Review: The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is about two dueling magicians dueling it out in a circus setting. The, uh, the circus happens at night. It’s a night circus. What happened is that there were these two cranky old dudes wanting to see who was smarter, and they each took a protegee, and when the protegees grew up they were to engage in a Massive Magic Battle until one of them won. The consequences for the loser were not stated directly but were strongly implied to be Dire. Celia works as an illusionist at the circus that Marco (kind of) runs. They are competitors but WILL THEY FALL IN LOVE?

(Is it spoiling anything to say that yes, they obviously will?)

In case I haven’t said it recently, I am a plot girl. I am a plot girl down to the ground. After that I am a character girl, and in absolute last place am I a settings girl. I can appreciate settings, but that’s not what I’m reading the book for, you know? A setting is for stuff to happen in, and characters are for stuff to happen to. The Night Circus is not a plot book, or if it is then I failed at reading it because I can’t even remember what happened at the end. It is not a character book, because none of the characters seemed to have actual personalities, just things they were able to contribute to the circus. It’s a setting book, y’all. That is not the way to my heart.

And look, I’m not having a go at Erin Morgenstern. Plots are hard! Complicated plots that stretch over many years are even harder. You have to be attentive to all the details and mindful of what everybody’s doing and what everybody wants, and that is challenging, and we are not all J. K. Rowling. Who I know is not the champion writer of all the world, what with the adverbs and the caps locks of rage, but she wrote damn good characters who participated in a damn good plot in a damn good setting.

(You know how sometimes you don’t even realize you are feeling defensive but all of a sudden out of nowhere you’re twenty words into a heated defense of someone or something that nobody is attacking, and then you’re like, Wait, I should stop this before it gets weird? So you stop? But secretly you want to keep on defending whatever it was you were defending, because you’ve sort of built up a head of steam about it? To the point where you want to get up on your soapbox and be like, The gift of plotting is undervalued in this world!, even though this has nothing to do with whatever you were talking about before you started feeling defensive? And you can’t quite let it go so you find a way to say it anyway? You know how that sometimes happens?)

I should say that Erin Morgenstern is aces at setting. Most times if a book appears to be a setting book, I will put it gently down and never return. The Night Circus kept me interested in spite of the slow-moving plot and the underdeveloped characters, because the descriptions of the circus are fantastic. They are evocative and cool and endlessly creative. You could imagine dozens of other stories happening in the circus setting (like, if Erin Morgenstern ever gets it into her head to write a story about the Reveurs, I would be all over that), and that was enough to keep my attention. Plus the circus reminded me of the very cool play I saw with Teresa in May. I later discovered that Erin Morgenstern drew inspiration from the people who originated Sleep No More, and that made me feel clever.

But really? I’m a plot girl. Plot’s where my heart’s at. I will read Beau Geste, in all its spectacular cracked-out lunacy, a hundred times before I die, and I will never look at The Night Circus again.

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Review: The Magician King, Lev Grossman

I will be honest and say that when Viking contacted me to offer me an early copy of The Magician King (thanks, Viking!) (FTC, take note), and I said yes, that was about the extent of the effort I was willing to put forth to acquire the sequel to The Magicians. Had I not received it in the post, I would most likely have seen The Magician King on the shelf at the library a few months from now, and checked it out then. I liked The Magicians, but I did not want to marry The Magicians (a maneuver that in any case would defy legality, even in a tolerantish state like New York). I never warmed to Quentin, the protagonist, and I thought the plot was unevenly distributed throughout the book.

Having said that, I must have been in just the right mood for The Magician King, because I went through it like a hot knife through butter. I kept glancing up for subway stops, glancing back down at the book, and being shocked at how far into it I was after what felt like a very short reading time. Perhaps it was because the references to Narnia were rarer (I still maintain that Quentin’s version of the world can not have the Narnia books as well as the fictional Fillory ones), but I found this book to be something closer than its predecessor to what I would imagine grown-up Narnia to be. It didn’t have quite the safe-and-home feeling that Narnia gives me, but it was like — it felt more viably like someone else’s tribute to Narnia than The Magicians did. I don’t know how to explain what I’m trying to say here so I’m going to move on to plot summary, which will of necessity include some spoilers for The Magicians.

Our protagonist Quentin Coldwater, as ennui-ridden as ever, is a king of Fillory, ruling alongside Eliot and Janet, with Julia around there too, being all weird. He gets a bug in his ear to go off on a quest, and almost at once — to his intense chagrin — he is thrown back into the real world. Meanwhile, in alternating chapter flashbacks, we find out what’s been going on with Julia in the years that Quentin spent ennui-ing all over Brakebills. If you were upset that we didn’t find out what happened with Julia (I was), fear no more, you will find out now.

I spent the bulk of The Magician King feeling slightly grumbly. I have a bias in favor of retaining my first impressions. I was all, “Oh, you may be moving along at a brisk pace, Grossman sequel, but it is not because I love you! Your two narratives are poorly integrated! Your protagonist is still a jerk! I still remember all the stuff that pissed me off about The Magicians!” But as I hit about the two-thirds mark, these complaints began to be answered one by one. The Magician King turned into a coherent whole and what is more, it made a coherent whole out of The Magicians! Which I feel is just what a sequel ought to do. (Only I wanted some movement on the Alice front, and it was not forthcoming.)

In short, The Magicians had a better story for my Narnia/Harry Potter-loving little heart, but The Magician King is a better piece of storytelling. Quentin — not to spoil things for you, but y’all, Quentin kinda grows up. I might just go out and buy a paperback copy of The Magicians someday now. The things I liked about it are still true, and the things I didn’t like about it are handled (almost all of them) by The Magician King.

And now, the obligatory Oscar Wilde nitpick about something that matters absolutely zero and can be easily explained away but irritated me nonetheless because I don’t think the explanations that would be offered in its defense would actually be true:

Brakebills was for Marquis of Queensberry types. Murs was more your stone-cold street-fighting man.

NO. NO to this. NO.

I comprehend perfectly the point of this passage. The Queensberry Rules govern fair play in boxing and suggest, in general, the ideals of fighting like a gentleman. The phrasing of this sentence links Brakebills to the landed gentry while also evoking the cultural metonym of the Queensberry Rules. If it weren’t so dismayingly wrong it would be a tidy bit of shorthand. It’s just — it’s just — God, it’s just wrong. The Marquess of Queensberry was as stone-cold as any character in The Magician King, and significantly more mentally unstable (yes! and I say that having not forgotten all the moderately-to-very mentally unstable characters in this book). I can scarcely imagine anybody who fought less like a gentleman than the Marquess of Queensberry. The Marquess of Queensberry fought like a street urchin. An antisemitic homophobic street urchin. The Marquess of Queensberry wasn’t a Queensberry Rules type. Is all I’m saying. He fought dirty. I’m just saying.

OH BY THE WAY. It turns out? That the Marquess of Queensberry is related by marriage to Osama bin Laden. It’s true. His great-great-grandson had a bin Laden nephew as an in-law (the former head, as it happens, of the bin Laden Corporation). As you may imagine, this news fills my heart with inexpressible joy. From now on when I am having a kankkarankka paiva, I will remember this information and be of good cheer.

Again, The Magician King was sent to me for review by Viking. It comes out the day after tomorrow, the ninth of August.

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin

I hate reviewing sequels. Once I have reviewed the original volume in a series, I have a hard time motivating myself to review the subsequent ones, even if I really, really liked them. Patrick Ness was an exception to this, probably because his books were so insanely good and rich and full of themes to see and tell, and because I so desperately wanted you all to trot out and read them tomorrow. Which some of you did, so goody, mission accomplished. I will not gush quite that much about the first two books in N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, but I may gush a little.

The premise of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is that there was a war between the three original gods of the world, culminating in the imprisonment of all gods but one, Itempas, by the ruling Arameri family. Yeine, estranged half-blood granddaughter of the current Arameri king, is summoned to the Arameri ruling place, called Sky, to be named as a potential heir to the throne. She becomes unwillingly enmeshed in the plans of frightened mortals and imprisoned gods, and there is all sorts of plot-thickening and god-on-mortal sexy time.

(Sometimes I start a plot synopsis sentence with really good intentions, where I am all “unwillingly enmeshed” and “imprisoned gods”. But then I don’t know where to go with it because I’m afraid of giving too much away to the spoiler-hating crowd, whom I try to respect but whose parameters for spoilers are never quite clear to me, so it all falls apart in the second half of the sentence. Hereafter I shall call this phenomenon a duned sentence. This is clever on several levels, which I will enumerate for you so that you can praise me in the comments. First, it is a reference to Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, which is awesome until about halfway through and then becomes desperately lame (I decided on a camping trip a few years ago, and then I read Sunshine instead). Second, the analogy to Dune continues to work even if you push at it a little bit, which my analogies don’t always do (like, if I continued to press on after my plot synopsis sentences had already fallen apart, things would just get worse and worse but I’d be committed by then and unable to stop and neither would my heirs) (shut up, it works). Third, it is a pun because it sounds like “doomed”. Fourth, I thought of it on the spot without giving it any thought at all. That doesn’t make it funnier, but it makes me feel good about myself. I like it when my immediate response is exactly what I would want my measured response to be.)

I can’t describe the plot of The Broken Kingdoms very well without getting into spoilers for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, so I will just say that it is set in the same world, but has a very different setting and protagonist. Blind artist Oree Shoth is scraping a living in a touristy area of the Kingdoms, until she takes in a dying man with strange abilities. Meanwhile someone has begun killing gods, and the powers that be are none too happy about it.

The narrative voice in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was the first thing I liked about it, lo these many years ago (or, like, maybe a year and a half ago) when its first chapter was promotionally published online. Yeine is brave and angry and muddled, and she keeps interrupting herself to explain things that need explaining. The reason this works instead of becoming annoying is that she also interrupts herself with seeming non sequitors. My toes? I was kept on them. I feared that Jemisin would not be able to recreate the feat in The Broken Kingdoms — that Oree would be too much like Yeine — but I shouldn’t have worried. The narratives are structurally similar, with the asides, but the narrators are such different people, with different perspectives and backgrounds, that it doesn’t matter.

As the world-building goes, I was very impressed. Not because we saw a wide variety of the eponymous kingdoms — we didn’t, really, in either book — but because Jemisin wove world-building and character-building together so seamlessly. Yeine is an outsider, and the strangeness of Sky contributes to her feelings of being an exile and outcast. When Jemisin describes Sky, she describes how it touches Yeine, makes her life easier or harder. The same goes for the backstory about the gods: it’s relevant because the gods are all up in Yeine’s business, untrustworthy and wanting things from her. You won’t find out what their behavior means for Yeine until you know a bit more about the world of the book, so you have an emotional stake in finding out the backstory.

Plus, I liked the gods. It’s always fun when the gods and the mortals start interacting all over the place.

The plot of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was, I felt, stronger than the plot of The Broken Kingdoms. With the latter, I started feeling a bit the way people seemed to feel about the seventh Harry Potter book: she’s in jeopardy, she’s been saved, she’s back with the bad guys, she figures out a way to get free, the gods are doing this, the gods are doing that. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms knew all the steps between Point A (Yeine’s arrival in Sky) and Point B (not telling), whereas The Broken Kingdoms sometimes felt like it was killing time and pages until we could hit the conclusion. The plot of The Broken Kingdoms was more interesting to me in theory, but not paid out nearly as well. Minor gripe. I am interested to see how the third book compares.

I have another minor gripe, but it’s mad spoilery, so I will spare you. Instead I’ll tell you that in the first draft of this post, far from inventing the world’s most ever brilliant word that works on so many levels, I made a joke about waiting a hundred thousand years for my hold on The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to come in at the library, and then mysteriously The Broken Kingdoms was just checked in at the library with no problem, leading me to believe the hold system was broken. Don’t judge.

Search here and here for other people’s reviews.

Review: A Star Shall Fall, Marie Brennan

I could swear I wrote this review already. I wonder if I dreamed it. I frequently have vivid, detailed dreams where I do things that need to get done, which I think is my subconscious’s way of trying to keep me asleep. One day last month I dreamed I checked my email and we had a snow day and I could sleep in (but we didn’t really) (fortunately, I didn’t fall for this). Today when I woke up all sickly and went back to sleep feeling like I was going to die, I dreamed that I had texted and facebook-messaged the people I was supposed to have brunch with, to tell them I wasn’t going to be able to make it. In my dream I felt so crappy and nauseated I kept making typos when I was writing the messages.

A Star Shall Fall will probably contain some spoilers for Midnight Never Come. Also presumably for the second book, In Ashes Lie, but I don’t know because I haven’t read it. Darn library.

So after I read and enjoyed Midnight Never Come, I went to the library and signally failed to find In Ashes Lie, the second book in the series. On the other hand, I don’t care at all about the seventeenth century, so I didn’t mind so much skipping on to A Star Shall Fall. Set in the world of Midnight Never Come, A Star Shall Fall focuses on the mid-1700s Prince of the Stone, Michael Deven, who is trying (along with the rest of the Onyx Court) to find out a way of destroying the scary-scary dragon that is coming back to kill everyone.

The Good Stuff

Irrith, the country fairy who comes to court to help sort out the dragon problem, is an excellent character. I liked her because she kept bucking my expectations of what fairy characters are like. She isn’t a good liar, she isn’t icy elegance all the time, she didn’t like court politics, and she didn’t (here’s a spoiler) fall wildly in love with the human character just because they spent a lot of time together. When (a really huge spoiler right here) (why don’t we just assume this whole review is spoilers? I can’t talk about what I liked without spoilers) Michael Deven sacrifices himself for the fairy court at the end, Irrith is sad but not in a, like, time for fairy suicide way. She was close with him, she was sorry she didn’t love him enough to save him, and that was that. I liked it.

Marie Brennan incorporated the 1752 calendar change into her plot! A plot point hinged on the changing of the calendar. Marie Brennan, you are my hero.

The Royal Society of London features in the book. Granted, they do not do much with the fairies, but it was nice to see them doing their royal society thing. I should read that Bill Bryson book. I love the notion of a bunch of smart dudes getting together to talk about Knowledge.

Michael Deven’s search for a wife. As the oldest son in a well-born but impoverished family, Michael has to marry rich in order to provide for his three younger sisters. He doesn’t want to do this, naturally enough, as he is in love with the fairy queen, Lune, and he hates the idea of lying to his wife. It would have been easy for him to reconcile himself to his conscience and marry some nothing character, but instead he marries a cool, clever woman and tells her everything. Yay for honesty! Delphia was an excellent character and I’d have liked to see more of her. I hope the next Onyx Court book at least talks about her Legacy.

Bad Stuff

I hated, hated, hated that Michael Deven was in love with the fairy queen. Really, Michael Deven? You’re in love with the achingly beautiful, radiantly good moon Queen? HOW ORIGINAL. I couldn’t become interested in him as a character because I wanted to smack him and make him fall in love with his interesting, intelligent wife.

Although some of the ideas the fairies came up with for defeating the dragon were clever, some of them didn’t make any sense. I don’t mind an author inventing her own rules for her own magic world, but it frustrated me that a character would stop dead and have a stroke of intuition, and it didn’t make any sense to me. On the other hand, this could just be me being dumb.

Wow, I had a lot of thoughts. This just goes to show that I was in the mood for books in a series, where you have more than one book to think over. A sign that I should reread Harry Potter again.

Review: Midnight Never Come, Marie Brennan

Occasionally, when I am planning meals on the weekend, I get depressed from meal-planning and take a break to do book-planning. Book-planning consists of me combing through my TBR list and making a shortlist of books to read next. I find this relaxing. I start by making a list of categories of books (gender-issues nonfiction, something in translation, fantasy, kids’ book), depending on what I am in the mood for, and then pick things from my TBR list to fit my criteria. When I did this last weekend, my list was this:

something in translation
something from Africa
something zany
something fantasyish that Memory loved

Midnight Never Come is the something fantasyish that Memory loved. By choice I’d have gone with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for this category, but I am still fourth on the holds list for that, so I substituted Midnight Never Come. This is a testament to my trust in Memory’s fantasy taste, because ordinarily I do not like books about fairies (or faerie). I am over fairies. They think they’re so damn clever. I feel like if you’re going to act like you’re as terrifying as fairies in stories act like they are, you shouldn’t have gossamer wings. JUST A THOUGHT. The only fairy-type book I like in the whole world is The Moorchild. And Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, also. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not my favorite Shakespeare, and I don’t much care for the fairies in Sandman. So.

Long ago, at her coronation, Elizabeth I struck a bargain with the queen of faerie, a bargain that somehow helps both of them stay on their thrones. Now, thirty years later, mortal Michael Deven (on staff with my boy Sir Francis Walsingham) and Lune, fallen from favor in the viciously political faerie court of Queen Invidiana, are beginning to discover secrets about the bargain, and the intertwining of the faerie and mortal court.

(Yes, the wicked faerie queen is called Invidiana. Deal.)

I really, really enjoyed the parts of the book that dealt with Elizabethan history. Marie Brennan had obviously done her homework, but she didn’t do the thing of inserting tons of unnecessary information just to show how well-informed she was (unlike some historical fantasy writers that I am reading right now). I loved almost everything set in the mortal world, except I didn’t care much for Michael Deven. And indeed I wasn’t altogether in love with Lune. The world of the book, the intertwining of the mortal and faerie spheres, drew me in,  but the characters did not. Fortunately it’s the world that continues in the sequels, not the characters.

I was excited to read the sequels to Midnight Never Come, and glad I had bothered getting A Star Shall Fall from the library at the same time that I got Midnight Never Come. In Ashes Lie, the second book in the Onyx Court series, claimed to be in at the library but wasn’t. So I skipped it. Don’t judge. I asked Memory if it was okay first.

Other reviews:

Stella Matutina
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Fantasy Book Critic
Grasping for the Wind
The Book Swede

Tell me if I missed yours!

Review: Pegasus, Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley writes lots of stories where girls (or, ever so occasionally, boys) make friends with people you wouldn’t necessarily think they would make friends with. A Latin geek and a monster; a baker and a vampire; a princess and a pegasus. This friend-making tends to happen in between lots and lots of worldbuilding. Whether I like the book or not tends to depend on how interesting I find the world, and how invested I become in one or both of the characters making friends.

Pegasus is set in the kingdom of Balsinland, where the peace treaty between humans and the pegasi of Rhiandomeer is perpetually sealed by a binding ceremony that connects well-bred humans to well-bred pegasi. In general, the bonded pair do not interact all that much, as they cannot communicate without the assistance of human Speakers or pegasus shamans. But when Princess Sylvi, fourth child and first daughter of King Corone, is bonded to her pegasus, Ebon, she finds that they can talk to each other with no problem. Unprecedented as Ebon and Sylvi’s close relationship is, it excites hostility in many of the humans, and particularly in the magician Fthoom, who makes it his particular project to keep Ebon and Sylvi apart.

The core of this book is the relationship between Ebon and Sylvi, and that’s what shines. They are best friends from age twelve, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still surprise each other at age sixteen. Nor does their unique understanding of the other’s culture keep them from making mistakes. McKinley does a great job, as she always does with her supernatural characters, of depicting the fundamental otherness of the pegasi: these are not the winged horses from your seventh-grade trapper-keeper, but an alien race with its own language and culture and history. As much as Sylvi loves Ebon, she sometimes struggles with the difference between his people and her own.

Another thing McKinley tends to well is families. Sylvi’s parents are both fully fleshed out characters, whose relationships with Sylvi heavily inform the plot. The same is true of Ebon’s family, which Sylvi gets to meet in the second half of the book. The fullness of characters in the periphery of Sylvi and Ebon’s lives suggests that things are happening beyond the edges of what the book covers. Robin McKinley’s gift for worldbuilding is equally evident in her secondary characters.

I’ve seen several reviews that complained of the problematic pacing in this book, which starts out with a bit of an infodump and accelerates rapidly after Sylvi meets Ebon’s family. I have found this to be a perennial problem with Robin McKinley’s work, but in this case it didn’t bother me. I liked the world she was building, and I was willing to take some time to explore it (not so much the case with her last two, Chalice and Dragonhaven). I also didn’t mind the cliffhanger, for two reasons: (1) it wasn’t nearly as appalling a cliffhanger as y’all (ERIN) made it sound (it was no “He was out in the Dark. Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy,” if you know what I mean); and (2) my sister assures me Robin McKinley is busily writing the sequel as we speak.

Random complaint: I hate the use of “pegasi” as the plural. It’s not wrong in the sense of being linguistically problematic – the name “Pegasus” came from Greek mythology and transliterated smoothly into Latin, so if there were going to be a Latin plural it would be pegasi – but I just don’t like it. It’s forced and smug and facile, like a used-car salesman. A Greek plural would be more elegant, or if that came off pretentious, I wouldn’t have minded “pegasus” as a plural (like “deer” or “fish”). When I am the boss of the world (at which point, among other things, Ernest Hemingway should fear for his place in the canon), I will command Robin McKinley to change this in accordance with my desires.

They read it too:

Aelia Reads
The Literary Omnivore
Ela’s Blog
Charlotte’s Library (interview with Robin McKinley)
A Literary Odyssey
Bookalicious
Graeme’s Fantasy Review
Dear Author
Babbling about Books, and More
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Polishing Mud Balls

Did I miss yours? I will add a link if so!

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner

When I was a little girl, I used to finish a book and turn around and read it all over again.  The Little Princess, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Travel Far, Pay No Fare.  I’m not talking about rereading (I still do loads of rereading), but finishing a book and flipping it over and starting all over again, because you can’t stand the idea of leaving it behind right away.  And look, I was serious about Megan Whalen Turner before.  I loved those books.  When I finished the first three and got the fourth from my ever-obliging big sister, I left the fourth one lying around for several days while I reread the first three.  All of them.  In order.  Picking up on details I hadn’t noticed the first time through.  Only then did I carry on with A Conspiracy of Kings.

A Conspiracy of Kings is about Sophos – remember Sophos?  Darling studious bookworm Sophos from The Thief?  Don’t keep reading this review right now, if you haven’t read the foregoing three books, because I can’t really talk about A Conspiracy of Kings without spoiling the books that have come before.  Again I say unto you, stop reading this review and go do something else, if you have not read Megan Whalen Turner’s other books.

Are you gone?

Okay then.  So Sophos, heir to the king of Sounis, is on the run.  The barons of Sounis and the ambassadors of the Mede are making trouble for Sophos, necessitating a flight to Attolia, where his old friend Gen is now the King.  The book opens with Sophos, whom Gen has believed dead, finally reaching the sanctuary of Attolia – well, relative sanctuary, given that the country of which Sophos is king is at war with the country of which Gen is king.

I’ve read several reviews of A Conspiracy of Kings that expressed regret at the way the narrative shifts away from Gen.  Now look, I enjoy spending time with Gen as much as anybody, but I thought Sophos was a splendid point-of-view character.  In this book, Turner deals with the question of choosing the sort of person you want to be: Sophos has the opportunity to decide whether he wants to go back to his old life.  Or in fact he has several opportunities, and until he’s practically forced by circumstance, he doesn’t step up and take responsibility.  It’s only when he’s got his back against the wall that he makes the decision to grow up.  Sophos.  Bless him.

(Anyway, there’s plenty of Gen.)

What can I say?  Everything I loved about the foregoing books, I loved about this one.  I loved seeing Sophos grow up, especially because he comes to terms with doing things he’d rather not do for the sake of his country, without losing his (can I say this and not make you gag? Only I can’t think of any other way of putting it) sweetness of spirit.  There were further political machinations, and a gaining-the-throne scene that pleased me by being quite unlike Sophos and yet perfectly in line with the arc of his character development.

Have you read this yet?  Do you think it would be a good thing to have one of the queens narrate the fifth book that Megan Whalen Turner is undoubtedly engaged in writing at this very moment so that she can release it tomorrow and fill my life with yet more joy?  I suppose it would be tricky to have Attolia as a POV character, given that she’s so buttoned up, but I think Eddis would be an interesting narrator.

Other reviews:

Book Lust & The Written World
Stella Matutina
Charlotte’s Library (incidentally expresses exactly how I felt when I started reading this book!)
Book Nut
Angieville
A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books
Dear Author
One Librarian’s Book Reviews

Did I miss yours?  Tell me if so, and I will add a link!