Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks: I really enjoy Faith Erin Hicks’ work. Although Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong remains my favorite of her books to date, Adventures of Superhero Girl is a marvelous, wry take on the life of a superhero. Superhero Girl has a roommate and struggles with family life. She doesn’t have a tragic backstory and she suffers from comparisons to her older brother Kevin. All in all, great fun and my only complaint is that there’s not more.
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols: I’ve been a bit hit-or-miss with Echols’ most recent books, but definitely enjoyed Biggest Flirts, which starts off a new series. In some ways it felt like a very setting-up-the-series book, in the sense that it focused quite a bit on the other characters at the high school, but as usual I appreciated the fact that Echols depicts a wide variety of personal backgrounds, both cultural and socio-economic. And perhaps most importantly, I liked Will and Tia as a couple, and bought into their relationship.
Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly: First in the James Asher series. Victorian professor/ex spy who is blackmailed into helping a vampire solve a series of murders. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s a lovely book, with characters who felt both of-their-time and fresh enough to hold modern sympathies. Hambly’s take on vampires is a cautious but sympathetic one; they are shown, perhaps more than in any other vampire book I can think of, as real people albeit not exactly human anymore. Hambly somehow prevents the plot from devolving into melodrama, which it easily could have. All in all, a great beginning to a series I definitely intend to finish.
Alchemy of Fire by Gillian Bradshaw: I’m still reading through Gillian Bradshaw’s backlist. Alchemy of Fire takes place in 7th century Constantinople. While I liked the main characters, Bradshaw’s research shows a little more here than usual. There are lots of details about perfume making, and about the invention of the so-called Greek fire. Where the emphasis is usually on character development, here the weight of the details is a little too strong, I think.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell: Oh, Landline. Oh, how I wanted to like you. But I didn’t. Partly, this read as much more adult literary fiction than Rowell’s other books, and I am not a huge fan of that genre. Partly, I never bought the present-day transformation, or the characters as real people versus quirky traits thrown together. So yeah–this one did not work for me. Guess I’ll just go re-read Fangirl.