Tag Archives: Philip Reeve

January 2012 book list

Books I’ve already talked about:
Elin’s Amerika by Marguerite De Angeli
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (and here and here). And it’s just as lovely on a re-read.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Lost by Jacqueline Davies
The Map of My Dead Pilots by Colleen Mondor
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer (you guys, the image at the end of the Duke waiting for his aides to come in never fails to bring me to tears)
Among Others by Jo Walton (and here and here). And most definitely holds up to re-reading.
Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones
Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones
The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones

False Scent struck me this time as much less about the murder and much more about the characters.

Alchemy by Margaret Mahy: I’ve been trying to find copies of the Mahy books I haven’t read. So far, none of them have struck me quite as much as The Tricksters or The Changeover, though Alchemy was nice.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare: So, it’s official. I prefer the Infernal Devices series to the Mortal Instruments books. BY FAR. (Did I ever tell the story about stopping in the middle of the fourth TMI book?) I actually LIKE the way the love triangle is set-up–neither of the boys is clearly actually the right one for Tessa at this point, and they all feel like real characters in their own right. I especially like that Will and Jem are, you know, friends. For the record Tessa/Jem, though I don’t think it will last.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: This was billed as zombie romance for people who don’t like zombies–at least, that’s the impression I got from several reviews. It fell into the category of books that I appreciate but don’t love. For me, there was some kind of emotional disconnect that kept me from getting engrossed in it. I think I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Legend by Marie Lu: This book felt like the distillation of all the dystopia stereotypes. I was hopeful about it, because the Asian-American aspect sounded interesting, and there’s a sneaky street thief! But I didn’t believe in the characters or the plot and the political background didn’t work for me at all. In short, one I wanted to like and didn’t.

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett: A re-telling of the Theseus myth. It’s nice in that the two narratives of Ariadne and Theseus worked well–distinct from each other without being overly gimmicky. And it created a compelling alternate narrative of the myth, in the way that good re-tellings do. I wasn’t completely wild about Ariadne’s epilogue, but it was a minor problem in a nice story.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu: I’d read conflicting reviews about this one, so I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. I found myself pleasantly surprised–there were some moments that didn’t work for me, but overall I really enjoyed it! I especially liked the fact that Ursu takes the inevitable Narnia comparison and explicitly addresses it in a way that makes her Snow Queen creepier. The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that Hazel, who knows her fairy tales, had apparently never heard of Hans Christian Andersen?

A Web of Air by Philip Reeve: I loooved Fever Crumb, so I was both excited and anxious about this book. I like the new world that Reeve builds, and the development of Fever’s character. I wasn’t quite as enamored of this one as I was of the first book, though, partly because the emotional heart of the first book was the London setting. Still, looking forward to the next one very much!

Light Raid by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice: I wasn’t super wild about Water Witch, the other book I’ve read by these two authors. Light Raid, on the other hand, I really enjoyed! I liked the feeling of a futuristic World War II and kept thinking I was reading one of the Oxford books (minus the time travel). I also thought I had the plot called and then it totally surprised me! And the romance was nice as well.

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart: A mystery on the Isle of Skye (anyone else grow up with the Skye Boat song?). It was quite creepy in an enjoyable way, and the descriptions are beautiful. I’m not sure what I think about the relationship aspect on this one.

The Red Keep by Allen French: A tale of chivalry and knighthood in medieval Burgundy. It’s a nice example of its type, but includes some self-aware moments that aren’t necessarily typical. Also, the heroine is not a damsel in distress, but she still feels of her time, so yay!

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe: A medical thriller, of sorts. I never quite connected to the characters, I think because I had heard some of what was going to happen on Twitter (and granted, it’s pretty obvious from the beginning of the book), and so I didn’t let myself get too invested. It’s still worth reading, and I think could be sold to some dystopia fans looking for another option.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: You guys, I really liked this book! In case it’s not clear, I’ve been very burnt-out with the dystopian genre, and I almost didn’t read this one. But I’d seen a few good reviews, so I decided to try anyway. And yay! It has the typical focus on the romance, but it wasn’t an Insta-Attraction thing, and I bought the characters and their journey and cheered for them. It also has some nice worldbuilding–Perry is actually from Outside, which is something we aren’t seeing a lot of at the moment. In short, I’m so glad I read it and I’m hoping for a sequel.

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart: Set on Crete, this was not my favorite Stewart. The mystery/romance aspect is fine, but I just like the English books the best (Ivy Tree and Thornyhold are still my favorites). Also, there was one moment where I just had to laugh about an Orthodox detail, though in general she got the feel of things right.

Parsley Sage, Rosemary & Time by Jane Louise Curry: A nice old-fashioned time travel book, with an emphasis on the characters. I called one of the major twists about 20 pages before the characters did, but it was still fun, and I liked Rosemary’s journey from prim to wild.

Schoolhouse in the Woods by Rebecca Caudill: This book gives us Bonnie Fairchild’s first year at school, in the Kentucky hills in the early 1900s. It’s a sweet story with nice illustrations, and Caudill has an ear for the language. I do like her more adult books better as this one felt a bit thin at times.

Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny: My first Zelazny–I ended up liking it quite a lot. I could see echoes in Stardust–the princes fighting for the crown, I think. Also loved Corwin’s voice, which manages to be both distant and engaging. I wasn’t always wild about the way the tone went back and forth between very archaic and contemporary. I get what Zelazny was trying to do, but I’m not sure it always worked.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whalley: This read like a typical Printz winner–a self-aware male narrator, a hint of bad things that might happen smoothed over by a happy resolution. It’s a fine book, but I wouldn’t personally have given it the award.

The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix
A Mind to Murder by P.D. James
They Do it With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
Unnatural Death by P.D. James
A Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
Betrayal by Lee Nichols
The Sirens Sang of Murder by Sarah Caudwell
The Catalogue of the Universe by Margaret Mahy
The Will and the Deed by Ellis Peters
Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James
The Black Tower by P.D. James
The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Lion in the Box by Marguerite De Angeli

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September book list

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan: A sort-of Sleeping Beauty, in the future. Reviewed {here}

Pegasus by Robin McKinley: A re-read. I loved it again, but it’s getting harder and harder to not know the ending. I’m also very afraid for my favorite of Sylvi’s brothers. I hope events prove me wrong, but eeeeep.

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern: Mixed feelings. Reviewed {here}

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton: Victorian literature WITH DRAGONS! Reviewed {here}

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater: A nice end to the trilogy. Reviewed {here}

False Colors by Georgette Heyer: One of my favorite Heyer novels. I think I like this one partly because it’s a mad situation, but the characters aren’t just in it for larks.

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer: For some reason I wasn’t super wild about this one the first time I read it. I enjoyed it much more this time through, though I think Devil’s Cub will always top it.

The Hidden Coronet by Catherine Fisher: Third book in the series. Reviewed {here}

Jhereg; Yendi; Teckla by Steven Brust: A good, solid fantasy series. Reviewed {here}

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce: I bought a copy of this at a recent library booksale, despite not having entirely positive memories of it. It had been a long time since I read it, and I loved StarCrossed. I liked this one much more than I had remembered, but Digger will always be my favorite. (Liar’s Moon! November!)

Od Magic by Patricia McKillip: This is an odd one–I love some of the images and enjoy the characters, but it never crosses into LOVE.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab: This was another book that I liked and felt like I should have loved. In this case, I’m not quite sure what kept me from loving it. Somehow I was expecting the plot to go a different route, though I did like what happened. And there was some insta-attraction, but the way it was handled didn’t leave me too bothered. And yet, somehow I was in the wrong mood or not engaged, or SOMETHING.

Lavinia by Ursula LeGuin: I fell in love with this book. Reviewed {here}

The Knocker at Death’s Door by Ellis Peters: I got this at a thrift store, because it’s Ellis Peters and she’s a bit hard to find. It’s not my favorite–it’s a bit gruesome and the romance at the end comes up pretty quickly. But it was still nice to re-read it.

Taltos by Steven Brust: The chronological beginning of the series. Explained some things. Other things made more sense having read later books. So, I’d say read this series in whatever order you like.

The Mystery of Mont Saint Michel by Michel Rouze: I had bought this awhile ago and never read it. A straightforward French kids mystery. It was pretty dated, though, and not in a good way.

The Heart of Veridon by Tim Akers: I can’t even tell you how long it took me to read this book. I was not wild about it–too much noir detective about the main character. Also, I didn’t care about Emily and I was obviously supposed to. There was some nice imagery, though.

Keeper by Kathi Appelt: I know a lot of people really liked this book, but I’ll just cut to the chase: I didn’t. It felt like a stereotypical Newbery book–and I don’t mean that in a good way. Kid on quest to find parent and/or parent figure. For me, there was little that was original or interesting about it.

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon: I think I liked this even better than the first book! I loved the backstory and the complexity that it gave Zhong Ye. I liked the fact that Ai Ling chose to do things for bad reasons. She’s far from a perfect heroine, but I enjoyed her character and her story.

And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle: I’m kind of iffy on L’Engle’s early writing–some of it I like, some of it I don’t. This is probably my favorite of her earlier books.

The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse: One of the reasons I loved Lavinia was the fact that I felt it brought a forgotten character of the source material to life, while still being in harmony with the source. Now, granted that I know Beowulf a lot better than I know the Aeneid, this is exactly where Coming of the Dragon falls short. It’s a nice coming of age story, but to me it never read as Beowulf.

No Such Thing As Dragons by Philip Reeve: I liked the various questions about identity and belief that it brought up. And on consideration, I decided that a certain spoilery bit at the end didn’t, in fact, bother me. But I never really loved it either.

Face Down Upon an Herbal by Kathy Lynn Emerson: An Elizabethan mystery, featuring a woman detective. While I find that aspect of it a bit dubious at times, it’s a fun read, and one of my favorite periods of history.

The Circle by Peter Lovesey: A contemporary mystery with little to set it apart. It’s part of a larger series, I believe, and I might have enjoyed it more if I had more investment in the detectives. But as it is, I don’t particularly care enough to keep reading.

The Margrave by Catherine Fisher: The last of the Relic-Master series. Overall, I liked it, though I did feel cheated of a certain moment which I had banked on happening and which didn’t occur. Left me feeling a bit defrauded.

Face Down in a Marrow-Bone Pie by Kathy Lynn Emerson: This is actually the first Lady Susannah mystery. I read them out of order. Because of that, some of the twists were spoiled for me, though the central mystery wasn’t.

Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede: Second book in the Enchanted Forest series, and the first to actually take place in the Enchanted Forest. These are, as always a mix of zany humor and zippy plots. However, the relationship between Mendenbar and Cimorene seems to have a little more reality to it than the rest.

Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer: Not one of my favorites, but I hadn’t read it in awhile either.

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter: This series continues to be a huge amount of fun! We get to delve into Uncle Eddie’s past, too, as well as develop the vexing question of Kat and Hale’s relationship.

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones: I remembered not liking this one very much, and…yeah. It’s eerie and unsettling and somehow bothers me in a way that no other Diana Wynne Jones story ever has. I’m struggling to put exactly what’s so bothersome into words, but it’s certainly there.

The Shattering by Karen Healey: There are lots of things about this that are great, from the setting to the characters. And yet somehow I was left with the same sort of unsettled, bothered feeling that I got from Time of the Ghost. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I read them in fairly close succession. But I do pay attention to what state a book leaves me in, and in this case it was a strange, scared one.

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card: Some good tips, but also some things that are very outdated, and some others that I just didn’t quite agree with.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold: A reread. Very strange to go back to the beginning and see Cordelia and Aral so unfinished, as it were. The outline is there, but the details are far from filled in. Still, what a great beginning! And it’s so necessary if you want to understand Miles’s character.

Dark Parties by Sara Grant: I’m not sure I’m giving this a fair reading, because I’m so sick of dystopian fiction I could cry. But it read like yet another dystopian story. There’s a slight twist in that the main character is torn between the Boy and her best friend, rather than two boys. And yet, there wasn’t enough to really redeem this book for me.

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