Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

3 Maisie Dobbs Novels - Jacqueline Winspear

This is a great little series about a young woman detective named, you guessed it, Maisie Dobbs. The three books I've finished are called

Maisie Dobbs
Birds of a Feather
Pardonable Lies.

I listened to the first one on audio. The reader read with an English accent (the books are set in post WWI England), and then I "heard" Maisie's voice in my head with the next two. It was pretty cool.

I love Maisie's spunk and determination. She makes some poor decisions in her relationships with people, though, which is disappointing, but then again, real life sometimes is.

I'd definitely recommend this series to lovers of mystery.

The Last Juror - John Grisham

This was partly a mystery story, but mostly it was a character story. And that made it a perfect combo for me, since mystery is one of my favorite genres, but I really love books with really strong characterization. It's the most important thing for me in a book. It's one of the reasons I don't like short stories. This book was set in the South, and had some really wacky characters and some characters that were unavoidably lovable. Unfortunately, I really disliked the ending of this story, so I'd only give it three stars.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 books by Ally Carter

During this last week of school I really needed some easy on the brain reading, so I read two of Ally Carter's books for grown-ups: Cheating at Solitaire and Learning to Play Gin. They were fine, but I have to say that Ally Carter does kids books WAY better than she does grown-up books. I totally loved and adored I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You and its sequel (unfortunately I can't remember the name of that one - hey, give me a break, it's my LAST day of school - my brain is full), and I was only middle of the road on these two. These were a little too surface-y and a little too predictable for me. Don't get me wrong, they were perfect for the week I was having, but they just weren't what I expected from her, having read the other two first. Her character development was super strong in the kids books, and there was a ton of suspense. In these grown-up books, not so much. I'm hoping she continues her spy school series - what can I say, maybe we're both just kids at heart.

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

2 books by Justina Chen Headly

Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies)
Girl Overboard

These books are written by my dentist's sister-in-law, of all things, which is how I heard about them, and I really enjoyed them. Both books have Asian main characters, which is great, as there are not that many Asian main characters in teen writing, although more are appearing each year. Both books are very funny and have boy and girl characters, although both leads are girls. (My dentist did tell me Justina is writing her next one from a boy's perspective - yeah!).

One thing I really like about these main characters is that in Nothing but the Truth the main character is a super smart math student and in Girl Overboard the lead is a super studly snowboarder. The characters both have some big flaws, so they're not perfect (because in real life, who is?), but I really like that they're both in roles that are not necessarily traditionally thought of as "girl" roles.

Both books also deal with parent issues, and most kids, no matter what ethnic group they belong to, can relate to that!

I enjoyed both books, but I have to say I liked Girl Overboard better - I thought it was a little smoother. I'm looking forward to the next installment from Justina Chen Headly

PS I found out from the book jacket this author is one of the co-founders of that super-cool readergirlz website I like so much: http://www.readergirlz.com/issue.html
Way to go, Justina!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hedda Gabler - Henrik Ibsen

This summer I'm planning to see a play in Ashland called The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler so my friend Susannah said I had to read the original play first. I listened to it on CD, and it wasn't read by just one person, but was actually a taping of a performance, or at least it had all the characters acted by different people.

It is a crazy play with a wild woman at the helm. I'm not sure when it is set, but it's definitely at a time when women still do not have many freedoms, and Hedda clearly longs for them. She is definitely trapped in many ways, and she does not react well to her circumstances. She's biting and can be quite cruel, as I can imagine I might be if I were in her situation. She's also somewhat obsessed with some pistols, which is not really a good thing for a woman of her temperament.

I did figure out from this why there's a picture of a pistol on the playbill, but given the fact that I'm going to see her FURTHER adventures, I was kind of surprised at the ending of the play. That's show-business I guess, hey?

A fun, very fast play that I'd definitely recommend to adults, especially this CD version available at Multnomah County Libraries.

Austenland - Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale writes really fabulous YA books - check out my previous post on Book of a Thousand Days - but this is one she did for adults. It's a play on Pride and Prejudice, focused on a character who is holding out for her Mr. Darcy to come along before she will entertain any idea of a serious relationship. Well, no, not really true. She entertains the idea of serious relationships all the time, and even has several, but Colin Firth just never shows up. Then her aunt dies and leaves her a trip to "Austenland" an interactive dramatic camp of sorts for enthusiasts of Jane Austen. She goes there thinking she'll be forced to get over her obsessions, but you'll have to read it yourself to find out if it works out that way or not. A fun, fast read (or listen to in my case) for Jane Austen fans only.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls by Matt Ruff

This was my book group's last book, and I thought it was fascinating. It's a fictional story about someone with multiple personality disorder. I am telling you, I would not want to have that. It must be so difficult. The story was well told and engaging, but it was pretty confusing at first because there were all these souls living in the main character's head, and it was a little tricky to tell who was who at the beginning. I don't think many middle schoolers would be interested in this, but I sure enjoyed it