Recent (YA-heavy) library picks

Tagged by Diane C. Mullen (middle grade/YA): interesting writing style.  Kid from the urban projects does graffiti, learns about art in small-town boonies.

This One Summer (YA graphic novel): written by two cousins.  Two girls weather the ups and downs of summer by the lake: family and friends in turmoil, swimming, horror movies, sleeping late, bonfires on the beach.

The Escape by Mary Balogh (historical romance): in the style of Venetia in that the characters are mature and they fall in love believably over time with minimal drama the old fashioned way, by getting to know each other– but you know, with sex (which is unlike Venetia).  A widow finds love with a disabled war veteran.  Very sweet.  Also read some earlier Balogh and it wasn’t as good (heroines who want/need to be mastered blech), but still entertaining if you can suspend disbelief.

Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us By Murray Carpenter (nonfiction):  the book podcasters loved this one.  It will definitely fill you up with “did you know?” facts that you can foist on people at parties.

Midnight Never Come (The Onyx Court, Book 1) by Marie Brennan (fantasy).  The first in a series, but I don’t feel the need to read the rest, although I have read and will read others by her.  I’ve read quite a few takes on the “faeries in Elizabeth’s court” trope and I generally like them; this one more than most.  Just the right amount of politics. I have also read a couple books in Brennan’s “Lady Trent’s memoirs” series that starts with A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, and I’m about halfway through her first novel, Warrior (Doppelganger).  (#2 thought Natural History started out great but then lost steam… she skimmed through much of the second half or so and doesn’t plan to read another in the series.)

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 (YA or adult graphic novel):  First collection of the comic by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen.  Not a library pick but rather a thing I now own.  Acclaimed for being awesome!  Smart girls at summer camp, “Friendship to the max,” and strong women role models.

In further long-regency (that’s romance novels set in the long 19th century, even though the regency is only a small part of it) news: #2 found Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly to be ok.  It would have been better without the large amount of drama condensed into the end.  The book didn’t need it and would have been better without it.  #2 does NOT recommend Mary Jo Putney (particularly Never Less than a Lady) as when one is reading regency novels, one does not need or want graphic descriptions of rape and torture (even if the actual rape/torture happened in the past).  UGH.  Putney seems to get some sadistic pleasure about describing it over and over again, each time more graphically.  Unfortunately the amazon one-star reviews didn’t warn me in advance, so I didn’t realize the graphic descriptions were coming and was still feeling warm and fuzzy about Balogh’s emotionally damaged heroes and heroines healing each other, or I would have stopped reading earlier.  As a “spoiler” (because can you really spoil a regency?) in the last chapter BOTH of these books (the Kelly and the Putney) have the heroine magnanimously forgiving the villain whose actions forced them into premature protective (‘cuz men can’t damage other men’s property!) marriage with the hero.  Unnecessary.

Tell us about good books in the comments!  Any kind.


17 Responses to “Recent (YA-heavy) library picks”

  1. TheologyAndGeometry Says:

    I’m reading “Emma, A Modern Retelling” by Alexander McCall Smith, and I like it pretty well. I’ve never read the original Emma, but I really liked The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by AMS so when I saw it on the library’s Kindle checkout page, I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve also read and really enjoyed several books by Liane Moriarty this year.

  2. Ana Says:

    I’ve been on a “comfort reading” (i.e. no real action, happy-ish ending, character studies) kick and I’ve read several by Anne Tyler. I really liked Back When We Were Grownups. Also loved most by Liane Moriarty, esp. Big Little Lies and Three Wishes (not so much The Husband’s Secret). Super cheesy but liked Maria de los Santos’ Belong to Me (follow up to Love Walks In which I read and loved years ago) but hated her Falling Together. Quick and exciting read: We Were Liars. Discovered a new author, Donna Mabry, and got Maude for $0.99 on the Kindle and really liked it—none of her books are in our library so I’ll wait for more deals.

  3. chacha1 Says:

    I’m a Carla Kelly lover, but I too had problems with the Massive Drama in “Mrs. Drew.” And with the forgiveness. I’m not big on forgiveness. … I think CK writes action and suspense very well, but the milieu has to make sense. In her war stories, it totally makes sense.

  4. jane Says:

    Old Filth by Jane Gardam

  5. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Update: I finished Brennan’s Warrior and now I’m waiting to get the sequel, Witch. I like how the first one ended. I’m also blasting through Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series.

    • Tree of Knowledge Says:

      I love Warrior & Witch. The fight scenes are really well choreographed. I think they would make such a fabulous movie. I keep reading other things by her, hoping they will be good as Warrior & Witch and being mildly disappointed. Like, Natural History of Dragons was fun, but not as memorable as Warrior & Witch. Though I agree about it losing steam. It seems like it started out as one kind of book, then switched to something else part-way through.

      I am making my way through Seanan McGuire’s stuff, and Catherynne Valente has a couple more fairyland books out. And I was just pointed to Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Oooh those are all good picks! When you run out of Seanan McGuire you can read the Mira Grant ones. I wasn’t impressed with Valente’s series about the girl in fairyland. Just, meh. But Holly Black is a rich vein.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    I am reading the first “Veronica Mars” mystery, just finished two Charlotte MacLeod mysteries, have been doing my usual varied reading of late but the book I am telling everyone to read is “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

  7. J Liedl Says:

    I just devoured “A Bollywood Affair” by Sonali Dev and highly recommend it as an utterly engaging contemporary romance that balances whimsy and heartbreak with surprising facility. I’ve adored Mary Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series, particularly “The Arrangement” and “The Proposal” – the latest, “Only a Promise“, has just been released today. I may have to break down and buy a copy rather than wait for the library’s to be processed and available.

    Have you read any of Valerie Bowman’s regencies? I heartily recommend her latest: “The Unlikely Lady” which is reminiscent of Much Ado About Nothing in the combative background to the hero and heroine.

    I’m picking up some more steampunk books. I find Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series (and the YA “Finishing School“) amusing but much too twee to be read in large doses.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have an upcoming post about the Survivor’s club series (one of these weeks)– we agree that they’re something special!

      I have not read Valerie Bowman, but that will change now that you’ve recommended her! (Though I disagree on not binge-reading Finishing School– as soon as I finish one, I need the next, which is why I broke my normal rule of keeping kindle series kindle and paperback in paperback and have a mixed set. And then it didn’t matter anyway because as soon as I read the kindle one the next wasn’t out yet!)

  8. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I’m reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. It’s super interesting but my current state of mind is making it difficult to stay engrossed. I might dive into it later tonight.

  9. Ask the grumpies: Recommendations for books with dragons (and other fantasy creatures) in them | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] found Marie Brennan’s “Natural History of Dragons” series through your recs, and I’m also 3 books into the Temeraire series – both of them are […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: