Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mrs. B's 2009 Book Reviews -- 3 Stars (Part Two)

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (CD). Weir, like Erikson (whom I mentioned in my two star rating series) typically writes non-fiction about historical figures. Like Gregory (also mentioned in my two star series), her figures of choice seem to (usually) be one of the Tudors. In this book, she tries her hand at historical fiction with her subject being Elizabeth I. Although there were some liberties taken in the tale, I truly enjoyed this one (which ended right as Elizabeth takes the throne) and hope she continues the story in another novel. I suggest this book as a starter novel for anyone curious about Elizabeth I.
Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I'm not going to say too much about this book because it is the 4th in a (new) series by Cornwell (The Saxon Series) that I discovered early in '09 by checking out the first book on CD at the local library; I can't write about the fourth before I even mention the first (which is leading me to think that perhaps I've gone about these review in the wrong way). Anyway, I got so into the series that I listened to or read all four of them within the 1st six months of the year! Briefly, it takes place during the age of King Alfred during the time of the Saxons and the Danes back before England was one solid country. I absolutely love the main character, Lord Uhtred (Saxon by birth, Dane by nature; he's just so utterly COOL). So, I obviously like the tale (it is a continuing one); I just didn't like the this one as much as the 1st three but I am still eagerly awaiting number five! BTW, even Mr. B got into this series! As an aside, Cornwell is probably best known for his "Sharpe" series (made into a long-running TV show on PPS).
The Host by Stephenie Meyer (CD). I picked this up on a whim to listen to as I generally enjoyed Meyer's Twilight series. The Host was her first novel "for adults" and, I must admit, I thought it was better suited for yours truly's tastes (I guess I am an adult, not a teen-aged girl!) The story takes place some time in the not too distant future; aliens have infiltrated humans, literally. Through a medical procedure, these aliens, which resemble silvery centipedes, are placed within a human host. Once this occurs, the human's essence generally fades away but sometimes the human fights back. Such is the case for Wanderer, who gets placed inside a very strong woman named Melanie. Not only does Melanie refuse to leave, she starts socking Wanderer with her memories of her loved ones; her younger brother, Jamie, and her lover, Jared. It sounds kind of silly, but, it is quite interesting how the relationship between Wanderer/Melanie develops, as well as Wanderer's relationships with Melanie's family and friends (who know what has happened to Melanie). My only beef with the book was it was too long but, Meyer probably got into that habit while writing the over 500 pages each books of the Twilight series!
Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do by Wednesday Martin.
I initially found this very interesting, informative and helpful. Until I got to the chapters where the author starts delving into bee eating birds and Mormons in some attempt to explain why women who are not mothers don't have the same feelings for a child as the child's mother does. Which, I think, most of us have already figured out! I ended up skipping two chapters (as I don't really care about birds or Mormons or how stepmothers in Burma cope; not relevant). The last two chapters were pretty good; especially the one about stepmothers with adult stepchildren (I think MY stepmother and my mom might find this chapter interesting). Anyway, as a stepmother who is sometimes pretty irritated with my stepdaughter and occasionally with her father (and almost constantly with her mother), this book was a bright spot. I'm not evil. I am normal. I also thank God my stepdaughter is no where near as awful as some of the rotten kids discussed in this book! I think this is a "must read" for any stepmother. You just may have to skip around it a bit.

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