Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Books for Writing, Books for Fun

by Julie Coulter Bellon

An editor recommended to me once, that, if I wanted to read a book with outstanding pacing and suspense, I should read The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. I picked it up a week ago and it is definitely not light reading. It’s an 642 page march through Eastern Europe and is a historical fiction lover’s dream. The chapters are short, which adds to the suspense, but also breaks up a long book. It’s deliciously creepy and suspenseful, chronicling a search for Vlad the Impaler who some call, Drakulya. The author blends fiction with reality in that Vlad was a real historical figure and an immensely cruel man, but the premise of the book is that perhaps his cruelty may live on if he achieved immortality. A note to the reader begins, “This is the story of how as a girl of sixteen I went in search of my father and his past, and of how he went in search of his beloved mentor and his mentor's own history, and of how we all found ourselves on one of the darkest pathways into history." People disappear on that path. And die in mysterious ways. And have paintings with dark figures behind them painted. That path will give you a shiver of fear before you turn the page, that’s for sure.

I’ve been reading a few chapters of The Historian every night before bed and I’m getting to really creepy parts that make me think I might want to start reading in the daylight. It’s not horror, or anything like that, but very suspenseful and mysterious. I’m also learning a lot about eastern Europe and it makes me want to visit there someday. I’m enjoying the author’s writing more than I thought I would, and the size of the book seems manageable once I got into the story. I’m told there’s a little of everything in this book, from suspense all the way to romance, but since I’m not quite halfway through, we’ll have to see about that.

I also read, The Icing on the Cake, by Elodia Strain this week. It is the complete opposite of The Historian, in the fact that it is a romantic comedy. I thought Elodia did a wonderful job with the main character who was so believable and funny. I laughed through the entire thing and even had my heartstrings touched with a subplot to the story which really brought out the skill of Elodia’s writing. She has a freshness about her style and I think she has a great career ahead of her. The Icing on the Cake is definitely a fun summer read, and I’m told there’s a sequel to it, which I am planning to check out.

My to-read list for the summer is long. My ten year old son and I have a book club in which I am finishing the fifth book in the Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian, and we’re about to start The Shadow Children series. My nightstand has, The Hourglass Door, by Lisa Mangum on it, Recovering Charles, by Jason Wright, and Agent in Old Lace, by Tristi Pinkston. They all sound like great reads and I’ll have to let you know what I think.

What’s on your nightstand for your start to summer reading this year?


At 5/21/2009 3:55 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Oooh, let's see.

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Two Pearls of Wisdom, by Alison Goodman, though I think it has another name in America; Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye or Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, something like that.

Revelation by C. J. Sansom

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

At 5/21/2009 4:16 PM, Blogger Laura Moffitt said...

There are so many books!! I read three books this past weekend. Not good as nothing else got finished. Sounds like I need to add the Historian to my list but I am reading all of Shannon Hale's books. I have read Austenland, Thousand Days, and Goose Girl and really enjoyed them all.

At 5/21/2009 5:16 PM, Anonymous ally condie said...

Loved The Historian.

I have Janette Rallison's My Fair Godmother, Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, and I'm looking forward to The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale.

At 5/21/2009 7:55 PM, Blogger Melanie J said...

I enjoyed both of the books you mentioned for pretty much the same reasons. I read an interview with Elizabeth Kostova where she said she challenged herself to shed less than a cup full of blood in the whole book, which I thought was kind of cool.

I'm starting the Mortal Instruments series and I want to try out some Sandra Grey. I've got a non-fiction book called The Wordy Shipmates in my queue and I'm looking forward to that. But I also read about two books a week, so I'm sure I'll be finding all kinds of cool stuff to try.

At 5/21/2009 9:29 PM, Blogger Carolyn V. said...

Ohhh! I want to read The Historian now! I hope I will be able to walk down my dark hall at night afterwards.

I love your book choices! I'm reading Lisa's book The Hourglass Door right now! I'm almost done and am dying to find out how it ends! I REALLY, REALLY want to read Agent in Old Lace by Tristi! I hear it is fabulous!

So many books, so many choices!

At 5/21/2009 9:36 PM, Blogger Noble M Standing said...

I am not a Serial Killer- Dan Wells
Bone Warriors- Bron Ballaman
Hunt for Dark Infinity- James Dashner
Recovering Charles-Jason F Wright
Hourglass Door- Lisa Mangum
Wings-Aprilynne Pyke #1 NYT bestseller
Fragile Eternity- Melissa Marr

Right now, I am reading a book called The Madness of Angels or The Resurection of Matthew Swift It is amazing! It packs so much information and expands my mind and I have to put it down every once and a while. I love it though.

At 5/22/2009 9:09 AM, Blogger Allison said...

I just finished reading Lockdown by Traci Hunter Abramson (and will probably read it again). Also on my list are Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack, Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black, and First Family by David Baldacci.

At 5/22/2009 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have Icing on the Cake on my list. The others I'm planning on reading sooner than later are Royal Target and Lockdown by Traci Hunter Abramson, Shadow Hunter by Guy and Jeffrey Galli, and The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright. Maybe I'll move on to Recovering Charles after that. So many books, so little time. :)

At 5/22/2009 12:12 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Wow, so many books to add to my list! Thank you for those.

Anon, I've already read Royal Target and Lockdown, but haven't yet bought Shadow Hunters. I'd like to though, I heard it's really good.

Allison, I loved Fool Me Twice and am still wanting to read Lemon Tart.

Like Carolyn said, so many choices, but I'm definitely going to go out and get some recommendations from this comment trail, so thanks again everyone! I'm looking forward to lazy summer days filled with reading. :)

At 5/22/2009 6:02 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I look forward to hearing what you think about the book, Julie! Thanks for coming to the book launch - that meant a lot.


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