Blogging has taken a back seat to writing this month, which for me is good. (What's not so good: it's taken me all month to write one scene. It's an important scene, but wow, I'm slow.)
I went to New York last week and as always I brought a bunch of new things I wanted to read on my iPod. But sometimes the discomfort of airports and flying and strange hotel rooms makes me turn to comfort books, and I ended up almost completely rereading Sherwood Smith's Inda series. Not in order. I kept searching for favourite scenes, and reading them, and then reading forward, and then deciding I wanted to compare a scene with an earlier scene, so reading the earlier scene, and then going forward from there. It was an odd way to read a book, but it made me appreciate even more her skill at weaving complicated plots with only the most necessary, dramatic scenes; at describing battles and sailing and ship battles so well it feels like you're there; at developing vivid, realistic, wonderful characters. I love Inda passionately (imagine him and Miles Vorkosigan together at a dinner party!); I love all of them: Tau, Jeje, Evred, Fox (she has a supernatural knack for names). I would recognize any of them if they came around a corner. The series is brilliant.
A couple of books on the iPod I did get around to reading this month, as I work my way through my new favourite authors:
Rachel Neumeier's Black Dog: three orphaned teens from Mexico flee to Vermont seeking the help of the formidable Dimilioc clan of werewolves, knowing the Dimiliocs will want Natividad for her Pure magic, but not sure they'll let her brothers live. Loved the characters, loved the scenario, loved the family interactions, the pack interactions, loved the winter setting. Thoroughly enjoyable. Had a satisfying conclusion but I'm looking forward to the next one (I think it's supposed to be coming out soon?)
Champion of the Rose: Soren is chosen, quite against her will, to be the King's Champion. But there hasn't been a king in two hundred years. Then a legitimate heir to the throne shows up, but he really, really doesn't like Soren. Court politics, complicated international relations when the neighbouring country is Fae, interesting explorations of free will, duty, loyalty. I thought there were some wonderful conflicts that were resolved a little too easily, but Soren is a great character and I quite enjoyed this very unique take on the rightful heir storyline.
Also read Kate Milford's Greenglass House, which I really liked. I'll review it on Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday.