Friday, December 28, 2012

Bi-Monthly Book Look - November/December

I did it, but barely.  I read the 26 books I set out to read this year. 

I was able to finish six books - five novels and one non-fiction -  in November and December:

The Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus
My Rating: 1 out of 5.

I had high hopes of enjoying this book after reading the jacket flap.  Adults were becoming ill, sometimes fatally so, from the sounds of children's speech.  It seemed like such an interesting, if far-fetched premise, and the type of sci-fi/suspense story I could really get into.  Umm...not so much.  The plot was weak, and there was a Jewish sub-text that didn't seem to have any relevance to the story. I should have ditched this book early on, but I kept reading in hopes of find out why the adults were affected by communication with their children. Unfortunately, I felt as lost at the end as I did at the beginning.  

The Giver - Lois Lowry
My Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry
My Rating: 4 out of 5.

Messenger - Lois Lowry
My Rating: 4 out of 5.

Son - Lois Lowry
My Rating:  4 out of 5.

I've read more young adult fiction this year than I have since I was a preteen.  This series of four novels was recommended by Kat's mom after I read the Hunger Games series. 

This series consists of three unrelated villages, the third being a haven for those who can escape the first two (as well as other) dystopian societies.  By the fourth novel, the connections between the characters from the different villages is made known.

Like Hunger Games, there are some disturbing premises in these stories.  Unlike Hunger Games, there is very little violence involved.  There are some supernatural elements involved, but if looked at symbolically rather than literally, they don't seem to detract from the plot.

The books, the first of which is a Newberry Medal winner, are well-written and suitable for 'tweens, teens and adults alike.

The Battle of Westport: Missouri's Great Confederate Raid - Paul Kirkman
My Rating: 2 out of 5

I am not a Civil War buff, but The Battle of Westport and surrounding events is of interest to me for its local history.  Unfortunately, this book was hard to follow.  The author seemed to be "all over the place", and I was often confused about who was fighting for the North, who for the South, whether they were in Missouri or Kansas at any given time, etc.  Many of the players' names were the same or similar, but the author would use full names here, only surnames there, until I couldn't decipher who was being written about at times.

I do think an account of this battle is worth my time to read, but I will first seek out a book that is less confusing.
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