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.

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.