Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reading beyond your comfort zone

I’m a big fan of children’s stories. Funny picture books? Oh, yeah. Middle grade fun and adventures? Lovely. Teen angst, romance, and struggles? Definitely! But fantasy of any persuasion? No way!

As a reviewer for childrenslit.com, I receive five books every few weeks and I don’t get to choose which ones. In other words, I’ve been forced to expand my horizon. And that’s a good thing. Strictly a fiction reader in my previous life, I now read nonfiction and biographies as well; as a result, I’ve discovered some pretty interesting facts about people, places, and animals. I’ve also developed a better appreciation of historical fiction. Of course, not all of the books deserve good reviews, and I’ve had to grit my teeth to get through some of them.

To tell you the truth, I had low hopes for my recent shipment. Regardless of my newfound appreciation of books I wouldn’t normally read, did I really want to review two dystopian novels and a book about warring angels? Really? The mere idea made me groan, and I resisted reading them as long as possible.

And then I re-discovered the joys of reading great writing, no matter what genre. All three of the previously frowned-upon collection of unusual-for-me reads struck a chord. But the one that sliced me to the quick with its angel sword was Angelfall by Susan Ee. Ee had me perched on the edge of my seat with room for my wings to expand, hoping to save the day if Penryn couldn’t. Believe me, the mere mortal has her work cut out for her. Raffe, despite his lack of wings, is quite a feathery handful. The schizophrenic mother, with her cattle prod at play, doesn’t help matters. And you don’t even want to know what happens to Penryn's little sister Paige! Ugh! Does Ee tie Angelfall up in a nice, little package? No Way! Fortunately, the ending begs for Book 2!

So now, thanks to my highly paid position as a reviewer—what more could an avid reader want than to be paid in books?—I’m a fan of warring angels and interspecies love.

And to think I never knew such romance existed!

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