February reading list

Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low: Reviewed {HERE}

Pish Posh by Ellen Potter: Reviewed {HERE}

The Grass-widow’s Tale by Ellis Peters: Most of the George Felse books focus on George or Dominic. This one breaks away from that pattern and tells part of Bunty’s life. By turns it’s frightening, sweet, and tragic. I did feel that everything wrapped up just a little too neatly, but overall it was lovely.

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg: Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of two kings and mother of two more, is waiting to see if her second husband, Henry II of England, will be allowed into heaven. Although this book gave me a much clearer insight into the characters of the time, I did feel that it was a bit simplistic. I’d like to read a more thorough biography of Eleanor.

The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer: Her earliest book. The characters overall were pretty flat, except for the villain, who was at least annoying. It’s also a little more on the wild side of her books, and more and more I’m gravitating towards the other kind.

Frontier Wolf by Rosemary Sutcliff: After a botch command, Alexios is transferred to the Frontier Wolves, the Roman garrison near Hadrian’s Wall. There he slowly begins to build a new place for himself and form new friendships. Unfortunately, the troubled times make everything tenuous. Not as good as The Lantern Bearers or Eagle of the Ninth, but still good.

Foundling by D.M. Cornish: Raved about {HERE}

Firebirds Soaring ed. by Sharyn November: Full review {HERE}

Hidden Turnings ed. by Diana Wynne Jones: I really don’t enjoy this collection as much as I always expect to. I think it’s because I’m not already acquainted with most of the authors who contributed.

The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom by Elizabeth Wein: Swooned over {HERE}

More Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov: Mystery stories? Asimov? Why, yes! This sequel to Tales of the Black Widowers continues the conventions set up in the first book: the guest brings a mystery, Henry solves it. As with all such formulaic mysteries, the payoff is in the twist, not as much in the characters (although the regulars are delightful).

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: The Newbery winner for this year. I enjoyed it, especially the way little details turned out to be important. I don’t think I ever felt a huge emotional connection with the characters, but I also think that might be part of the point–a function of the circumstances under which the story is being written. And, of course, I loved the Wrinkle in Time references.

False Colours by Georgette Heyer: Gushed over {HERE}.

Go Saddle the Sea by Joan Aiken: Felix is the half-English grandson of a Spanish aristocrat. His mother died when he was born and his family scorns him. With his two friends and protectors in the household dead, he sets out for England to find his father’s family. I was honestly surprised by the major twist in the story. But I had a hard time believing it. Still, Aiken’s characters are vivid enough that I might keep reading (apparently it’s a trilogy).

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas: The premise of this story–a city that runs on magic–is fascinating, and I loved the descriptions of the city itself. The book itself had the feeling of the first book in a trilogy, but the characters were so great (a wizard, the thief who steals his locus-stone, the muscle who knits and bakes biscuits) that I think I’ll have to keep reading.

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry: I couldn’t quite decide whether this book was meant to be a Cinderella re-telling or whether it simply drew on the tropes of that story. Regardless, I find it odd that both this and Beauty Sleep rely on a similar plot development, albeit with different results. I liked it, but I was never convinced by the world-building–Berry didn’t seem able to choose between a fairy-tale world and a version of ours with magic.

Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer: This was a fun read, but I felt almost no emotional investment, and the more I think about the hero the more he annoys me. So, definitely not my favorite.

Dairy Queen
by Catherine Murdock: People don’t expect me to be a football fan, but I am. So I enjoyed the football aspect. And D.J.’s voice is so great that, despite my personal reservations about girls playing football, I was totally charmed by this book.

The Off Season by Catherine Murdock: D.J.’s story continues. Although the second book in a trilogy (why is everything a trilogy?) usually has to complicate the resolution of the first one, in this case I felt like it was much more realistic than in other cases.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Raved about {HERE}.

A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith: I was really, really annoyed by the beginning of this book, to the point where I almost threw it across the room. And then there was a plot twist, which completely blindsided me, and I felt much better about Sherwood Smith, the book, and life. Still, I prefer the Court/Crown Duel books.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: Newbery Honor this year. I can definitely see why–Lin takes Chinese folk tales and weaves them together into something which is new and fresh, but which also feels authentic. This would be great for slightly younger readers, or anyone who enjoys traditional stories.

Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish: The second in the (IMO, unfortunately named) Monster Blood Tattoo series. Cornish’s amazing world-building continues, as well as Rossamund’s development. I was astonished by some of the revelations in this book–I had some theories at the end of the first book which…did not turn out to be the case–and can’t wait until the third is released!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly: Newbery Honor this year. I enjoyed this one a lot. I was dubious at first, for whatever reason, but ended up enjoying Callie Vee and Granddaddy a lot. I’m always happy when books do siblings well, and this one certainly did. I didn’t totally love it, but I can see why many people did.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor: Three short stories, all drawing heavily on traditional stories from various cultures, all featuring a kiss. They were all a little more bitter-sweet than I was expecting. I think “Such Spicy Curses as These” was my favorite, although “Hatchling” has been bouncing around in the back of my mind for the past several days.

Family Shoes by Noel Streatfeild: Unfortunately, nowhere near as charming as her more well known books. One of the characters drove me up a wall–and I think I was supposed to be sympathetic to her.

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope: A comfort re-read. I love this Tam Lin re-telling, which is convincingly set in Elizabethan England. Kate is such a wonderful heroine and Christopher was one of the first characters I swooned over.

The Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer: Quite similar to Lady of Quality in several ways, but with more of an emotional connection to the main characters. Therefore I liked it better, although it still isn’t at the top of my list.

The House of Green Turf by Ellis Peters: When Maggie Tressider, a world-famous contralto, is injured in a car accident, she is haunted by the idea that once she somehow caused a man’s death. The plot is exciting and the characters are beautifully drawn. I’m still not entirely sure what I think about Francis Killian though.

Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones: I had vague memories of liking this one and on a re-read I certainly did. Jones kept me guessing the whole way through. You know that old “no one is who they seem” shtick? It actually applies here.

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12 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

12 responses to “February reading list

  1. I am always amazed at the amount of books you read! 🙂 I liked the The Grass-widow’s Tale – esp. the parts narrating her inward state when facing her 40th and having neither D or G there; exquiste in the description of the dreary day etc…

    • Maureen E

      I was actually surprised at how many I had read this month myself.

      Ellis Peters has (had?) such exquisite prose. And such a feeling for her characters.

  2. A Proud Taste… is always a delightful read, but I agree, Marian Meade or Alison Wier’s biography of her are both more substantial. There’s also Amy Kelly’s biography, which is quite meaty and slow moving.

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