Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weekend Recommendations #5

This is my new (hopefully) weekly feature, where I get to go all fannish about two randomly-picked favvies (which may not actually be favorites, but got a rating of 3 smiley faces or higher) that I would recommend to friends! So, here are this week's two picks:

Author: J. Anderson Coats
Genre: historical fiction
Part of a Series: No
Rating: 3 out of 5
Who'll Like It: Girls and guys alike, especially historical fiction fans who have an interest in the English invasion of Wales.

Why I Liked It:

Neither of the protagonists, Cecily and Gwenhwyfar, are especially likable. Cecily is a spoiled brat I enjoyed seeing getting what she deserved. And while I was perfectly able to sympathize with Gwenhwyfar's bitterness, she was a little too angry all of the time to be an ideal protagonist. Still, this is a much more plot-driven book than character-driven, and having recently discovered my own Welsh heritage, I was fascinated to read this extremely well-researched novel based in English-occupied Wales. The writing style wasn't to my liking, as it is in first person present tense - a combination I really don't care for at all. And while I liked that each chapter switched between narrators, Gwenhwyfar's narration read a lot like stream-of-consciousness, and was therefore difficult to follow at times. But like I said, this is a book for the history part, not the characters or even the writing.

Title: The Aviary
Author: Kathleen O'Dell
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, supernatural
Part of a Series: No
Rating: 4 out of 5
Who'll Like It: Girls, age nine to about fourteen ideally, though adults who enjoy a good kids' book will like it, too. Looking for a Victorian mystery with a supernatural twist? This is a perfect pick!

Why I Liked It:

Clara, the protagonist, was timid, but it didn't keep her from a good adventure. Daphne was a great "tag-along" for this mystery, and I loved the twists, the era, the birds, and the slightly weird aspects of the story. It was a good kind of weird; very enjoyable. And of course, I love Victorian mysteries that involve an illusionist. Illusionists are so awesome! The end might be a bit too happy and cleanly done, but I thought it suited the story very well.

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