Friday, October 31, 2008

An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

iconiconDue to a major deadline I was working toward, I haven't had much reading time in the past couple of weeks. As a result I took a lot longer to read this book than I usually would.

An Infamous Army was written by Georgette Heyer in the 1930s, which I didn't realize until I got it, since I heard about it via NPR. The book has its upsides as well as its downsides, the latter of which also contributed to its taking longer for me to read.

It is true that Heyer painstakingly researched the battle of Waterloo for her novel. Unfortunately, I found that her descriptions of the battle and other historical events were not nearly as interesting as the love story that she invented. I personally feel that while Heyer is a wonderful storyteller, she is not quite so good at retelling real historical events in the same voice.

If you prefer painstakingly accurate historical fiction, I think you will like this book in its entirety. If you can do without long, dry descriptions of historical events, I suggest you do what I did, and skim everything but the love story!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

iconiconI still haven't gotten back to reading Traffic — I have a stack of library books that has been steadily accumulating, so I thought I had better read a few of those before resuming Traffic.

Laura Fitzgerald's Veil of Roses was a very interesting book, for me, because it did such a good job of demonstrating the cultural differences between Iran and the United States. At the same time, though, I thought it also did a good job of delivering a main character that American readers could find compelling, as well as a story line that satisfies readers with Western cultural values.

Also, although I would technically classify Veil of Roses as chick lit, it was very different from most books in that genre, as it dealt with a young woman from a different culture. Most chick lit, it seems to me, deals primarily with young women in professional jobs, either immersed in or just grazing a more upper-class, sophisticated world than what most of us live in.

The book was a fast read — I took an afternoon off of work to finish it, and ultimately read the entire book in less than 24 hours. Definitely a good choice if you need some light reading as a little diversion!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rodeo Rocky by Jenny Oldfield

iconRodeo Rocky is the second book in the Horses of Half Moon Ranch series for tween girls by Jenny Oldfield. As I noted in my post about the first book, Wild Horses, I actually liked this book better for a few reasons.

It was a little less action-packed than the first book, which took place during a relatively short period of time and had more elements of suspense. I actually thought the differences made Rodeo Rocky more interesting and a little stronger. The action-suspense story probably was appropriate for the debut book, though, I suppose.

One thing that surprised me was how Rodeo Rocky took a stance on some issues, such as the abuse many animals suffer in the rodeo. Within the first few pages, as the main character had started questioning the ways the animals were treated at her first rodeo. Her horror grew and ultimately fueled her and her mom's decision to rescue a wild mustang who had been badly treated in the wild horse races.

The rest of the book continued to impress me as well, as I thought Oldfield did an excellent job of accurately describing Rocky's training and the challenges they faced.

I have to admit that while I liked the first book, and I thought the series would be great for young girls, I wasn't as excited about it from an adult's perspective. Rodeo Rocky, on the other hand, I enjoyed thoroughly, and I plan on checking out the other books as they come out.

I also have to say that after reading the second book, I think even more highly of the series as books for young girls. I like that the descriptions were realistic, for one thing, but I especially like that the series encourages young girls to think about horses as feeling creatures with a right to humane treatment.