It's February!! Which means, among other things, that it's time to clean out January's book closet and give out reviews. So here we go.
The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
I picked this up largely because several of my writing group buddies had recommended it as right up my alley. Well it turns out these people know my alley pretty well. I loved it. Super believable characters, lovely writing and no easy fairy-tale answers. It's a surprisingly deep book too, one of those books that you put down and think "Gosh, I'll have to read that again because I'm sure I missed stuff." The last book that hit me like that was Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown, which has since become a favorite. This one is well on its way to becoming a favorite as well.
Rating: 5 stars
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Dang. That's what I thought when I set this book down. It blew me away. And it's a lovely read, in fact I devoured it in one sitting. It makes you think, which I love, and it escaped fatalism and depression, which are the kiss of death for me and a book. I can't say more because I don't' want to spoil it. Very, very well done.
Rating: 4 stars.
The Fate of Mice by Susan Palwick
This collection of short stories about death (eek!) and mortality managed to avoid my depressing radar by being exactly what they were, a varied bunch of short stories. Some of them were more humorous than others, some very sad. (The one about the female werewolf almost made me cry.) But they were all interesting, entertaining and unique, which is hard to do with short stories. I really want to look up this author's novels, as long as she isn't writing more about death.
Rating: 4 stars
Girls Dinner Club by Jessie Elliot
I once had a friend tell me I should write a novel based in real life before I "attempted" fantasy. I told him writing real life was harder, because real life is, by and large, boring.
This book is a good example. It has good writing, and a couple of interesting characters, but I was bored most of the way through. And there seemed to be a lot of predicable and cliched moments. The book had some shining parts, the reasons one of the main characters breaks up with her boyfriend are well-written, realistic and rather sad. But it didn't pull me in. (And that doesn't even take into account all the sex and underage drinking and sneaking out that happens with no serious consequences.) Blah.
Rating: 2 stars
AND THE "OMG, I MUST OWN THIS BOOK!!!" AWARD GOES TO....
The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy by Leonard S. Marcus,
Okay, I HAVE to own this book someday. And so do you. We're beyond five stars here, and into serious covet. This is a collection of interviews with the giants of children's fantasy, such as Brian Jacques, Tamora Pierce, Jane Yolen, Phillip Pullman and Madeline L'Engle. (who I'm still mourning, by the way.)
The interviewees talk about what kind of kids they were, how they did in school, why they started writing and how events like WW2 had an effect on them. It's wonderfully done and totally engaging. All the fantasy writers I know should read it. And then buy one. And then buy another one and send it to me.
Rating: gimme, gimme, gimme!
And speaking of awards...
A couple of days ago, Joanne over at Whole Latte Life, gave me and two other bloggers the Lovely Award.
The Lovey Award is for "blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to three bloggers who must choose three more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
(The award also came with a lovely little picture jpg, which my blog page hates and won't post. You can find it here.)
Thank you Joanne. I love to find friends! And in that spirit, my picks for the Lovely Award are:
PJ Hoover at Roots in Myth
PJ shares my love of turtles, Star Trek and Jurassic Park, and her blog always makes me laugh. What more can you ask for?
Another person with a lovely blog, Gottawrite Girl is always quick with encouragement and interesting insights on the life of a writer. Yah!
Nic at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts.
I don't know about charming... :-) But Nic is very good at being friendly and entertaining. Plus he periodically posts pictures (whoa, alliteration much?) of his kids, who are the most adorable things ever. And I'm not just saying that because they're my niece and nephew....
So check these guys out if you can. And we'll be back with more No One Ever Told Me on Wednesday!