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.

Fledgling

I enjoyed this story about a young woman with a serious medical problem and the young man who befriends her at her new school even though it could have used a better copy edit.  It also leaned a bit too heavily on Twilight for my taste.

Still, a fun read with some interesting characters.

The Mind Readers

I enjoyed this dip into the life of a young woman who can tell what everyone around her is thinking.  I did find myself wondering why her grandma didn’t prepare her better for the world she was getting into, and why she was so quick to trust a pretty face–though that was explained (but not entirely to my satisfaction) later.

Still, it’s a fun, almost light–if any dystopian novel could be called light–read.  I may try to pick up the sequel if I get past my frustration with an ending that’s a blatant ad for the next book.

See Jane Write: A Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit

I meant to get a book on writing children’s lit from the library, but it wasn’t in, and this was near the empty spot in the stacks (with the “chick lit” part of the title conveniently covered by the library’s bar code). So I picked it up.

I’m glad I did. I’m not sure there’s any advice in here that I hadn’t already heard, but I loved the solid encouragement. Ms. Jacobs and Ms. Mlynowski keep their advice light, but practical, and they wrap the whole book in the attitude that writing novels (and getting them published) is an attainable career path. Maybe not an easy career path, but a possible one.

Plus, they do all this with wit and humor (made me laugh out loud at least twice–had to attempt to explain the jokes to J. and botched the translation–ah, the joys of a multicultural household). They included lots of good examples and a couple of lovely bibliographies, too.

Even though the publishing tips are outdated (it doesn’t even mention the possibility of self-publishing), I’d definitely recommend this to any writer friends who’d like a craft refresher or a pep talk.

Tread Softly on my Dreams

I picked this up long enough ago that when I waded into late eighteenth century Ireland, I had no idea what I was getting into.  My formal history of that time and place is so lacking that most of the names (including Robert Emmet’s) were unfamiliar, and all the events came as a complete surprise to me.

I was impressed with Ms. Browne’s rich characterization and her ability to make the world come alive as if it were happening right now.  The language and thinking patterns of the characters felt a touch modern to me, but I was impressed with the story-telling and the way Ms. Browne infused such a dark story with an underlying sense of undying hope.

At some point, I’ll probably go pick up the others in this series.

Sticks and Stones

Mandy, the heroine in this book, manages to work through an overwhelming burden of grief and guilt without that burden overwhelming the reader–or becoming trivialized. Granted, she’s got magical help, but still, it’s an impressive feat.

I’ll definitely be picking up more of Shawn Mcguire’s books in the future.

Sand

The main characters in this book dive into sand for treasures from the world that’s been buried under the dunes. They spend much of their lives buried, hardly able to breathe because of the weight of sand grinding in on them.

Much of the book, I felt like I, too, was buried, hardly breathing under the weight of that sand. I don’t know whether that’s genius or torture–or maybe both.

The ending comes as a bright, blessed, release. And considering what the ending is, that troubles me.

Anybody else bothered by their reaction to this book?