Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March TBR Challenge

Today is the day for reviews over at the TBR Challenge hosted by avidreader. Here are the books I've read in the last two weeks or so, that I liked enough to talk/write about (there have been more that were definitely not worthy, trust me.)

Book that languished longest in my TBR pile -

The Painted Bird The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
A deeply disturbing novel about a young boy's experiences during the Holocaust. My main problem was the matter-of-fact manner in which the lead character describes the tragedies he witnesses, participates in, and endures. The descriptions are horrifying and graphic, and, because it is semi-autobiographical, you cannot comfort yourself with the idea that these are mere book boogiemen. It's a savage read - the scenes, stories, and narrative are uncomfortable, brutal, vivid and haunting. Even though he's a strong writer, I'd definitely need a Prozac before attempting to read anything by Kosinski again.

Book that never made it to an actual, physical pile, but instead was read as soon as I recieved it:

Dogs and Goddesses Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've yet to read a Crusie book that hasn't made me laugh out loud, and this book is no exception. She's just got my kind of humor, I guess: full of apt movie quotes from out of nowhere, dogs who know more than their owners (and can talk!), and goddesses on antidepressants. This book was good for more than one laugh.

Book I almost didn't get a chance to read because my mother was waiting for it too

Silent in the Sanctuary Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second in the Silent in (the Grave & the Moor) series, which find heroine Lady Julia Grey in the most unusual of circumstances. Enjoyed Sanctuary even more than Grave , as Julia seemed to come into her own more, and was able to try to take control over her own life and choices, rather than just being tossed hither and yon by chance and fate. I'm looking forward to Moor, which has just come out this month. So far, both books have been intriguing, had mysterious plots that you couldn't automatically know the ending to, and have contained a compelling cast of characters.

Book that made me look up the author's backlist:

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
When your boyfriend of 4 years finally proposes on national television, you can only hope that he's proposing to you. Unfortunately for Genie Michaels, her boyfriend wasn't. But since her family, friends & the people she works with already assume it's true... maybe it wouldn't be so bad to pretend for a little while?

I'm a sucker for witty dialogue, and had read something else of Strohmeyer's that made me chuckle, so even though the setup seemed stupid, I decided I'd try this one, and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was mostly predicable, in that you can see - eventually - it's all going to come crashing down on her, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Series I'm rereading this week:

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and The Masque of the Black Tulip in preparation for my recently acquired copy of The Deception of the Emerald Ring. This is a series I am in love with, although a bit behind on - because of the whole 'I have no money for books' thing, which means I wait until some kind soul posts the next in the series to the PaperBackSwap shelf and swoop in on it. These books have so much to recommend them, I wouldn't know where to start - I love the mix of past and present; I love the first person, 3rd person shifts; I love the heroines who kick ass and the heroes who appreciate them; I love the humor & intelligence that nobody feels they have to hide... I just love them. They're fun reads, and I'm glad to still have so many to look forward to.

Series I am refraining from rereading because I want to make a dent in my TBR pile:

In Deaths by J.D. Robb, which are huge comfort reads for me. And I could use some comfort right about now, what with all the craziness and impending homelessness (I wonder how long we could reasonable live in a hotel?), but I am keeping them on the shelf and am determined that they shall stay there until I pack them up. (At which point I will probably read them as I put them in a box).

Series I am listening to on tape because the tape was $3(!) at the used book store-

Harry Potter by J K Rowling. I can understand that actual cassette tapes are no longer in vogue (it is annoying to not be able to go right to the part you want to get to), but let's not be lazy, here people: it's Harry Potter, read aloud to you by a charming man with a charming British accent and a gift for creating vivid voices to match interesting characters. What could be wrong about that? (And why haven't I read more books on tape? Must add them to my PBS list).

Children's books I was lucky enough to win
Llama Llama misses Mama and Ladybug Girl & Bumblebee Boy. I won them from the lovely Amanda over at A Patchwork of Books, and Lil Girl and I have been enjoying them immensely. Llama Llama and his Mama have been one of her favorites for a while now, and I just know I'm going to have to add the original Ladybug Girl to our library list. Llama Llama is dealing with his first day of school. Everything's new or different, there's all these strange kids, and his Mama had to leave! He's pretty upset, but Dewdney does a great job of showing that new things don't necessarily mean bad things. As for Lulu/Ladybug Girl she her new insect friends use their imaginations to protect their playground from unknown evils, using their wit, strength and impressive imaginations. I can recommend them both, and not just because I was lucky enough to win them - we would've been buying Llama's book, as we own the two others in the series, and I'm always looking for empowered little girls to read about with our own Lil Girl (To balance out all the Disney princesses, perhaps?), so Ladybug Girl definitely fits the bill.

And that is my first contribution to the TBR Challenge: I'm definitely going to check out what everybody else has been up to, and start thinking about what I've got that might fit next month's theme ("urban fantasy, paranormal, SFR" - which I don't even know what that stands for - "or fantasy").

1 comment:

Sue Jackson said...

I REALLY enjoyed all your book reviews and commentary! I love to read and have two book blogs in addition to my CFS blog. You made some good recommendations here that I'll need to look into.

As for your next reading challenge, I looked up SFR online and it stands for Science Fiction/Romance - I didn't even know that was a genre! Anyway, I have reviewed a couple of SF and fantasy books on each of my book blogs, in case you're looking for suggestions. Two of my favorite books of all time might fit in the SFR category: The Time Traveler's Wife and Replay - both are on my Book by Book blog, if you're interested.

I look forward to next month's TBR review!