Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Lexile = 1110
I would have died on the frontier. It was a tough life. These is my Words is the fictional diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, a settler in the Arizona territory in the late 19th century. Her diary begins abruptly as Sarah, her Mother, Father and siblings are headed west from Texas. In the first TWENTY PAGES we have scalpings, murder, death, disease and general sadness. I almost put it down. But. The cover has a blurb from USA Today that says "Jack and Sarah are as delicious a couple as Rhett and Scarlet." WHAT?!?! I saw NO romance to this point. And so I persisted. The trouble and death and disease and Indian attacks continue, but once I got involved with the characters, this story really took off.
Sarah's story is a first gritty, heart-wrenching, and a grammatical mess. But that is important to the story. As Sarah grows, she is strengthened by her experiences. And as Sarah educates herself at every opportunity, the grammar and story-telling improve. I wonder how our ancestors survived, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. How can one go through so much heart ache and remain resilient and strong? I imagine that is the lesson of These is My Words. I hope my great grand children can read about me with the same sense of admiration I feel for Sarah.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Lexile = ??
Serendipity! On the exact day that I am writing a review about a mysterious find in an old book that propels the entire plot of Lady in Waiting, I see this amazing story! Follow that link to see that unexpected find and never overlook an old book!
Anyway, the main character in Lady in Waiting is Jane, who finds her own mysterious treasure in a very old book. This treasure has "Jane" inscribed on it, and that connection leads modern day Jane to find out more about the treasure. Again, Meissner is a master at tying a historical tale with a modern connection. This story is not aimed at YA readers; the subplot for modern Jane is the rebuilding of her marriage, but nothing too adult, is here. The "moral" of both Janes' stories is NOT to be a lady that waits, but to embrace your future and move forward bravely.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Lexile - ?
Meissner might be my favorite author right now and I just received a shipment with MORE of her books! A Bridge Across the Ocean is a ghost story. Meissner is able to entwine stories of the past and present and create a narrative that makes sense. Three stories here: Simone is the daughter of a French Resistance leader. When he is killed, she must go into hiding. Annaliese is a carefree Belgian Ballerina forced to marry a cruel Nazi officer. And Brette, a modern woman who can see the spirits that inhabit the "thin places".
The author ties their stories together and I set everything else aside in MY life until I finished this book! Reminded me of Secrets of a Charmed Life and Lilac Girls. And yet it IS a ghost story. And you will never guess WHO the ghost is!
Monday, February 5, 2018
Lexile = ?
I have been passing through a bit of a Downton Abbey re-binge lately. Downton Abbey is the PBS series that highlights the ups and downs of a uber-wealthy British family in the early 20th century. So, when I received a recent shipment of books and one of them boasted "Downton Abbey fans should flock to this charming tale" on the cover, I knew it was a good omen. Here's the story:
Like many poor immigrants in the late 1800s, Clara Kelley was sent by her poor and starving family to America to secure employment, earn money, and send some of that money back to Ireland to help keep the family afloat. As she disembarks in New York, she is greeted by a stranger waiting for Clara Kelley. He informs her that he is there to take her to her previously arranged employment. Clara knows of no such arrangement, but is desperate for work.
The work is rather amazing... to be a lady's maid for the mother of one of the wealthiest men in America! And so begins the deception. The other Clara Kelley has obviously disappeared and our Clara steps into her place and attempts to pass herself off as a knowledgeable assistant to Mrs. Carnegie. There's romance, intrigue and deception. This book has it all!
The author notes that Andrew Carnegie started out his businesses as a ruthless industrialist, but changed his personal focus and pledged to focus on the education and improvement of the lower classes when he was a wealthy 33 year old bachelor. Benedict then invented this historical tale to provide a possible answer to that gap in the historical record.
Loved this book! Just for fun, watch an "interview" with maids in household like this HERE.
Friday, January 19, 2018
Lexile = 790
I keep hearing that books by Sarah Maas are "edgy" which I interpret to mean "sexy", so I figured that I had better read one and find out!
Throne of Glass is the beginning of a series that is about to publish number SEVEN. That's a heptalogy. Really. I was confused at the beginning because it reads like a continuation of another book. Calaena has been imprisoned in the salt mines of the kingdom after being captured as the great assassin of the realm. Now, there's a LOT of back story there that I feel like I'm missing out on, but anyway.....
Calaena is brought to the castle and bargained with. If she will participate in a competition to find a King's "Champion", she will obviously win and thus gain her freedom. She is the only woman in the games. There's a bit of love triangle here.... I think. But how can you love an ASSASSIN? There's also a long dead queen who is on the side of Celaena and beckoning from the tombs beneath the castle. Participants in the championship are dying and Calaena needs to stay alive long enough to win her freedom. Kinda reminds me of Hunger Games.
Watch a book trailer HERE.
Friday, January 5, 2018
Lexile = 810
I really liked the book Ready Player One. A LOT. My review of that is here. Warcross is very, very similar. One major difference is that Warcross is written by a woman, and I think that is significant here.
It is similar in that the game platform in the book is an alternate reality where characters live their lives as idealistic avatars. Emika Chen has become a bounty hunter in the alternate reality and takes crazy risks in order to earn the meager bounties that she earns. As an expert hacker, she "glitches" into the Warcross tournament and instantly becomes and international sensation. She is offered funds beyond her imagination and a more permanent "relationship" with the Warcross platform.
And therein lies the difference between Warcross and Ready Player One. Warcross is more about relationships in the real world. Maybe it is more aimed at female readers? Not sure about that. I'm SURE there will be a sequel to Warcross. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy a professional book trailer HERE.