The Duff by Kody Depplinger: I liked Bianca and Wesley and the path their relationship took, but I always felt slightly uncomfortable with this book. I’m not sure if it was its messageyness, or the message itself, or something else entirely.
Resenting the Hero by Moira Moore: The cover led me to expect a different book (the cover is sunny; the book is not) but once I got over that, I enjoyed this one a lot. The worldbuilding was interesting and the relationship between the two main characters was unusual enough to be fun.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young: Loved this book! I reviewed it here
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson: Loved this book too! And here’s the review.
City of Gold and Shadows by Ellis Peters: I re-read this book because I was in the mood for a Felse mystery and I remembered liking this one. I do like it–the Shropshire setting is my favorite, and the descriptions of Aurae Phiala are vivid and haunting. But the sadness of it struck me more this time than before.
The Changeover by Margaret Mahy: Another re-read. I do like Laura–she’s fierce and kind, which is a combination I enjoy. And Sorry is wonderful, especially as an antidote to the love interest that’s so prevalent right now.
Well Witched by Frances Hardinge: Not her usual, but still a nice story. Reviewed here.
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: In general I liked this–the writing was strong and Meghan is a sympathetic narrator. But I was never captured or convinced by this version of Fairyland. I know I’m a bit particular about depictions of Fairyland, but I felt like the wonder and the…engulfingness of it were missing.
Plain Kate by Erin Bow: This just won a big, fancy award in Canada, and it totally deserves it. This is a beautiful, perfect book, about loss and pain and the choices we make. Oh, and fairy tales, and rusalki, and talking cats and Roamers too. I love it, and I love Katerina Svetlana.
The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy: I bought this one recently, having read it once, and wanted to re-read it to make sure I watned to keep it. I do. Harry is a lovely character, and I entirely sympathise with her. The ending is a bit Fire and Hemlock, in that I have NO IDEA what happens, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry: This was fun! I might be careful about handing it to a sheltered kid, because there is a bit of language involved. But it’s also funny and sweet. It could come across as a bit heavy-handed, but I think it’s actually sincere, which is quite a different thing.
The Under Dogs by Markus Zusak: All three Wolfe novels. The last, Getting the Girl is by far my favorite, though the tidiness of the resolution bothered me just a little. But I was invested enough in Cameron at that point to not really mind.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: I wanted to love it, but ended up having mixed feelings. Reviewed here.
The Revenant by Sonia Gensler: At one point I thought I was really going to dislike this book, and maybe even not finish it. But I perservered, and it paid off. In the end, Willie’s story was nicely told. I’m coming to realize that of the latest Victorian era books, I like the ones where the main character is an outsider, trying to fit into the society and having trouble with it. (See also: The Vespertine and Haunting Violet.) SO much more interesting than the normal upper-class girl who rebels against Oppressive Society.
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld: Mostly satisfying. Review here.
Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold: A re-read. There’s a moment at the beginning that’s incredibly more poignant since the publication of Cryoburn (which I feel like I ought to re-read, but am dreading). I liked this one–Ekaterin is great, though it’s sometimes easy to overlook her, and the reappearance of Bel Thorne is wonderful.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick: When I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I was enchanted by the pictures but not by the words. In Wonderstruck, the written story is much stronger–helped, I think, by the fact that the text and the pictures tell two distinct stories. They are related, but I won’t say how.
The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey: You know how some series start off really strongly and then go downhill, while other series start off strongly and get stronger? The Monstrumologist books are in that latter category. I don’t know how, but Rick Yancey completely blows me away every time. This is a beautifully written, haunting, and utterly chilling book. The characters become more and more complex and the story may be the most unnerving of the three. So glad that there will be more books in this series!
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt: I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this, because sometimes realistic teen novels drive me straight back into sff. But this was a nice read; I liked the slow build of the story and the shifting views of certain characters. I do agree with a criticism I’ve seen several places, that a particular storyline at the end felt a bit shoehorned in. Overall, though, this was a really nice book and one I’d recommend to reluctant realists.
Hereville by Barry Deutsch: I really enjoyed this one–a graphic novel about a Orthodox Jewish girl who fights trolls. It sounds zany, but it has some great moments, both funny and touching. I loved the expressiveness of Deutsch’s characters, and the different color palettes.
Venetia by Georgette Heyer: A book I consistently enjoy, especially because Venetia is so outrageous. It’s not in my top five Heyer books, but it’s pretty close.
Riddle of the Wren by Charles de Lint: I had acquired this somewhere and thought I should probably actually read it. It’s a fine high fantasy, but I wasn’t impressed by it. It felt pretty derivative and unoriginal.
Face Down Among the Winchester Geese by Kathy Lynn Emerson: I enjoyed the first few books in this series, but parts of this one severely tested my suspension of disbelief. Not sure if I’ll keep going with the series or not.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, so picking this one up was pretty natural. I liked it a lot, except for that problem of seeing the correct solution so obviously and the characters being blind to it. Gaaah.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but ended up liking it a lot. One of the major things I liked is a big spoiler, so I won’t say it, but it made me happy. I liked Rory’s different worlds and the uncomfortableness of when they overlap. And for myself, I looked at it more as a mystery than as a paranormal story, for whatever reason, so I wasn’t creeped out as much as I was intrigued. The mystery had a great solution, I thought! And, I know I’m supposed to dislike Charlotte, but she dresses up as Amy Pond! I cannot do it!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Unlike most of the rest of the world, I liked this one, but wasn’t IN LOVE with it. The photographs are a huge part of the story, and some of them are genuinely unsettling. I liked Jacob and the sense of weirdness* that pervaded the book. But I was not convinced by the romance and I wanted a little more from the ending.
* Which I mean in a very specific, hard to define sense
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: So, I’d never read this, which seems like a hue omission on my part. Anyway, I really enjoyed it! All the sly jokes about London made me laugh, but also made me want to go back even more. Also, the author picture on the back was quite funny. Little Neil Gaiman!**
**I’m sure he was actually the same height, but he just looks young.
Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer: I hardly ever re-read this one, and after having read it, I remembered why. There’s a certainly type of Heyer which I tend not to enjoy as much, and this is party of that type. It’s not nearly as bad as a couple of others, but I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the story or the romance.
The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer: I re-read this one, because I hadn’t in awhile, and enjoyed it hugely. I’m fondest of the sensible heroines, and Sir Waldo and Ancilla are both so nice that this was a lovely read.
Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson: This had an interesting take on werewolf mythology, and a nice case of realizing that your parents aren’t as nonsensical as they sometimes seem. I was less convinced by the romance, though I believe there’s a second book, so that might change my mind.
The Documents in the Case by Dorothy Sayers: I thought I would re-read this one, since I’ve only previously read it once. The problem really is that my sympathies were so clearly marked from the beginning of the book that the solution, rather than being a surprise, seemed like the only right and possible one.
A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer: Another re-read. ON my first time through, I liked this but didn’t love it. This time, I really, really, really liked it. Ah, Faris! Ah, Tyrian! Ah, Greenlaw! *happy swoon* I do love a good college story, and this definitely fit the bill. I remember liking the second book even better than the first, so we’ll see how that one fares.
The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer: A bit of a let-down after The Nonesuch; I suspect I would have liked it better if I hadn’t had Waldo and Ancilla in my head still. Unfortunately, the heroine of this one is such a drip!
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: This is in a similar category as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I think. I loved the worldbuilding and largely liked Elisa’s journey. I was intrigued by the way the relationships panned out–certainly unusual for the current crop of YA! And yet, I never felt that spark that really pushed me over the edge into love. I’m hoping for another book, though, because I did enjoy the world, and I often find second books stronger than first ones.
Madam, Will You Talk by Mary Stewart: The mystery part of this one was fun, but OH THE RIDICULOUS ROMANCE! I just sat there, going, “Uh….” [In case you couldn’t tell, I have STRONG OPINIONS on the romances in books, which may or may not have any bearing on reality.]
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer: I like this one, which I had mostly forgotten about. Although Amanda can be a tad annoying, she’s also a more compassionate character than some of her type. And Hester is great. (I do so love a competent heroine.)
Across the Great Barrier by Patricia C. Wrede: Second in the Frontier Magic series. My reaction to these is a little odd, because I keep expecting something really big to happen, and then it never quite seems to materialize. I mean, it’s fine–not every book needs a huge finale, and these are a bit more intimate in scope. And I do like Eff a lot.
Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck: I think the word to describe this is cute. I felt for Helena, the oldest mouse, who must care for her younger siblings as they travel across the Atlantic with their Upstairs family. And I thought Peck did a lovely job of creating her voice and her way of looking at the world. Anthropomorphized? Yes, but in a way that also shows the mouseness of her.
Skyship Academy by Nick James: Sort of dystopian, but in a very different vein than most others. I liked it, though I totally called one of the big twists. The whole thing was very clearly a setup for a series, which is fine. Just expect a fair number of unresolved points.