Monday, April 28, 2014

What I'm Reading

I found Hartman's Seraphina absolutely fascinating. As you know, in my last WIR post I could not wait to finish this book. Yes, I did choose dragons and a murder mystery and an [almost] love affair over a good night's sleep. It was well worth it. One of the best young adult fantasy novels I have read in quite some time. This book was my selection for this past month's book club. We did another one of those "choose your own and share" readings; however, you had to stay within the guidelines of young adult and fantasy/sci-fi.

FYI. Other members selected The Nightmare Affair, by Mindee Arnett (okay, but written for a really young audience), Stardust by Neil Gaiman ("not sure, have to read more of his stuff") and The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (good, but not as great as her Seventh Realm series).

When the decision to read YA fantasy was made, I was very unsure about what I wanted to read. After much perusal, I chose Seraphina because it was a 2013 Morris Winner, which is awarded to the debut book of a new YA author. It was full of mystery, romance, and fantasy. Even though I was a tad confused at the beginning because I was unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary, I quickly understood and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. (Oh, by the way, there is a glossary in the back of the book, which I did not discover until I reached the back of the book. Just a little heads up.) Hartman's writing is excellent, and her characters and scenes are well developed. I'm not usually into this sort of sci-fi/fantasy/dragon genre, but I was captured with Seraphina and her story. In a quick nutshell, there is a murder and it looks like a dragon did it, so there is now an investigation because the people and the dragons (which take human form when communicating) are supposed to be at peace with each other. Seraphina plays music at court, and she and the [illegitimate] prince team up to discover the truth. But Seraphina has her own huge secret. I found myself frustrated (in a good way!) with some of the situations, wanting some people to open their eyes and hearts a little sooner, shall I say. I might have teared up. I can't wait for the follow-up novel which comes out next year. (The author keeps pushing back the publishing date, which is causing an uproar among her fans. I fall into this category. Hurry up!)

Along with my Easter Bible study and devotional study, I chose to read through the 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue devotional by Deborah Smith Pegues as well. I gave this one 3 1/2 stars on my Goodreads account. I really liked the idea of this book; however, I feel she takes on a heavy subject very lightly. I was hoping for a deeper reading of each of the 30 different "tongues" we must tame daily. Pegues breaks each one into a short 2-3 page explanation, including scripture, with a short daily assessment test. I understand this is supposed to be taken as a daily devotional, but still I think it could have gone a little deeper. However, she does short really well, so I'd highly recommend this to someone who is interested but doesn't have much time. I was very interested in this topic and wanted more examples of taming.

To be completely honest, I found Gone Girl quite disappointing. I have no idea what all the hype was about. This book is...twisted. Not quite my cup of tea. I haven't read anything else by Gillian Flynn and I guess I don't care to. It's not that I completely disliked the book, I found it just okay. Nothing to write home about or to run out and share the details with a friend, recommending it a must-read. (I didn't even feel the need to bring it up to my book club ladies the other night.) To me, it felt quite predictable, and I think that's why I had a hard time getting through it. I already [guessed] how it ended (and my thoughts were right...unfortunately), which caused me to put it down, and reluctantly pick it back up each time. Still, with that being said, I'm very interested in seeing the movie and how it's adapted to screen.

Also, I finally made time to read the much acclaimed Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. It won almost every juvenile award possible. It's been sitting on my desk since award season last year. It was a great and easy read, and quite interesting. I thought it had a very Jim Murphy-feel to it. Definitely worth picking up if you have the slightest interest in the atomic bomb.

With Love and God Bless,

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