Monday, October 1, 2012

Playing catch-up again

 So, the only way I can possibly manage to catch up on my backlog of books to review is to give some of them a very brief treatment, then (hopefully soon) write longer reviews of the books I have more to say about.  Here are the mini-reviews:

The Spy Princess by Sherwood Smith is another story of a young woman trying to find her place in a country on the brink of revolution. She has loyalties to both sides, and her attempts to help are not always successful -- in fact, they are often detrimental. The action is fairly good, but the characterization could be stronger. Also, I'd probably have enjoyed this more if I hadn't recently read Palace of Stone.

The Far West by Patricia C. Wrede probably deserves more than a mini-review, since I really did enjoy it, but it is the third in the series and hard to describe without spoilers. Suffice it to say that it is definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the first two books. If you're unfamiliar with them, the first book in the series is Thirteenth Child, and it's an alternate history of the Westward Expansion, but with magic. The Far West wraps things up pretty well, so I think it may be the conclusion of the series.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is also set on the western frontier, but without magic. It's a verse novel about May, a young girl who dreams of getting her teaching certificate, despite the fact that she finds reading extremely difficult. However, her parents need her to help in another way -- they take her out of school and send her to live as companion to a woman who has recently come west to marry a homesteader and is homesick. When disaster strikes, May learns that she is more capable than anyone might have supposed. There's a lot going on in this book, though the plot itself leans heavily on scenes from some of the Little House on the Prairie books. Readers who can't get enough of those stories should definitely read this one.

(Reviewed from copies borrowed through my library system.)

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