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Monthly Reads: May 2013

wehavealwayslivedin 89724I started this month’s reading by asking for votes on which of my backlog of books I should read.  The two winners (it was about 50/50) were We Have Always Lived in the Castle and A Great and Terrible Beauty.

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Anyhow, I decided to go ahead and read them both.  I also finished up a few books I’d started in April, so many of these books are partially April reads too.

Anyhow, I read a LOT this month.  Probably because I was dealing with FeistyPants and BoyBlue going home and needed to deal.  But it was refreshing to read so much.  Here’s the crazy list and whether I recommend them.

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout.  Recommended?  Totally.  Nero Wolfe books are the win.

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss.  Recommended?  Um.  Though I gave it three stars, no.  There’s only so much time to read, and the win of this book is the novelty of it.

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.  Recommended?  Sure.  It’s not my favorite YA by any means, but it is well done for what it is.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  Recommended?  Yes, totally.  It’s wonderful.  Shirley Jackson, the bigger win of wins.  (I’d give this one classic status and woot for me for meeting my goal with such a fun book.)

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Recommended?  Yes.  If you like pulp or plain fun books, yes.

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Recommended?  At first when I was reading it, I’d have said no.  But then there was a magical switch, and it wasn’t just better–it was magnificent.  So, yes.  Totally. (Bonus classic novel goal met again.)

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst.  Recommended? Yes.  Which actually surprises me.  I’d read two previous Sarah Beth Durst novels, and they weren’t really my bag. I tried this one off the recommendation of Misty at http://www.thebookrat.com and she was completely right.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  Recommended?  Yes.  On further thought, I do have some reservations after the review I wrote on Goodreads.  That being said I was sucked in the whole time, and I don’t care about the after-thought reservations.  Can’t wait til the next one.  And the reservations are because I have questions I’m sure he’ll answer eventually–mostly.

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The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.  Recommended.  Sure.  Why not?  It was fun while it lasted and I’ll read other books by her, but it was neither intense nor emotionally stunning.  But the reminiscences were fun; I love the time period, and it was very well-written.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson.  Recommended?  Sure.  This was a kind of Cinderella story for an old maid.  I was somewhat bothered by the way a virtuous life was presented, but it wasn’t presented as a stereotype.  Either way, I enjoyed the book; I enjoyed the art in my copy; and especially, I enjoyed the language of how the story was told.  I also really like how the internal dialogue of Miss Pettigrew was both innocent and wise.

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Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver.  Recommended?  Not really.  It’s not that it’s “not good.”  It was.  I guess I just like so many other middle reader books better.

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope.  Recommended?  Not really.  It’s not that these aren’t good.  I’m just fully aware that most people don’t read a lot of classics.  And this one, though good in places, is no Barchester Towers.  And the thing is, if you were to read Anthony Trollope that’s the one; it’s Barchester Towers for me.  If you do like Trollope like I do, though, The Last Chronicle of Barset is still pretty boring, but finally, finally Mrs. Proudie gets…but that would be a spoiler, so I won’t tell you.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.  Recommended.  No.  Boring pieces with zero likable characters.  Meh, meh, meh.

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole.  Recommended?  I want to recommend it.  I really do.  (But I don’t.  I just can’t.)  I LOVE Kresley Cole, so don’t get me wrong.  Also, I will absolutely read the sequel. But I wouldn’t anticipate it being your book of the year, but given all the crap published in YA, if this sounds like your bag, grab it.  However, be prepared for a story line that (IMO) needed to be a little more focused.  Also the zombies were a lose for me here.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  Recommend.  Yes, oh yes.  My favorite YA of the year.  Only beat out as book of the year (so far) by the Alan Bradley/ Flavia.

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This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.  Recommended?  Yes.  Super fun, light, and even refreshing in its fluffiness.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Recommended?  Yes.  Finally I finished it, and I’m confused why it took me months and months.  Scarlet on the horizon!

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~Amanda

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