Matilda Bone – Karen Cushman

f3cf55b3b4f2c1959707a486777434f414f4141Matilda has been brought up by the manor priest since her father, the lord’s clerk, died. But he’s been called to London, and she’s being left to stay with Peg, the bonesetter. It’s a completely different life than Matilda’s used to, and it takes some getting used to, but she learns to like the new world she’s been thrown into.

I really like Cushman’s historical stories- she’ll focus on the story of a young person, and layer in a lot of other interesting history around them. This book gives you an interesting overview of medieval medicine, as well as the contrast between the church and lay people. It’s a charming story – I read it in one night.

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Jane and the Wandering Eye – Stephanie Barron

380c536451d9019597937685977434f414f4141Jane is back in Bath, absolutely not enjoying herself, and is more than happy to accept a commission from Lord Harold Trowbridge to keep an eye on his niece, the Lady Desdemona. At a party given by Mona’s grandmother, a shocking murder occurs, drawing Jane into the world of the Bath theatre.

Yes, this is Jane Austen solving mysteries. And it’s completely anachronistic. (At least in this book, her family starts commenting that she’s spending a bit too much time in some rather unladylike pursuits.) But it’s all good fun, and other than Jane not really being Jane, the author layers in a lot of other interesting historical flavor.

The Queen of Blood – Sarah Beth Durst

1a659cb84d3ea525973492b6e41434f414f4141Daleina discovers her ability to control spirits when they come after her village. Unfortunately, she’s only able to save her family, but that opening leads her to pursue the training that may eventually make her the Queen.

This is an interesting world. For some reason, there are spirits, and all they want is the destruction of people. But women have power over them, some more than others. With training, they will become Heirs, and when the Queen dies, the spirits themselves pick the new queen from the Heirs, even as the Heirs compel them to choose. Daleina is not the strongest candidate, but she has a special affinity for the spirits that can make her very effective at controlling them in certain situations. So her training is never entirely certain – can she make a good Heir?

I will say, what happened at the end of this book was very much obvious from what led up to it, but the way things went down is not at all what I was expecting. It turned this book into a lot more of a set up of the story than I had expected, and I’m definitely curious to see what’s coming next.

Queen Victoria’s Cousins – Christina Croft

1533353794-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_I was familiar with the fact that most of Europe’s royalty is descended from Queen Victoria and her numerous children. And I knew she came from a background that linked her to other royalty (her uncle became the King of Belgium, and her consort, her own first cousin, was a German prince), but I had not realized how extensive that network was. And that’s just her maternal relatives. It’s easy to forget that there were several other royal uncles, sons of George III, still kicking around, and that they had children of their own

This book charts those relationships. Each chapter covers a particular theme (usually relating to a certain smaller family within the family), and they’re roughly chronological. It’s an interesting survey of 19th century history, and how a few extended families influenced quite a bit of it. Probably be fun for anyone that’s recently watched Victoria on Masterpiece.

Among Others – Jo Walton

6dc9c7f2a5700ff593562755941434f414f4141I wish I’d read this book some other time. I thought I was starting something else when I first picked it up, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. But, I’m enough of a completest, I couldn’t put it back, and had to finish it. I think I’d have liked it better if I’d started it when it was what I thought I was getting myself into.

This isn’t straight fantasy. Morwenna and her twin Morganna can see fairies. And their mother is a witch. In trying to prevent her from doing some unnamed, terrible thing, Morganna is killed, and Morwenna’s leg is ruined. She runs away to the father they’ve never before met.

The story is Mori’s school journal, talking about all the scifi and fantasy she’s discovering (in 1979 and 1980), her getting a boyfriend, and magic. The magic piece is a bit weird. It’s definitely real, but I don’t feel like I really had enough background to fully appreciate how it worked in with our real world.

I definitely think this is a book you need to be in the right mood for.

The Library, the Witch, and the Warder – Mindy Klasky

405e99654cd63fc596d442b7077434f414f4141This book’s another point of view from Klasky’s Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft, the Warder -David Montrose, instead of the witch, Jane Madison.

It’s nice to see the male point of view of one of these stories, but this book was much busier than I remember Jane’s version being. David’s gotten himself into a little bit too much action – I think focusing on one of his own plotlines, in addition to Jane, would have made a little more sense. That said, I enjoyed it.

The Enchantment Emporium – Tanya Huff

c14eaf7913b133e596c50696e51434f414f4141The Gale family works charms that can have a remarkable effect on the world around them. The Aunts rule the family, and have a pretty iron hand in how the younger members of the family will end up living their lives.

So when Alysha’s grandmother (who herself defied the other Aunts by moving away) passes away and leaves her store in Calgary to Alysha, she jumps at the chance to get away from the rest of the family, for at least a little while. Granted, the Aunts want her to figure out what happened to her grandmother, but she’s far enough away to go her own way. As soon as she arrives, it’s clear that Allie’s grandmother has been tending to the local Fae community, and that something very big is going on there.

I enjoyed this story for the most part, but one thing that really drove me crazy is that you never really get a explanation for what the Gales are. They have enormous power, and the men of the family have some very unique gifts, but you never find out why, and I didn’t like that missing piece.