**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**
We’re moving! We still have another 2 weeks, but packing is already in full force.
These guys are really going to miss each other!
This week’s Weekly Reads will be a little bit of a catch up post. I’ve been on a reading spree lately, and they’ve all been amazing!!
Luckily I still found a little time over the weekend to catch up on some reading, and finally finished a book I’m still not sure what to make of – Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt. I’m planning on posting a stand alone review on this one – there’s a lot to break down and plenty to discuss! Have you read it? What was your opinion of it?
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
My Lady Jane is the magical fairy tale ending we all wish could have been for the real Lady Jane Grey, a girl used by family and foe in a political game she couldn’t escape. In the novel, Lady Jane, best friend and play-mate to young King Edward, is set to marry Lord Gilford Dudley, the son of the King’s adviser. Under the impression her betrothed is nothing but a callous womanizer, she’ll soon find out he’s anything but, well, a steed. Yes, her husband is a horse. In this version of Grey’s life, the kingdom is not battling matters of religion, but matters of the body. The Edians (pronounced Ethians) can magically shape-shift into an animal – take King Henry VIII for instance, he can turn into a lion! Whether a curse or a gift, no one is certain, but those known as the Verites (who can’t shape-shift) are certainly not going to stand by and wait for an answer. Caught between a war of country and moral right, Lady Jane must navigate the trials of marriage and hypocrisy to save the kingdom from itself.
“He pretended to stretch his arms, in order to shift even closer to her. (this isn’t in the history books, of course, but we’d like to point out that this was the first time a young man had ever tried that particular arm-stretch move on a young woman. Edward was the inventor of the arm stretch, a tactic that teenage boys have been using for centuries).”
“Who on Earth could feel comfortable enough to sleep in a room with no books?”
A little bit of YA, a little bit of fantasy and historical fiction, and a whole lot of comedy – My Lady Jane is an amazing read! I listened to the audio version of the novel – by far, one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to yet, just perfectly performed. The middle-grade, kind of cheesy, humor sets a perfect tone for a story of young people trying to find their way in life and love. A true pleasure and so much fun to read, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud the entire way through! Lady Jane is whip-smart and a total bibliophile, but easily overcome by emotions, making her an easy target for political manipulation. Little do her enemies know she’s also incredibly brave, unafraid to face unbeknownst dangers and the most challenging of feats, i.e. being married to a horse. While Gilford is another stand-out character, my favorite by far is Edward! I love his story and character development, giving a relatably funny voice to a too-often forgotten figure of history. Romance, comedy, fantastical beings, there’s nothing you won’t love about My Lady Jane!
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s heralded The Taming of the Shrew. Kate is stuck in a rut. After being thrown out of college for disagreeing with a professor, she’s spent the last few years caring for her younger sister and crazy-scientist dad. While her sister, Bunny, is bubbly, happy-go-lucky, and an absolute charmer, Kate is rough around the edges, a little sullen, and awkward. So, when her father’s lab assistant’s visa is about to expire, it’s only natural they ask her to wed – who else is going to marry her?
“Beware against the sweet person, for sugar has no nutrition.”
Vinegar Girl was one of my most anticipated reads for the summer – and boy, did it disappoint. Boring from the start, the story was fuddled with lack-luster characters with little ambition. We’re obviously supposed to admire Kate – she’s so smart, she’s just misunderstood, she’s unique…but I don’t buy it. She leaves college after insulting an esteemed academic in the most unprofessional manner, and we’re just supposed to agree it’s all his fault her life is messed up?? She’s trapped herself in a rut, running the household and coddling an insane scientist with his own delusions while settling for a job at an elementary school as a teaching assistant (a job she got via a family member). She’s lost all her ambition, and while her relationship with Pyotr (the strange and equally awkward, very Russian, research assistant) does develop somewhat naturally, she’s only settled for the easy way out, once again. Instead of pushing the boundaries of life, or finding her own way, she finds Pyotr’s way, she agrees, she doesn’t question, and she does as she’s told. Perhaps it does work out for her in the end, but she could have chosen so much more if she tried. Granted I’ve never actually read The Taming of the Shrew, but it is a modern retelling after all!
The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown
Sharing the heartbreaking and shocking details of one of the most difficult times in American history, The Great American Dust Bowl is the perfect mix of art and education. It’s illustrations are detailed, horrifying, and beautiful, giving the reader a more personal learning experience by visually outlining each difficulty overcome during the Dirty Thirties – from the health hazards to the devastation of the land. I was quite surprised to learn how far-reaching the effects of the Dust Bowl, spanning not just across the Great Plains but the entire U.S. to even the East Coast! For history lovers and illustrative readers alike, this is not one to miss!
What have you been reading lately?
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