amysisson's 2016 book list
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1. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. General fiction. Read 01-19-16.
2. Birdology by Sy Montgomery. Nonfiction. Read 01-21-16.
3. The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell. Science fiction. Read 02-25-16.
4. Octopussy and The Living Daylights, and Other Stories by Ian Fleming. Thriller. Listened 03-04-16.
5. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felician Day. Nonfiction / memoir. Read 03-18-16.
6. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty. General fiction. Read 04-14-16.
7. Tor.com: Selected Original Fiction, 2008-2012. Science fiction/fantasy. Listened 05-19-16.
8. Dinny Gordon, Freshman by Anne Emery. Vintage YA. Read 05-24-16 (repeat).
9. Dinny Gordon, Sophomore by Anne Emery. Vintage YA. Read 05-24-16 (repeat).
10. Dinny Gordon, Junior by Anne Emery. Vintage YA. Read 05-24-16 (repeat).
11. Dinny Gordon, Senior by Anne Emery. Vintage YA. Read 05-25-16 (repeat).
12. Lucky Miss Spaulding by Eleranor Arnett Nash. Vintage YA. Read 05-27-16 (repeat).
13. Freshman at Large by Pearl Bucklen Bentel. Vintage YA. Read 05-27-16.
14. That Girl Andy by Florence Crannell Means. Vintage YA. Read 06-02-16.
15. New Boy in Town by Jan Nickerson. Vintage YA. Read 06-05-16.
16. When the Heart is Ready by Jan Nickerson. Vintage YA. Read 06-14-16 (repeat).
17. Karen Presents... by Helen Reynolds. Vintage YA. Read 06-21-16.
18. Curtain Call by Adèle De Leeuw. Vintage YA. Read 06-23-16.
19. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (anthology), edited by Stephanie Perkins. Short stories (YA). Read 06-28-16. (actual average 3.13)
20. Future for Sale by Adèle de Leeuw. Vintage YA. Read 06-30-16 (repeat).
21. Adventure in Store by Helen Miller Swift. Vintage YA. Read 07-04-16 (repeat).
22. Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. Children's fantasy. Read 07-14-16.
23. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey. Mystery. Read 07-22-16.
24. Cinderella for Short by Peggy O'More. Vintage YA. Read 07-25-16.
25. The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson. Read 08-05-16 (repeat).
26. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. SF. Read 08-10-16.
27. Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. SF. Read 09-01-16.
28. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Children's SF. Read 09-03-16 (repeat).
29. Runaway Alice by Frances Salomon Murphy. Children's. Read 09-09-16.
30. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth: Book 1) by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. Read 09-14-16.
31. Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Children's (mainstream). Read 09-15-16.
32. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. YA (fantasy). Read 09-22-16.
33. The Transformation of Lawrence Croft (The Con-Dorks Saga Vol. 1). Fantasy. Read 10-1-16.
34. Soulless (Parasol Protectorate 1) by Gail Carriger. Fantasy. Read 10-21-16 (repeat).
34. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate 2) by Gail Carriger. Fantasy. Read 11-05-16 (repeat).
35. Die Tribute von Panem: Tödliche Spiele (The Hunger Games 1) by Suzanne Collins. YA (SF). Read in German 11-09-16.
36. In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor. British (mainstream). Read 11-12-16.
37. Calvin by Martine Leavitt. YA. Read 11-21-16.
38. Survivors (Star Trek: The Next Generation) by Jean Lorrah. SF. Read 12-04-16.
39. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate 3) by Gail Carriger. Fantasy. Read 12-10-16 (repeat).
Audio book - 2
Print - 37
TOTAL - 39
REPEAT OR NEW?
Repeat - 14
New - 24
New in German, previously read in English - 1
TOTAL - 39
English - 38
German - 1
TOTAL - 39
Children's - fantasy - 1
Children's - general fiction - 2
Children's - science fiction - 1
Fantasy - 5
General fiction - 2
Literature - American -
Literature - British - 1
Mystery - 1
Nonfiction - 2
Science fiction - 5
Science fiction & fantasy short fiction - 1
Thriller - 1
YA - fantasy - 1
YA - general fiction -
YA - historical fiction -
YA - historical -
YA - short fiction - 1
YA - science fiction - 1 (German)
YA - vintage - 14
TOTAL - 39
Book 1. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. General fiction. Read 01-19-16.
This is a kind of unique novel, with each chapter from a different POV. The first chapter is from the perspective of a chef whose wife has left him, along with their baby girl, for a sommelier and a life not tied down by family. The second chapter is from the perspective of that baby girl, Eva, who is now an eleven-year-old.
Even though Eva truly is the main character of the book, that's the only chapter we see through her eyes; the rest of the chapters are about people who encounter her, sometimes in profound but sometimes in only tangential ways. Each chapter (aside from the last, which brings things together) also focuses on an ingredient or food item that will prove important to Eva in some way during her journey from an awkward misfit to a highly sought after but elusive celebrity chef.
I enjoyed this. It's uneven in a way, as I quite disliked a few of the viewpoint characters, so reading their POV was not as enjoyable as I would have liked. But I very much admire the way the author put this story together, and it's quite satisfying.
Book 2. Birdology by Sy Montgomery. Nonfiction. Read 01-21-16.
I'd long been meaning to read this book, after having read the first chapter (on raising chickens) some years before as an excerpt in an inflight magazine. For each chapter, the author focuses on a different type of bird -- the book's subtitle is "Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur".
While the chapter on chickens probably remains my favorite, I was also fascinated by the hummingbirds chapter, in which the author visits a woman who rehabilitates abandoned baby hummingbirds. I know someone who rebabs wildlife creatures such as deer, squirrels, snakes, and some birds, and I thought that was impressive, but a baby hummingbird needs to be fed every 20 minutes from sun-up to sun-down, and it faces a lot of other perils as well.
Occasionally, the author's prose gets a little purple, but overall, I definitely recommend this book. We're surrounded by fascinating creatures, and it does us good to learn a little bit more about them.
Book 3. The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell. Science fiction. Read 02-25-16.
This post-pandemic novel reminded me a lot of Peter Heller's The Dog Stars, in that the main character has a unique, not entirely coherent narrative voice that's a direct result of what has happened to them. In both cases, I started the book thinking "I'll never get through a few hundred pages written like this," but in both cases the linguistic idiosyncrasies quickly became transparent and natural to me.
In The Only Ones, a character who goes simply by "I" (for Inez) survives from day to day by doing work in dangerous areas that have been touched by the many viruses that have swept the globe, or by donating blood, teeth, or tissue samples. She is a "hardy," or someone who is immune, for reasons unknown, to every plague and virus she has so far encountered. Her life changes drastically when a former veterinarian dabbling in animal cloning wants to see whether her "hardiness" can be passed on to offspring, in a world where children are so scare that people stare at them on the streets.
This novel was issued by a fairly small publisher and isn't particularly being marketed as science fiction. It's one of those sci-fi books that feels very literary, like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale or even Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. Definitely recommended.
Book 4. Octopussy and The Living Daylights, and Other Stories by Ian Fleming, narrated by Tom Hiddleston and Lucy Fleming. Audiobook story collection. Listened 03-01-16 to 03-04-16.
I was drawn to this audio collection by the prospect of hearing Tom Hiddleston's narration, and also because I've experienced a new interest in James Bond ever since Daniel Craig took over the role. I'd never delved into the fiction before, although I'd heard that it's quite different than the movies. It was fun to listen to these stories (Hiddleston did not disappoint!) and see small elements that made their way into the films.
My two favorite stories were the "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights". "Octopussy" was really a character sketch of the villain, Major Dexter Smythe, who was very unlike the meglomaniac Bond villains we've come to know. And James Bond scarecly makes an appearance in the story. "The Living Daylights" felt more Bond-like to me, as 007 spends three tedious days lying in wait as a sniper sent to kill another sniper.
"The Property of a Lady" seemed very minor to me, and "007 in New York" felt like a complete throwaway. "007 in New York" was the only story of the four read by Lucy Fleming, British actress and niece of the author. I enjoyed her reading as well, but Hiddleston really gave the material something extra.
>4 amysisson: Sounds interesting; I tend to like the dystopian books in that style.
>5 amysisson: That sounds like it's worth a download for Tom Hiddleston's voice acting alone!
I think it is! I'll probably never be a huge Bond fiction fan, but I might try a bit more, and I will definitely look into any further Hiddleston narration I can find (although I can't make up my mind about the Ballard novel.....)
Book 5. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day. Nonfiction / memoir. Read 03-18-16.
This somewhat humorous memoir is about Felicia Day's odd upbringing (she was homeschooled in a rather haphazard fashion), her years of struggling as an actor mainly working in television commercials, her rather serious addiction to online gaming, and her creation and sudden rise to "internet fame" (which she calls being "situationally famous") after she created the Web series The Guild.
I enjoyed this. She's quirky and a little all over the place, but that's kind of why I like her anyway. She struggles with many of the problems common to creative people, including depression, anxiety, and imposter syndrome. I think she's a neat person with a lot to offer the world. The text is interspersed with funny images that she's photoshopped.
Stopped reading The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress. I picked this up in a dollar store yesterday just before going into a hair coloring appointment, so I'd have something to read. I loved the cover and the description; the books is about three young women in a steampunk setting (1900 London). One is assistant to an inventor, one to a combat instructor, and one to a magician.
Alas, I couldn't get past the modern-day phrases:
"No need to get all huffy."
"This place freaked her out."
She got a head rush when she did and had to hold on to the edge of the table for a moment to steady herself.
The first man, like ever, to have done that.
It also tries to be (alternatively) funny, clever, and cutesy, in ways that don't work for me:
How was it possible to change everything about an experiment and still have it result in the same thing?
That was the technical term for it.
Cora crossed her legs under the table and pouted. Pouting didn't really solve anything, but she was annoyed. She was also covered in green goo. And it was hard not to pout when covered in green goo.
The she pulled her pistol from her purse and placed it firmly between the fifteenth and sixteenth vertebrae of the stranger standing in the middle of the room.
"Is that a pistol you've placed firmly between my fifteenth and sixteenth vertebrae?"
Nellie sighed wistfully.
"Are you sighing wistfully?" asked the Magician.
Anyway, I'm sure going in this direction was a deliberate choice, it just doesn't happen to work for me.
Book 6. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty. General fiction. Read 04-14-16.
This book was a charming surprise. I was in the airport waiting for a flight, and got a sudden urge to read something that I normally wouldn't. Airports are good for that, I find. This novel, which I found of higher caliber than most books I would classify as chick lit, is about a hypnotherapist who is starting a promising new relationship, only to find that her new love interest, a widower with a son, has a stalker.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that the author really delved into everyone's POV -- what it's like to be the stalker, the stalkee, and the person trying to keep a new relationship afloat through that kind of stress. It also addresses what it's like to be the new woman when dating a widower who had an apparently perfect marriage. And it speaks respectfully about hypnotherapy. There are no bad guys anywhere in this book, which is not to say that the stalking behavior is treated lightly.
I'll be looking for more of this author's books when I'm in the mood for something different. (My general method in such cases is to go to the author's LT stats and find their highest rated book.)
Book 7. Tor.com: Selection Original Fiction, 2008-2012. Science fiction & fanasy short fiction. Listened 05-19-16. Average rating: (Actual average: 3.1 stars)
This was, naturally, a mixed bag. Individual ratings for the ten short works are as follows:
1. "Earth Hour" by Ken MacLeod - Listened 03-27-16
2. "Eve of Sin City" by Sylvia Day - Listened 03-27-16
3. "The President’s Brain is Missing" by John Scalzi - Listened 03-27-16
4. "Overtime" by Charles Stross - Listened 04-05-16
5. "Firstborn" by Brandon Sanderson - Listened 04-12-16
6. "Down on the Farm" by Charles Stross - Listened 04-26-16
7. "After the Coup" by John Scalzi - Listened 05-02-16
8. "The Finite Canvas" by Brit Mandelo - Listened 05-10-16
9. "Swift, Brutal Retaliation" by Meghan McCarron - Listened 05-12-16
10. "Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia" by Rachel Swirsky - Listened 05-19-16
Book 12. Lucky Miss Spaulding by Eleanor Arnett Nash. Vintage YA. Read 05-27-16 (repeat).
This is one of the poorer entries in the Messner Career Romance series, but I didn't remember that when I started to re-read it yet again. What I didn't like: the main character spends the entire book in love with a jackass, and upon realizing she loves the boy next door, asks him if she can continue working in retail (where she's had rapid success so far) until she becomes an assistant buyer -- but she secretly thinks to herself that she doesn't need to take the job when it's offered; she just wants to prove that she can get it. Then she'll quit because it will be so wonderful to be married to him. Gag!
(and that was my cat Temeraire's contribution to my remarks....)
... and her betrothed realizing that she will be happier if she continues in the job she has come to love!
Book 13. Freshman at Large by Pearl Bucklen Bentel. Vintage YA. Read 05-28-16.
In this book, Beth goes against the wishes of her mother, grandmother, and boyfriend when she chooses to go to a college that has its students alternate between on-campus classes, and work-study jobs all over the country. The college is also progressive in that everything is on the honor system, with no dorm curfews and a lot of unsupervised closed-book exams.
I didn't find this book terribly satisfying. I didn't think there was any chemistry between Beth and her hometown boyfriend, or between Beth and the guy she dates on campus. In addition, Beth doesn't stand up for herself when her roommate, in an underhanded manner, claims the job that Beth wants. Beth ends up working at an orphanage for her first co-op, and basically plans to go back to the same position for her next co-op, almost out of inertia, when it seems to me the point of the school and its program is to try a lot of different jobs.
Book 14. That Girl Andy by Florence Crannell Means. Vintage YA. Read 06-02-16.
This book was quite heavy-handed and not very well written. Andy goes off to college somewhere near Denver and Boulder in Colorado. In her sociology class, she becomes involved in a "big bothers/big sisters" project with juvenile delinquents. Meanwhile, her own parents, much to her shock, get divorced, and she's so ashamed and upset about it that she can't tell her sort-of boyfriend, even when she learns that his parents are also divorced. This book was published in 1962, so I understand that divorce was considered a big deal (and it still is a big deal), but Andy finds out when a not-very-nice hometown friend gives her the hometown paper, folder to the page where divorce and other court proceedings are listed. (Nice job not telling your kid, parents!) The worst part, in terms of the writing, is that we see Andy's reaction -- her knees give out, her heart races, she can't pay attention in class, she walks woodenly, bumping into people .... all this for the entire length of a chapter, but the author can't tell us what it is she's read. And here I thought her father had been arrested for embezzling or something! In any case, it was a cheap trick of the author's to have us following in Andy's head but not telling us what Andy has just learned. And then finally we know, but Andy literally cannot tell anyone until four pages from the end of the entire book.
The other big focus is the juvenile delinquent project. Let's just say it's not very subtle. Especially when Andy is trying to find a new home situation for one little girl and says "Maybe the so-and-so's will take you in!" (These are people that Andy babysits for -- boy, nice of her to conditionally offer their home to a trouble kid, without consulting them or having any idea whether they'd actually be interested!)
Funny, I don't have any idea what other classes Andy is taking besides this sociology course.
Book 15. New Boy in Town by Jan Nickerson. Vintage YA. Read 06-05-16.
This is fairly run-of-the-mill maltshop romance. The main character goes to a very small high school (class of 45 or so students) and is intrigued by the new boy, but insecure about her own family's blue collar status. Some of this was decent, but her lack of confidence was a little wearing after a while.
Book 16. When the Heart is Ready by Jan Nickerson. Vintage YA. Read 06-14-16 (repeat).
I apparently had rated this at 3 stars previously, but I've downgraded it to 2 1/2 stars. I found these notes in my "Private Comments" field for the book, and they still stand:
I enjoyed the college aspect, liked that roommate Liz matured nicely, and liked the emphasis on caring about people rather than their wealth and social status. BUT both Kathy and Holly "settled". Holly wanted a music career but is now happy she's chosen marriage instead. Hello, can we not try to do both? And Kathy and Mark could have found a better solution. He now says he can direct amateur theater to his heart's content, but he couldn't even make it to a college dance due to being tied down at the Inn. I would at least have liked him to say something about setting up a better back-up staffing system so his time off remains his time off. They also missed a perfect opportunity -- he's into theater, she's into art and begins enjoying theater. Haven't they ever heard of set design? (And I disliked that he bullied her into trying out for a play the way he did.)
Book 17. Karen Presents by Helen Reynolds. Vintage YA. Read 06-21-16.
This story falls somewhere between maltshop, since the main character is still in high school, and career fiction. Karen is initially bored by the prospect of spending the summer at home where her father owns a salmon cannery, but she finds purpose when she begins to put on puppet shows to raise money for a good cause. She plans to eventually go to school for library work, which she wants to combine with her puppetry.
I enjoyed the parts about the puppets and the unusual setting, but I felt that one of the subplots, about a selfish and petty friend who keeps visiting unannounced, was unresolved. I also didn't think the main character stood up very well for herself. In addition, the slight romantic interest was a sort of come-and-go cardboard character. I didn't mind that the focus was on Karen and her work rather than romance, but if there had to be a romantic interest, I would have liked him to be a little bit more individualized. I also found the writing a bit uneven.
Oh, I almost forgot -- I very much liked the line drawing illustrations (called "decorations" according to the info on the book's title page) on the first page of each chapter. The artist is Evelyn Urbanowich.
Book 18. Curtain Call by Adèle De Leeuw. Vintage YA. Read 06-23-16.
In this book, Vicki has been pounding the New York City pavement, trying to get an in for a Broadway career. When her mother has to go take care of an ill sister, however, Vicki must keep house for her father and brother (who couldn't possibly get a sandwich for themselves at any point -- sorry, I know it was the times, but....) Anyhoo, Vicki finds satisfaction in directing a community play for a charitable cause, and her new purpose in life is born.
This was OK, but the other offputting element was the sort of condescending tone towards some of the recipients of the charitable efforts. I remember a very similar tone in some of the original Bobbsey Twins books.
Edited to add - I enjoyed the fact that the group decides to put on the play "Heaven Can Wait". That's been made into a movie at least 3 times -- I personally love the Warren Beatty version -- but I hadn't realized it was also a play!
Book 19. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (anthology), edited by Stephanie Perkins. Short stories (YA). Read 06-28-16. (Actual average 3.13 stars)
I adored the last two stories in this anthology -- comments on individual stories are in my short fiction thread here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/221121
Book 20. Future for Sale by Adèle de Leeuw. Vintage YA. Read 06-30-16 (repeat).
This kind of book is about all my brain can handle right now. In this one, published in the late 1940s, Joyce must suddenly find a way to make a living when her father dies and the family fortune evaporates.
Even though Joyce doesn't know what to do at first, she takes a real interest in department store work and merchandising. Most importantly, Joyce stands up to her mother when she wants Joyce to skip out on her training program for a few weeks, and again when she wants Joyce to give up her New York City retail opportunity to go be nice and comfortable with her out in Arizona. Joyce also ends up with the right guy, and unlike many heroines in these books, she realizes fairly early which one is right.
The private training program that Joyce takes for a year seems a little far-fetched. They essentially have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of lateness, which is a little silly for those reliant on public transportation to commute. (For instance, one girl who has been about 3 minutes late to class several times is told she can't graduate. When she appeals, they offer to give her a diploma in a year if she can stick to a retail job for that length of time without once being late.) The number of assignments the students are given also seems unrealistic.
Book 21. Adventure in Store by Helen Miller Swift. Vintage YA. Read 07-04-16 (repeat).
After re-reading this, I downgraded it from 1 1/2 stars to only 1/2 star. Ye gods, this one is awful! The main character's emotional reactions change from sentence to sentence, and in true Mary Sue fashion, every male in the book is interested in her. And of the two main contenders (there's a third one, but he's just the boy next door and is there for window-dressing), our main character is in competition for them with the same girl. Because that's how these things work..... In fact, the last sentence of the book is really more triumphant about beating out her rival than it is about actually being with the right guy.
Book 22. Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. Children's fantasy. Read 07-14-16.
This is a fun, silly children's book that I've been meaning to read for years. Harold the dog and Chester the cat are astonished when their humans bring home a bunny ... a bunny with a strange tendency to drain vegetables of all their juice with his fangs.
>26 amysisson: That's a great one I remember reading while growing up :)
Book 23. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey. Mystery. Read 07-22-16.
This is a quiet British psuedo-mystery originally published in 1948, republished here in a 2001 Folio Society edition. Country solicitor Robert Blair reluctantly agrees to assist a woman and her elderly mother when they're accused of imprisoning and beating a teenage girl. I call it a pseudo-mystery because
>28 amysisson: I have that folio edition as well and it was my intro to Josephine Tey. I liked The Franchise Affair, Brat Farrar, and The Daughter of Time, but the other two I've read I wasn't as impressed with. She sometimes presents a very racist view in her writing which I know is common in the era she wrote in, but still turns me off to reading more. I have one more on the shelf that I might try, but I won't buy any more.
Book 24. Cinderella for Short by Peggy O'More. Vintage YA. Read 07-25-16.
This book was dreadful! I only finished it because it was quick to read anyway, and because I'm trying to read as many of these vintage career romance books as I can. In this one, a girl named Prunella (!) is all alone in the world, and works in a combined library/gift shop (?) while dreaming of the theater. Fortunately, the little town starts a community theater just in time, gets in a famous director, and Prunella/Cinderella is discovered. Talk about the ultimate "Mary Sue" story -- a bitter rival tricks her into driving into a mountain snowstorm, from which Prunella must save herself by walking down the mountain on foot and appearing in the play that very evening, only to collapse, her feet bloody, as the curtain goes down after the final bow.
entertaining review. Prunella is, really, a terrible name (Hoping no RL Prunella's stop by)
Book 25. The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson. SF. Read 08-05-16 (repeat).
Comfort re-reading, maybe my sixth or seventh time with this book. I still love it.
Book 26. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. SF. Read 08-10-16.
In this sci-fi thriller, Jason is a physics professor who hasn't really fulfilled his potential, but who has a nice life with his wife Daniela and their teenaged son Charlie. His life is turned upside-down one evening when he's kidnapped at gunpoint and drugged, then wakes up in a world where he never married his wife but had an amazing career as an award-winner physicist. Meanwhile, the Jason who invented the parallel-universe-jumping machine has taken over the original (to us) Jason's life.
This novel is fast-paced, and although it doesn't really break new ground, the resolution felt kind of unique and interesting to me, so the book redeemed itself for me in the last few chapters. There is one writing quirk I quite dislike, however; any time the author wants to emphasize something, he does so in a series of choppy, single-sentence paragraphs, like this:
We order cocktails.
A thousand small plates that just keep coming.
We catch a hard, beautiful glow off the booze, and our conversation stays very much in the moment.
How the food is.
How good it feels to be inside and warm.
Neither of us mentions the box even once.
Amanda says I look like a lumberjack.
This literally goes on for 18 straight "paragraphs." The author uses this style both for supposed emotional moments, and for physics explanations. Although I'm sure it's not intended as such, I find it a bit condescending, as if the author doesn't trust the reader to pay attention to this part because it's important!.
This would make a good beach read, at any rate.
Book 27. Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine. SF. Read 09-01-16.
This book is a charming alternate-history-steampunk-regency-interplanetary-romance, not necessarily in that order. Arabella is distraught when her mother drags her and her sisters back to Earth, tearing them away from the home she loves on Mars. When her father dies and her brother is in jeopardy, Arabella disguises herself as a boy and gets hired on to an interplanetary sailing ship in the hopes of reaching her brother in time to save him and the family estate on Mars.
This might be a tiny bit longer than necessary, but I found Arabella to be a well-drawn character, the interplanetary sailing (the solar system has an atmosphere!) was creative, and the ending was satisfying.
-Book 28. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Children's - science fiction. Read 09-09-16 (repeat).
I'd read this once before, but was having trouble remembering details in spite of the high rating I'd given it. I knew it would be a quick read, so I read it again. Still enjoyable! A clever time travel story. There's not much emphasis on the wheres and whyfores of the time travel, but bbbbbbbbbbbb\
(sorry, contributions of my cat Pixel....)
but I found it to be the right choice for a book of this length and tone.
Book 29. Runaway Alice by Frances Salomon Murphy. Children's. Read 09-09-16.
This is a sweet but simplistic story about an orphan in the foster care system (presumably set in the 1950s or 1960s?), who keeps running away because she doesn't feel at home in any of her foster care placements. Then she is sent to a farm, to an older couple who want a boy but who are willing to keep her for a few weeks while her social worker searches for a new placement. She quickly realizes she wants to stay, but doesn't want the couple to take her out of a sense of obligation.
A nice, sweet read. Things work out in a way that's too tidy to be believable, but I still enjoyed it.
A funny tidbit: the book's original title is "A Nickel for Alice" -- but the coin that's important to the plot is a dime, not a nickel. I wonder if it was changed to a dime in later editions to keep up with how much a phone call cost.
Book 30. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth Book 1) by N. K. Jemisin. Fantasy. Read 09-14-16.
Complex fantasy novel. Excellent world-building. I wish there was more resolution within this book.
Book 31. Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Children's (mainstream). Read 09-15-16.
I like this author. Her books are characterized by quite short chapters with a lot of details. In this story, a boy named Georges (pronounced George) deals with bullying at school, while forming a friendship with an unusual boy and that boy's younger sister in his new apartment building.
Book 32. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. YA (fantasy). Read 09-22-16.
This was fun. It's essentially Harry Potter fan fiction -- Harry/Draco slash fiction, to be exact -- written by a professional author. The characters are actually "Simon Snow", the chosen one, and Baz, his vampire arch enemy roommate at a magical school. These characters are the ones that the main character of Fangirl, Cather, writes about as an escapism. It was really quite sweet in a lot of ways.
Book 33. The Transformation of Lawrence Croft (The Con-Dorks Saga, Volume 1) by Mark Finn. Fantasy. Read 10-1-16.
This reminded me a lot of Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb, a murder mystery that takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention. This story is about a possession that takes place at a Comic-Con. Fun, albeit a little crude in the, shall we say, specifics of the possession. I also had a little difficulty keeping the characters straight. But still fun.
Book 34. Soulless by Gail Carriger. Fantasy. Read 10-21-16 (repeat).
Book 35. Changeless by Gail Carriger. Fantasy. Read 11-5-16 (repeat).
Book 36. Die Tribute von Panem: Tödliche Spiele (The Hunger Games 1) by Suzanne Collins. YA (science fiction). Read in German, 11-9-16.
Book 37. In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor. Mainstream (British). Read 11-12-16.
Book 38. Calvin by Martine Leavitt. YA (mainstream). Read 11-21-16.
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