September book list

Ella of All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor: I remembered this being not nearly as good as the rest of the series and, for once, I remembered correctly. While the central dilemma Ella faces is an interesting one, the charm of the earlier books isn’t present. I especially missed the illustrations.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer: I do enjoy this one–there are definitely hijinks, but they’re of a moderate sort. Besides which, it’s funny.

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson: Reviewed it {HERE}. Short version: I need the next book, now!

Troubador by Mary Hoffman: I’m getting more and more impatient with historical novels which focus on a main female character who is rebellious and doesn’t want to do her needlework and doesn’t want to marry for anything except love. I’m sure there were plenty of girls who felt that way, but not all of them, surely. In the end, this book was more nuanced, at least in that regard.

The Rough Collier by Pat McIntosh: Another Gil Cunningham mystery, this one perhaps a shade less impressive/interesting than the others.

Flora’s Dare by Ysabeau Wilce: I love this book so much! When is the third one going to be released? I can’t wait to find out what happens with Flora and Udo and the rest.

The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison: I liked the first two books in this series, but this one seemed oddly preachy somehow. I kept waiting for Harrison to give another view than “humans are bad and ruin everything” but somehow it never quite happened. I don’t know.

The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones: I love this book! I wish Rupert and Maree were at least tangentially mentioned.

The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia McKillip: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: definitely one of McKillip’s best.

The Stolen Voice by Pat McIntosh: I did like this one a lot. The mystery was fascinating, and I enjoyed the new view into Robert Montgomery’s character.

Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman: Welsh history! Okay, for those of you who don’t know (probably most of you) I’ve been mildly obsessed with Wales since I read The Grey King in middle school. Anyway, this is the second in Penman’s trilogy. It’s a lot sadder than the first one. 😦 Well, okay, the title kind of gives that away. I’m hoping that the third book will prove to have a bit more resolution.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: excellent and creepy.

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko: This was interesting and honest and sweet, but somehow I didn’t LOVE it. Still, if anyone’s interested in the history of Alcatraz, or Al Capone, or autism, it would be a good read.

The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: a nice example of Sutcliff’s lesser-known fiction.

The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer: Okay, I really liked this book, so don’t take this complaint the wrong way. WHY, oh WHY did they change the title of the first book? The Time Travelers vs. Gideon the Cutpurse? I’m choosing Gideon the Cutpurse every time. Nonetheless, this was even better than the first, delving into the questions surrounding time travel a little more. I’ll be interested to see how the different stories resolve.

Od Magic by Patricia McKillip: Didn’t wow me quite as much as the other McKillip books I’ve read recently–parts of it seemed a little clunky and overly pointed–but still in my favorite category of her books. I did definitely like several of the characters. And it has a gorgeous cover!

The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: clunky writing mars what otherwise is an interesting story.

A Pig of Cold Poison by Pat McIntosh: Waaah. I have reached the end of the published Gil Cunningham books. When is the next one coming out? I did like this one a lot, although it was sadder than the others somehow.

Runemarks by Joanne Harris: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: an interesting use of the Norse legends and great characters.

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: well-written re-telling of the Persephone myth.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: slow at first, but builds into a really good book.

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith: I wanted to like this one, but I never quite did. Everything I liked about it I felt like I could get better from Sunshine. And I was never quite positive whether this was meant to be an alternate universe, or what. I have to say, though, this is one of the rare times when having a model photograph on the front cover really worked for me–probably because it’s a present-day story rather than a historical one.

The Striped Ships by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: A children’s story about the making of the Bayeux Tapestry. I found it a bit slow and young, but for the right kid and the right age group it could be really good. Juliana is certainly a compelling heroine and I liked that she didn’t seem horribly anachronistic.

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer: I bought 13 books from Amazon, using a gift card from my aunt and uncle. This was one of them, which was nice because I really like it. It’s one of the ones I feel like actually works on a number of different levels and the whole thing just makes me happy.

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt: Another one I bought–I really like this book a lot. It sounds vaguely morbid, but in the end I think it comes across as sweet.

Scumble by Ingrid Law: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: a fun and sweet sequel to Savvy.

The City & The City by China Mieville: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: a book which I appreciated but didn’t love.

The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas: Phew! I was a little disappointed in the last book, but fortunately this one lived up to my expectations. I think it’s the last in the series, and if I’m right then it’s a worthy send-off.

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter: Reviewed {HERE}. Short version: mysterious, delightful, with a sad edge to it.

The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker: A beautifully written, bittersweet little book. I’m still puzzling over whether it’s meant to be a children’s book or not, but in the end it’s just good, so I don’t know that it really matters.

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn: I actually liked this one a lot better than the first! Both the mystery and Lady Julia’s relationships with the various characters seemed much more enjoyable somehow. I’m anxious to read the third.

Ivy’s Ever After by Dawn Lairamore: To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this one very much. Ivy’s character grated on my nerves a bit and I found myself comparing it to Patricia Wrede, who I prefer by far. I suspect that a large part of this is my age–12-year-old me probably would have at least liked it. But for now-me, it felt unsatisfying.

In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker: When a team of immortal cyborgs from the future travel to Mary Tudor’s England, surely nothing can go wrong? This is a beautifully written, devastating book. Definitely for adults, I’d say–certain scenes would have probably given me nightmares as a child and I’ve always been pretty tough with most things.

Mistwood by Leah Cypress: This book is excellent! I love political fantasies–not books that involve real politics, but ones where people have to decide which side to support. It makes me feel as though there’s actually a point to the powers that people have. Anyway, this one is definitely recommended!

The Water Seeker by Kimberley Willis Holt: The best way I can think to describe this one is as a historical fiction with fantastical elements. It’s really well done, with a wide cast of characters that you learn to care about over the course of the book. It brings up a number of issues without every feeling preachy about them.

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean: I’m making it one of my minor missions in life to read all of the versions of Tam Lin I can get ahold of. While I was dubious about this one because of the setting, it turned out to be a delightful book, even if the title did give away the plot annoyingly soon. Janet is a sympathetic heroine, but if you know exactly who’s supposed to be who, it does make her apparent denseness a bit grating.

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9 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

9 responses to “September book list

  1. It was funny reading through your list, and agreeing with the majority of your opinions of the various books we’ve read in common! (the biggest exception being that I love Ella….)

    The Hotel Under the Sand certainly packs a punch it is strangely beautiful way….

    • Maureen E

      That is always fun! And conversely, when friends really don’t like a book that you did, it can be surprisingly hurtful.

      Looking back on Ella, I’d say that the illustrations may have been quite a large part of my reaction. They were so much not how I pictured the family that almost every page I was thinking “NO!” It makes a difference somehow.

      The Hotel Under the Sand reminded me a bit of Catherynne Valente’s “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.” They’re both books which are ostensibly written for children in some way but which might very well end up being most popular with adults who remember what it was like to be a slightly lonely, bookish child.

  2. Mimi

    I’m not sure I ever read “Ella”
    And, my favorite, most romantic line of all time is in “Falls the Shadow” – I found the third one to be a bit of a retread and not as strong as the other two.

    • Maureen E

      Which moment? I think if you describe the scene I’ll know which one you mean.
      I’m sorry to hear that about the third book, but at this point I’m invested enough that I’ll probably go ahead and read it anyway.

  3. Mimi

    I certainly didn’t mean to give the impression it was horrible, it’s not. I just found that it wasn’t as strong, and several things were retreads. I felt that way about “Devil’s Brood” too – I’m not sure she’s a strong trilogy finisher.

    And, it is Llewelyn’s death scene.

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