Thursday, July 18, 2019

2019 book 88

Ally Condie's Summerlost
I no longer remember why this was on my library hold list, but I am glad it was! It's about a twelve year old girl who, after her father and brother die in an accident, moves with her mother and other brother to her mother's hometown for the summer. And gets a job working at a local Shakespeare-themed festival with a boy on her street, as one does. This a really great novel about grief, friendship, family, and finding your people. A moving and engaging read. A/A-.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

2019 book 87

Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone's This is How You Lose the Time War
This was a really fun read--it's about two time travelers working for opposing forces, meddling with time to try and bring their own group's version about, who start writing to each other and eventually fall for each other! What a great concept! I was not super into the narrative voice(s) for whatever reason, but thought the characters and settings were really interesting, and did definitely enjoy reading this. B+.

Monday, July 15, 2019

2019 book 86

Casey McQuiston's Red, White, and Royal Blue
Y'all know YA romances are not really my jam, but this was sooooo cuuuuuute. Our protagonist is the First Son, son of the first woman president, who accidentally causes a bit of a scandal with an English prince--so now the two have to pretend to be bros to stave off the bad publicity for both countries. But will a romance cause even MORE scandal??? Their growing friendship (and MORE!) mostly worked for me, plus I liked that they were both in their 20s and not in high school, so I was more invested in their lives and in them working things out. Just a really nice and cathartic read. A-.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 book 85

Jo Walton's Lent
I generally like Walton's books a lot, and was intrigued by descriptions of her latest, about a real historical priest guy in fifteenth century Florence, dealing with politics and whatnot, who discovers sometime about himself that changes everything. But the thing is, that twist doesn’t come until halfway through, so I had to read many, many pages of Catholic guys talking about Catholicism to get to that point (I almost abandoned this book more than once). The second half of the book was more interesting, and I thought the character work was really strong, but it too was steeped in Catholicism, and I just found it off-putting. The writing here is great, and Walton really brings Florence to life, I just think I’d have appreciated this more if I cared about Christianity and related philosophy. I’m Jewish, so I don't. B.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019 book 84

Melina Marchetta's The Jellicoe Road
I am perpetually amazed at how Marchetta takes a story full of tragedy and angst and somehow makes it . . . uplifting. I mean, this book makes you feel the full gamut of human emotions! And the way she weaves the two plots together, peppering little clues throughout is kind of masterful. I don’t know why this story of two generations of teens resonates so much with me, but every time I read it, I love it more.

2019 book 83

T. Kingfisher's Swordheart
When the world is getting you down, it's time to retreat into a fantasy world by rereading an awesome and funny book with enchanted sword-men, lawyers, and a sensible heroine, all trying to outwit a bunch of scheming relatives and pitiless priests. Mayhem and adventures ensue! And lots and lots of pining. HEART EYESSSSSS. I love this book.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

2019 book 82

Robin Stevens' Murder Most Unladylike
Yes yes, I have read this book several times before, but we're discussing it for book club this month and I wanted the details to be fresh! This may seem like an odd pick for a book club, but one of my friends has a daughter who also loves this series and wanted to check it out, plus it’s nice to read something quick and fun in the summer, PLUS you can’t go wrong with a classic-style mystery set in a British boarding school! And even having read this several time before, I still got all caught up in the action and characters and setting. Just good stuff all around!

Saturday, July 06, 2019

2019 book 81

Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Gods of Jade and Shadow
Moreno-Garcia writes consistently entertaining books, and I loved her latest one. Things start in a small town in Mexico in the 1920s, where a young girl, treated as a servant by her wealthy family, accidentally frees an imprisoned God of Death. Bound to him, she is soon accompanying him on a journey to find his missing parts—and take back his throne from the brother who betrayed him. But his brother has other plans. This plays with folklore and Mayan mythology and the 1920s setting in a really fun way; I loved the characters' journeys (metaphorical and otherwise) and thought the end was GREAT. Really a good read. A/A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on July 23rd.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

2019 book 80

T. Kingfisher's Summer in Orcus
Sometimes I am like, argggggh, why aren’t there more books like Ursula Vernon's? With magic and adventure and sensible heroines and animal friends? And then I realize I can just reread a book by Vernon. She really is writing modern classics! This one plays with portal fantasies and fairy tales in a really satisfying way. There is also a were-house, very handy when you’re on a magical journey! So good.

Monday, July 01, 2019

2019 book 79

Makiia Lucier's Song of the Abyss
The sequel to Lucier's Isle of Blood and Stone is just as entertaining as its predecessor, as little Reyna from the first book, now a teenager determined to become an explorer, deals with pirates and has many adventures and a little bit of romance and an awesome best friend (a girl who wants to be a doctor!). Once again, the plot was not too hard to ferret out, but it was still a super fun read with excellent pacing and great characters. I definitely look forward to whatever Lucier does next. A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in August.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

2019 book 78

Barbara Krasnoff's The History of Soul 2065
This novel is really a series of interconnected short stories, about two interconnected families, starting with the improbable meeting of two little Jewish girls in 1920 and following their descendants. There are fantastic elements and sci-fi elements, and some of it made me cheer and a lot of it made me cry. It’s suffused with Jewish folklore and history and I loved it. Weird but great. A.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019 book 77

Jane Austen's Persuasion
I wanted to reread this because I’m involved in an Austen-themed RPG and needed to refresh my references! I mean, it's also a great book and an enjoyable read. Nothing I can say about this book will be fresh or new, so I will conclude by just saying YAY.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019 book 76

Mona Awad's Bunny
I thought Awad's 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl was GREAT, so was looking forward to her latest, which seems to be getting a lot of buzz. And it had me totally enthralled. It centers on an MFA student, who feels like an outsider, partly for class reasons, and partly because the other four girls in her program are a weird clique who all call each other "Bunny" and spend all their time together. And then they invite her to one of their gatherings, and things start getting . . . weird. Whenever I was reading this, I had to force myself to put it down--it's just totally gripping writing, and dark and funny and creepy. I loved it. A.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

2019 book 75

Lisa Lutz's The Swallows
There are certainly plenty of books out there already about boarding schools full of intrigue and drama (among both the students and the staff), but Lutz's entry into the genre is FIRE EMOJI. She uses multiple POV characters—a new teacher at school with an interesting past; your typical dude teacher writing a thinly veiled novel; and various students trying to bring down a secret website where the male students rate the girls on their blow jobs (!!!)—which keeps things moving along. And of course Lutz is always great with plotting and dark humor; I was totally wrapped up in this, and cheering the building fellowship of angry girls, and hoping for happy endings for all of them. But the first pages warn the readers that things aren’t going to end well. I did think the end maybe veered tooooo much into melodrama, but I couldn’t put it down. A/A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in August.

Friday, June 14, 2019

2019 book 74

Laurie J. Marks' Air Logic
The final chapter of Marks' Logic series is finally here, and she just tosses the reader right back into the pool. After three lengthy books, there are a lot of characters to remember, and I struggled for the first few chapters to remember all their backstories. Eventually I caught on, or realized it didn’t really matter, because this whole series is sort of about the journey. I mean it is also about love (of all kinds, but also there are a lot of queer ppl and it’s nice), and found families, and working through issues, and magic, but also the journey. Maybe that makes it sound dull, but wholemit may not be action-packed, it’s certainly engrossing. Great characters and worldbuilding as always; I will definitely have to reread this from the beginning soon. A/A-.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

2019 book 73

Kate Racculia's Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
I loved both of Racculia's previous books, and honestly have spent the several years since Bellweather Rhapsody periodically googling to see when she might have a new one out. And now she does, and it's DELIGHTFUL. I had to keep putting it down so I wouldn't just tear through it. It centers on the titular Tuesday Mooney, a prospect researcher (this means nothing to most of you, but I have several friends in the field) who--along with her only friend, and a very clever neighbor kid, and a handsome and very wealthy young man, and a cast of other characters--gets sucked into a treasure hunt spurred by the eccentric will of a Boston billionaire. VERY shades of The Westing Game. Oh, also, she is maybe being haunted by her childhood best friend who disappeared mysteriously when they were teens. I loved everything about this book, big-time. I feel like I’m making it sound quirky-cute, but Racculia balances whimsy and realism really well, and there are some darker moments. Anyway, SO GOOD. A.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in October.