what i read : february 2012

March 13, 2012

It appears that over half of the books I read most months are juvenile fantasy that I listen to on audio. That’s because I have an hour-long drive to and from work, so I go through them fast. But if you’re looking for literary fiction or classics, don’t worry! I’m working through all the books I own but haven’t read as well.

Here’s what I read in February.

Click the titles below for full reviews on Goodreads.

Fablehaven book 5 by Brandon Mull

It’s about: This was the last book in the series, so once again I’m not really going to get into it.

I thought: The strength of this series continued through to the end, and I loved every minute of it. Not incredibly deep, but a whole lot of fun.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

It’s about: a pair of siblings – the older sister Gwendolyn, who is a witch, and her brother Eric, who idolizes her. They are orphaned and sent to live in Chrestomanci castle with a distant cousin and his family, where nothing is as it seems. Gwendolyn doesn’t feel that her talents as a witch are being appreciated, and she begins causing all kinds of trouble.

I thought: It was kind of slow and annoying. Gwendolyn got on my nerves so badly that I almost couldn’t stand it. For awhile the plot seemed too simple and nothing much was happening, but there were glimpses here and there that more would come out later, and the story got so much better at the end that I’m inclined to give the next book a try. Undecided about the series, but this one wasn’t great.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

It’s about: Centers around a young governess sent to a remote house to care for a perfectly charming little girl and boy, but she begins to question everything when she starts seeing ghosts.

I thought: It took me awhile to get into the groove of this book because the writing is a bit convoluted, but once I fell into the rhythm of it I found it engaging. The narrator is unreliable and there is definitely a sense of mystery and urgency that builds. But at the end of it I still don’t know what actually happened, even after much Wikipedia-ing. Apparently I’m not alone.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

It’s about: In the Seven Kingdoms some children are born as gracelings with a gift of a special skill, and they are immediately put into the service of the king. Katsa is born a king’s niece with a grace of killing, and she becomes his thug despite her conscience. After she meets prince Po, who is trying to find the kidnapper of his grandfather, Katsa finds the courage to defy the king and the two of them leave on an adventure to discover the source of the mysterious kidnapping.

I thought: I really liked it, especially the full cast audio version. I thought the world and the concept of “graces” was interesting and unique. The characters were, for the most part, well-developed. I just have some picky concerns about Katsa not acting like a girl, and the direction that her relationship with Po led, which I didn’t think was young-adult appropriate. But it didn’t diminish my enjoyment.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

It’s about: It revolves around an event during the second World War where French police rounded up Jewish families, including children, kept them in abysmal surroundings for days, then shipped them off to camps and eventually to Auschwitz. Part of the story is told from Sarah’s point of view, one of the children, and most of it from Julia’s perspective, an American ex-pat journalist whose in-laws moved into Sarah’s old apartment right after it was vacated.

I thought: It was a tough subject, and Sarah’s story was extremely hard for me to read as a new mom (hormones, etc.). It was a good introduction to an event I had no idea happened. I liked the descriptions of France. But overall it was too predictable for me, too planned out. I didn’t understand why Julia was so obsessed with the subject, at the expense of her marriage. The story just didn’t flow naturally.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Posted in: books & reading, books & reading, what i read

Comments on what i read : february 2012

  1. 1

    From rachieannie:

    I remember reading the Graceling years ago. It was intriguing, but yes, the relationship with Katsa and Po was a bit too mature for their age.

    My mom has Sarah’s Key, but I couldn’t do it. I so resonated with the Margaret Atwood quote you posted the other day, because, oh my yes! Since getting pregnant and then having him, I am a mess! I cry at the dumbest things, even if I’ve seen it/read it millions of time. The scene in Lord of the Rings when the towns get attacked and the mom sends her two kids off alone on their horse? Did me in. Makes me tear up just writing about it! That’s why my reading list these days includes a lot of chick lit.

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