Friday, April 03, 2009

What's been on my "shelf" lately

Honolulu by Alan Brennert -- this is a really good historical novel about a Korean woman who comes to Hawaii in the early 1900s as a "picture bride." It's narrated in the first person. I really enjoyed it and could hardly put it down. A great book not only because the main character's journey through life is so interesting and so fleshed out, but also because Brennert makes the history of Hawaii (and Honolulu) during that period of time come alive. I don't know how he writes women characters so well. But I hope he keeps writing.
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn -- a fun regency mystery/romance featuring the wry and observant Lady Julia Grey as protagonist. Think of this as a slightly updated version of a fun Georgette Heyer novel, with a modern-thinking protagonist matching wits with the extremely sexy inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. Delightful! Thank you to Amazon, for suggesting this book when I was looking up The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King because I wanted to re-read it on my Kindle.
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn -- Read this one on the beach (on my Kindle, which only got slightly sandy). Fun, light entertainment. Perfect beach read. The third in a series about Kitty Norville, werewolf and radio talk show host of the supernatural.
Molokai by Alan Brennert -- looked this up as soon as I finished Honolulu. This is an earlier book of Brennert's, about a woman named Rachel living in the leper colony on the island of Molokai in Hawaii, in the early part of the 20th century. Once again, I love the way Brennert describes his characters so well and I really enjoy his meticulously researched (but not boring) descriptions of life as a leper. This man can write.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett -- thanks to my coworker Janet, who said she read this book to her kids when they were young and they adored it. How did I miss it, growing up? What's interesting is that I read the book on my Kindle first and then I had to read the "paper" version of it because the Kindle just didn't do the illustrations justice. I don't think, in terms of children's books with lots of illustrations or picture books, that the Kindle is quite ready for prime time. I can't imagine reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret on it. Some things, you still need paper. (Especially for a picture book that's in color.)
The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler -- thanks to Phyllis for recommending this interesting book about a woman named Ruby who brings her husband's ashes back to his hometown only to find herself embroiled in family dramas and a years-old mystery. Fowler has a great way of defining the characters in her book. I enjoyed it.
Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools by Philip Caveney -- yes, Michelle, you recommended this to me months ago and I forgot all about it and rediscovered it on my own recently. It was great! I should have listened to you earlier. Mea culpa. Just don't be too hard on me. You'll get old too and you will have the same problem.
Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Anne Shaffer (re-read) -- I don't often re-read books any more, but this one is so wonderful (and was so conveniently available on my Kindle) that I had to. And I still adore it.
Pete & Pickles by Berke Breathed -- a charming picture book with great illustrations and a nice story
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (kids/teen book) -- if we MUST wait (im)patiently for The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in the Lightning Thief series (due out May 5, 2009) then this book of short stories and brief character bios will have to tide us over. A couple of fun short stories about Percy and other demigods are interspersed with "interviews" with some of his classmates and other fun stuff. A quick read, but as always with this series, extremely enjoyable.

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