Books I’ve already talked about
The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
Arabella by Georgette Heyer
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper: I’ll be putting up an actual review of this closer to the date it comes out, as I read it via NetGalley.
You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons by Mo Willems: An older Mo Willems looks back on the cartoons he drew while traveling around the world for a year. Naturally, they’re pretty funny.
Caddy’s World by Hilary McKay: I liked having the chance to see Caddy a little more clearly–she’s the member of the Casson family I always felt was missing. And I loved the end. 🙂
Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald: Okay, this sounds really weird. And in some places it was. John D. Fitzgerald is also the author of the Great Brain series, but this is his adult look at his family history. My problem is that I’m not sure to what extent it’s been fictionalized, but I suspect it’s pretty heavily changed from the real story.
Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie
Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie: OKAY. You may have noticed that I have become slightly addicted to Jennifer Crusie’s books. The thing is, I generally really like her characters and plot and am slightly uncomfortable with the amount of, err, stuff that goes on. However, I did really like Trust Me on This. So I’d say, depending on your personality/comfort level, tread carefully. But she’s also a smart, fun read.
The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott: A retelling of “The Seven Swans”! I liked Marriott’s take on it, and found the antagonist genuinely creepy. However, I sometimes felt a bit disoriented by the settings which seemed to shift just when I thought I’d figured out what was going on with them.
Flora’s Fury by Ysabeau Wilce: Third Flora book! I thought it was going to be the last, but I could also see more books to come. I liked it, of course. Flora remains feisty and funny. At the same time, I did miss the tightness of the first two books–this one sprawls all over the place–and I wasn’t nearly as affected as I expected to be. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good book and a fun read.
The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson: I really liked this one! I did not realize it’s by the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit until well after I read it. I think that would have changed my expectations somewhat going in. It’s slightly weird, but also lovely. And historical fantasy, which is always okay with me.
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud: I read the first Bartimaeus book awhile back and didn’t love it enough to keep reading the series. However, I’d heard good things about this prequel, and also it beat Conspiracy of Kings in the SLJ Battle of the Books, so I clearly needed to actually read it. I enjoyed it a lot, and I can see why Richard Peck would have chosen it, even if I still disagree.
The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman: I was not wild about this one at all. The science fiction part didn’t work for me and I felt bludgeoned by the religious aspect.
Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff: One more down in my ongoing quest to read all the Sutcliff books ever! (If you think I’m kidding.) This is a nice one–Bran is part of a Celtic tribe in Romano-Britain. But he was found in the wreck of a Roman ship and so he is never more than tolerated. In the end, it’s a story about finding your home.
Garden Open Today by Beverley Nichols: I wasn’t sure i f I’d like this one as much as the Merry Hall books since I’d heard that Nichols cut out a lot of the characters which make them so delightful. But I did like it very much, and of course he couldn’t resist adding just a few people to his garden tour.
Queen Eizabeth in the Garden by Trea Martyn: A great examination of the gardens and, by extension, the men in Elizabeth’s life. A fascinating read, if you like history. I found myself wishing that I had read it before I was in London (obviously impossible without a time machine, as it’s newly published).
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen: Oh, friends, I wanted to love this book. I really did. So many other people loved it, and also said it was like The Thief. Looking back, this may have been a problem because it set up unrealistic expectations. Nothing is ever like The Thief. In the case of The False Prince, the comparison made me suspicious of Sage from the beginning, which messed up the plot. Also, I felt like a lot of the characterizations were inconsistent or didn’t make sense somehow. So…yeah. I really wanted to like this one, to love it, but in the end I just found myself vaguely annoyed.
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix: Oh, the worldbuilding! It’s amazing! I loved the Princes, the implications, the way the different groups interacted. I liked our narrator, Khemri, a lot. And then he gets dumped in a human world and I felt like all of that magic and tension that had been building totally died in favor of a kind of boring love story. SIGH. It’s worth reading because the beginning is fantastic and also you may disagree with me.
The Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells: I really wish I had the time to write this one up fully, but it’s awesome! The worldbuilding is incredible (oh, wait, I just said that…). It’s also a mystery with a great main character. In short, it’s one of those books that made me wish I could write this well. Bonus: beautiful cover. Dobble bonus: multicultural sff, where everyone is treated respectfully and comes across as real people!
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter: I really liked this retelling/homage to The Secret Garden. It does rely pretty heavily on the source material, not only for plot, but almost for the emotions. Which means that I found myself wondering how well it would work for someone who hasn’t read Secret Garden. I don’t think it really would. Or are we assuming that anyone who likes Ellen Potter has read SG? It may be a pretty safe bet. Regardless, if you do like Secret Garden, I suggest you try this one out.
Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Sunlight on the Lawn by Beverley Nichols
The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks
Book of the Maidservant by Rebecca Barnhouse
The Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl
Listen! The Wind by Anne Morrow Lindbergh