Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

Little Star: A Novel
This is probably one of the more "set your teeth on edge" horror books I've read in awhile. It wasn't disturbing in a way that it was about zombies or vampires, more disturbing that it was about a man who finds a baby buried in a hole in the forest and when he picks her up, she sings a single, perfect note. Then he brings her home and insists to his wife that they're going to raise her. She agrees because, well, other her husband will probably smack her around and thus begins the series of awful people within this book. The little girl, called Little One, by her would be parents is kept in the basement until something tragic happens, when she's whisked away by their older son, Jerry. Jerry enters her into a singing competition (Sweden's version of American Idol) and his sister begins to gain fans--or followers--reaching out to them over the internet. The ending of this book is slow and the build-up is long, but the characters themselves were so unusual and in some cases, so awful, that it had me on edge even before the climax. I really enjoyed this one.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour
Tragically, the library request system was down all last week. Tragic because I had about fifteen requests I wanted to make. Fortunately, I'd borrowed two books from Barb's daughter, so I was able to get by.
The Red Blazer girls is a really cute mystery series for pre-teen and early teen girls about a group of girls who go to an all girls school in New York City and have to wear red blazers. They stumble onto their first mystery by accident, but their success in solving it leads them to form a crime solving group called The Red Blazer girls. What I like about these books is that they incorporate a lot of math and word puzzles and encourage girls to solve them within the books. They're also silly and fun and easy to read. They'd be good for upper elementary through middle school.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin
This is the second book. This one definitely had a lot more word, math and logic puzzles in it than the previous book, some chapters not even giving away the answer to the puzzle in hopes that you would try and solve it yourself. Again, these are really cute books. I enjoyed it!

Love Letters to the Dead
The library request system went back up Monday and I requested all the books. This was one. Last night I was kind of keyed up and couldn't sleep and began reading this at a little past 8. I ended up staying up until midnight to finish it--oops. Laurel is coping with the death of her sister while struggling to fit in at a new high school. Her english teacher gives her the assignment to write a letter to a dead person, and she begins a year long process of filling a notebook full of letters to the dead. In some letters, she connects to that dead person, to Kurt Cobain on his parents' divorce, to Judy Garland and how she was forced to always perform, to e.e. cummings and his beautiful poetry. But she also fills in the pieces of her life, her broken heart and the events that led up to her sister May's death. Although it is hinted that something awful happened to Laurel before May died and although you can mostly put the pieces together, the author still builds to the moment in which she writes it in a letter. This book was beautifully written and stylistically unique. I loved it.

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

Your comment about The Red Blazer Girls sounds a lot like E's. She said they weren't quite what she expected but she enjoyed them anyway.

I tried to read The Golden Notebook but couldn't slog my way through it so I gave up. Instead I read The Prisoner of Heaven and reminded myself that Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of the best storytellers around.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I like the idea of problem solving in The Red Blazer Girls. I wonder if the problems may be too advanced for a 10 year old girl? If not, I am going to pick these up for my daughters summer reading challenge list.

InTheFastLane said...

I read Pastel Orphans (another in my holocaust genre) this one was a little different as the kids were only half Jewish and didn't even know it (for their protection) but even this doesn't stop the German bad guys. A coming of age story in a crazy world.

I also read pictures of the past which was about a piece of art that is less the story as is the people who once owned it and how it got to a museum. Also had holocaust ties. The writing wasn't great but I enjoyed to book a lot.

And then she was gone - don't read it if you worry about your kids getting kidnapped. A ripped from the headlines book (Jaycee dugard?) but more about the girl who was found and how the family has to adapt to a whole new reality 7 years after she was stolen.