The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley: Fascinating, enraging, heartbreaking biography of Christine Granville. Mulley does an excellent job of differentiating between different types of evidence, and of telling a very complex and contentious story. She treats Christine with warmth and respect, letting her be the flawed, complicated, and vivid person that she so clearly was. There are parts that had me in tears, and other parts that made me so angry with the world. Very, very well done.
The Swan Riders by Erin Bow: Every time I read a new book by Erin Bow, I know it’s going to be an incredibly emotional experience even if I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen. The Swan Riders is no different. I read it in big gulps and cried so, SO much. While it’s perhaps a little bit slow to get started, the payoff is amazing. I loved it almost more than I can say.
Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon: I’ve heard good things about this run of Hawkeye and I decided to read the first volume. I liked it okay? To be honest, I didn’t quite see what everyone else clearly does, which is a little bit disappointing. I’m not sure if I’ll try the next volume or just chalk it up to, “things that are not For Me.”
The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud: As I said on Litsy, this series keeps doing just enough to keep me coming back, but the charm is also starting to wear a bit thin. I want some kind of resolution to actually happen, rather than just having it continually teased for the next book. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the rest of the series as they come out.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: I read this one with book club and it’s so delightful! I’d read it when it first came out and had fond impressions of it, but didn’t actually remember what it’s about. I really liked the way the stories are woven in, and the book itself is a beautiful object, from the illustrations down to the font and paper. The story itself is also lovely, with the themes of friendship and family. Plus: A DRAGON.
Spindle by E.K. Johnston: The sequel to A Thousand Nights, which I absolutely loved. I’m not sure if this is a case of too-high expectations or of me just not being in the right mood, but while I appreciated a lot about the story, it never quite emotionally clicked for me the way ATN did. I think perhaps the tension between the original fairy tale and the setting made me a little uncomfortable, in ways that ultimately jolted me out of the story just a little bit too much.
A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand: reread it, yes, even though I read it last month. I cried a lot again because it hits all of my emotional buttons.
Act Like It by Lucy Parker: Reread, since I really enjoyed Parker’s debut and wanted to revisit it before her second book came out!
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker: Somehow I had the wrong impression of what the central conflict in this one was going to be about–not at all the book’s fault! Once I reoriented a little bit, I really enjoyed the story. I especially appreciated that Parker shows the amount of work that goes into a West End production. While I wasn’t initially impressed with the “I know we shouldn’t, but oh well!” theme, the strength of the characters kept me reading and in the end I was charmed by Lily and Luc.
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin: I appreciated the first book a lot, but The Obelisk Gate gave me so many Feelings. Jemisin digs deeper into the world she’s created, and also starts to weave in Nassun’s story. This worked really well for me, as we see Essun from a different perspective and begin to understand some of the personal ramifications her choices have caused. I can’t wait for the third book, even if I’m worried about what’s going to happen.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: My awesome friend Ally recommended reading this book after I watched the movie recently, and I’m glad I did. It’s quite different from the adaptation–in some moments I preferred the film and in others I liked the book better. I definitely think the film has a clearer through-line, but the book is more nuanced and has a lovely dreamy quality to it.
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin: Also read this one with book club (we’re on a Grace Lin kick) and oh wow, this book was something. Grace Lin is really good at writing emotional journeys, and this one largely worked really well for me. (I have some personal hang-ups about forgiveness that got poked a bit.) There’s a lot I’m still thinking about and chewing on here.
Booked by Kwame Alexander: This is a thoughtful, engaging story. For me, however, it didn’t quite have the emotional impact of The Crossover. It’s perhaps not fair to compare the two, but it’s also very hard to not do so, especially when they were billed as companion books.
- Is this a kissing book(list)?
- Currently reading 2-20-2017
- January and February 2017 releases
- I also wrote about Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, which I read last month
- February’s newsletter was about living in the middle, the importance of Langston Hughes, and how to make yogurt