Shanghai Girls

A beautifully-written book about two sisters who are chased from their beautiful life in 1930s Shanghai to the US by their father’s gambling debts and the Japanese invasion.  The characters and setting are very well drawn, and the plot is both enlightening and heartbreaking.  Immigration to this country has never been easy, especially for those who have to deal with racism on top of the trauma of leaving their homeland.

The ending doesn’t give me as much closure as I prefer, but I still found this a very, very good book.

Circle of Gold

Recommended to me by K, this is a beautiful tale about a young girl whose family is weighed down by grief, and the lengths that girl will go to to show her mother love and earn her mother’s approval.  It’s more serious than K’s usual fare, and that’s all to the good.  (There’s nothing wrong with cotton candy, but I don’t think it should become a staple of our diet.)  At any rate, this is a good story, well told.  Definitely worth reading (and it takes no time at all if you’re used to adult-length novels).

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.

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.

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.