Saturday, April 24, 2010

blue plate special

blue plate special by Michelle D. Kwasney

I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about this book. If I took anything away from this novel, it would be an appreciation of family. The girls in this book all have horrific experiences that no one should have to go through. blue plate special was a difficult book to read because of all the pain the girls endure. The title and the book’s cover don’t really give you any idea of what the book is about, but at the end, you find that they do tie in to the plot, and they both end up being an important part of the story. My emotions ran the gamut while reading this one. I went from shock to pure outrage with lots of other emotions thrown in as well. I couldn't help but think of my daughter and mother while I was reading blue plate special.

The main characters of blue plate special are three girls, Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel, who live in different decades. blue plate special is the story of their years as teenagers, and the issues each girl faces. Ms. Kwasney does a good job of creating the imagery associated with each girl, where each girl lives and what it's like to be each girl living in a specific time. The writing styles that Ms. Kwasney used made it very easy to keep track of who was who; each girl had a very distinct voice that was not easily confused with the others. Some may say that Ms. Kwasney tried to include too much in her book but I don't think so. She did a very good job of tying everything together. I was really surprised when I found out that the girls were all connected. I won’t tell you how but I will tell you that when I figured out who was who in each story I was baffled and just plain mad about one character in particular. However, by the end I came to understand the reasons behind what happened, and like one of the main characters, began to forgive one of the other characters. I'm going to give this book 3 stars, because in the beginning it was so depressing, I'm not sure I would have finished it if it wasn't a book club book, however as far as writing and imagery goes I give it a 5. blue plate special's intended audience will eat this one up, and it has a lot of good discussion topics as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Squire's Quest by Gerald Morris

**Contains one small spoiler**

The Squire’s Quest is the ninth in a series of books by Gerald Morris called The Squire's Tales. Even though I haven't read the rest of the series I was still able to enjoy the book. This one made me want to go back and read the other books in the series, and there was enough background information that it was easy to catch up. The Squire’s Quest had enough magic to make it interesting to someone who likes to read fantasy, but not so much that a historical fiction fan would turn away from it. Some parts were predictable, but there were other parts that really surprised me, and the end was especially jaw dropping. Although the lovers lived, it reminded me of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but even more tragic. The writing was easy to follow but there was some language that may not be appropriate for younger ages. The women characters in the book were very strong while the men were both charming and devious, a good combination in any book.

I laughed out loud in parts of the book and cried in others. When I first began reading this book I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. I’m not usually a fan of King Arthur type books but this one grabbed my attention relatively quickly and held on. This is a great “boy book” with lots of fighting and intrigue, but it also has just enough romance that girls will enjoy it as well. The only part that didn’t seem to flow well was when a couple of the main characters disappeared for over a month and no one seemed too worried when they finally reappeared. Mr. Morris did mention some of the changes that took place while they were missing, but I would think the characters would have been missed a little more than they were. I’ll give this one 4 stars. Well-done Mr. Morris.