Monthly Archives: August 2015

When Christmas Comes Again

Standard

dear america

When Christmas Comes Again is the story of Simone Spencer. Set in New York City in 1917, the story captures America at the moment we entered WWI. Upon hearing the news, Simone feels a desperate need to help in any way she can, especially after her older brother Will enlists and is sent overseas. What begins as a way to stave off boredom soon becomes so much more. Simone becomes determined to find a way to be more useful and help the war front. Seeing an ad for girls who speak fluent French, Simone signs up to be a “hello girl.” She begins her training in New York and is then sent to France to combat the phone lines and the switchboard.

What struck me most about this installment of Dear America was how grown up it was, even the main character was older than most other Dear America novels I’ve read. I don’t remember these books being so grown up when I was reading them as a kid, but then maybe I just didn’t pick up on it. Simone loses the things she once held so dear to her but does gain something as well. Through the novel we see her experience love, loss, and watch her as she helps soldiers suffering from PTSD. One of the best parts about this whole series is it’s ability to make history come alive. So many people find history stagnant and boring as a subject in school, but these novels are everything but. They make places and people come alive. Each novel also includes more history on the era present in the novel and it’s impact on American culture.

Rating: 4/5 Thanks for taking me back Dear America.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Christmas in July, or August

Standard

ww1

Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a book set during Christmas time. When I first read this category I had no idea what to read. I got together a bunch of choices but none of them really piqued my interest. Then on a whim I went into the kids section at my local library and found the Dear America series and the book When Christmas Comes Again, a Dear America I never read. Nostalgia kicked in and I decided to pick it up and read it for this category.

I can’t wait to relive childhood a bit with this book in the series. I was a huge Dear America fan in elementary school and can still remember getting some of the novels at the book fair. I love how each teach you about a specific time period in American history in such an accessible way. It made me want to learn more about people and places in American history and had me reading things I know I would not have.

Here’s to Dear America! Stay tuned for the full review of When Christmas Comes Again. Happy reading!

H

Three Blind Mice

Standard

mousetrap-250x250pcy

Three blind mice, see how they run…”

The short story, Three Blind Mice, is the basis for the longest running play in the English language, The Mousetrap. That in itself is pretty darn impressive. The story itself is very Agatha Christie with red herrings galore and an ending you just don’t quite see until you get there. This, more than some of the other stories in this anthology, is a stand alone story. There is no Poirot or Miss Marple to solve the case. There’s just a young newly married couple who have recently inherited a large mansion and turn it into a bed and breakfast. They have three initial guests staying in the hotel and one who shows up unannounced in the middle of a snowstorm. In London, and seemingly unconnected to this story, a woman is found murdered with a note and the rhyme Three Blind Mice written on it. It take a bit for the case to build up, increasing the paranoia of the characters and reader. But when it does wow. Agatha Christie has some of the most unbalanced villains.

One of the other stories that really struck me was The Case of the Caretaker. This story featured the lovely Miss Marple. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that somewhere I had read a story very similar to this one. Newly married couple, then the wife dies mysteriously after being cursed by a gypsy woman. Then it hit me. I had read this before. It’s actually a different Agatha Christie novel called Endless Night, as well as a movie starring Hayley Mills. It makes me wonder if this short story was a precursor to the longer novel. They have very similar styles and plot lines but Endless Night delves much more into the psyches of the villains, and Miss Marple plays a much smaller part. Endless Night is one of the more unsettling Chrisite novel’s I’ve read because of the villain.

All in all, this was an extremely fun read. Some of the stories had to stretch a bit to come to the conclusion but the majority were just as ingenious as Christie’s novels. If you like Agatha Christie style mysteries I would definitely pick up this collection of short stories and give it a read.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

The First Queen of Suspense

Standard

agatha christie

Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel composed of short stories. I had quite a hard time finding a short story anthology that I was interested in and had not read before. I was going to re-read a Daphne du Maurier short story anthology before I found Agatha Chrisite’s Three Blind Mice and Other Stories. I grew up watching the Hercule Poirot mysteries on A&E with my mom and reading Agatha Chrisite novels filled with interesting and broken characters. I love that her two main characters are so different yet so similar at the same time. Miss Marple and Poirot both are very particular about getting there way and investigating the small things. I was happy when I saw that this short story compilation has both great detectives and then a few other stories thrown in. I can’t wait to get started and see what confounding mysteries Miss Christie has in store.

Stay tuned for the full review of Three Blind Mice. Happy reading!

Fables: Storybook Love

Standard

Fables-Storybook-Love

Further down the path we go. This novel brings us further into the dark and scary woods of Fabletown and gives us a wider glimpse of the different facets of each character. The core of this installment is the issues entitled Storybook Love. This story is about the growing relationship between Snow White and Bigby Wolf as well as Goldilocks revenge plot against Snow White for thwarting her revolution in the previous volume. Some of my favorite moments in this installment weren’t part of the core story but before it. I loved getting a glimpse at Sleeping Beauty and how she’s used to get information from a reporter who’s found out what he thinks is the truth about Fabletown.

So far for me the series has it’s ups and downs. There are parts I love and parts I’m not too fond of. I’m interested to see which characters pop up later and how that will affect the story.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do you think Prince Charmings plan will influence further issues? Do you think he’ll succeed?

2. What do you think will happen with Snow White’s pregnancy? What powers will her and Bigby Wolf’s child possibly have?

3. Which issue in this volume was your favorite?

Once Upon A Time…

Standard

top ten tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is your top ten fairy tale retellings that you’ve already read or want to read. Fairy tale retelling have taken off in literature of late, especially in the young adult genre, and many of them sound fascinating. Fairy tales are such a part of each cultures collective memory it’s amazing they are coming back to the forefront again.

In no particular order, here are my top ten picks!

cinder

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

A Cinderella retelling I have yet to read but do currently own!

Ella_enchanted_(book_cover)

2. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Perhaps my top 5 favorite books from childhood.

spindle

3. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

A Sleeping Beauty retelling.

book-of-lost-things-uk-225

4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

A novel I just recently acquired at work.

Beauty

5. Beauty by Robin McKinley

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

sisters grimm

6. The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley

Such a cute and ingenious retelling of multiple fair tales.

fables vol 1

7. Fables by Bill Willingham

A graphic novel retelling of fair tale characters in a new setting.

DorothyMustDie_CoverOnly1.indd

8. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

A Wizard of Oz retelling.

american gods

9. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been wanting to read this novel for ages.

tiger-lily

10. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

A Peter Pan retelling.