I didn't have any particular expectations for this book, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was adorable. And, if such a thing can be said of a picture book about one of Santa's reindeer, realistic :D.
The Question of the Missing Head, by E. J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen
Loved this mystery whose detective runs his own business called Questions Answered. Also he has Asperger's. Also the two authors are actually the same guy. The romantic subplot was a bit awkward, but so far it is endearingly rather than gratingly awkward. Super looking forward to the next in the series, which is currently languishing on my bedroom floor. (To write book commentary, or to read books - reading books usually wins... which is how I got this far behind in the first place!)
Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
Man, the pictures were cool (from the LGB archives) but the text was saccharine and dull as ... as.. as... a very saccharine and dull thing! I was bummed.
Living with Ghosts, by Kari Sperring
I had put this on my must-read list based on a recommendation a few years ago, but had completely forgotten what it was about. So I was expecting contemporary urban fantasy, but instead I got dark secondary world fantasy set in a faux-Paris of the faux-Renaissance. Luckily there was nothing at all faux about the story, especially the characterizations. Well worth the read!
Jane on Her Own, by Ursula K. Le Guin
I thought I had read all these! But I had not. This was a Christmas gift, and I loved it. Just enough whimsy, just enough adventure, and a happy ending. What more does one need from a middle grade illustrated chapter book? Oh, right, it could be written by Le Guin so every word is the exact right word! That was nice too.
Lion and Bird, by Marianne Dubuc
More sweet and less busy than her other book that I've read, which sadly made me like it less (the other one had the Richard Scarry thing going on). C'est la vie.
Eloise at Christmastime, by Kay Thompson
Oh man. I had never read an Eloise book (or at least not since I was very very young, because I don't remember them at all) and I had underestimated how chaotic and playful they are. Or at least how chaotic and playful this one was! Really deserves its classic status, and I will be investigating to see if the others are equally delightful.
The Old Man and the Cat, by Nils Uddenberg
A funny and heartfelt little story about coming back to being a cat person late in life. The people and the cat are all charming. The illustrations (also by the author) show all the love and emotion the cat has, that the author doubts she has in the text, so they're a good complement.
Fixing Up the Farmhouse, by Dianne Hicks Morrow
I absolutely loved this memoir-in-essays-and-a-few-poems about an old country house and the people who've lived in it over the last 40 years - but since I had more than a few playdates in said house, I may be biased. (But even if I wasn't biased, I'd probably love it, she said stubbornly.)
Manners and Mutiny, by Gail Carriger
On the one hand, I DEVOURED this book, giggling, gasping, and smirking as appropriate. On the other hand, my coworker said, "So what did you think of it as an ending for the series?" and I said, "WHAT? It's THE ENDING OF THE SERIES?!?!?!?!" So, you know. NOFAIRWANTMORE. (And also, maybe it didn't have the right ending tone? But maybe I was just in denial.) I'm really hoping for a sequel series at some point. Or at least for the characters to recur.