Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Book Lists Pt. 5: Cross-Over Adult; High Fantasy; Thinking; Hist Fiction

*Back to Introductory Post; Pt. 1; Pt. 2; Pt 3; Pt 4; Pt. 6; Pt. 7
*Books are linked to my reviews, if available. Otherwise, they're linked to Amazon. I have read all of these books and written reviews for most, but haven't posted many of them yet. As I do, I will update this page.


Great Cross-Over Adult Reads
-Sometimes it's nice to feel like a grown-up


The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
17-year-old Ronnie is still furious over her parents' divorce three years ago and is miserable that she's stuck spending the summer with her dad in North Carolina. She longs to hate everybody and everything, but finds a new friend, a handsome boy, a passion for aquatic life, and an opportunity to heal her relationship with her dad. The book equally explores the father/daughter relationship and the boy/girl relationship. Even though it's predictably melodramatic, you'll still cry at the end. (Amazon)

Cutting For Stone - Abraham Verghese
An Indian nun surprisingly gives birth to twins in an Ethiopian hospital, fathered by a British doctor. When she dies and the father disappears, two Indian doctors raise the twins Marion and Shiva. Told from Marion's point of view, follow his life from turbulent childhood in politically unstable Ethiopia to his young adulthood as a resident in the U.S. Fascinating mixture of Ethiopian and Indian cultures. Three-dimensional characters you'll grow to love - from Ghosh and Hema (the adoptive parents), to eccentric Shiva, to kind, damaged, everyman Marion. (Amazon)

Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag - Alan Bradley
Fun mystery series set in post-war England. Features an 11-year-old girl named Flavia who is obsessed with chemistry and with thwarting her two older sisters. She runs into some odd situations and solves mysteries using her chemistry knowledge and sheer nosiness. (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
Not gonna lie. I read this, because I heard that Rob Pattinson was cast as the lead. So glad I did. Vet school drop out joins a circus at the height of the Depression. He forms a friendship with the abusive ringmaster’s wife Marlena and the star elephant Rosie. The story fluctuates between Jacob in the 1930s and 92 year old Jacob in a nursing home. Well-developed, interesting lead and supporting characters. (Amazon)

Girl In Translation - Jean Kwok
Beautiful, thought-provoking tale of an 11-year-old immigrant from Hong Kong. She starts school in New York City knowing no English but through sheer brilliance soon receives a scholarship to a private school. Meanwhile, her mother toils away in the sweatshop owned by her cruel aunt and uncle. Kimberly has to balance a life of poverty with the very normal life of her wealthy, innocent school friends. Kimberly longs to have a better life, but will her childhood love keep her in the sweatshop world? (Amazon)

Poison Study and Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder
Yelena is saved from execution for murdering the son of a general and instead assigned to be the new food taster for the military leader. Her supervisor Valek teaches her to detect poisons...and their relationship grows more interesting as the book continues. A mixture of high fantasy, thriller-like suspense, and hot romance. First of three books - don't bother reading the other two (#2 was okay, but I didn't get to #3 because so many panned it). (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1) - Chloe Neill
27-year-old Merit is changed into a vampire against her will. She's sucked into an impending vampire war. Merit must accept her new life as an immortal and also help protect her vampire house from those that threaten them. Heart-stopping, romantic, love triangle tension between Merit, master vampire Ethan, and rival house vampire Morgan. Merit has a fabulously snarky voice that will make you want to read more and more. (Amazon)

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Skeeter is a wealthy, young white college grad in 1960s Mississippi. She wants to make a difference in the world. She colludes with a group of local African-American maids to write stories of just how difficult and wonderful their lives as "the help" are. A dangerous task at the height of the civil rights movement. Told in alternating perspectives of Skeeter, Minny, Miss Celia, and Abileen. The reader really gets to know and understand a variety of different people in the civil rights era South. (Amazon)

Hotel On the Corner Of Bitter And Sweet - Jamie Ford
A 12-year-old Chinese-American boy befriends a Japanese-American girl at the beginning of WWII, when the hatred of the Japanese is at its peak. The book alternates between the 1940s and 1980s, all from Henry's perspective. The 1940s portions are much better than the 1980s. A sweet story of a blossoming friendship in a time of turmoil and bigotry. (Amazon)

High Fantasy
-The line between paranormal and high fantasy is a bit fuzzy, but I equate high fantasy with old fashioned magic more than supernatural creatures.


Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
Boy trapped in high-tech, evil prison. Girl trapped in stifling court society and undesired betrothal. Boy and girl connect. Can both escape their respective prisons? Told from alternating points of view. Mixture of dystopia, high fantasy, and science fiction. (Amazon)

Finnikin Of The Rock - Melina Marchetta
Finnikin was once the son of the chief palace guard, but ever since the coup, his father has been missing, and he has been in exile with the king's former advisor. A mysterious, mute young nun leads Finnikin on a journey back toward his homeland, fraught with danger. Extremely well-developed fantasy world. There's magic, political intrigue, and characters who unveil themselves slowly. (Amazon)

Poison Study and Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder
Yelena is saved from execution for murdering the son of a general and instead assigned to be the new food taster for the military leader. Her supervisor Valek teaches her to detect poisons...and their relationship grows more interesting as the book continues. A mixture of high fantasy, thriller-like suspense, and hot romance. First of three books - don't bother reading the other two (#2 was okay, but I didn't get to #3 because so many panned it). (Amazon 1, Amazon 2)

Mistwood - Leah Cypess
Prince Rokan finding Isabel in the woods and Isabel pledging to protect him. Isabel doesn't know why the prince had brought her here. Yet her subconscious knows exactly what she's doing. She instinctively understands the intricacies of court politics, physical protection, and human motivation. Isabel is a shifter - an immortal creature who can take the shape of whatever thing necessary. But why does Rokan need her and why can't she remember her past? Fabulously complex story and intricately drawn characters. Mistwood unfolds slowly but never frustratingly so. You'll want to savor ever page. (Amazon)

Brightly Woven - Alexandra Bracken
Sydelle is a skilled weaver from a rural town. Mysterious young wizard North shows up and cures the town of its drought. He demands Syd as payment for his services. Syd and North go on a journey to the capital to deliver a message regarding the recent assassination of the king. Their journey is fraud with danger, adventure, and even some romance. The story is slow and confusing at first, but turns into a satisfying read with a complex, well-built fantasy world and strong characters. (Amazon)

Secondhand Charm - Julie Berry
Evie lives in a poor, rural community but dreams of going to university and becoming a doctor. A chance meeting with the king results in a scholarship and Evie journeys to the capital to attend school. Just before she left, she bought several charms off a gypsy. These charms come in handy as the journey is more dangerous than Evie could have imagined. Evie must discover who she is, what powers she has, who to trust, and who to love. (Amazon)

If you want a book that makes you think...
-It's fun to read a book that makes you work a little bit. Or learn something.


Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
Boy trapped in high-tech, evil prison. Girl trapped in stifling court society and undesired betrothal. Boy and girl connect. Can both escape their respective prisons? Told from alternating points of view. Mixture of dystopia, high fantasy, and science fiction. (Amazon)

Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Beautiful, complex, haunting, romantic, heart-breaking, uplifting. No single word can describe a book this wonderful. It’s extremely confusing at first, but if you stick with it, you will be in love with Taylor Markham and her world. Taylor represents her school in its annual turf war with the Townies and the Cadets. This year’s war is full of battles, friendships, and new love. Interspersed throughout the book are excerpts of a novel written by Hannah, Taylor’s housemother. You’ll be amazed how everything fits together; the smallest things at the start of the book is so significant later on. Truly skilled writing. (Amazon)

At Home - Bill Bryson
Take a tour through Bill Bryson's 150 year old home, room by room. Learn about topics loosely related, if at all, to these rooms, including fashion, cholera, rodent intelligence, and much more. Bryson could make an essay about wallpaper drying engaging and witty. You'll laugh hysterically at all of Bryson's dry British quips and learn a great deal in the process. (Amazon)

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
Heart-breaking depiction of the effects of date rape on a 14-year-old girl. Melinda goes through life with a black veil over her face - she wants to live, but the memories and the depression separate her from the world. Deeply cynical, yet realistic portrayal of high school. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from the last quarter of the book. The stark, highly sarcastic prose heightens the emotions of the book. (Amazon)

Mistwood- Leah Cypess
Prince Rokan finding Isabel in the woods and Isabel pledging to protect him. Isabel doesn't know why the prince had brought her here. Yet her subconscious knows exactly what she's doing. She instinctively understands the intricacies of court politics, physical protection, and human motivation. Isabel is a shifter - an immortal creature who can take the shape of whatever thing necessary. But why does Rokan need her and why can't she remember her past? Fabulously complex story and intricately drawn characters. Mistwood unfolds slowly but never frustratingly so. You'll want to savor ever page. (Amazon)

The Cardturner - Louis Sachar
Alton's greedy mother "volunteers" him to help his rich uncle play bridge. His uncle is miserly and cranky on the surface, but Alton gradually sees a different man, brilliant and funny who has a bittersweet past. Alton even manages to find a cool girl friend in his family's mortal enemy. Few authors could pull off teaching teenagers how to play bridge without turning the book into an insomniac's dream. Sachar manages to educate and entertain. (Amazon)

Historical Fiction
-Always fun to put yourself into the best, whether it's 20 years ago or 200 years. A few of these have paranormal or fantasy elements as well.


A Faraway Island - Annika Thor
Two Jewish refugee children are sent to live with a family in Sweden to escape Nazi Germany. The 8 year old girl adjusts quickly, but the 12 year old girl has a horrible time dealing with the fear of the impending war and adjusting to a new country. Interesting albeit depressing. (Amazon)

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead
An homage to A Wrinkle In Time set in 1970s New York City. Sixth grader Miranda's best friend has abandoned her. Her life is further complicated by her new friends, her mom's boyfriend who wants more involvement in the family, and a mysterious crazy homeless man on the corner. Then she begins receiving notes that ask her do to things and seemingly predict the future. What should she do with these notes? Why is she receiving them? Both complex and accessible to young readers, When You Reach Me is truly worthy of the Newbury Medal. (Amazon)

Wishing For Tomorrow - Hilary McKay
Revisit the world of A Little Princess and discover what happened to the students of Ms. Minchin's Academy after Sara Crewe left. Although narrated by Ermengarde, Sara's best friend, the most interest part of the book focuses on Lottie (the little girl), Lavinia (the snob), and Alice (the new maid). Lavinia especially manages to redeem herself and turn into more of a protagonist than an antagonist. The book's language is reminiscent of a fair tale and it fits right in with the magic of A Little Princess. (Amazon)

Theatre Shoes - Noel Streatfield
A companion to Ballet Shoes with new characters. Sorrel, Mark, and Holly go to live with their dramatic actress grandmother in London during WWII. The three children receive scholarships to attend Ms. Fidolia's Children's Academy for Dancing and Stage Training by the now successful characters of Ballet Shoes. Follow the kids as they learn to sing, act, and dance while also living with the deprivations and fear of World War II. A classic that all will enjoy. (Amazon)

The Evolution Of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia is at the age where a tomboy must become a young lady in 1899 Texas. But she's not ready. She spends the summer with her cranky grandpa exploring the natural world, science, and Darwin's Origin of Species. A must read for historical-fiction lovers. Something other than romance for once. (Amazon)

Prophecy Of The Sisters - Michelle Zink
Kind Lia has always been at odds with her difficult twin sister Alice. Then she discovers a prophecyOne sister is the guardian of the gate and the other is the gatekeeper, the only one who can let evil enter. Lia naturally assumes that she is the guardian while her untrustworthy sister is the gate. To her great surprise, Lia is in fact the gate. She desperately wants to prevent the prophecy's fulfillment. With the help of two new friends, Lia embarks on a journey to prevent the gate from opening. Set in the 1890s, the rich prose strongly evokes that time period. Imagine gothic Victorian splendor. (Amazon)

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen
Turn of the century Gossip Girl. At the height of the robber baron era, the rich are truly rich and the poor are truly poor. Follow three "rich" girls, who have everything they want except for love and a very bitter "poor" maid who wants independence and revenge. Godbersen's writing is heavy on atmospherics and descriptions. While initially bogging down the story, the descriptions make the book rich - you feel as if you are walking through Victorian New York City. (Amazon)

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure - Allan Richard Shickman
Follow Zan as he journeys to find his lost brother. He finds adventure, friends, enemies, and danger with ever page. A fun read for young teens or tweens. (Amazon)

Faithful - Janet Fox
Snobbish rich girl ends up in Yellowstone in the early 1900s. Maggie is quickly entranced by the region's beauty and slowly transforms into an independent young woman. Features Tom, a fabulous, rugged love interest; Kula, the haughty servant; Mrs. Gale, an independent photographer/mentor; Mr. Greybull, who could give Maggie the old life she wants. A bit predictable and unrealistic, but a fun story nonetheless. (Amazon)

Bright Young Things - Anna Godberson
In Summer 1929, life is at the very top of a roller-coaster - the balance point before you plummet to the ground. Letty and Cordelia come to NYC to create a glamorous life for themselves. Cordelia finds her father, a wealthy bootlegger, and befriends Astrid, a wealthy girl. The book is told in the alternating voices of Astrid, Letty, and Cordelia - who are all wonderfully likeable, yet three-dimensional characters. A great, realistic historical fiction. (Amazon)

The Education Of Bet - Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Bet is a girl in the 19th century who desperately wants an education. Her friend Will wants to join the army. Will and Bet switch places, and Bet plays a boy at a boarding school. She must balance getting an education, dealing with bullies, and most difficult of all, falling in love with her quiet, brilliant, kind roommate James. (Amazon)

8 comments:

  1. Love the way you categorized these books. There are some on here that I have on my tbr and really need to get to! Thanks so much for the list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some of my favorites made these lists! I like that you categorized Mistwood as a book that makes you think.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Okay, I know I've said this with every list you've posted, but these are really and truly fabulous! This must have taken hours and hours to compile. I've heard good things about Poison Study, that's one I really want to read. I just need to make my way through all your lists:) Great job Alison!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay, seriously, every list features books I should have read and need to add to my list asap! I love how you're categorizing them, and I definitely need to get on top of these titles! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your lists are so great. I'm finding lots to add to my TBR! Love your historical fiction list! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Prophecy of the Sisters is a favourite of mine. I love Flavia and can't wait to read the next. And I want to read Water for Elephants before the movie does.

    Great list

    ReplyDelete
  7. Prophecy of Sister is in my TBR pile. I've been interested in checking out Mistwood and Secondhand Charm. Great list of books!

    ReplyDelete
  8. OMG, these are great!! I've read a few on your list and loved them, so I know the suggestions are top in my reading preferences :)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila