Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Favorite Reads (& Listens) of Summer 2013

My book reviews may be far and few between yet I have just been devouring books this summer. Below are a few of my favorites from this summer. All of which really deserve a grand lyrical reviews but since this is our summer break all you'll get is a sentence or two. I will spare you the summaries but the titles all link back to IndieBound where you can read more if you wish.

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

This one is primarily historic fiction yet contains a touch of fantasy. There is just enough mystery to lure the reader into some late night page turning. I love the protagonist, who is both strong and independent and yet vulnerable. I actually just recommended this to a teen patron who has read through our YA shelves two days ago and she was back today requesting more works by Kearsley. It really is that good!

Upstairs & Downstairs by Sarah Warwick

If you are a fan of Downton Abby, as I am, this is a must read. The title provides deeper insight into affluent households of the early 1900's and those working for them. Loaded with fabulous photographs and illustrations this book covers every last detail. Pure fun!

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

I adored the first part of this trilogy, Under the Never Sky. Therefore it comes as no surprise that this was one of my favorite summer reads. Many times in a trilogy the second book is the weakest. This doesn't seem to be the case here. Being familiar with the characters and the setting helps but Rossi also has done a tremendous job of incorporating unanticipated conflict throughout this title. I can't wait for the next one!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I read this one with my daughter, age 8, this summer and we were both, well, enchanted! The magical world created in this book is captivating and Ella's character, complete with plenty of flaws, is both likable and easy to relate to. I love that various pieces of common fairy tales that are used throughout. This one is truly magical.

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

In Walls fashion this tale is both complex and yet easily accessible. The fictitious characters inside these pages suffer from the type of neglect we first encountered in The Glass Castle. Yet they do not demand sympathy but admiration as they fight against the odds to make lives worth living. Caution this title demands to be read in just a few sittings! This one would do quite well with YA fans.


We also took two looooooooong road trips this year. Nothing makes those miles pass quicker than a good audiobook. Here are a couple I highly recommend.

Why We Broke Up by David Handler

This is a long farewell letter written by a teenage girl to her first love. The letter centers around a box of mementos that she is returning to her ex and each memento has it's own story. It will make you recall those teenage relationships when everything felt so vital. It is at once heart-wrenching and hilarious. In the end it is really a cautionary tale of deciphering love and lust.A more perfect narrator could not have been chosen. I liked it so much I had to also check out the physical book which will not disappoint as it contains wonderful illustrations of all the items placed inside the box. P.S. You may know David Handler better by his pen name Lemony Snicket!

Hilarious! Both the kids and the adults in the car were laughing out-loud at Scieszka's account of his childhood. Growing up in a household of four boys there are sure to be some great stories to tell, several of which Scieszka shares in this two hour audiobook.

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

In typical Flinn style this is a modern day fairy tale. The story encompasses several fairly tales such as The Princess and the Frog and The Elves and the Shoemaker. Full of magic, the story contains plenty of humorous moments and opportunities of anticipation.

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