Murder by Misrule

I think it’s tricky to have true historical figures in a novel, and even more so when said figure is a main character–and the main plot is not historical.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed this mystery with Francis Bacon as the leader of a group of amateur sleuths.   The characters are well-drawn; the details enlightening, and the mystery itself intriguing.

Does My Head Look Big In This?

This is a frequently funny, occasionally poignant story about an Arab-Australian teenager who decides she’s going to start wearing the hijab full-time (including to her private school.)  It dives right into serious issues without making them seem at all heavy (faith, women’s rights, cross-cultural communication, the immigrant experience, getting along in families).  It also touches on lots of lighter teenage experiences.  It was a fun, worthwhile read.

Rejection, Romance & Royalties

This collection of essays about making a living as a fiction writer had me laughing out loud and reading extended sections (when I could get them out without cracking up) to my critique group and long-suffering husband.  Besides being a healthy dose of fun, these  essays were practical and encouraging.  I’m currently borrowing my copy from the library, but I may just get one of my own. Yes, it’s that good.  If you’re a writer, or even if you just need a good laugh, you might want to check this book out.

The Apple of My Eye

In this story of love and loss, Brea Cass must learn who her husband really was in order to deal with his death and move forward in her life.  It’s a little bit love story, little bit mystery, little bit tale of friendship and finding oneself.  The characters are interesting, and the story fairly well told.  Worth reading for sure.

Dragon of Ash and Stars

This was a Bookbub title I picked up for free, but it was worth so much  more than the nonexistent price I paid.  This is one of only a couple of ebook titles I’ve read that I may try to obtain in actual paper (the others are Audacity and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay).

Dragon of Ash and Stars is a beautifully written coming of age story, with a unique voice (the narrator is a dragon).  The world building is rich, the details exquisite, and the story reminiscent of Black Beauty.  The main character is complex, realistically flawed, and extraordinarily sympathetic despite (or perhaps as a result of) feeling distinctly not-human.

If you’re into fantasy, I’d strongly recommend this book.

The Mage and the Magpie

A nice little fantasy with interesting characters and some great description.  I thoroughly enjoyed it up until close to the end.  Then I got a bit weirded out by the bizarre religious rituals and the suggestion that thirteen is old enough to be a mother–of any kind.

Still, a fun read, that traditional fantasy lovers would probably like.

 

The Frozen Sky

At the beginning of this story, I felt disoriented and unconnected from the characters. I almost gave up on the book.

I’m glad I didn’t.  While the character development wasn’t as rich as I’d prefer, it got better.  The real strength of the piece, though, was the exploration of how two radically different cultures might interact at first contact (and how politics would play into that interaction).

Well worth reading.