I have already begun telling you about the books I’ve been reading this year (you can go back to see the first five I recalled here). Now I will tell you about books 6-10 that I read between March and May of 2015.
*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *
6. * Scintillate by Karen Tjebben – This book was written by a fellow writer who also lives here in North Carolina with me, one of Mom’s high school friends who is a mother of twin girls. This is a paranormal romance about a girl named Kate who quickly falls in love with the charming new student Nick. However, she quickly begins to wonder what it is about Nick that pulls her to him and what is about her that is changing through their relationship. The writing style is excellent and is set right here in North Carolina! One of my favorite characters was Reese, Kate’s older brother, who looked after his sister even when she didn’t ask/want him to.
7. * A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine – I first read this a couple years ago when it was first published, but after getting it as a Christmas present from my parents, decided to re-read it (I rarely re-read books, so that just goes to show how good this book is!). This fantasy-mystery was just as good, if not better, the second time! Gail Carson Levine is one of my favorite authors ever and this book is one of my favorites of hers (my top favorites are Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre, both of which I highly recommend!). This book has a small mystery woven throughout with several characters as suspects, any of which could easily have done the wrong deed, but I was completely surprised who the real culprit was (he/she was none of the suspects above mentioned) when I first read this! The reveal blew me away, to the point that I remembered who had done it years later when I came back to read this again. I often forget who the actual culprit was if I go back to a mystery even just one or two years later. That’s how good this book is!
8. * Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson – This is another Dear America (you will see me mention many of these…they consist of half of what I read). I have read many books in this series and this one is definitely in my top 5 favorites! It centers around family living in Washington state during World War II. The father of the main girl (Piper) is a Baptist pastor to the Japanese immigrants in their community. After Pearl Harbor, though, the Japanese are taken to a different state (I forget which one, but it’s close by…I think it was Idaho?) where they are forced to live in a type of concentration camp where they are watched by the Americans. Torn between staying home or following his Japanese congregation, Piper’s father decides to do the latter, much to Piper’s dismay. Leaving her friends at school and her older sister at home, Piper follows alone with her father to live in a neighborhood outside the concentration camp (you’re probably wondering this and no, these camps were not nearly as horrible as the ones in Germany and they didn’t kill anyone. It’s basically similar to a prison where they all live in one building, eat not-so-great food and can’t leave until the war is over). At first I didn’t think the west coast was greatly affected by the war, forgetting they are the closest to the Pacific Ocean, which is the only thing separating them from Japan close by. Just because they were far from Germany, doesn’t mean they were far from the potential danger, I realized. Learning what it was like for the Japanese, many of whom felt betrayed since, though their parents and/or grandparents had been born in Japan, they themselves had been born in America and felt they were American citizens just like any other American, was fascinating and eye-opening. It was sad to learn of the Japanese teenage boys going off to fight, hoping this would show their fellow Americans that they were on their side, sad that many were not recognized, sad that they had to go far away to show that they supported America, too. Watching Piper grow and mature throughout the war was wonderful to see as well, as she learned what really matters in life.
9. The Lilac Tunnel by Erin Falligant – This is a “pick-your-own-ending” kind of book where you flip back and forth through the book as you decide what you want your character to do/say. I used to love these when I was younger and when I saw a new one was written for my favorite American Girl character, Samantha Parkington from 1904, I decided to read it for old times’ sake. Unfortunately, reading something like Samantha is not the same thing as reading Samantha herself (her stories were written by a different author, Valerie Tripp). It was a fun little book, but not half as good as the real Samantha stories.
10. Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson – I don’t know if this counts, it’s technically a picture book with chapters, but my goal is so high, I have to count almost anything I read. It was a fun book, though, with beautiful illustrations, about a girl helping her father complete illustrating a book before the deadline (this took place back when books were handwritten and they painted pictures in the margins).
Well, that’s all for now! I will hopefully get around to 11-15 soon!
*Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them