Reading Roundup: December 2011

The Pharaoh's Daughter by N.C. Allen

This was a fun historical mystery that made for a nice read while waiting for my car to get a new battery installed. I felt like there were a few too many characters and I sometimes had trouble keeping everyone straight, but that was the main flaw that I found.

The Art Detective by Philip Mould

I learned a few things about art history and restoration from this book, but generally I felt like the author was pretentious and not very good at explaining things clearly.

The Call by Yannick Murphy

The narrative voice of this book is very distinct and I had a hard time really getting into it at first. I'm glad that I persevered because it ended up being one of the best books I've read all year.

American Widow by Alissa Torres

I had to read a graphic novel this month for work so I chose this one. Technically it's a graphic memoir, and I thought it was really well done. The story has the potential to be horribly maudlin, but the spare writing and illustrations do a good job portraying her grief without being too overbearing or sappy.

Beyond this Valley by Millie Chidester

The cover and summary did not do much to inspire me to read this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. The plot was not surprising in any way, but the characters were all people I wanted to spend time with. They felt very real to me and I enjoyed the time I spent reading this book.

After by Amy Efaw

If you are squeamish about graphic medical descriptions or about children being hurt, don't read this book. If you can handle the subject manner, then you really should read it. I thought it was an excellent example of how to make even the most unsympathetic character believable; it's one of the few novels I've read recently where characters really undergo substantial change. It also truly surprised me with the ending, and that doesn't happen often either.

Miss Delacourt Has Her Day
by Heidi Ashworth

It took me a while to get into this book because I don't read many Regency romances and I had not read the first book. I did feel like the author had the characters spend too much time explaining everything that happened in the first book; it would have been better just to keep going with the story after one brief explanation. Once I got into the story and the rhythm of the book I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Attack the Lusitania!
by Jerry Borrowman

I appreciated the fact that this book was obviously well-researched and historically accurate, but I liked it even more because the author has created believable, sympathetic characters that make you want to keep reading. We know what is going to happen to the boat from the beginning of the book, so it is good to add more to the story to make it a good read.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

I have actually been listening to this as an audio book for the last few months (I have been trying to exercise regularly without much success). The plot outline of the book did not appeal to me, but I soon found myself sucked in by the characters. This was a fabulous book, and the version I listened to had a great narrator that made it even better.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

This is the second book I've read in the last few months that takes big chances with the way it is written. I thought it was amazing; other reviews I have read have been mixed, but I loved this book. It is short and seemingly simple, but really it is quite profound and deeply touching.

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