I’ve been meaning to read this for months because one of my critique group members recommends everything by Diana Gabaldon.  And yet, somehow, I hadn’t managed it.  I think I was half afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype.

But it really is that good.  The characters and settings are rich, the plot engrossing, and the romance fresh and satisfying.  I’d read it again.  I might even want to replace my e-book copy with an actual book.

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.

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 Finishing Touches

K. gave me this one for a birthday a couple of years ago. As I understand it, she picked it up off some bargain table to fit it into her budget, so I had some qualms starting it. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a well-written, sweet-yet-modern romance (real world, fairly modern problems, but it’s PG at the most). I love returning to this book when I’m stressed out and want something hopeful and not too straining on the brain, and I keep looking for sequels. Alas, nothing new so far as I can tell.

Signs of You

I pre-ordered this book months ago when I first heard it was coming out in part because I’ve met Emily France, and she’s lovely, but mostly because I had seen or heard just a bit of the story at some RMFW event and was longing to read the rest.

It does not disappoint. Riley and her three best friends are vividly drawn, complex people, all of them sympathetic, all of them flawed. I find myself fascinated by the adventure they go on together to unravel the paranormal puzzle that is further tangling their already complicated lives, and I’m fully involved in the story right to the very end. The love story is sweet, and even the present tense doesn’t grate on me the way narrative present usually does–at least not after the first page or so.

Definitely a read I’d recommend. (But probably for kids a bit older than mine.)

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

I must have read some Sherlock Holmes stories before–I’m sure I must have.  But I can’t recall doing so.  I’ve seen movies and TV shows, serious takes and spoofs.  But this might be the first time I’ve read the real thing.

The real thing doesn’t disappoint. Sherlock is brilliant and quirky, Watson grounded and real.  The problems are ingenious, and though I still prefer novels to short stories, I enjoyed every one of these. I believe I’m keeping this book.  I may even keep an eye out for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s other collections.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

My kids and I have been reading through the Harry Potters together for several months, and have just finished number five.  We started this set because the kids are getting pressure from classmates to read and discuss the books, but I don’t want my two reading them on their own yet.  This is the compromise we came up with.

Reading these aloud, I notice things I didn’t when reading them to myself–unfortunate things like awkward dialogue tags and the overuse of adverbs. But the story is just as brilliant, the world just as rich, the characters just as complex and finely drawn, and the humor just as delightful.  And the experience is more meaningful when I read with my kids.

I love the way we get to the end of a section and they beg for more.  I love the conversations that get started around the dinner table about what good families are like and who to trust and how to make good choices and how the world isn’t divided into good people and Death Eaters–that evil can take many forms and faces, some of which initially appear to be good.  I love the way the kids get inspired to create their own worlds as they emerge from this one.

I’ve always loved these books.  I love them even more now that my family is experiencing them together.

Career of Evil

This is the third Cormoran Strike novel, a deliciously complicated psychological mystery by Robert Galbraith (otherwise known as J.K. Rowling).  I first picked up the Galbraith novels because I love Rowling’s work, but I keep reading them because they’re wonderful.

I love Cormoran Strike, Robin Ellacott, and the way the relationship between them sparks with chemistry and confusion, even more than if they were romantically involved.  I love the complexity of the other characters and the richness of the world.  I love the insight the work gives into the everyday struggles of living in modern London.

I also like the mystery itself.  There’s plenty of suspense and enough red herrings to keep me guessing until fairly late in the story.  Altogether, an excellent book of its type.  Galbraith has become one of my favorite mystery authors, one of the very few whose works I keep around on my shelves for re-reading.


A fun little book by Ingrid Law. I enjoyed every minute–from meeting Mibs Beaumont and her unusual family, through the crisis that befalls them, through the swashbuckling adventure Mibs undertakes to try and solve the problem, all the way to the semi-sweet (my favorite kind) finish. This–right here–is why I love young adult literature. It’s so nice that my kids bring home plenteous quantities of it.