I managed to finish three books last week, but then I was lazy and didn't update the blog before starting the next one like I'm supposed to. Unfortunately only one of those books helped me make progress on my reading plan for our trip. I had a rough week at work and just wanted to read something light-hearted, plus I got my friend Jessica's book in and wanted to read it!
First up was by The Speaker Jessica Akers. I was so excited to read this one since I'm friends with Jessica! I've never read an actual published book by a friend before. Since Jessica and I share a love for all things Harry Potter and I was fortunate enough to spend several hours waiting in line for the last movie with her and her sister Bridget, I knew we had at least some similar taste in books and although I had never read anything of hers, she just seems like someone who would be a good writer.
It turns out I was right - she's a great writer and story teller. The story was interesting and well thought out, and the characters were relatable. It's a young adult book, and it does a good job of writing to that level without dumbing things down. I'm so happy for her and I wish her the best in her future writing - and can't wait to read her next book. And it will be nice when she's all famous and doing talk shows with Conan O'Brien and everything, and I can say "let me tell you about the time I sat on the floor in the Quail Springs AMC for like 5 hours talking to her!" :)
Book number two was Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark. Clark's books also make for a nice relaxing evening. I suppose that's a little odd since her books usually involve murders, usually very violent murders of women and a large number include some sort of stalking/lurking/watching of the main (female) character when she's all alone. That doesn't seem to bother me. Perhaps it's the fact that we keep two loaded guns in the house. My Walther 22 is ready to go at a moment's notice. Anyway, the book was typically Clark fare. Entertaining and a good way to pass the time and get my mind of work. And there was a plastic surgeon who made women look like his dead daughter. Not much more you can ask for in this type of book.
And finally, book number three - A Rose for a Crown by Anne Easter Smith. Coming in at 632 pages, this also explains the need for something a literally a little lighter. (Even though it's third in this blog post, it was actually the first of the three I read.) It's a novel about Richard III's mistress. We know that he had a mistress and had children with her, but we aren't entirely sure who she was. So Smith created this story about a fictional woman who might have been his mistress and how that might have happened. I loved it. She did an excellent job of weaving together real and fictional characters, real and fictional events. I had to check the character list several times to make sure I had who was real straight because everyone seemed that way. Sometimes when people try to write using both, the real characters come off a little flat because the author doesn't quite feel comfortable since they aren't their creation - they were real people. Smith creates the Richard III of her imagination quite well. She did an excellent job of making him very sympathetic, and of making me want to believe that it was actually Henry VII who had the two princes in the tower killed, not Richard. Here he is quite the lovable character, not without fault, but likable and relatable. Certainly not the evil character from Shakespeare. Her logic does make it seem like Henry VII had much more to gain from the boys deaths than Richard, as does one of the books I'm currently reading, To Hold a Crown, which is actually about Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York, the boys' sister. I'm also reading a history book on this subject that argues for Richard as the killer, so it will be interesting to finish both of those. Anyway, I felt like this book was very well written and had a juicy story to it with characters that you actually cared about. It also made me quite grateful for all of the modern conveniences of indoor plumbing, electricity, birth control, choices - in who we marry, what our careers are, longer lives, health care, etc. I keep thinking about what life would be like if one of those characters dropped in to today's society. Can you even imagine? It makes me quite thankful for my life as it is, warts and all.