14 May 2019

Books - April 2019

In the month of April, I finished reading six books. This month I really shook it up - I actually only 'read' four, but listened to two while my daughter and I were on a road trip to New Jersey. Ten hours each way - we finished a book on the way there, and another on the way back. I've heard the librarian tell people that audio books count for book challenges, so I listed them as well.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I loved this book so much! This was a recommendation from a teacher friend at school who then loaned me the book. If you've read this one already, you'll get why I re-read the last few pages an extra couple of times. I loved it and I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars. If you haven't read this one, I think you should. Here's the official summary:

"For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps."

Witches by Roald Dahl

I listened to this book, and it was not at all what I expected. Talk about dark! I don't know if this is a 'children's book' for anyone much younger than my (11-year-old) daughter. The author has a very interesting style. While I've seen several of the movies from his books, I don't really enjoy his writing style much. I did read one more book (that a friend said was her favorite) by him in May, but I'm still not really impressed. I'd give this one 2.75 out of 5 stars.

"This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.

Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!"

Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is the third book in the Missing series, about some children who were abducted and transported through time. We have listened to the first three books in the series so far. I really enjoy this series, because even though the original premise sounds a little crazy, I like finding out about the time periods the children are returning to. They're sort of a historical fiction, with modern-day children trying to remember their history classes while navigating times long ago. I'd give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars. It got a bit confusing toward the end. Most of the story lines were wrapped up, and the details were hard to keep paying attention to in the last chapter or so.

"After helping Chip and Alex survive 15th-century London, Jonah and Katherine are summoned to help another missing child, Andrea, face her fate. Andrea is really Virginia Dare, from the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jonah and Katherine are confident in their ability to help Andrea fix history, but when their journey goes dangerously awry, they realize that they may be in over their heads: They’ve landed in the wrong time period. Andrea doesn’t seem that interested in leaving the past. And even worse, it appears that someone has deliberately sabotaged their mission...."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I really wanted to read this one because of all the hub-bub around it. I have not seen the movie (but I'd like to now). I enjoyed this a lot. I don't know if 'enjoyed' is the right word, as it really portrays a lot of unfairness in the world. It may be a work of fiction, but it's about the real world, and that really breaks my heart for so many children (okay, and adults). I'd give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

"Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life."

Courting Mr Lincoln by Louis Bayard

I read this book and reviewed it for Books I Think You Should Read. It was about Abraham Lincoln and his friend Joshua Speed. They were close during the time when Lincoln began courting Mary Todd. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Here's the summary:

"When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in the winter of 1840, he is on no one’s short list to be president. A country lawyer living above a dry goods shop, he is lacking both money and manners, and his gift for oratory surprises those who meet him. Mary, a quick, self-possessed debutante with an interest in debates and elections, at first finds him an enigma. “I can only hope,” she tells his roommate, the handsome, charming Joshua Speed, “that his waters being so very still, they also run deep.”

It’s not long, though, before she sees the Lincoln that Speed knows: an amiable, profound man who, despite his awkwardness, has a gentle wit to match his genius, and who respects her keen political mind. But as her relationship with Lincoln deepens, she must confront his inseparable friendship with Speed, who has taught his roommate how to dance, dress, and navigate the polite society of Springfield.

Told in the alternating voices of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed, and inspired by historical events, Courting Mr. Lincoln creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before; a moving portrayal of the deep and very real connection between the two men; and most of all, an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved presidents. Louis Bayard, a master storyteller, delivers here a page-turning tale of love, longing, and forbidden possibilities."

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

This was another recommendation from a friend. I enjoyed the characters in this one a lot and would love to hang out in their fiction city. Since hubby went to school in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan (where the story was based), he recognized the town that inspired the author. While it was based in the Upper Penninsula, it was a story that could apply to so many small towns. I liked the book a lot and would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

"When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change. 

Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As Madeline begins to experience the ways of the small, tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and dramas of its residents. It's a place where times are tough and debts run deep, but friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. As the story hurtles along-featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident, a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, Arbutus, and the rest of the town teach Madeline more about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned in a lifetime. 

A heartwarming novel, South of Superior explores the deep reward in caring for others, and shows how one who is poor in pocket can be rich in so many other ways, and how little it often takes to make someone happy."

1 comment:

Liz Parker said...

Thanks for the shoutout!
And I really want to read The Hate U Give ... we are reading Where The Crawdads Sing for my book club (group of friends that recently started it) next month so I need to make sure my library has it! It sounded good too. You've been busy!