Books I’ve already talked about
Picture Book Monday
ALL the Code Name Verity covers
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Boy21 by Matthew Quick
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s Historic Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
Binny for Short by Hilary McKay
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Dragon of Og by Rumer Godden
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta–re-read because I wanted to read some Marchetta but wasn’t up for Jellicoe Road yet (too many dead fathers). While Jellicoe is still my favorite, Francesca is lovely too.
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta: Again, Jellicoe is still my favorite, and probably always will be, but Tom’s story is so, SO good–heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time.
Inheritor by CJ Cherryh: A nice wrap-up to the first trilogy in the Foreigner universe. In fact, it would be completely satisfying, if it weren’t for the fact that I know this all goes on for twelve more books or something. My poor Bren! But now, of course, I am invested and I have to find out what happens.
MidWinterBlood by Marcus Sedgwick: This was a wonderfully written, creepy book with interesting echoes of British myth. It really worked in a way that Sedgwick’s White Crow didn’t quite work for me. Now, I did think the ending was a little off, but overall definitely recommended, for older fans of Susan Cooper especially.
Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip: Short stories from McKillip, who of course I love. I didn’t like all of the stories equally, but overall I thought it was a strong collection, and it’s nice to see some new work from McKillip.
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson: Okay, so most of this book is a very competent middle book, a little on the quiet side but fine for those of us who like our fiction character-based. And then we get to the last 20 pages or so, and it turns into something altogether different and MJ is clearly AN EVIL GENIUS who has taken EVIL GENIUS LESSONS from Sarah Rees Brennan or something, because she gives us exactly what we want and then RIPS IT AWAY FROM US AND BREAKS OUR HEARTS AND GIVES US ALL THE FEELS. And by us, I mean me.
In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip: Lovely, lovely book from McKillip, with echoes of Russian fairy tales, and a great land-as-character setting. Plus, I liked the characters and just the whole thing. It’s not in my top five, but will definitely be one I re-read.
Also Known As by Robin Benway: This is exactly what it says on the tin–a fun, lighthearted teen spy book. Perfect for Ally Carter fans who are waiting for the next book, or anyone else who likes romps through New York as seen by the daughter of two international spies.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: A lot of people have been praising this realistic YA, and they’re totally right to do so. The characters are really well drawn, and the writing is the kind of effortless that’s actually very impressive. For me, though, it never tipped over into absolute love, and I still haven’t pinpointed exactly why. (It may not be the book for me and that’s all there is to it; not necessarily any issue on the book’s part.) (It’s not you, it’s me.)(Probably.)
The Fourth Crow by Pat McIntosh: A new Gil Cunningham book! No one told me! I checked it in at work and promptly screamed and checked it out. Anyway, I found the mystery in this one a little on the wild side, but it was nice to see everyone again. And I remain hopeful that the big conflict for Alys will conclude soon, which would be nice.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen: This is the first book by Sarah Addison Allen I’ve read and I found it very lovely. I think it’s really out and out fantasy, just of a quieter kind than perhaps genre readers are used it. (But then I’ve never really understood what the point of the magical realism label is, other than as a way for authors to claim that they’re ‘literary’.) Anyway, I liked it a lot and will definitely be back for more.
St. Seraphim of Sarov by Helen Kontzevitch: I know I had read this spiritual biography of St. Seraphim before at some point, but I’m glad I read it again. Kontzevitch was able to gather a wealth of accounts, both of the saint himself and of the Diveyevo monastery before its dissolution. I wish there were an updated edition with information about the monastery’s re-opening.
Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling: This was an anthology I’ve been wanting to read, mostly for the stories by Theodora Goss, Elizabeth Wein, & Catherynne Valente. I loved all three, but was also pleasantly surprised by Gregory Maguire’s, and liked the Kushner/Stevermer letter game story (though I wanted a whole book there!). The stories cover a wide range of Victorian ideas, settings, and cultures, though I tended to feel that the gritty ones gloried in their grittiness a bit too much for my personal tastes.
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Brisley: Milly-Molly-Mandy is a little girl in a little village who has adventures with her friends. It’s just as charming and old-fashioned as that sounds. I think girls of a certain age and temperament would love Milly-Molly. I myself enjoyed her lots, though I was initially worried that the whole thing was a bit too precious to be palatable.
The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters: I’ve read the second Jacqueline Kirby book (Murders of Richard III–what, you think I can resist a bunch of Ricardians?), but I thought it would be fun to read the first one. It was, in a way, but I think Peters’ later books are a lot stronger, both in terms of character and plot.
Going Clear by Lawrence Wright: If you ever want to be really angry and depressed about Scientology, I highly recommend this book. I knew I didn’t like the group, but I didn’t really know why. Now I do. I did think Wright did a nice job of not taking pot-shots at religion in general, or even alternate religions in general, both of which would have been easy to do.
The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty: Alternate New York in the early 20th century, with magic! Sacha Kessler is a young Jewish boy who gets apprenticed to a New York Police Inquisitor. Fun period details, illustrations that reminded me strongly of the first All of a Kind Family book, and nice characters. I did wish at a certain point that Sacha would just get over his nerves and tell the Inquisitor his secret, because I didn’t quite buy the reason for his not having done so. But that’s the only quibble I had, and it’s a minor one.
Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Rose Cottage by Emily Bearn: I was hoping that these stories would be descendants of Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books. They’re not exactly, but they’re great fun! More like the Borrowers, with a little Brambly Hedge thrown in, they follow the adventures of Tumtum and Nutmeg, two married mice who live in Nutmouse Hall, in the broom cupboard of Rose Cottage. Any imaginative child ought to like these ones.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde