Friday, July 1, 2022

What I Read (June 2022)

I read a lot this month! Every evening I would climb into bed and read until I was too tired. It was great, refreshing and wonderful (and yes I stayed up too late...) I also read in the afternoons some, but my kids would bother me often. Enjoy these spoiler free reviews!

Tree by Leaf (6/10 stars)

This was as book I picked up in our local book shop just by reading the blurb on the back and looking at the amazing cover art. It is an historical fiction, written after the First World War, and follows Clothide's coming of age. The writing style is amazing and the narration is fluid. What did I like? The setting, the nature scenes and the real issues that pre-world-war-two peoples might have dealt with. I liked the story, it is well done and kept me turning pages as fast as I could! I enjoyed the nuances; the fact that people were not always as Clothide thought they were. She grew, she learned. 

What did I not like? The voice, for one. I won't give spoilers, but it ruined a perfectly good novel for me. It was wholly unnecessary! The mother. I couldn't get a firm understanding or grasp on Clothide's mother. Perhaps I wasn't meant too, but her mother didn't behave rationally and it bothered me. She was one way in one situation and a few moments later, another way! I felt the continuity of her character was maligned. 

But it was a good book. I want to check out more by this author.

The Way of Kings (8/10 stars)

Yes, I finally read it. I honestly don't know what to think. Sometimes I love the book, other times I am annoyed at how many characters and how much depth there is to this novel. SO MUCH DEPTH. This book, rather than "events" is more characterized by people. Take Shallan, for example.  I think about Shallan a lot, especially with how this first novel ended! AlsoI don't like her. Maybe I will later, but she just seems part manipulative and part snooty, part naive and part helpless and ALL annoying. If I have to hear her internal dialogue one more time about why she will/or won't steal a certain fabrial I will roll my eyes. Shallan, you are unimaginative and dull, but I'll keep reading. I like Jasnah better...

On to Kaladin. The classic wounded boy. I rooted for him (because who can't root for an underdog!) and I hope more of his story is revealed, and the mysteries about who he is and what he can do is answered. I want to know!! I like him, and I like how he helps others. I like how he cares. But he wasn't my favorite character, even though I did like him a lot more than Shallown. 

My favorite character is Dalinar. He's strong, but also sensitive (and what is up with Shshsh??!) he has amazing sons, is clever and most of all, he's moral. I like a good moral backbone in a character and Dalinar doesn't disappoint. Also I am 35 so I relate more to an over-the-hill man than teenage Shallan and her angsty inner sqabbles over theft and falsehoods, or Kaladin's Job-like experience. (maybe Kaladin is more like Joseph than Job, but you get what I mean) 

SO. Book, good. I have already ordered the next two books from thrift books and we shall see how long it takes me to read it. By the end of Way of Kings I couldn't put it down and for 12 or so hours my family was ignored and meals were something prepackaged. Oh well. We all survived and I read the book. 

Also, what/who is Whit? I am intrigued. 

I can't wait to read more. Hope Brandon Sanderson publishes another book before I get done with all four...

The Story of Doctor Dolittle (5/10)

This is something I read to the kids, as it is on Reuben's Year 2 free read list for Ambleside Online. It was weird. And nothing like the movie I saw in the 90s? The kids seemed to like it okay, and it was MUCH BETTER than Mary Poppins. My kids have never seen the movie, so they had no idea. I love how he was an actual doctor who decided to become an animal doctor because he loved animals too much. I liked his little laminations about money. The animals themselves were annoying and too varied and the situations not realistic. Reuben says he loved it, so this is just my review...he's asleep right now. Maybe I will ask him what he really thought tomorrow and write up that. Hmmm. All I really remember is one time we were all sitting for a tea party and Becky and Reuben had a whole discussion about how the Pushme-Pullu uses the bathroom. LOL. Because he doesn't have a bottom. How does the Pushme-Pullu potty? Becky said probably out of his nose, which sounds messy and uncomfortable. 

Fortress of Ice (3/10 stars)

(Includes minor spoilers for Fortress in the Eye of Time

I have read Fortress in the Eye of Time at least three times in my life, but I have never read the sequels. Last month (May) I re-read FitEOT and the three sequels. (I give those books at least a 7/10 stars!) I love Tristan and Cefwyn. They remind me of David and Jonathan. BFFs. That whole series was spellbinding, and I had high hopes for this last installment that is set 16 years after Fortress of Dragons. It was okay...(think "meh") and I feel like it was start of a new arc, one that Cherryh subsequently abandoned for some reason. There must be more!! We never learn what happens to the shadows in the Quinaltine! We never learn what happens to the witches!! We never see the boys grow up. And Tristan, ever amazing Tristan, is flat and one dimensional in this novel. I feel like the author didn't know what to do with him, and should have left him largely out of the book! It was a good book though. Was it the end of the arc? No, it raised more questions than it answered! Why does Nervis and Cefwyn have only two children after sixteen years together?  I would think they would have more, or the book would address why they do not. Miscarriages? Something is missing from their story and it is left completely unexplained. Anyway, I finished the book slightly annoyed there were no more left to read and with a lot of questions I thought would be answered...

The Wheel on the School (9/10 stars)

Another DeJong book! I love him! Such prose, such understanding of children, such simplicity yet so much emotion. I absolutely have loved every DeJong I have read so far. This was my second but we also read Good Luck Duck this month. I just didn't include that one here because it's basically a picture book where this is a chapter book (And I read Good Luck Duck to the kids but this one I read just for myself, though I will add it to the read pile for the kiddos!) This guy is a master storyteller and his tales are timeless and vibrant. (the first book I read of his was called Along Came the Dog and I gave it 10/10 stars. EVERYONE loved it. Me, the kids, everyone. I now want a little red hen.)

What are you guys reading? Today marks the beginning of July and a new month of books. And a vacation weekend to start me off strong! Happy 4th of JULY friends!

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