Maggie Stiefvater writes beautifully and I liked The Scorpio Races a lot. There is danger, fantasy, beautiful setting, a little romance and a lot at stake. Set on what appears to be an island off the coast of Scotland in the early 20th century, this tells the story of an annual race of the water horses--dangerous horses that come from the sea each year. Puck, our heroine, whose parents were killed by the water horses and whose remaining family is falling apart, is trying to save her home and family by winning the race.
Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson is a wonderful Regency romance. It's got humor, a likeable leading lady and a swoon-worthy leading man. One of the things I struggle with in some romances is a girl who won't give a guy a chance because of something trivial or silly or contrived. The obstacle for Marianne is loyalty and that is hard to fault. I liked this book a lot, as did both of my daughters. I'll be shocked if Edenbrooke isn't a Whitney finalist this year.
Enduring Light. It's a good book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first. I was a little put off by the excessive nicknames used by Paul and Julia. The first couple of times they had marital relations, I was impressed with how Carla Kelly handled it. It let us know what was happening without giving us a play-by-play. But honestly, after awhile, the numerous references became tedious and silly. In between all those silly nicknames and references, though, was a good book about life on a ranch and on cattle drives and how hard it was for people to assemble for church in the middle of this vast and lonely land. If you read the first one, you'll like this one, and maybe my little annoyances won't annoy you.
On Little Wings has everything--a great story, well-written characters that are authentic and flawed and layered, gorgeous settings, a romance that makes you ache and writing that takes your breath away. I adored this book and think Regina Sirois puts her words together as well as John Steinbeck did in East of Eden. Her use of language is stunning and there were times when I had to stop and savor a paragraph because it was so surprising and wonderful. In June, Sirois was awarded the Outstanding Breakout Novel by Amazon, which means that she won a contract with a national publisher. Hard copies won't be available until next year, but if you have a kindle you don't have to wait (and right now it's free). This isn't just one of my favorite books of the past year or so. This is one of my favorite books I'VE EVER READ. It's one I'll read every few years for pure enjoyment.
So there you have it. If you've read any of these, please share your thoughts. If you have a great recommendation for me, I'd love to hear it.