Not too many books this month, mostly because I was out of town for a week and a half and not reading at all during that time.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke: A re-read of a much beloved book. I want to do a more comprehensive post, so for now, that’s all I’ll say.
The Exiles at Home by Hilary McKay: I was in the mood for something funny, and this came to mind. Love the Conroys!
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: This had an interesting premise, and I really liked the way White handled the (obligatory) love triangle. I never really fell into love with it, though, I think partly because I found Evie’s cutesiness a bit too much sometimes.
The Amber Cat by Hilary McKay: Sundance, Robin, and the rest are up to their tricks again. This definitely falls in a younger category than McKay’s other books, to the point that I liked reading it but didn’t feel like it has enough substance.
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett: A sort-of alternate history fantasy, set in a sort-of Regency England. Had nice moments and worldbuilding, but I struggled to understand certain motivations, and the main romance of the book didn’t quite work for me (I need more than just vague echoes of Jane Eyre to convince me two people are meant for each other).
The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey: One of Tey’s Inspector Grant books. As with most of them, this is almost as much about Grant as it is about the mystery. Includes Pat, who is always delightful. Tey’s one defect is a propensity to be unkind to marginalized groups, which does come out here.
Dolphin Luck by Hilary McKay: Third in the Dog Friday trilogy. My thoughts on Amber Cat could pretty much be repeated here.
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: The only thing I’ve ever read of Zusak is The Book Thief. This is much different and, I have to say, I didn’t like it nearly as well. It all seemed a bit self-conscious, which kept me out of the story and kept me from finding the resolution satisfying.
Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer: When I first read this, I didn’t like it very much. I decided to re-read it on a whim and this time I really enjoyed it. So, I may have to go through all of Heyer again, to see what my current reactions are!
Enders Game by Orson Scott Card: I’ve been wanting to actually read the later books in the Ender and Bean series, but I thought I should probably re-read the first books as well, so they were fresh in my brain. This is so well done.
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: I’d heard good things about this book, but for me it seemed so abstract, and the characters so removed that I didn’t seem to particularly care about them.
Corsets and Clockwork ed. by Trisha Telep: Short steam-punky stories. I didn’t find the quality in this one very high, to be honest. I think it’s mostly that I almost always find the idea of steampunk more interesting than the execution. And there’s a kind of same-ness to the genre, which makes me cling to the few I’ve found that I really like (Clockwork Heart and The Iron Thorn come to mind).
Killer Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh: Inspector Alleyn mystery. One of Marsh’s theatre mysteries, but not my favorite. Almost no one comes off well, and the whole thing seems sort of awful.
The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill: The account of the British and American escape from the German POW camps. Funny, incredible, and moving, it’s well done, and the description of the operation they had going is amazing.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys: The story of one girl during the Soviet imprisonment of Lithuanians around WWII. I appreciated it, as shedding some light on a little-known place and time. At the same time, it never quite worked for me on the level of story.
Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold: Last in the Sharing Knife quartet. I like Dag and Fawn and I like the setting and the world, but I miss the twistiness of both Miles and the main characters in the Chalion books. Everyone here is relatively straightforward (RELATIVELY).
Sunshine by Robin McKinley: A re-read of a lovely book. It’s definitely NOT for the little 13-year-olds who just read Beauty, but it’s a great antidote to other vampire books I could mention (by which I mean just about all of them). And Rae is possibly one of my favorite narrators ever.
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck: Fun, though not as good as The Teacher’s Funeral. It’s set quite nearby, though, so it was neat to have a better sense of where it would take place.
The Minstrel and the Dragon Pup by Rosemary Sutcliff: A picture book about a minstrel who raises a dragon pup and the adventures that befall them. I liked the story and, for the most part, the illustrations. Occasionally, though, there was a weird green cast to some of the skin tones that kind of put me off.
Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer: A re-read. Because I wanted to.
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson: I was sick and tired and needed something that was comforting but not demanding. Ibbotson fit the bill.
A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey: Another Inspector Grant mystery, this one far less memorable than the others, in my opinion. Tey’s crankiness on certain subjects definitely comes out, and the story isn’t remarkable either for the mystery, or for Grant’s introspection.