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Archive for June, 2007

When I was a little girl I wanted to run away to a museum just like they do in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil. E. Frankweiler.  I never would have thought of doing that if I had not read that book.  Her books always have the ability to make me look at the world in a different light and this one is no different.  Amedeo Kaplan has just moved with his mom to a very rural world after growing up in New York City.  His one aspiration in life is to discover something that has not been known before or to find something that has been lost for a long time.  It seems like he will have his opportunity and also make a friend when he starts helping a boy and his mom with a house sale at his zany next door neighbor’s house.  This is a treasure trove of interesting ideas, information, and people.  I am always impressed with the way Konigsburg never talks down to the audience she is writing to as some authors tend to do.  This is definitely one I can see myself recommending over and over and over and over again to people. 

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From the author of Chocolat, Joanne Harris turns out another great novel set in the French countryside.  This is the story of a family during WWII told through the eyes of Framboise, the youngest daughter.  It is just as good as Chocolat, and I loved it.  It is much darker than her other works, but beautifully written.  She has a unique talent for capturing a time period and the people in it.  This story is written in  present day, but flashes back to WWII to tell us about a dark secret that only Framboise knows the whole story of.  Intertwined in the story is the story of food and the journal/recipe book Framboise’s mother left her.  It is through this book that she is able to piece together her mother’s side of the story and confront her past once and for all. 

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I have not read any of her FBI Thrillers, but liked this book.  It is your typical mystery book.  Someone is trying to kill someone else, the FBI has to figure out who, etc, etc.  Throw in a little romance and you have Double Take.  I enjoyed it though and will definitely pick up antoher one.

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Another vampire novel, the sequel to Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Midnight Brunch is the chick lit of vampire novels.  In these books, being a vampire is a genetic disease passed down through generations.  Somehow, Milagro de los Santos (Spanish for Miracle of the Saints) contracts this disease in the first novel, but recovers and is currently living happily with a family of vampires and the love of her life.  Now she is once more embroiled in a plot, this time to steal her precious blood.  And she has to meet her vampire lovers parents.  Yikes!  It is very funny and has a latino feel to it and manages to combine the macabre with the sexy.  A delightful beach read (not that I read it at the beach that is).

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This may be one of the funniest vampire novels I have ever read.  It is more dry humor than funny ha-ha though.  It is the story of Phil Merman, who became a vampire, but more than anything wishes he had been left alone to live out his mortal life.  Yes he is gorgeous, but he has to kill people to stay alive and he doesn’t really have much money.  He has never met another of his type, and so when he meets Eddie he is intrigued.  He starts meeting other vampires and realizes that he doesn’t really care for any of them.  Then there is Shelley, a leech of epic proportions.  Always showing up where he isn’t wanted, he thinks he is Phil’s best friend, but Phil can’t stand him.  So what’s a poor guy to do? Well Phil gets into several unbeliveable situations and in the end he gets what he really wants most in life (kind of)…and isn’t that all anyone can ask for?

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Nobody’s Princess is the story of Helen of Troy before she was Helen of Troy.  The story starts when she is just a young Helen of Sparta and lasts until she is in her early teens.  There is going to be at least one sequel (possible more) so that story will be stretched out a bit.  I have been hearing great things about this book and was not disappointed.  Always a fan of Greek mythology the author has taken the character of Helen to intorduce diffferent stories from Greek literature as encountered through her life.  There is always a dose of scepticism from Helen, not on whether the Gods are real, but whether some of their offspring and famous works are.  You hear about Atalanta, the Oracle of Delphi, Jason and the Golden Fleece, Herackles, and others.  It also shows what Helen might have been like before she was the most beutiful woman in the world.  I don’t know if I agree with the way the author protrays Helen, but I like the story that is told.  I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Wuthering High

Sarah recommended this to me and I have to say it was pretty funny.  All gothic drama and romance combined with figures from classic literature.  It reminded me of Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.  It appears that it is going to be a series so the humor/horror will continue. 

Wuthering High is the story of a teenager who doesn’t really do anything too terribly wrong, but gets sent away to boarding school nevertheless.  Things are not as they seem there and weird events from classic literature seem to be coming true.  Turns out that great writers that die before their time are sent there to be teachers until they have fulfilled their obligations.  The students are quirky and there is plenty of hysteria to make it a humorous book.  I don’t know about the YA appeal unless they have read some of the books that come alive in the story, but they might enjoy it anyway.

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