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.


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Even though the publishing tips are outdated (it doesn’t even mention the possibility of self-publishing), I’d definitely recommend this to any writer friends who’d like a craft refresher or a pep talk.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


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?

An Acceptable Time

A nice enough story about Polly, one of Meg and Calvin’s kids, but it doesn’t have quite the magic of A Wrinkle in Time or the other books in that series.  I’m not entirely sure what makes the difference.  It might be that the science is more fantasy than science.  It might be that the world-building relies a bit too much on the reader having read the other books–I didn’t feel as fully immersed in the story here.

However, if I weren’t comparing it to the amazing experience of Wrinkle, this book would do quite well.  It’s well written, with great characters and complex problems that come to a satisfying, not too simplistic, resolution.  A good book.  Not, perhaps, one I’ll keep coming back to, but one I’m glad I read.

Burial Rites

Extraordinarily well written, with fascinating characters, and lush details. I’ve never visited Iceland (and certainly not in the 19th century), but I feel like I’ve been there now.

Not a happy story, though. It has redemptive elements, but not that touch of joy and hope that makes me want to read books over and over. Glad I read it once, though.

The Goblin War

As I’ve probably mentioned before, one of the great things about RMFW conferences is the number of books we get in the swag bag. I love, love, love going home with enough to keep me busy–for a bit anyway.

The Goblin War is one of these.  I certainly never would have picked up only book three of a series if I’d been choosing the book myself.

All the same, I wasn’t too lost when I got dropped into the middle of a story that follows trio of young people and their goblin friends as they tramp through a couple of connected worlds, restoring balance and justice. In fact, I was interested enough that I’ll probably try to track down the first couple of books, so I can get a better idea of the whole picture.