Links from around the web: 2-6-15

Gorgeous limited edition cover for Ancillary Justice!

There’s a WNDB short story contest!

ALA YMA things: Betsy Bird & Lori Prince share their reactions; these kids’ reactions made me cry!

Ana’s review of The Crossover is great, and in retrospect even more on point.

Kelly Jensen’s list of 2015 feminist YA books over at Book Riot is a helpful one.

Gorgeous cover for Jenny Han’s new book!

I really appreciated Renay’s thoughtful, critical review of Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.

Queen’s Thief stuff: a guide to flirting; GENNY.; a favorite quote; MWT is trolling us

Tolkien stuff: evoking landscapes; “I am no man” doesn’t cut it, which is a complex, fantastic look at Tolkien’s female characters

Claire Foy! I can’t! *splutters*

I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about this new Harper Lee book after reading an interview with her editor. SO MANY.

Awww. *melts*

People can be terrible but sometimes other people restore my faith in humanity.

1930s shoes are amazing


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January 2015 round-up

Books I’ve already talked about
Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks
Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
True Pretenses by Rose Lerner
The Ivory Trilogy by Doris Egan
The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shahib Nye
Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan
Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge
Towards Zero, Cat Among the Pigeons, and The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Picture Book Monday
Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
House of Shadows by Rachel Neuemeier

Other books
The Badger Knight by Kathryn Erskine: Historical fiction. This is a just fine book, and I appreciated that it’s about a character with albinism. But it reads very dryly and I think it suffered from a tendency to overexplanation. I think Erskine has clearly done a lot of research into the era, and yet it never quite came alive for me in the way other books have.

A Corruptible Crown by Gillian Bradshaw: Historical fiction. The sequel to London in Chains. I liked it, because it’s Bradshaw and I like Lucy. But for me, neither book has quite the appeal of her books that are set in antiquity. It probably doesn’t help that I have a intense dislike for Cromwell and the Puritans. But of course, she shows the complexities of the time quite well, as usual.

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols: I really enjoy Echols, especially when I want something that’s smart, well written, and comforting. This one isn’t a particular favorite of mine, but it was on the shelf and I hadn’t re-read it much.

Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand: Review coming shortly!

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins: A very mixed bag; a few I enjoyed, but overall not one I personally felt super enthusiastic about. I often feel ambivalent about anthologies, especially those featuring many different authors. I did, however, like Kelly Link’s Tam Lin story, which was the main reason I read it.

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev: I was hoping I would like this one, because I did enjoy Mantchev’s earlier books. But the curse of steampunk did me in! I should know better at this point. I was really bothered by the ahistoricalness of it, and the way the main character interacted with her physical issues did not make much sense to me.

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin: I was not a huge fan of this one, unfortunately. It’s a retelling of HC Andersen’s “The Emperor and the Nightingale”, but the way in which it was a retelling didn’t work for me. However, I think my biggest issue is that I’m not sure it works for the target audience. I’m all for complex, difficult books for kids, but I don’t think this one is interesting enough.

Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy: Gorgeous informational book about sharks in the San Francisco bay area. There’s a wealth of facts, and beautiful illustrations that honestly work far better than any photos could. (I have recently become a huge fan of illustrated informational books!) This one got a Sibert Honor on Monday, and it’s well deserved.

by CJ Cherryh: One of my favorites of the recent Foreigner books (I feel like I keep saying that, but it keeps being true!). Cherryh really shows off her ability to weave different strands together: the remnants of the Shadow Guild, the ongoing questions about Tatiseigi and Damiri’s manchi, Cajeiri’s growing up. It felt a bit like everything kicked into a new gear in this one.

Other posts
Historical Fantasies: 1920s on
Patricia McKillip readalikes
Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites
Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 debuts
Links from January 5th
Links from January 19th
Christmas cooking and baking
My 2015 reading goals
My current planning method
Favorite Author: Elizabeth Marie Pope

TV & movies
It was a pretty quiet month. I watched a lot of Poirot and rewatched several favorites: Decoy Bride, Sabrina (the 90s version), and Amelie.

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February releases I’m excited about

monstrouspaper or plasticthis side of homebeastkeeper

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
This Side of Home by Renée Watson
Displacement by Lucy Knisley

displacementdragonskaren memorya darker shade of magic


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At Midwinter

I’ll be back with a post tomorrow.

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Recent Reading: Nye, McGowan, Partridge

turtle of omanThe Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye: I loved this quiet, thoughtful book about a young boy from Oman who is moving with his professor parents to the US for three years. Set in the week before he leaves, it pays great attention to the emotional turmoil of moving as a child. Aref is a great character, and I think this would be great for fans of Kevin Henkes. I loved the description of the many things that Aref values about his home, and his wonderful relationship with his grandfather. This is truly a beautiful book and I intend to look up Nye’s other works.

maid of deceptionMaid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan: The second in the Maids of Honor series. These are one step more fanciful than, for instance, the Agency series, but they’re quite enjoyable if you’re able to put questions of historical accuracy aside. Personally, since they never pretend to be accurate, I’m quite willing to do so. I liked the book a lot, although I had some niggling questions about the portrayal of Beatrice’s mother. I think I mostly like how the relationship between the maids is shown: they’re not always united, but they clearly care about each other and that comes through. I will also say that the cover is pretty awful and the book is much better. (Who is this girl? Why are there anachronistically dressed young men lounging about? Who can say?)

Marching-for-FreedomMarching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge: This is an extremely timely book, especially if you have kids who are going to see Selma (which I haven’t yet but want to). It focuses on the role of young people in the Selma to Birmingham march, which reminded me a bit of We’ve Got a Job from a few years ago. Partridge’s concentration allows her to give a narrow, deep look at what was happening at that point. She clearly did a lot of work interviewing participants and researching the background and conditions in Selma at the time. At the same time, I will note that this is an outsider’s view. It definitely has value, especially as an introduction to the march and its background, but I would also love to hear more from the people who were there.


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Historical Fantasies: 1920s on

Historical fantasy is one of my favorite subgenres, an awesome melting pot of historical fiction and fantasy. I even have a separate page listing the ones I’ve read! This feature will run for a few months, showcasing the major time periods I’ve read in. Goal: have a spiffy, updated page by the end!

This month I’m looking at books set from the 1920s on. I’m including Among Others on here, because it was set in a specific time in the past, although I know that for the author and many readers that time is within memory.

Magic Most Deadly by E.L. Bates (England, 1920s, very enjoyable)

The Diviners by Libba Bray (America, 1920s, not my personal favorite)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (based on Weimar Germany, recommended)

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge (England, 1920s, amazing and wonderful!)

Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel (America, 1930s Dust Bowl, recommended)

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough (England, 1958, not my personal favorite)

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (based on New Zealand, 1959, highly recommended)

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan (Ireland, 1970s, recommended)

Among Others by Jo Walton (UK, 1970s, SO WONDERFUL)

Are there any I’ve missed? Old favorites? I’d love to hear them.


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Patricia McKillip readalikes

I’ve been re-reading Patricia McKillip’s Song for the Basilisk recently, and I wanted to come up with a list of readalikes for her books. This proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.

There is certainly Rachel Neumeier, whose City in the Lake was directly inspired by McKillip, and whose House of Shadows would probably also work for McKillip fans.

And then–

Well, more tenuously there are Martha Wells (especially perhaps Wheel of the Infinite, which has the sense of setting that McKillip so often does), and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion books.

There are obviously many people who write fairy tale retellings, and Robin McKinley occasionally writes magic in a similar way. Franny Billingsley seems like she writes in a similar continuum.

But beyond that, I came up with a blank. So, any suggestions for McKillip-like writers?

Rachel Neumeier says: “1. The Shapechanger’s Wife by Sharon Shinn is actually very McKillip-y, more so than her other books.

2. A Dark Horn Blowing by Dahlov Ipcar has something of the same feel.”

Charlotte suggests The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Katy says, “Juliette Marillier, and also found Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull popped up in my blog when I searched for McKillip”

On Twitter, Erin Bow suggested Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl books and Cecelia Larsen suggested Caroline Stevermer’s College of Magics/Scholar of Magics as readalikes for some but not all of McKillip.


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