December Choices

Hello ladies! I’ve chosen 4 books that are on my to-read list.

1bees

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen
by Laurie R. King 

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees in Sussex when a young woman literally stumbles onto him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern, twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. They are soon called to Wales to help Scotland Yard find the kidnapped daughter of an American senator, a case of international significance with clues that dip deep into Holmes’s past.

From Kevin M. Derby’s Amazon Review: In “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice,” Laurie R. King did the seemingly impossible: she made an unique contribution to the Sherlock Holmes legacy. […] This book should have been a disaster. Instead, it ranks as one of the most charming mysteries written in the 1990s. King is a fine writer and Russell truly comes alive. While taking some liberties with Holmes’ age, King is wise enough to keep the focus on Russell. Dr. Watson is mostly kept offstage and Mycroft Holmes remains in a supporting role. To her credit, King does a superb job with Mrs. Hudson.

2hismajestysdragon

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire in the UK) by Naomi Novik 

Imagine if the Napoleonic wars had been fought using an air force… of dragons. In this delightful first novel, the opening salvo of a trilogy, Novik seamlessly blends fantasy into the history of the Napoleonic wars. Here be dragons, beasts that can speak and reason, bred for strength and speed and used for aerial support in battle. Each nation has its own breeds, but none are so jealously guarded as the mysterious dragons of China. Veteran Capt. Will Laurence of the British Navy is therefore taken aback after his crew captures an egg from a French ship and it hatches a Chinese dragon, which Laurence names Temeraire. When Temeraire bonds with the captain, the two leave the navy to sign on with His Majesty’s sadly understaffed Aerial Corps, which takes on the French in sprawling, detailed battles that Novik renders with admirable attention to 19th-century military tactics. Though the dragons they encounter are often more fully fleshed-out than the stereotypical human characters, the author’s palpable love for her subject and a story rich with international, interpersonal and internal struggles more than compensate.

3chess

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Non-fiction book about one girl’s triumphant path to becoming a chess champion. One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende. Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess­board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that—like their daily lives—requires persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one girl stood out as an immense talent: Phiona. By the age of eleven Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master—the first female titled player in her country’s history—Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries.

4knights

The Table of Less Valued Knights Hardcover by Marie Phillips

The Princess Bride meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail in this funny, charming, and delightful tale about lesser-known heroes in Arthurian England.

Sir Humphrey du Val has had enough. Relegated to the Table of Less Valued Knights-Camelot’s least prestigious spot, boringly rectangular in shape and with one leg shorter than the other so that it has to be propped up with a folded napkin to stop it from rocking–he has been banned by King Arthur from going on quests, and hasn’t left the castle in 15 years. After a chance meeting with Elaine, a young maiden in search of her kidnapped fiancé, Sir Humphrey, along with his squire Conrad (an undersized giant) and Jemima (Conrad’s elephant), sets off on a journey to find the distressed damsel’s betrothed, hoping to restore himself to a place of honour at the Round Table. Meanwhile, Martha, an errant queen on the run from her new power-hungry husband, is in disguise and on a quest of her own to find her long-lost brother, the true ruler of her realm. Martha soon runs–literally–into Humphrey’s eccentric group, who take the incognito queen captive, believing her to be a boy. As they journey through countryside, castles and villages, they gather unlikely friends and enemies along the way. While each member of the party secretly harbours their own ambitions for the quest, their collective success, and the fate of the realm, rests on their grudging cooperation and unexpectedly interconnected lives.

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