Best reads of the past month:
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
This is Marillier's first foray into YA lit and I will confess, I did smile knowingly to myself from time to time, thinking about what the book would be like if she'd written the same story for adults. She's just so good at tension and darkness and the otherworldly that this combination Frog Prince/Twelve Dancing Princesses/Vampire story would make a delicious non-YA. That said, it was a wonderful story and I found myself fascinated to see how she tied together the two familiar (though not necessarily similar) fairy tales, set it in Romania and added in a dollop of vampire lore for good measure. Very imaginative.
The China Garden by Liz Berry
This was part mystery, part fantasy and it kept reminding me of a YA-Mary Stewart novel. Particularly Touch Not the Cat. The rambly old English estate, the family inextricably tied to the land, the ESP. Add some exploration of ancient pagan rites meets early Christianity and you have The China Garden. A fun read.
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Ok, this was pure fluff. But it made for a fun night's reading curled up on the couch with a blanket and some hot apple cider. I saw it recommended somewhere for fans of Carolyn Mackler and the similarities are certainly there. I prefer Mackler's main characters. They seem a little more willing to take control of their lives when chaos ensues. That said, I enjoyed reading about Roo's adventures at Tate Prep and the sessions with her shrink, Dr. Z, are hilarious.
Valiant by Holly Black
I held off picking up Valiant because, though I definitely enjoyed Tithe (its predecessor), I'm a little tired of Tam Lin retellings. I don't seem capable of being fully satisfied with any of them. Just not my fairy tale, I guess. So I waited for Valiant to come out in paperback and then I picked it up. So glad I did. Though set in the same "world" as Tithe, this urban fantasy is a Black original and I enjoyed it so much I missed Val and Ravus and that crystal sword for a week after finishing it.
Best rereads of the past month:
A Woman of the People by Benjamin Capps
I first read this book in my 7th grade English class in San Antonio as part of our Texas literature unit. I loved it then and hadn't read it since. All the research I've been doing on the history of Native American tribes and their interactions with early settlers reminded me of this book and I managed to find a copy to reread (my old one is in storage. sigh). It was as wonderful and heartbreaking as I remember it being.
The Road Home and Life Without Friends by Ellen Emerson White
Sometimes I need good dialogue so bad that rereading a White is the only solution. Guaranteed to cure any reading slump.