What I'm Reading Now: 11 May 06

Another week, another list of enjoyable reads...
The mermaids singing--Val McDermid
This is your brain on music--Daniel Levitin (non-fiction; in process)

Clouds without rain--P.L. Gaus

A true princess--Diane Zahler (Junior fantasy)
Faithful Place-- Tana French
Love you more-- Lisa Gardner

Faithful Place, by Tana French. This is, as far as I can tell, a stand-alone novel. Frank Mackey has left his old life behind, growing up poor and on the wrong side of the law in Dublin. But his old life is about to drag him back in... He was going to run away with Rosie  back when they were both eighteen, but Rosie never showed at their meeting place, and Frank assumed that she'd run off without him. Now, twenty-two years later, her suitcase has been found...
No one wants him involved in the case-- not the cops assigned to it, because he's got personal involvements in the case that could get tricky. Not his family and old neighbors, because Frank's a cop now, and you can't trust a cop to do right by you. And certainly not that someone who knows more about Rosie's disappearance than he or she is letting on. But Frank isn't going to let any of that stand in his way. He owes it to Rosie, and to himself.
French's writing is excellent: her characters are vividly real, and the relationships are as messy and convoluted as any that life can serve up. The plot never lets you catch a breath-- I had to finish the book in one sitting.
I'll be reading more of hers.

A true princess, by Diane Zahler. As you may have noticed, I have a weakness for fairytale retellings, and for fairytales in general. This one caught my eye at the library, and I decided to take it home, even though I rarely read anything more junior than young adult fiction. (Amazon.ca classifies A true princess as ages 9-12). It starts off with Lilia, a servant girl, running away rather than have her stepmother all but sell her to a new master. It ends... happily ever after, of course. In between, there are elves, an enchanted wood, a test for any princess who wishes to marry the prince, falcons, changelings, Odin's hunt, and a quest to find an enchanted jewel. It doesn't sound like any fairytale you've heard before, does it? And yet, Zahler finds a way to turn the fairytale of The Princess and the Pea into something new and charming. It's a lovely book, and now that I know that Zahler has also put her spin on the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses (as you may remember, a favorite of mine) in her first fiction title, The thirteenth princess, I'm determined to hunt that one up as well.

Just a side note on the P.L. Gaus Amish mysteries: I've noticed that, although the series hasn't had a lot of notice yet, those people who read one of the mysteries almost always come back and ask for all the others...

And another side note: once I finally finish reading This is your brain on music, I'll make sure to review it. I have a few other non-fiction titles in my to-read stack, so that should get interesting.