February book list

Death to the Landlords! by Ellis Peters: The second India book. I liked it less, mostly because Tossa was mentioned once, 3/4 of the way through the book, and so I spent most of it worrying that Something Had Happened. Also, as with all the Felse books not set in Shrewsbury, I missed Peters’ exquisite descriptions of that area.

Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander: I loved the first few books in this series but haven’t quite managed to get into the last few. I felt like this one was plagued by random chunks of exposition (I have found a body! I will think about my own problems in an effort to catch readers up!) and anachronistic attitudes. It was all the more pointed because I started it just after I finished A Spy in the House.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve: A wonderful prequel to the Mortal Engines quartet, which I talked about more {here}.

The Sorceress and the Cygnet by Patricia McKillip: I liked this one the more I kept reading, but in the end I felt that the balance of dreaminess to reality was tipped a little too far in the dreaminess direction. Still, the imagery is very bright and vivid.

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr: I found Ani and Devlin more interesting than Ash and Seth (I’m also SO DONE with love triangles, which doesn’t help the Ani/Seth thing). The end weirded me out just a tad, but I’m content to see what the next (and final) book will bring.

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey: Will Henry’s story continues to be complex, dark, and enthralling. I haven’t looked to see if there’s another book in the works, but I would be very happy if that were the case. My only very minor complaint was an occasional slip in terms of language–I’m pretty sure people in the 19th century didn’t think in terms of going on dates. But that’s really, really minor.

Candor by Pam Bachorz: When I hear the word dystopia, I always think first of the kind of society described in this book. To me, it’s not the obviously broken world that fits the term, but the one that looks perfect, that looks utopian, until you delve below its surface. This is a genuinely creepy book, all the creepier because it seems so possible. However, I had a few issues with Oscar’s character. Mostly, I didn’t quite buy his transformation.

The Habitation of the Blessed
by Catherynne M. Valente: Reviewed in depth {here}.

The Warrior’s Apprentice
by Lois McMaster Bujold: A re-read; the first Miles-centric book and the founding of the Dendarii. I love that part of the story.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer: Another re-read. I always have slightly mixed feelings on this one, but end up enjoying it.

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall: This was a cute enjoyable story, about small river dwellers called the minnipins. It has a fairly clear underlying message, but I didn’t feel too bludgeoned with it.

The Horn of Roland by Ellis Peters: In general I really enjoyed this. It had a nice atmosphere and Una is very likeable. But I simply wasn’t clear enough on the relationship between Crista and Lucas. Are they in love? Is it a father-daughter thing? (In context this is not as creepy as it sounds.) I needed some more basis for judgement.

The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold: Third in the Chalion series. Ingrey is an extremely compelling character. Wencel was an interesting comparison–I had a hard time figuring out if he was going to be the villain or a supporting hero. I do love Bujold, although in this case I kept hoping for just a mention of the characters from the earlier books and not getting it.

Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold: I loved the Midwest setting here–I didn’t identify any particular geographic points, but the whole thing just rang true for me–and the characters as well. Their dilemma relationship-wise is a somewhat unusual one and I think Bujold handled it well.

Whistle Bright Magic by Barb Ullman: The concept here was an interesting one, and maybe its intended audience would enjoy it more than I did, but I was annoyed by the sloppy writing. There are so many books in the middle grade group which don’t suffer from this problem that I always find myself bothered.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest: This is one of those cases where I had a completely different reaction than the rest of the world, so take it with a grain of salt. However, I had a really hard time here–I didn’t particularly care about any of the characters and didn’t feel invested enough in the world of the story to make it work.

White Cat by Holly Black: A re-read, in preparation for the publication of Red Glove in April. Still love this book. Still love Cassel. Still conflicted about every other character in the whole darn story.

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle: This didn’t suffer from some of the problems that many contemporary historical fictions do (no one complained about their needlework!) but it fell a bit flat in other ways. The characters felt very undefined and I wasn’t ever entirely convinced that this really was early Victorian England.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams: Eh. I was amused but not enthralled.

The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip: I like the setting, which is an unusual one for McKillip. It seems more 19th century without–and this is excellent–getting all steampunky (not that there’s anything wrong with steampunk, just that I don’t think it would mix well with McKillip). The characters were also quite delightful.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: I’ve enjoyed the Shadowhunter books, but this one was just a delight to read! Somehow I wasn’t bothered at all by the time period–I think this is because the Shadowhunter culture is so distinct from the rest of society. I really liked Tess and Will and Jem. Unusually for me, I didn’t have a strong opinion on who is right for Tessa. It was fun to see Magnus Bane in an earlier incarnation and to come across a lot of familiar family names. Can’t wait for the next one!

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson: I was reading old reviews awhile ago and saw that I said at the time I liked this better than A Countess Below Stairs! I couldn’t remember it at all, so I got it out to refresh my memory. I’m going to disagree with past me and say that I liked this, but Countess is definitely my favorite Ibbotson at this point. This might change though, given my history.

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson: Going on a little mini-Ibbotson kick, I went on to The Dragonfly Pool It was a sweet story and very much of a piece with her books for older readers. It didn’t quite have the same depth or complexity though, and I missed that.

Bellwether by Connie Willis: I liked but didn’t love this book. I felt like I could trace several of the themes from All Clear here as well–most notably a system that looks disastrous and isn’t. It was also fun to read about the different fads and see where some of the ones she describes ended up.

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry: I am really, really not a zombie person.* When I saw this one had won the Cybil for YA SF/F, I kind of groaned and went “REALLY?” And then I read it and enjoyed it, which just goes to show you. It’s fast-paced and smart and funny and sad. I loved Tom and Benny’s banter and the real relationship they had. It’s another book where the defining relationship is familial, not romantic (though there is a bit of that as well). It wraps up nicely, though there’s room for a sequel. The last 100 pages or so was a little weaker, in my opinion, especially with the sudden expositions all over the place, but all in all I was very pleasantly surprised.

* The first draft of this sentence was “Zombies leave me cold”


Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

10 responses to “February book list

  1. Your book lists show up unexpecdedly in google reader, which is why I just commented on last March’s one….

    I do hope you go on now to read The Cygnet and the Firebird–I liked it lots more than The Sorceress and the Cygnet!

    • Maureen E

      Yes, I’m working on organizing my review index which is requiring me to re-publish all of my old book lists! Feel free to comment on any of them. 🙂

      Oh, good! I was planning to in any case, simply because I’m trying to read everything McKillip’s written (I get like this), but I was hoping that it wouldn’t be another one to slog through.

  2. Herenya

    Since you mentioned favourite Ibbotsons, I was wondering – have you read Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift? That one’s my favourite.

    Your comments on Clockwork Angel make me want to give it a try! I was feeling very unenthusiastic about it (and I’m not sure why), even though I quite enjoyed the ‘City of…’ books.

    • Maureen E

      I have! I did like it a lot, although not quite as much as my favorite, which is A Countess Below Stairs.

      Hm, that’s interesting! I did like the “City of…” books, but I also felt like Clockwork Angel was a definite step up in terms of readabililty.

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