Sunday, January 22, 2012

9. Into the Green by Charles de Lint

I have enjoyed the de Lint books I've read in his Nowford series and always look forward to reading his stories.  His books deal with fairies and magical creatures but are not all sweetness and light.  There is a darkness and menace tha make the books more interesting.  Into the Green is not a Newford story and takes places in a fictional set of islands where houseyfolk dwell uneasily with witches.  Angharad is the heroine of the book.  She is a witch, a tinker, and a harpist which makes her a triple threat against an evil lurking in the land that threatens the life of all witches and magical people.  She has to outwit witch hunters and an assassin who is using her to attain his goals.  Rating:  4.25

8. No Longer Strangers by Rachel Ann Nunes

Zoologist Mitch Huntington is shocked to learn that his closest friends have died in a boating accident leaving him the guardian of their daughter, Emily Jane.  It's kind of cute reading about how the young bachelor learns to care for the young toddler and leanrs to love her.  Of course, there is a twist when the deceased wife's estranged sister shows up from a photography gig in the Amazon and wants to take custody of her niece.  There are all kinds of difficulties as the two spar over the baby and Mitch's religion, LDS, which he shared with Emily Jane's parents and vows to raise her in.  It's a very predictable Mormon romance and I found it just okay.  Rating:  3

7. What Remains by Carole Radziwill

Carole Radziwill is a woman who grew up in a small town north of New York City who grew up and married a prince.  The prince is Anthony Radziwill, first cousin and best friend to John F Kennedy, Jr.   This memoir tells about Carole's younger years, how she met and fell in love with Anthony and became close friend to Carolyn Bessett, the woman who captured John's heart.  Right from the beginning, you know that Anothy dies of cancer three weeks after the plane crash that took the lives of John, Carolyn and Carolyn's sister.  What I really liked about this book is that is not overly sentimental and doesn't focus on the star power of the Kennedys.  She is matter-of-fact in covering the tragic time in her live and tells some great stories of her years as a journalist before she met Anthony.  I found the book to be interesting, informative and a good read.  Rating:  4

6. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Levine takes the traditional fairy tale about Snow White and gives it a serious twist.  It is almost unrecognizable as the original, but very entertaining and inaginative.  Aza is a homely girl, but one of the best singers in a country filled with singers.  She has an unusual talent of throwing her voice.  The king's new young wife learns of this talent and forces Aza to throw her voice to the queen to cover her feeble vocal abilities.  The king's nephew befriends Aza even though she is not a beauty and he learns to love her until the throwing voice deception is discovered.  The character that most closely resembles the original fairy tale is the mirror whihc houses an evil spirit trying to escape his prison.  All in all, it is a fun story with a happy ending.  Rating:  4

3, 4, & 5. Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose and Caddy Ever After by Hilary McKay

I read the first book in this teen series, Saffy's Angel, a couple of years ago and finally got around to the remaining three.  Indigo is fourteen and the only boy in his unconventional family.  He goes to school and gets beat up almost every day.  Then an under-sized American boy joins the school and stands up to the bullies along with older sisgter Saffy.  The bullies turn their attention to Tom but he never loses his spirit.  Rose is the youngest sister in the family and she becomes entranced by Tom.  The boys become close friends and find a way to triumph over the bullies.  In the next book, Tom has returned to America; and Rose is devastated.  She begins to shop lift because of the thrill but doesn't consider it stealing as she doesn't keep the items.  Mostly Rose's book follows her determination to find Tom.  The final book is about Caddy who has become engaged to a man that no one else cares for.  He is too normal.  As in all the books, the reader is kept up-to-date on all the members of the family, but Rose is truly the main character in the final three books.  I really enjoyed reading them and recommend them for young teens.  Rating:  4.5

2. The Body in the Gallery by Katherine Hall Page

Another in the Faith Fairchild mystery series, we find Faith involved in another murder when a young woman is found as part of an art exhibit that Fath catered.  This story also follows the mishaps of Faith's son, Ben, as he becomes an unruly teenager.  This problems with Ben lead to problems with husband, Tom, as he desires a more traditional wife.  I enjoyed the mystery as always with page's books, especially some of the small New Englad town's more eccentric characters.  Faith's family struggles were a bit distracting and I would have liked the book better without them.  Rating:  3.5

1. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This book covers two different stories that the author travels back and forth between.  The first is the story of Sarah, a ten-year-old Jewish girl living in Paris during the Jewish roundup by the Parisian police force.  To protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard and promises to come back for him.  The second story takes place sixty year later and involves Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup.  She learns about Sarah and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her and her family.

I found the story to be very intriguing and as sad as any Holocaust book I've read.  Both Sarah and Julia are compelling characters who draw you into their stories.  Rating:  4