So many books, so little time

I have been reading a lot lately since I don’t have a new book in the hopper and here are my favorites from the first half of this year.

Thanks to the generosity of the publishers, I read these first three in advanced readers copies:

Recommended books

Circling the Sun (adult), Paula McLain, Ballantine Books, July 28, 2015: an engrossing novel about Beryl Markham, aviator and lover of Denys Finch Hatton, who was the lover of Karen Blixen, who was Isak Dinesen. Fascinating.

The Hired Girl, Laura Amy Schlitz (MG), Candlewick,September 8, 2015: diary of a girl in 1911 who runs away to find a new, better life for herself. I got swept up in Joan’s search for adventure, meaning, and a promising future and finished the book in a day.

These Shallow Graves (YA), Jennifer Donnelly, Random House, October 27, 2015: mystery set in 19th century New York about love, lies, and dark secrets. How much is Jo Montfort willing to risk to find answers?

A Prince to Be Feared by Mary Lancaster, Amazon Digital, has been out since 2013 and how did I miss it until now? Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia, the Lord Impaler, as a romantic hero? Yes! A Dracula story with plenty of love, war, revenge, and intrigue but no vampires? Yes! I climbed into the book and stayed there, alternately touched and frightened and angry, for days. I recommend it.

Books set in California

Question: You grew up in California and two of your books are set there, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple and The Loud Silence of Francine Green. Do you have favorite books written about the state?

A Room Made of Windows, Eleanor Cameron—part of a series about Julia Redfern who lives in Berkeley in the 1920s.

We Were Here, Matt de la Pena—YA that “follows a journey of self-discovery by a boy who is trying to forgive himself in an unforgiving world.”

The Al Capone books by Gennifer Choldenko

Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell


Is this historical fiction?

The Meaning of MaggieIs a novel set in 1988 a historical novel? I’m sure every ten-year-old would say yes although I think of 1988 as just yesterday. Megan Jean Sovern’sThe Meaning of Maggie is set in 1988. I didn’t even think of it as historical until days later. I just thought it a terrific book, charming and touching. Smart, funny, stubborn Maggie deals with her father’s incurable illness as well as all the other vicissitudes of being eleven. The characters are appealing, the situations believable, and the ending realistic but filled with hope. I recommend it to you and all the eleven-year-olds in your life.

An Amazing Journey

Vashon BookshopCatherine, Called Birdy  is one of my favorite books to recommend. I know the reader will have an amazing journey through history with a strong, tenacious, witty, imaginative character. So often, once they have read Catherine, they come back for more of Karen’s books.

Congratulation, Karen your books are so essential for our Kids.

Thank you,
Nancy Katica
Vashon Bookshop