1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Finally. It only took me two and a half months to read this book. I am glad that I made it through. Originally, I wanted to read this book to see how it compared to the miniseries. They were pretty close. The main differences were: Jack had no ring, The curse was pretty non-specific, Jack does not kill Alfred and there is no poison dagger, there is no incest, William does not kill his mother, Regan does not kill her husband and there is no gay monk. I guess the producers of the mini series felt they needed to make the story more salacious to sell it. I enjoyed the book even though it took me forever and a day. I enjoyed the book so much that I immediately checked out the "sequel" World Without End from the library.
2.The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place:Book II:The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood. I had been anxiously awaiting this installment of the Incorrigible series. It's another "children's" book where the main character, a nanny, reminds me of a hybrid of Mary Poppins and Jane Austen. The nanny was hired in the first book to take care of 3 children that were found on a newly married wealthy man's property. The children seem to have been raised by wolves. The mystery continues and the reader is presented with further clues that lead one to believe the man is a werewolf, and the nanny is somehow related to the children. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.
3. The Wyverns Treasure (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 3) by R.L. LaFevers. Took me all of 45 min to read. It's a great children's series where the boy in the story is training to be a caretaker to all these wonderful mythical creatures. Each book features a specific creature, and has all these little facts about that creature nestled within the story.
4. The Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl by Daniel Pinkwater. This has to be the singularly weirdest book I have ever read. There was no indication in the book that this was the 3rd in a trilogy. (The first being The Neddiad and the second being the Yggyssey, puns on the Iliad and the Odyssey) I'm going to have to read the other two to see if I can make some more sense of the story. Although, from what I read of the reviews on Amazon, this book seems like it is a stand alone book from the previous two. This book is weird and in insane, like someone from Wonderland had written it. Yeah and they teamed up with Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl to do it. There really isn't much of plot line, but it is so weird, it doesn't really need one. If all that isn't enough to make you scratch your head and say "huh" add in Aliens, UFO's and parallel universes. If you can ride the wave of peculiarity, the journey through the book is wildly enjoyable.
5. World Without End by Ken Follett. This book is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth as I mentioned above. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I did Pillars of the Earth, as evidence that it took me less than a month to read it. The story takes place about 200 years after the first book so none of the characters are the same. I just found the storyline to be more interesting and the characters more engaging and relatable in the WWE than in PotE. I found the architectural details and building descriptions from PotE to be boring so I skimmed that part. WWE didn't have any of that, and it was longer, but I read it in half the time. I was a bit disappointed in the end. I found it to be a bit saccharine and contrived. Everyone got what they deserved in the end, good and bad. While I do enjoy this type of story, it didn't fit with the style this book was written in. I don't like it when a story is gritty and harsh and then "happy happy joy joy" at the end. If felt like the author didn't know what to do so he tied everything up in a pretty little package.
6. A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull. This is the first book in the Beyonders series. As far as I can tell, this series is going to be a trilogy. The author of this series also wrote the Fablehaven series. The Fablehaven series features a secret world of fairies and creatures within our own. The Beyonders series is about a world outside our own. The main character enters this new pseudo-medieval world by accidentally falling into the mouth of a hippopotamus. This other world is ruled by an evil wizard king. The main characters set out to destroy this king. I thought the book started out slow, but it picks up midway through. My only beef with this tale is that the main characters are supposed to be 13. I get that this is the book's target audience, but the main characters seem to handle all the situations with an emotional maturity way way beyond their years.
7. Austenland by Shannon Hale. This is a fun bit of escapist reading about a woman who has been unlucky in love, and inherits a trip for a vacation in this sort of Jane Austen resort. Everything is period, and the main character finds that it's not all that she expected it would be. The book reads like a typical "chick flick." I'd recommend it to people who are fans of Austen movies (What lady with a pulse doesn't like Colin Firth?), but not to Austen purists. Boo on them anyhow. If they are gonna be haters then they should just stick to works by Miss Austen herself!