Dandy Gilver series by Catriona McPherson: I recently decided to give the Dandy Gilver series a try and promptly glommed through three of the books: 1, 2, and 5. They’re historical mysteries, set in Scotland in the 1920s, featuring high society sleuth Dandy Gilver. Obviously, having read three of them in a week, I enjoy them quite a bit. They strike a nice balance for me between a satisfying ending and a detective I like reading about, and having enough grit to keep them from becoming too rose-tinted. Dandy is certainly a product of her time and particular strain of society, but her desire to find the truth and her connection to other people keeps her grounded enough for me. These aren’t the most brilliant mysteries ever, but they pulled me out of a reading slump and I imagine they’ll be nice to return to when I need a fast, fun read.
The Fog Diver by Joel Ross: A middle grade futuristic scifi swashbuckler (whew!). Chess is a fog diver, one of a crew of kids growing up in the slums of one of the few human cities left after the lethal Fog covered the earth. It’s a dangerous life, and he is even more vulnerable, since Lord Kodoc is looking for him. I liked this one for Chess himself, for the evocative writing, and especially for the relationships within Chess’s crew. Hazel almost beat out Chess himself as my favorite character, and I appreciated that the story foregrounded friendship and trust. I suspect there may be a sequel to this one, and I’ll definitely be looking for it if so.
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: Fresh from a breakup with her girlfriend, Emi discovers a new quest, a new job, and a new love in short order. This is a really enjoyable book; it has substance, but it also is immensely readable and engaging. I loved Emi and her voice, and I especially liked her talent and the way LaCour shows her maturing over the course of the book, not only in her relationships but also in her job and confidence. This is also a great one if you’re looking for a story where female friendship is important, since Charlotte and Ava are both central to Emi’s life & relationships. This is a great summer read, with evocative writing and characters.