Summer Reading

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy….”  At least, that’s the theory.  Unfortunately for me, my summertime was filled with a number of things other than reading, so I didn’t get to do as much reading as I wanted, and I definitely didn’t do as much blogging as I intended, but I guess that’s life, and when it comes down to it, I’d always rather lay in the hammock and read. :-)  Unfortunately, that means another catch up post, but I guess it gets the job done.  Tonight, I’m only doing fiction, and as usual, I’ll be grouping some and skipping some, but that too is life.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

Genre: Teen, Adventure Fantasy

I loved this series!  In the first book, Percy discovers that he is a demi-god, son of his mortal mother and Greek god father.  In each book, Percy, with his friends Annabeth and Grover, must successfully complete quests in order to, ultimately, save the world.  The books follow a pretty typical hero cycle, but are creative in the reinvention, explanation, and reference to many different aspects of Greek Mythology which, according to the books, shifts in physical proximity with the shifting of power in the world, so Mt. Olympus is now above the Empire State Building, Hades is under LA, and the labyrinth passages meander under all of America. The author also uses pretty typical American landmarks in creative ways which keeps you wondering.

Rating: 4/5

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Modern, Character

Chronicling the life of two girls who meet and become best friends in 7th grade, this book really does go through the ups and downs of life that these girls face as they grow up and take different paths in life.  The book follows these friends through the decades as they experience high school, college, first jobs, career and family.  These women really travel the hard road of life together and, literally, drop everything when the other is in need.  At times, it is doubtful that the relationship will survive, but, ultimately, when it comes to it, they are “best friends forever.”

This is definitely a book that I had a love/hate relationship with.  I loved the authentic feel of the relationship between these two and resonated with the ups and downs of their friendship.  The hate relationship with the book came at the end.  It’s sad–really, really, really sad.  So sad, in fact that I thought about it for days and started crying every time I thought about it or talked about it.  I’d definitely recommend it, but be prepared for tears….

Rating: 4/5

Nightwalker series by Jocelynn Drake

Genre: Vampire Fantasy

Mira has everything she wants: a pretty solitary lifestyle and control of her beloved city.  That is, she has everything she wants until a vampire slayer tracks her to tell her that her worst enemies, the naturi, are working to break the seal and release their queen from the prison she’s been in for the past centuries.  As little as she likes working with one who has killed so many nightwalkers, she abhors the naturi and will do anything to stop them.  In the process, Mira uncovers plots and schemes, kills her share of naturi, and discovers more about herself than she ever wanted to know.

I enjoyed these books as a nice diversion and some light reading, but I didn’t find them to be much more than that.

Rating: 2.5/5

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Genre: Spin off

In an old house where Jane Austen once lived, the long awaited, long anticipated memoirs have been found. At least, that is the guise under which James writes her novel.  Weaving in details from Austen’s books, James explains how Austen’s life inspired much of her writing as she tells the elusive story of Austen’s life.

I enjoyed this book.  I loved recognizing the bits and pieces of each of Austen’s novels, and I loved James’ telling of how Austen became the author I love.

Rating: 4/5

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Genre: Classic

Fanny Price, not a typical Austen heroine, is the daughter of a poor sister who married for love.  To help her poor Sister Price, Fanny’s Aunt concocts a plan for Fanny to come live with their third sister and husband, to be raised at Mansfield Park, to be given advantages that Fanny could never hope to have in her home.  The story follows Fanny as she grows up, falls in love, receives a proposal from the wrong man, comforts her family at Mansfield Park, and eventually, begins the life she’s always wanted with the man she loves.

I love Jane Austen. Period. The end.  That being said, this isn’t my favorite of her books.  Fanny is too perfect, and her aunts are too despicable.  Add to that a love story that is so subtle it’s easy to miss, and you get my less than favorite Austen, but it’s okay because it’s still Austen, and I still love her stories!

Rating: 4/5

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

Genre: Modern Romance

Following the life of Father Tim, the rector of the local Episcopal church, the story covers the trials and troubles of a small town shepherd. Father Tim must contend with everything from raising a boy, praying for a heart transplant, helping a neighbor, and discovering a jewel thief to taking a vacation, perhaps the most difficult of his trials.

I read this book because my mom has, for some time, been a fan.  I liked it and thought it was sweet, but it was a little too sweet, too perfect; I didn’t find enough realistic humanity to make the characters or stories believable.

Rating: 2/5

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