Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oh my gosh - it has been over a month since I blogged. Guess I shouldn't be surprised as June was filled with the preparation for the COLRS Workshop for the scholarship students. We had so much fun and meeting them was such a joy. We had two great author presentations. Jacqueline Ogburn spoke about The Bakeshop Ghost The very cool part was she went to California to watch the filming of an independent film version. We were all sorry we can't buy it on DVD. Seeing how they made the huge cake with cardboard boxes covered with frosting and that the bakery hired to create the real cakes used in the film is "haunted" by the prior owner and the baker talks to her was way cool! We also enjoyed listening to Shana Norris talk about how the library and books impacted her desire to be a writer. She also shared the number of refusals she received in the beginning. But, now she is on a roll with her second book, Troy High out in August and of course, the warring football teams are the Trojans and the Spartans. I made the mistake of setting my copy of the ARC down at the Workshop and it disappeared. Will have to ask for another one from Abrams. I finished listening to three audiobooks since I last blogged. My favorite one of the three is The Splendor of Silence by Indu Sundarsan I love to listen to books set in foreign countries as I then know how to pronounce names as well as feel like I am there as the narrator typically has the accent of the country. Mathan certainly does - so beautifully melodious. This love story is set in India during WWII. Sam, a young Army captain on the surface, but in reality a OSS spy, meets Mila when he stays in her home as a guest of her father, supposedly recuperating from his shoulder injury. But he is trying to find his brother who has disappeared from his unit. The two fall in love in a time when there are few bi-racial couples. Mila is betrothed to a rich raj and when Sam leaves, she marries the prince, knowing she is carrying Sam's child. After Sam's death, a trunk arrives from India for his daughter, filled with her mother's saris as well as a long missive from the man who loved her mother as much as her father had, but sent her to Sam's family to raise. Through letters from the prince, she learns of her mother and father's love for each other, the political situation in his small kingdom of Rudrakot. An omniscient narrative style, changing from character to character, as well as to incidents before Sam and Mila met, adds depth, and sometimes a bit of confusion. However, it is a beautifully written novel that I would recommend to older teens who enjoy either historical fiction and/or a touching love story. Not at all "mushy" so male teens may also enjoy this novel. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier pulls the reader into early 20th Century London where two young girls become friends, and sometimes enemies, because their family's grave sites are next to each other. Although they are separated by social class, with Maude really caring nothing about their wealth or social standing and Lavinia acting like she is from a family of higher social status than hers actually is, they love to play together in the cemetery. The grave digger's son, Simon, is a fascinating character to both girls and his life becomes intertwined with theirs, in part because the maid and cook in Maude's home feel sorry for him and feed him when he sneaks in by the back door, but also because his mother is the one who both delivers babies and terminates pregnancies. Maude's mother is not aware it is Simon's mother who terminates her pregnancy after a dalliance with the cemetery caretaker. Shortly after she recovers from the abortion, Kitty - Maude's mother, becomes a suffragette. It is at one of their rallies that Lavinia's younger sister disappears and Simon knows who is to blame. Lots of subplots to keep any reader involved. Chevalier is a superb historical novelist. Older teenage girls may enjoy this. I also listened to The Lady and Unicorn awhile back, which I also enjoyed. I would not have chosen Jane Hamilton's When Madeline Was Young I were to read it as I was not terribly intrigued by the book summary, but it was too inexpensive at Half Price books not to buy it! I am very glad I did as it caused me to pause and think how I would react to a man asking me to marry him and having to take care of his brain damaged wife who has the mental capabilities of a 6 or 7 year old. I suspect I am not a good enough person to have taken on this role, but Julia is. The family saga is told from the perspective of Mac, Julia and Aaron's son, who "grew up" with Madeline without realizing who she was until he was almost a teenager. Perhaps he had avoided knowing, but it certainly raised questions in his mind as to how different his family is from the normal conservative 1950's family. The narrative spans decades, with Mac resisting his wife's insistence they attend his cousin Buddy's son's funeral. Buddy had tormented Mac at the family lake house in Wisconsin when they were kids and though now a surgeon, Mac knows how Buddy will react to him. Hamilton pulls no punches and sometimes I found myself cringing as I read the personal feelings and experiences of this family, but it a novel I would recommend to anyone who needs to address the needs of a brain damaged adult. I also read what I would refer to as very hot on the spicy scale! Do not give this to a teenager as the sex scenes are not raunchy, but they certainly are close to erotic in nature. I love Christine Feehan's books and Burning Wild no exception. Like the bodice rippers I've been known to consume like a candy bar, I would take the cover off of this one before I read it in public. Steve noticed the studly man with rock hard abs covered in leopard print and I just smiled and said it was about a group of leopard people! It really is, but more of a romance than a study in how a human can become a leopard. Of course, the male falls in love with the woman who is caring for his son and .... well, you know how the story goes. I am addicted to her series. I did not realize there was a Leopard Series, with this being the second title, but I will find a copy of Wild Rain now that I've read the second one. My favorite series of Feehan's is The Drake Sister Series - 7 sisters who each have their own unique power, and of course fall in love with men after a love/hate relationship. I always say my inner child/teen is alive and well due to the amount of youth literature I read, but I admit when I step out of the youth literature arena, I need to just ready some "beach reads" for awhile. All of the above are going to Half Price today so I can see what other Feehan titles I can find. No point in trying to read any children's or YA while recuperating from knee surgery as I won't remember what I read anyway. I need to call the doc to reschedule on Monday - thought it was going to be Weds. but has to be postponed for 2 weeks as I have to be off the fibro fog meds. for 2 weeks before they'll put me under. Guess it can mess with heart rate. Not something I want to deal with! That's it for today. Need to get back to grading. I am teaching 3 classes this summer and it is about killing me.