Books I Read This Month

Lately I have been thinking about my book blog, and how I have been truly atrocious at keeping up with it. I mainly am doing this thinking because I have not neglected my book club blogging every month. Amazing what peer pressure can do. It’s a little ironic, as some of the students I work with have to create their own weekly blogs about the books that they are reading. So, I’m truly neglecting my duties.

Work and life have gotten in the way, and by the time I drag myself home I do not have the desire, or ability, to put coherent sentences together about what I read. That does not, however, mean that I have not been reading. Far from it. The pile of books keeps growing, just as it always has, and I have also been participating in my book club with friends from college. (For our latest monthly read, Practical Magic, click here) Needless to say, some of those books have not been enjoyable for me, but others have. This month’s book, Mariana, is a good one. I recommend it.

This will be a pretty long post, as I must get myself caught up with where my last reviews ended. Let’s face it, that’s at least a month’s worth of books. Although, I am definitely a slower reader now. So many other obligations. Sheesh, this job thing really gets in the way!

Also, these reviews go from most recently read to older read. Hence why the reviews will get progressively shorter!

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
2013, 528 pages

There were all kinds of things going down during this summer in America. This book chronicles it all.

Charles Lindbergh was being all awesome and flying across the Atlantic and then touring around the United States. Apparently prior to that America was way behind in the aviation department. Never mind that he was probably a Nazi and had secret love children with two German women, at this point in time everyone loved him.

Babe Ruth was having the best season ever, and so were the Yankees for that matter. Interesting. Baseball is nothing like this anymore. Similarly, boxing was huge and people loved it.

Chicago was all kinds of corrupted and Al Capone was in charge, his last summer to do so before he was jailed for tax evasion.

Those are the highlights anyway. I really enjoy the way that Bryson writes, and have read just about everything by him. I think I prefer his travel books, but I do find his other books, on the history of a house, or of a summer, to be almost as interesting.

Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles

Emerald Green by Kerstin Geier
2013, 464 pages

The last book in the Precious Stones series (that I know of, anyway) about teenage time travelers. It was just as good as the first and second, and they are definitely worth a read. My Ruby Red review (the first in the series) is here. I would recommend them as breezy YA reads, and they are less silly and stereotypical than you would expect. I can’t explain any more, as then I might give away something accidentally!

Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles

In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin
2012, 720 pages

I found this book to be sadly disappointing. I loved the first sentence, really the whole first chapter. However, the book was so long! While the premise is everything that I would love, two young people living in New York City during the 1950s, there ended up being so many words, and so much description that there was not nearly enough action. Disappointing, really, as I had such hopes for this book.

Seriously, the awesome first sentence: “If you were a spirit, and could fly and alight as you wished, and time did not bind you, and patience and love were all you knew, then you might rise to enter an open window high above the park, in the New York of almost a lifetime ago, early in November of 1947.” Sadly, that was not enough to keep me interested in finishing more than half of it.

Rating: 2 out of 5 bedazzles

Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature and love by Megan Caldwell
2012, 416 pages

Molly is going through a rough divorce. She has been a stay-at-home mom and needs a job. The ex-husband has a new girlfriend and his company has just gone under. What is she to do? She ends up getting a job writing copy (or promotional ad stuff) for a new bakery that is opening with a celebrity chef. She decides that she will mix literature with the books, and so each chapter is named for a piece of literature and a pastry. Having read this over a month ago, I can’t remember any of them, but I thought they were cute. It was a light, fluffy read.

Rating: 3 out of 5 bedazzles (merely for the fact that I now cannot remember anything about it)

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
2009, 384 pages

Second in the Precious Stones trilogy. Just as awesome as the first and third. Seriously, read them! My review for the first:

I love this book! It’s a series too, so double yay! Anyway, Gwen is 16, living in London and has a peculiar family. Her cousin, Charlotte, has been preparing her entire life to travel back in time. There is a time traveler gene in the family. The Guardians, people in charge of these time travelers, were able to predict when the particular child would be born.

There is this special chronometer (I think that’s what it’s called) that allows them to control when they go into the past. It was foretold that there would be twelve time travelers, all named after a particular jewel. Gwen is the twelfth. The goal is to put a little of each traveler’s blood in the chronometer to fulfill a mission. However, the previous two travelers made off with the original chronometer. Now Gwen and Gideon, the eleventh time traveler, must go back in time and try to get blood from everyone. But will it work!?

The best part of this book is that Gwen is not a damsel in distress. She makes her own decisions and has the right amount of skepticism.

Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles

Abdication by Juliet Nicolson
2012, 344 pages

This story takes place in 1936, the year that the British king abdicated his throne to marry a divorced American. So…..big news! The story is told between two points of view, a servant of a Parliament member who meets the king and Wallis Simpson (what kind of name is Wallis, seriously?!) and a clingy friend of Simpson. Interesting, quick read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bedazzles

A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde
2010, 384 pages

My usual fluffy British chick lit. Sophie lives in a family of geniuses, and they all think she’s an idiot. Clearly, she’s not. She does everything her family asks her to do, including visiting grumpy old relatives. Sophie finally decides she needs to do something about her life, and goes to visit a friend in New York. She meets the man of her dreams, even though he is against. A comedy of errors ensues. Good stuff.

Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles

Book Club Books:
Mariana by Susan Kearsley
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Where’d You Go Bernadette by
The Woodcutter by Kate Danley
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham


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