survived. A must read.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I have another confession; the biggest reason why I finally got around to reading this book is because Julia Roberts is starring in the movie. I haven’t even seen the movie, but if Julia Roberts thinks this memoir is good enough to make a movie out of, it’s at least good enough for me to read. My best friend Lauren also had something to do with it; she asked me my opinion on the adaptation, and I was embarrassed to tell her that not only had I not seen the movie (not uncommon), I also hadn’t read the book (very uncommon). I opened the book expecting a life changing read like so many of my friends raved about. Honestly, it didn’t move me. Perhaps it was the genre; the episodic memoir style didn’t appeal to me. Perhaps, as my mom suggested, I am too young to ‘get’ it. Either way, I’m glad I read the book, but most of the time I was just dreaming of eating pasta and gelato in Italy rather than focusing on Liz’s year of finding balance in her life.
So there’s my August reading list. Enjoy!