Hello, fellow readers! How’s your week going? I thought I’d do a quick post to talk about the books I’m reading this week. Luckily, I was approved for one highly anticipated read from NetGalley, and there’s a stack of other physical books to read as well—some that I’m reading with my kids. Last week I sort of strayed from my plan and ended up reading a few recommendations. One of them was deeply disturbing (Tampa by Alissa Nutting), so I’ll be posting that review later this week, but I won’t be talking about that book today. Here’s what we have going on this week:
A Summer to Remember by Erika Mongomery
I just finished this a few days ago. This was a giveaway win, and it turned out to be a pretty good story. It transported me to summer! This would make a great beach read. My review will be posted later this week…
For thirty-year-old Frankie Simon, selling movie memorabilia in the shop she opened with her late mother on Hollywood Boulevard is more than just her livelihood–it’s an enduring connection to the only family she has ever known. But when a mysterious package arrives containing a photograph of her mother and famous movie stars Glory Cartwright and her husband at a coastal film festival the year before Frankie’s birth, her life begins to unravel in ways unimaginable.
What begins is a journey along a path revealing buried family secrets, betrayals between lovers, bonds between friends. And for Frankie, as the past unlocks the present, the chance to learn that memories define who we are, and that they can show us the meaning of home and the magic of true love.
Experience the salty breeze of a Cape Cod summer as it sweeps through this sparkling, romantic, and timeless debut novel tinged with a love of old Hollywood.
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Finally, we’ve started reading The Last Unicorn, which has been on my list forever. Somehow this was added to my retelling challenge even though it isn’t a retelling. Not to be negative, but I’m just not enjoying this, which is nonsense considering the majority of friends on Goodreads have rated it five stars. It’s possible I’ll end up in the minority, but we’re only on chapter three so far. It seems like the kids are enjoying it more than me because It’s fairly close to the animated film.
The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician—whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended—when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.
This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. —Nona Vero
Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent
The very first time I saw this book was on Lisa’s blog @waytoofantasy.com. Definitely head over there if you haven’t because she always shares awesome reviews and interesting books that increase my TBR. I requested an ARC for this book and got approved this week! I’m so excited to read this one. What’s nice is I’ll be able to add this to my retelling reading challenge too because it’s a Little Red Riding Hood retelling.
This high stakes, pacey reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Megan Spooner.
For as long as sixteen-year-old Adele can remember the village of Oakvale has been surrounding by the dark woods—a forest filled with terrible monsters that light cannot penetrate. Like every person who grows up in Oakvale she has been told to steer clear of the woods unless absolutely necessary.
But unlike her neighbors in Oakvale, Adele has a very good reason for going into the woods. Adele is one of a long line of guardians, women who are able to change into wolves and who are tasked with the job of protecting their village while never letting any of the villagers know of their existence.
But when following her calling means abandoning the person she loves, the future she imagined for herself, and her values she must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her neighbors safe.
Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood
by Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen has been a favorite author for many years now. My oldest son began reading his chapter books in elementary school. This new book is basically the story of Gary Paulsen’s childhood. It’s listed as middle grade–upper middle grade to be exact–so I decided to read it first (before my kids) just to see what it’s all about. So far it’s a little sad because it appears his mother doesn’t have time for him, so he’s sent off to live with some family members. I can tell this book is going to be an adventure though.
A middle grade memoir, giving readers a new perspective on the origins of Gary Paulsen’s famed survival stories.
His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival stories. Now, author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.
Native American Animal Stories by Joseph Bruchac
This is my youngest daughter’s favorite book right now. She loves Native American stories, and these tales include animals which makes her love them even more. Most of the tales aren’t too long. They’re perfect for read alouds. We’ve read about half the book leaving us with a heaping handful of favorites. This will likely get a five-star rating from me.
The Papago Indians of the American Southwest say butterflies were created to gladden the hearts of children and chase away thoughts of aging and death. How the Butterflies Came to Be is one of twenty-four Native American tales included in Native American Animal Stories. The stories, coming from Mohawk, Hopi, Yaqui, Haida and other cultures, demonstrate the power of animals in Native American traditions.
Parents, teachers and children will delight in lovingly told stories about “our relations, the animals.” The stories come to life through magical illustrations by Mohawk artists John Kahionhes Fadden and David Fadden.
“The stories in this book present some of the basic perspectives that Native North American parents, aunts and uncles use to teach the young. They are phrased in terms that modern youngsters can understand and appreciate … They enable us to understand that while birds and animals appear to be similar in thought processes to humans, that is simply the way we represent them in our stories. But other creatures do have thought processes, emotions, personal relationships…We must carefully accord these other creatures the respect that they deserve and the right to live without unnecessary harm. Wanton killings of different animals by some hunters and sportsmen are completely outside the traditional way that native people have treated other species, and if these stories can help develop in young people a strong sense of the wonder of other forms of life, this sharing of Native North American knowledge will certainly have been worth the effort.” —excerpt from the forward by Vine Deloria, Jr.
Sydney and Taylor Explore the World by Jacqueline Davies, Deborah Hocking (Illustrations)
We have a wonderful librarian who always keeps our kids in mind. She orders books that she thinks my kids will like, and to top it off, she puts bags of books together for us and surprises us with titles like this one! This is a simple chapter book with beautiful illustrations. We just started it today, and my daughter is really enjoying it. It’s all about two characters, Sydney the skunk and Taylor the hedgehog. In this book they take off on an adventure to explore the whole wide world. There’s a second book, and we requested the third on NetGalley as well.
Best-selling author Jacqueline Davies tells the story of two unlikely friends: Sydney and Taylor, a skunk and a hedgehog who strike out to discover the great unknown, despite how afraid they are of it. Charming full-color illustrations and a laugh-out-loud story make this chapter book perfect for fans of the Mercy Watson and Owl Diaries series.
Sydney is a skunk and Taylor is a hedgehog, but no matter how odd the pairing may seem, their friendship comes naturally. They live happily in their cozy burrow . . . until the day Taylor gets his Big Idea to go see the Whole Wide World. From mountains taller than a hundred hedgehogs, valleys wider than a thousand skunks, to the dangers that lie in the human world, Sydney and Taylor wanted to see it all. With a map and a dream, they bravely set off, soon discovering that the world is much bigger than they realized . . .
That’s about it for this week! I’ll try to do a separate post on the other children’s books we’ve been reading lately for those who have an interest in children’s literature. What are you guys reading this week? If you’d like to chat or have any recommendations, please feel free to comment below. Hope you’re all having a wonderful week!