YA Fiction: Past and Present

Next Spring I’ll be teaching a class on young adult fiction. The class will examine themes which run through both classic and contemporary YA novels, and also study the way in which the genre has evolved over time. I’m looking for your input! What one book defined you during your teenage years? Had the greatest […]

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My Sinful Secret

Until recently, I was one of those people who never read romances and was proud of it. Ugh. How stupid. How inane. How way, way beneath me. No thanks. Not me. Never. Ever. Then someone in my Jane Austen group suggested I read a Georgette Heyer novel. Supposedly, the next best thing to reading Jane. […]

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Jane Austen’s Siblings

Last Sunday I pretended to be Cassandra Austen, sister of the famous writer. I was on a panel of “siblings” at the Denver/Boulder regional meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. We panelists fielded questions from our members regarding the sibs-four of the brothers and one sister. The most compelling question for me […]

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Review of Sovay

Celia Rees is an amazing writer. I was a great fan of her book Vanished, and I think Sovay is even better. With a large cast of characters, it must be difficult to give a distinctive voice to each one, but she manages to pull it off. And Sovay herself is a gem. Bold, adventurous, […]

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Lady Julia Grey Mysteries

I’ve enjoyed reading Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries. Not only has Raybourn created two appealing main characters in Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane, but she also has provided a seemingly limitless cast of characters within Lady Julia’s family: her father, her sister Portia, and her many other siblings. The first book in the series, […]

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Historical Mysteries

I love historical mysteries, especially the English ones. The time peiod doesn’t matter; right now I’m following several series from different centuries. Some crucial ingredients for historical mysteries, at least in my mind, are characterization, period detail, and mood. And of course, a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, with plenty of plot […]

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The Hunger Games

I just experienced The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Yes, experienced. I listened to it, read by Carolyn McCormick. You would probably recognize her voice, as I did, from Law and Order. She’s played the part of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet for many years (in addition to her many roles in the theater, movies, and other […]

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Hard Face Moon

Middle grade readers will love Nancy Oswald’s new book, Hard Face Moon, and teachers and librarians will be thrilled to have a work of historical fiction that ties in so well with the curriculum. Published by Filter Press, a Colorado publisher of southwest history, biography, and historical fiction, Hard Face Moon deserves a wide audience. […]

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The Morning Gift

The Morning Gift is a charming historical romance first published in the U.S. in 1985, and probably in England prior to that. In style, it has an old-fashioned feel, like something that may have been written right after WWII. The current edition was published by Speak, a teen imprint of Penguin-Puffin. They’ve also released several […]

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