Yes, technically April still has two more days to run, but due to my schedule this weekend, I know that I will not be able to squeeze in another book. In terms of quantity, it was not a terribly good month, due to various committments at work, and the length of one of the books read.
1. "A Moment's Madness," by Helen Kirkman. 'B/C-' I reviewed this book in detail in a post on April 07, entitled "Not Enough History, Yet Not History Light." The B rating was for the setting, England in the period of 870 AD, while the C- part of the rating was for the execution. Almost all of the action took place offstage, while we read endless chapters (the book was only 300 pages, so how endless could it be,you might ask, but they seemed endless) about a Danish widow and a Saxon warrior learning to trust each other in order to allow them to love. The sad part for me was that the author obviously knows her subject matter, so why the suffocating setting of the bower, while we head-hopped around about Feelings? It was like being forced to watch Dr. Phil. And Oprah. Together. Well, the cover was cool!
2. "The Da Vinci Code," by Dan Brown. 'C' So, this was what the shouting has been about for the past two years? Ho hum. If I were a very conservative Roman Catholic instead of a liberal Episcopalian I probably would be offended by the picture painted of the Church of Rome. As it was, I was more struck by the lack of quality in the writing -- the characters were cardboard cutouts, the dialogue was stilted, and even though the book took place over a breakneck period of 72(?) hours, no one had to go to the bathroom. Maybe the movie will be better, even with Tom Hanks horrible hair.
3. "Kiss Me, Annabel," by Eloisa James. 'A' Read the review published here earlier this week.
4. "Emma," by Jane Austen. 'A+' I simply adore this classic novel by Jane Austen. It is personally my favorite. IMO it is a much more complex work than "Pride and Prejudice," although many object to a heroine who is not automatically as lovable as Elizabeth Bennet.
5. "His Majesty's Dragon," by Naomi Novik. 'A' for this first novel, a sci-fi/fantasy set in an alternative 19th century that comes complete with adorable dragons. If you like Patrick O'Brian, Jane Austen, and Anne McCaffrey you will be ahead of the game to enjoy the Napoleonic Wars with an air corps. Captain Will Laurence goes from the Royal Navy, with its stuffy traditions of class, to a flyboy in the rough and ready Aerial Corps when he bonds with a newly-hatched dragon captured during a battle with a French frigate. The dragon Temeraire is a wonderful character -- sweet tempered with his Will, intelligent, and brave. Be warned: some passages will require the use of a hanky. The second book in the series, "Throne of Jade," has just been released, and the next, "Black Powder War," is due out in June (all, so far, in mass market paperback).
6. "March," by Geraldine Brooks. 'A-' I love the premise of this book: the principal narrator is Mr March, the mostly absent father from Louisa May Alcott's classic "Little Women." This is not a book for children. Some reviewers indicated a YA audience as well as an adult readership, but I wonder if they made that call due to the association with "Little Women." I have to confess that as I have no YA readers in my family I cannot assess whether that is an appropriate rating or not -- if I were pressed on it, I would think 15 or 16 would be the youngest age I would feature being interested in the book. The book is told in first person narrative with some flashbacks, first from the POV of Mr March, then from the POV of Marmee. There are scenes of violence; themes of war, racial prejudice, sexual desire (both within and outside of marriage); loyalty to one's country, one's principles, and to one's spouse; and the role of women in 19th century America. And the book is entertaining as well as thought-provoking. I have not read Ms Brooks' other novel, "The Year of Wonders," but I think that will soon be joining my TBR pile.