Books I’ve already talked about
Darkwater by Catherine Fisher
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff
Alamut by Judith Tarr
Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
Foreigner and Invader by CJ Cherryh
Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer
A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs by Ellis Peters
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Exiles at Home by Hilary McKay
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett: Basically, I love the Tiffany Aching books–smart, heartfelt fantasy at its best. I am only sorry I hadn’t read the books before, and that there aren’t any more to discover.
Everyday Saints: This is probably the Orthodox book I’ve appreciated most in the last several years. Clear, approachable, and humorous, it’s one I’ll be returning to again and again.
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce: I like the Beka Cooper books–maybe not so much as her earliest books, but I like them a lot. During this one, Beka and Tunstall go to Port Caynn, which was a nice change of scenery and introduced a different part of Tortall. I admit to getting a tad bored with the dog-training parts, but they did help round out Beka a bit.
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay: This was my first book by Kay, and I liked it quite a bit. Set in an alternate version of Imperial China, it was a sweeping epic that managed to also be quite character-based. It doesn’t have any easy answers, but it’s not hopeless by any means. I did wish that the women had not been quite so secondary, though.
Agent Garbo by Stephen Talty: If Double Cross is the broad overview of the double agents in WWII, Agent Garbo is a deeper look into one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of the war. Very well done.
The Brixen Witch by Stacy DeKeyser: A middle-grade retelling of The Pied Piper. I liked the main character a lot and the story went in interesting directions while remaining fairly close to the original.
The Smile of a Stranger by Joan Aiken: I love Aiken’s Dido Twite series, so I was slightly startled to discover that she has a LOT of books I haven’t read. The Smile of a Stranger is a slightly madcap Regency romance. It comes the closest to fulfilling my wish for more Heyer books than anything else I’ve read. It’s not Heyer–it doesn’t have quite the same magic touch–but it’s close.
This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson: I liked this book a lot when I was reading it; since then, however, I’ve realized how much Johnson relies on the idea of cybrarians when making her case and after the conversations about children’s services and rock star librarians that have been going on, I’m feeling more wary of holding that up as our standard. Still a lot of interesting stuff there.
The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley: I liked the first book but wasn’t blown away by it. But the cover for this one was so pretty and in the end I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, as a lot of my issues from the first book were cleared up. Molly continues to grow as a character and I like the surprising direction some of the plot lines go.
The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke: This has a somewhat similar setting to Vessel (see below), now that I think about it. I really liked this one, as Ananna is a feisty character who grows quite a bit over the course of the book. A sequel will be out later this year, and I’m excited!
A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley: This was a very enjoyable read–historical fiction which draws on the Margery Kempe tradition while remaining a very different kind of story. It has a sly humor which I found really fit the characters and the time. Will definitely be reading the rest in the series!
Pinned by Sharon Flake: I really liked this one–you can read Leila’s review for a sense of plot and character. I loved the alternating narration, since both narrators have strong voices, and very different ways of speaking and looking at the world. I spent most of the book wanting to shake Adonis, but I think we’re supposed to have that reaction.
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols: I’m not sure why I like Jennifer Echols so much, when I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the genre she writes in (contemporary teen romance). But I think it’s her characters, who are complex and interesting from page one. Going Too Far is probably my second favorite, right behind Such a Rush.
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst: I’ve read one or two of Durst’s books before and liked them without really loving them. So I was interested in Vessel–it had an interesting premise and a gorgeous cover–without necessarily getting super excited about it. But I should have been excited, because Vessel is excellent! Character driven fantasy in a historical setting, oh yes! And Liyana is a great main character. I even liked where the romance went. So, YAY.
Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr: A magical retelling of Alexander the Great, through the eyes of an Egyptian woman. I love Tarr’s writing and this was a really engrossing way to tell the story of Alexander’s Egyptian campaign. I was surprised by certain elements, especially the romance, but the delighted surprise of a pleased reader.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff: I was expecting this to be fairly magic-heavy, and it wasn’t–the only real magical element is Lillian’s ghost. Once I got over this expectation (built up based on Yovanoff’s previous works), I enjoyed it for what it really is: an atmospheric mystery. Hannah is a smart investigator, and I really enjoyed the romance, as well as the family relationships.
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann: A lovely and impressive debut. If I wanted to sum it up very quickly, I would say Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for middle schoolers. That’s fairly accurate, although it’s actually set in a pseudo-Victorian world, but it stands solidly on its own.
The Owl Service by Alan Garner
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell
Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie
Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
The Funeral of Figaro by Ellis Peters
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin
Wanderlove by Kristan Hubbard
Westmark by Lloyd Alexander
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters
The One I Want by Jennifer Echols
The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Safekeeping by Karen Hesse
The Far Forests by Joan Aiken
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
I Hunt Killers
The Theory of Everything
Endangered–These were all finalists for the YA Fiction Cybils, so I can’t talk about them until February 15th.