Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I Read Last Month

February 2011

I read another interesting mix of books last month, including my first graphic novels! :)

Total books read: 9

Graphic Novel: 3
Romance: 2
Young Adult: 2
General fiction: 1
Cozy Mystery/Romance/fiction/whatever: 1

1. A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch
The Adventurer's Club, Book 2
I bought this book months ago after having read Lori's review. I picked it up one day on a whim and really enjoyed it. It tells the love story of the very proper and popular Theresa "Tess" Weller and the sullen and physically wounded soldier, Colonel Bartholomew "Tolly" James. Tolly is the brother-in-law of Tess' cousin. Everyone tiptoes around Tolly since he's come home from India crippled and so melancholy and ill-tempered all the time. Everyone, except Tess, that is, who has no problems telling him how rude and insufferable he is. This, of course, is just what the surly Colonel needs to start feeling alive again. Of course, spending time with the Colonel would be the most improper thing for Tess to do when she is supposed to be the epitome of a proper lady. Not to mention that she has already caught the attention of several acceptable suitors. Of course, Tolly and Tess fall in love anyway.

I enjoyed both of these characters immensely. Although their burdens were clearly very different, both of them needed to learn to forgive themselves and start following their hearts rather than what the rules of proper behavior. They each helped the other heal from their pasts and were really so well suited for each other.
Grade: B+

2. Kiss Me Deadly anthology edited by Trisha Telep
This young adult paranormal anthology was a great way to sample the writing of several prominent young adult authors. My review can be found HERE.
Grade: B

3. The Lover's Dictionary: a novel by David Levithan
This first adult novel by accomplished young adult author David Levithan offers the reader glimpses into the relationship between an unnamed man and his lover. It is more a sharing of the trials and tribulations of love through anecdotes than a story. Each anecdote or reflection accompanies a word and its definition from the dictionary from A to Z. Interesting story telling style and a very insightful and realistic look into the love between two real people, but it left me feeling a little undecided about the couple and the book because I don't know what happened to their relationship. I couldn't ever decide if they were happy together or not. Did they stay together or did they break up? I'm sure the author intended the reader to feel this way, but it unsettled and disappointed me. Perhaps I'm too idealistic in my romantic views of love.
Grade: C

4. Marly's Ghost by David Levithan
Another book by David Levithan, Marly's Ghost is one of his earlier works. This story is a modern retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with a Valentine's Day twist. Ben is a teenage boy whose girlfriend Marly has recently died from cancer. Stricken in his grief, he has become a scrooge on anything to do with love. With the help of ghosts from the past, present and future, Ben is reminded to live life to the fullest and with love in your heart just in time for Valentine's Day.
Grade: B

5. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

I finally read this very popular, well loved Jennifer Crusie novel and I absolutely adored it. It a funny and romantic love story that will have you sighing on one page, laughing on the next and thinking "uh oh" on the next. Really a fun read. You can read my review and a book club discussion HERE.
Grade: A

6. Amulet
Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
I'm admittedly brand new to the genre of graphic novels, but I have to say this book packs both fantasy adventure and coming of age into one dramatic story. After a family tragedy, Emily and Navin move with their mother to a distant uncle's old house in the country. Emily discovers an elaborate study and in it, a curious and subsequently powerful amulet. Emily and Navin soon also discover a dark, fantastical world hidden beneath the cellar where a tentacled creature has kidnapped their mother. Emily and Navin embark on a dangerous search for their mother, finding both friends and foes along the way.

My middle schooler is reading this series with me. She's on book two already, finished book three while I typed this! I'm anxious to start book two this week.
Grade: B+

7. The Good Neighbors
Book One: Kin by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
This graphic novel is a young adult urban fantasy story of the dark world of the faerie. Teenager Rue Silver's mother has gone missing and her father is under suspicion for her murder. To make things more confusing for Rue, she starts to see strange things that no one else is noticing. Faerie things. As she learns the truth about her heritage, Rue becomes entangled in the faerie world.

Although this kind of urban fantasy faerie mythology and story premise isn't exactly fresh, the novel is still a great introduction to the Good Neighbors series. Readers who enjoy dark faerie worlds and teenage angst will certainly enjoy this story. It ends on a cliffhanger, so be prepared with the second and third books at the ready.
Grade: B

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Graphic Novel adaptation by Amy Corzine
I'm so glad I discovered this graphic novel on the library shelves. This is a graphic novel of the classic Jane Eyre novel by Charlotte Bronte in Original Text. While I know it is not the same experience as reading the original classic novel, at least now I finally know the story and am familiar with the characters. The book includes a character glossary and a lot of information about Charlotte Bronte herself. This graphic novel is a great way to introduce reluctant readers to a classic novel of British literature.

As for the story itself, I never realized how depressing the story of Jane Eyre really is. What a life this poor girl had, but what determination to make the most of her life and not compromise her instincts. You can't help by admire her tenacity to survive and her determination to preserve her individuality and sense of worth.
Grade: B

9. Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber
A Lucy Valentine Book, Book 2

The Valentine Family runs a successful match making business that uses the psychic ability to see the colors of people's auras to make compatible matches. A childhood accident zapped Lucy Valentine of those abilities, but left her with the unusual gift of being able to determine the location of lost objects. In this story, Lucy is using this gift and working with her new boyfriend, private investigator Sean Donahue to help solve two different missing persons cases. Add a slew of complications and dramas such as the unwelcome arrival of Sean's ex, pre wedding troubles for Lucy's best friend and much more, and you've got a really fun and crazy story that is sure to surprise you with it's warmth and character depth.

I'm not even sure what genre this book is. It's part psychic mystery, part romance, part chick lit... but you know? It doesn't even matter. The important thing is that it's such a great read. The books in the series are fun and light hearted, but just when you think it's fun, romance and adventure, it packs some unexpected depth and emotional punch. Deeply, Desperately is even better than the first book in the series, Truly, Madly, both really delightful reads. I'm looking forward to reading Absolutely, Positively that just came out last month.
Grade: A

Questions? Comments? ;) 

What was a favorite book you read last month?


  1. You did have quite an eclectic mix last month! I need to start the Lucy Valentine series. I have the first one on my Nook and I have read such good reviews about them....

  2. My favorite last month was Water For Elephants. I'm going to check out Amulet. It looks good.

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed the Enoch :)

  4. LOL, I don't know what the Webber are either. Mix of contemporary romance, mystery and just fiction :) But you're right, it doesn't matter, because the books are just too good :)

    What I liked in Deeply, desperately was the friendship :)

    Marly's Ghost sounds quite interesting :) So sad that a teenage boy loses his girlfriend to cancer :(

    Oh and good job on reading your first graphic novel. Next step is manga! :)

  5. My favorite read from last month was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. That book was a WOW. *g*
    I saw a Graphic Novelization of Homer's The Odyssey at B&N a couple of weeks ago. It's still on my mind and I may go back and get it.

    I hope you're having a sensational day!

  6. Awesome books! I hadn't heard about Marly's ghost but now I want to read it, and some of the others too:)

    Thanks for the run down!

  7. I like your recaps! You did well. 9 is a good number. My favorite this past month was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, just finished it actually. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

    Hugs to yoU!

  8. I actually liked the Truly, Madly a lot, but of course I haven't read the second (Deeply, Desperately). Thanks for the encouraging recap. I think now I know how I can relax today reading this.

  9. Great reading month Christine! You have a wonderful mixed bag of books there. :) I'm so glad you loved Bet Me and are enjoying the Lucy Valentine series by Webber too.

    Jane Eyre as a graphic novel took me a bit by surprise. O_o... Jane did come a long way. :)

  10. What an eclectic mix - I love it!

    Favourite book last month? (Confession: I had to go and check :) Bound By Your Touch (Meredith Duran). It just...worked beautifully!

  11. I'm super excited to hear that you enjoyed Deeply, Desperately so much as I read the first book last year and really enjoyed it. I think I'll have to request this one from the library. And it sounds like you had a great month of reading!

  12. Wow, you got a lot of reading in in February! Good job. I need to pick up Jane Eyre and get it read since I'm doing the Goodreads challenge of reading the book and then watching the movie!

    I hope you can get a lot of reading in again this month. :-D

  13. 9 books! That's awesome, Christine! I need to look up that Jane Eyre graphic novel. (I haven't read it either - doh!)


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