Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My summer of reading

I hunkered down this summer with my Nook and NookColor (yes, I am one lucky little duck) and read my heart out.  Of course my genre of choice was YA fiction, I can't help that at heart I am really a 15 year old girl.  All in all I read about 12 1/2 books (I'll explain in a moment).  Not too shabby considering that I really didn't focus too much on reading until July.

I was extremely disappointed with Marvels comic version of Pride and Prejudice, I felt that while the story was adequately interpreted the illustrator missed the WHOLE point.  There was massive cleavage, noticeable make-up, and just a completely wrong look for my favorite of Ms. Austen's works.  So, as can be expected I was hesitant to pick up Sense & Sensibility.  But anyone who knows me at all knows that when it comes to Jane Austen I have to have it (sometimes to my own detriment).  When I finally picked it up to read I devoured it.  I was so relieved that this time around they got it right!  The story was true to the original and the characters were all a regency lover like myself could have wanted.  This is one literature to comic re-imagining that I highly recommend.

This book ties for first place in my favorite reads of the summer.  I am a big fan of Mythology.  Last year I read a great re-envisioning of the Greek myths and was convinced that that series was as good as it was going to get. Then came The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.  From the first page I was glued to the book.  This gem is one of the few books that I actually purchased in traditional printed page format and was so wrapped up in the story that I lugged it around with me all weekend until I finished.  There is something so compelling about stories that have the potential of ending tragically and this one has such a clever twist at the end that you can't believe you didn't catch on sooner. 

 I, as previously mentioned, am a huge fan of Regency Era stories.  Romances are particularly enticing to me.  As a matter of fact one of the main reasons I wanted to get a Nook was so I could read my "lady porn" as I lovingly refer to Romance novels without censure or judgement.  When I found these "classic" regency romances by Candice Hern and the rave reviews that they had received I knew I was in for a treat.  I honestly couldn't believe that I had never stumbled upon her work before.  She is the epitome of the kind of writer that I like: Revisits old characters, links her stories, big on the romance, light on the sex.  It was no wonder I read all three in three days.

Confession:  This romantic comedy series is my guiltiest pleasure in a long list of guilty pleasure.  I commonly refer to them as my bubble gum break.  So guilty in fact that I refuse to share them.  I can't help loving these oh-so-innocent forays into first love.   In all honesty they can get a bit trying when the characters (mostly teenagers or college students) engage in antics that I myself realized at that age were probably not the best ideas.  But their sweet charm is enough to keep me coming back for more.  If I had to venture a guess I would say I have read about 12 from the series.  Yes, it's shameful but it feels sooooo good.

 This is my other favorite book of the summer.  I honestly couldn't put it down.  It seemed to gather everything I adore about the escapist literature that I so often turn to into one book. Vampires, Werewolves, Sci-Fi, Victorian England, Romance, quick wit, all with a steampunk twist.  And that was only book one.  I immediately started on book two and am already on page 75.  Did I mention I finished this on Sunday?

 I hate it when I can't connect with a character.  I'm an event planner by trade so reading the synopsis of this book it seemed like a no-brainer.  But, I couldn't get through the book.  I felt that within the first couple of chapters I was slapped in the face by a Bible.  There is nothing wrong with being religious but there is such a thing as over saturating the reader with religious context when the book synopsis doesn't come close to mentioning it.  This is what appears on Goodreads
Ever wonder how Italian sounds with a Southern drawl?Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?
Fun, fresh, and full of surprises, this flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex highlights the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.
For obvious reasons I was taken a back by the complete change in programming, I hate not finishing a book, but there it is.

Cinder & Ella
This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

The cover art instantly captured me and I was really excited about tucking into this obvious retelling of the classic story of Cinderella.  What can I say about it except that aside from the title and one or two references the book is nothing like the original.  I tried to love it.  I really did.  I wanted to connect with Cinder and Ella but the story honestly felt disjointed to me.  The author seemed to try to tell a story that was so different from the original that she lost her way.  It did start out promising and when I thought "okay, it's going to pick up now," it never did.  It took me the longest to get through this one of all the books I read this summer and was left feeling like the story could have been so much more.

The second of three physical books purchased this summer.  I couldn't help myself while killing some time at B&N.  I had just finished reading Cinder & Ella and wanted something to wash the taste out of my mouth.  Having not read the authors first book in the series (I honestly had no idea it was series until I stumbled onto the information on Goodreads) I felt a teensy bit lost in the first couple of chapters but as the story progressed and the history of the main character was explained I was completely enraptured.  What a great homage to Cinderella.  As opposed to the previous book which I felt screamed it was a re-telling and then dissapointed all around this one just told you it was a fairytale and paid tribute to Cinderella in its own way.

This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
I previously wrote a full review for this great debut a few weeks ago.  I liked it so much I bought one for my 13 year old cousins birthday (she's also a rabid reader).  She devoured it in one day.

This is my 1/2 a book, because technically it's not a book in the traditional sense of the word, it's a puzzle compendium (I think that's the word) that uses all of Jane Austens books as well as incorporating different facts from the time period to make one very interesting time filler.  For Austen fans this is really a must have.