Erin Bow, Plain Kate. I'm still not sure what I think of this one. Bow does several things with magic being trade or exchange, but the weight of the exchanges...comes out feeling pretty off to me in several regards. For a system that casts magic as gifts given and received, this is a remarkably negative book. Also I am not entirely sure how I feel about the talking cat--whether it supersedes my wholehearted dislike of talking cats by being more catlike than most. This is more of a, "hmm," than an, "Ooh!" (But also not an, "Ew.")
Elizabeth George, A Great Deliverance. I've seen the BBC productions of the first several mysteries of this series, and the book was still interesting enough for me to read it. I liked watching which things were able to get more depth in the book than in the TV shows--particularly in Havers's relationship with her family. I'm not really in love, but if I'm in need of a mystery series at some point, I may well go back to these.
Barbara Hambly, A Free Man of Color. I know, I'm the last person in the world to discover this series. I am so glad that I did, though. It's just exactly what I wanted: a mystery series that's been out for awhile (so several volumes available from the library), with compelling characters and well-researched setting.
Merrie Haskell (merriehaskell), The Princess Curse. You know how occasionally I will make cryptic remarks about reading a manuscript for a friend, either for critique or for fun, but not feeling I should make comments about it when it's not publicly available? This is one of those manuscripts. Now published! And even better than before! Seriously, I could remember where things were different than the version I read but not see where they were different--the new version is seamless, and the bits that I missed were from personal fondness, not conviction that they would make the book objectively better. This one is about an herbalist's apprentice in an imagined province of medieval Romania, and the research complements the story rather than overwhelming it. Should be enjoyable for readers middle grade and up, in my estimation.
Emily Horner, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend. I loved this. Loved loved loved. It could so easily have slid into being an issue book, and it didn't--it was a story in which various issues touched on our heroine's life, not a story in which someone is going to Learn A Lesson About Life/Death/Drugs/Divorce/etc. It's about a nerdy lesbian Quaker cyclist who is doing all the props and sets for a musical about ninjas her dead best friend wrote. It is so much fun. I will be waiting eagerly to see what else Emily Horner wants to do, and this went from my library list to my list of things I want to own, which very rarely happens.
Rich Horton, Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy, 2008 Download. I don't always like my friends' stories best in anthologies I read...but it seems to be the way to bet. I really think it's because of congruence of tastes and interests rather than bias on my part, but I could be wrong. Still, merriehaskell's "The Girl-Prince" was the best story in the volume for my money. And Nancy Kress should perhaps learn a tiny bit more about Americans of Chinese descent and speaking politely to and about them, and...I think that is what I have to say about that.
David Liss, The Twelfth Enchantment. Liss is one of my very favorite historical writers, so when I heard he was crossing the line into historical fantasy, I was exceptionally pleased. The beginning of this one was a bit disappointing to me, and I wonder whether the editor was fully in sympathy with the project of writing historical fantasy? because I know he knows how to inclue. I've seen him do it. And yet the beginning here felt clunky to me. Still, it picked up in the middle, I got to quote "Bull Durham" at the book ("What do you mean William Blake?" quoth I), and I'm hoping that Liss continues to do fantasy stuff, because I think it's going to be awesome when he settles into his stride the whole way through. (Although if he just does straight-up historical, that will also be good with me.)
Jack Vance, The Dying Earth and The Eyes of the Overworld. These are the first two in an omnibus of this world. I found them vividly written and filled with loathsome people. The setting is interesting, but I'm going to have to take a break before finishing the omnibus, because there's only so much time I can spend with these incredibly sexist monkeys.