Reading is my oldest and favorite hobby. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to curl up with a good book. Here are my reads for September, 2014…
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Lady Trent #1), by Marie Brennan – This was a fun fantasy set in an alternate Europe in an alternate Victorian age. Lady Trent starts her life as Isabella, a girl of aristocratic background with a decidedly unfeminine interest in natural history and particularly in dragons (which are very, very real in this world). Isabella marries Jacob Camherst, a wealthy second son of another aristocratic family, who shares her interest in dragons, and quickly persuades him to join an expedition to the Eastern European-esque nation of Vystrana for the purpose of studying the creatures, and to let her tag along. Adventure ensues! I really enjoyed this. I’m finding myself reading and enjoying more fantasy than I usually do, lately, and A Natural History of Dragons was a good addition to the list. Isabella (she’s not yet Lady Trent at any point in this book) does some remarkably boneheaded things that endanger her traveling companions on multiple occasions, but if you keep in mind that the character is, at her eldest, nineteen, and that as a memoirist of much more advanced age she realizes she was an idiot back then, there’s a good possibility for character growth as the series goes on. I’m looking forward to the next installments.
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), by Leigh Bardugo – I kept hearing about this trilogy (I’d say “new” trilogy, but all three books are out – I’m late to the party as usual) and finally got around to picking up the first book. WOW, it was creative. I don’t want to say much about the plot, for fear of giving things away, because it really was so much fun to read. Set in an alternate version of Imperial Russia called Ravka (what is it with me and these fantasy novels set in alternate, but recognizable, European countries this month?) Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov, an orphan girl who discovers a tremendous untapped power within her. Swept into the world of “the Grisha,” an elite force of powerful sorcerer types, Alina is at first seduced by their glittering world, but soon discovers that all is not as it seems. This was fun, as I said. Read it!
The Mommy Diet, by Alison Sweeney – This was a re-read for me, just a quick one, but I felt like it was a good time to remind myself of Ali’s great tips for staying in shape and taking care of yourself as a mom. Ali is the host of the long-running NBC weight loss show, “The Biggest Loser,” and she’s also a mom of two. Her advice is down-to-earth and practical – and realistic, which is key – but supported by the many wellness experts she’s met in her “Biggest Loser” hosting career. I love that Ali provides specific advice for each trimester of pregnancy and then broken down into segments thereafter. There have been a few times, when I was pregnant with Peanut and after she was born, that I just read the chapter that pertained to me at the time, but I wanted to remind myself of Ali’s entire program for mama wellness, so I sat down and read the book cover to cover again. As always, I loved Ali’s realness and the attainability of her suggestions. The Mommy Diet is a must-read for all moms, whether you’re in your first trimester with your first baby, or you’re a seasoned mom with a rambunctious preschooler like mine.
As you can see, September was a light month, thanks to the reading slump I blogged about last week – ugh. It’s just been hard for me to find the time and motivation to sit down and focus on a book. I’m sure I’ll get my groove back eventually, but for now I’m just going easy on the books, since forcing myself to read a long tome when I’m not feeling it is certainly not going to snap me out of the readerly doldrums anytime soon. I did enjoy the books I read this month, when I made myself read them! I’m hoping for a better October, but if it ends up being another month that’s light on the reading, heavy on the unpacking and parenting, that’s okay too. To everything there is a season.