Literary Fiction

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

I loved everything about this book. It is funny, warm and compassionate. A fictional story of an unconventional family. Three siblings and their bond. The subject matter portrayed in the 374 pages deals with teenage pregnancy, adoption, fear and courage. I could not wait to get to the conclusion and was sad when the story had ended. A moving story.



Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden has been locked up in his basement trying to find a cure for Susan. But reality drags him back into the real world, the white council is meeting to discuss the war with the red vampires that he may have started. And there are toads raining because there’s an imbalance between the ferry courts. This second wouldn’t be any of Harry’s concern except that his fairy godmother has sold his contract to Queen Mab and if he wants his freedom he has to figure out who killed the Summer Knight.
These books are good escapism, I like them.



Let Loose the Dogs by Maureen Jennings

The word “dogs “was what drew me to picking up this paperback. Meeting a new sleuth to me, William Murdoch, a policeman in the 1873 was good also. He sets out to find the truth about a crime his incorrigible absentee father is accused of before he hangs.

I really appreciated this Det. Murdoch’s vulnerability. The subject of the “loose hounds” was the practice of a gambling spectacle of raising the best dog who kills the most rats in a a competition. Yuck, but then there was an over population of rodents in this time period in Britain.



Philoctetes by Sophocles, translated by Kathleen Freeman

The translator did this weird thing were every once in a while the characters would say things like “Oh God save me” while other times they would remember that the play was set and written before Christianity took off and say “Gods” or “Zeus.” But anyway.
In this old Greek play, Philoctetes was abandoned by Odysseus with a snake bite in his foot that was infected. He was left behind with the Bow of Hercules which will always hit its target. But now there is a prophecy that says Odysseus has to go back and get him if they want to win the Trojan War. In this play Odysseus is a bad guy, there’s a lot of struggle between Philoctetes’ dislike of his commanding officers and his patriotism. But Hercules shows up and tells him to go help. So he does. (This plot device was common at the time and is where the phrase “Deus Ex Machina” or “God from a Machine” comes from.)
As I was reading this play I realized that I’d read an adaption of it as a teenager that involved a mermaid and that I really liked. I’m glad I read this play, especially with that connection, but it wasn’t amazing.


Young Adult

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Based on Melville’s “Moby Dick”, this tale is a re-telling told with a twist, as it is from the whale’s perspective. Additionally, things in this story are flipped with the water being above and the air below. Beautiful illustrations throughout give a sweeping, underwater feel and enhance the story. A thought provoking retake on the original classic story.


Autobiography/Biography, Fantasy, Horror

The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe

The Bells is a short poem about bells. I did not find it scary.

Also: The Haunted Castle by Edgar Allan Poe

Diana Wynne Jones: (fiction)
Howl’s Moving Castle
Castle in the Air
House of Many Ways

Hababi by Naomi Shihab Nye (fiction)
Living Water in the Desert by Rebecca Davis (biography)
A Tale of Gold by Thelma Hatch Wyss (Fiction)
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (fiction)
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher (fiction)
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (fiction)
Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover (autobiographical)
Usborne Greek Myths (short stories/myths)
Usborne Complete Book of the Human Body (science)



Horror, Thriller

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

A creepy novel about roommates not being who they present themselves. Usually I can figure the conclusion out before the last page. Not so with this ending. The story is a weave of 2 women who are roommates just out of college, there is a 8 year gap where they don’t see one another and then just happen to meet again . They move to a remote small town in eastern Penna and are roommates once again . Add one of them disappearing, 2 murders, and stalking in an aah so creepy cabin.
It keeps your attention till the end.