Welcome to September Book Banter! This is a monthly post where I share the books I have been reading over the last month and ask you to weigh in on them and share what you have been reading! I have linked each book through my Amazon affiliate links. If you click through this blog post and buy something I have linked, I will receive a small commission. So thanks in advance for clicking through!
The first month of school is over. Fall is in full swing. This month I finished up my summer reading and started gravitating towards my go to fall reading picks: dark and twisty mysteries and my comfort food books, or books that make me feel at home.
Here is what I read:
I picked this book up on kindle to add a classic to my end of summer reading. I had heard that this was a romantic book and the description was “enchanting.” Four woman who do not know each other rent a home in Italy for the month of April to add some spice to their lives. Italian April? Yes please. This book was very, very slow. Since it was short I stuck with it. At first you find yourself reading why the women wanted to escape their lives with a holiday over and over again. You also get to read about what they think of each other. As the month goes on the holiday isn’t “curing” them of their woes. The women end up having some visitors join them in their Italian getaway and that is when the story picks up and then abruptly ends. I was a little disappointed in this story, but can imagine the characters would be more vivid on screen and think a modern retelling of this would be intriguing. The book was not the summer ending story I was hoping for.
One of my very best friends loaned me this book by the author of Anne of Green Gables. While the main character, Valancy, is no Anne Shirley, her name alone makes her pretty rad. Valancy is an unmarried 28 year old “old maid” who lives with her mother and aunt. She is part of a prominent family in the town she lives in. She always does what her family tells her to and never has any fun. One day she finds out something that changes her mind about how she wants to live her life. Her adventures after flying the family coop are funny and endearing. She strikes up interesting relationships with some of the biggest outcasts in town and goes to a “wild” party and encounters things that make her blush. While the “twists” in the plot were very predictable I really enjoyed this book. L.M. Montgomery can write characters like nobody’s business and there were some good ones in this book. If you like Anne and Emily of New Moon you really should read this.
Ever since I read, What Alice Forgot by the same author (whose name I recently learned to pronounce as lee-on not lee-ann) I have made sure to read all her new books as they come out. This is her latest and I checked it out from the library. It is about three families and how a spur of the moment get together gone wrong has them questioning marriages, friendships and parenting. Moriarty is the queen of compelling, mysterious plots and this book definitely has the same element of intrigue as her other novels. However, this one was a little slow for me. Moriarty was dangling a plot carrot for what seemed like a veeeerrryy long time and because of it, I could not identify with the characters. Once I knew why the characters were acting the way they were I began to really enjoy Moriarty’s use of human psychology and the characters began to get more interesting. I actually think I would appreciate this book more if I read it for a second time. But, the carrot dangling left me feeling hungry and I do not know if I’d pick it up again.
I must confess, this is my first book by DiCamillo. I own Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux but have not read them yet. The reason I picked this one up is to do a little field trip research. I really want to take my students to a play this year. The one I really wanted to see was Robin Hood, but I am worried it might be a little too much for my younger students. This story is making its stage debut and there is going to be a show in Portland this winter. I needed to read this before I pitched it to the school director so I bought the paperback and got to reading. This is the story of an ordinary comic book loving girl named Flora who rescues a squirrel from a vacuum. The incident with the vacuum gives the squirrel “super powers” but Flora’s mom quickly becomes the squirrel’s nemesis and Flora has to try to save him. This book was a delightful read, and combines a regular chapter book with graphic novel. I was describing it to a few students the other day and they were laughing just listening to the description. I think a fun, light story like this one might be just the right play to introduce my students to the stage with. Plus I want to see how it translates! The tickets are a little more expensive than I want them to be, but hopefully we can go see it.
Well folks, I intended to start my 7th or 8th reread of this series way earlier in the year but just didn’t get around to it until now. I listened to this book on audible because… Jim Dale, enough said. But also because I fell in love with Harry Potter on road trips with my family. These books are my childhood. And lets be honest, my adulthood too. Anthony and I read them aloud to each other while we were dating, (he hadn’t read them, and I could NOT date someone who had *gasp* only seen the movies) we re-watch all of the movies every December and we went to Harry Potter World in Universal Florida for part of our honeymoon. We even had a Harry Potter cake topper at our wedding and our sisters walked down the aisle to HP music. My ringtone is Harry Potter. One of my most beloved teaching memories is when I forgot to silence my phone, it rang during class and a wee kindergarten student said, “Wow, you know Harry Potter!” Why yes, yes I do. He lives in my soul. I mean, my top choice for “3 fictional characters that describe you” is Hermione Granger (the other two are Belle from Beauty and the Beast and probably Cookie Monster, but that one is up for debate). So it is safe to say this was my favorite read of the month. I cried more than I care to admit, at parts that have never made me cry before. If you haven’t read this, please do. Now. Like seriously, stop reading this and go!
This is the fifth book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series and my second favorite of the five (my favorite is #2 The Likeness) I have been trying to savor these books since I first started reading them 2 years ago, but I am now caught up and eagerly awaiting the next book (which comes out October 4th, 2016 and is called The Trespasser). Each book follows a secondary character, or two, from a previous book as they try to solve a murder as part of the Dublin Murder Squad. These books are suspenseful and creative. I think they’d make an excellent Netflix series. This book was set in an all girls boarding school. There is something so intriguing and a little creepy about boarding school so I was hooked right away. The case in question had almost gone cold until one of the boarders (a young girl from a previous book) brings a note-card with information about the death of a boy from a neighboring boarding school to an officer she knows. The rest of the book takes place flashing back to the events leading up to the murder and the present day investigation after the note-card is discovered. French does such a good job of keeping you guessing and really gets at the heart of her characters. I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to read this one. It is a perfect fall read to keep you on the edge of your seat. I think my next French book will be on audible, because I have heard the Irish accents make the stories even better and I believe it. Disclaimer: these books can be graphic and contain a lot of bad language so sensitive readers beware.
My fall reading is off to a good start and the reads just keep piling up (I am still boycotting my local library but have found one a little out of the way that does not charge for parking so my “holds” list keeps growing). What have you been reading to kick off fall? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,
I love you more than plot twists and the golden snitch,