These mini-reviews are all of books that I've read recently but, for whatever reason, don't want to write full reviews of.
Beka Cooper #2 (a Tortall series)
I'd forgotten everything about the first book other than Beka's name, but I was soon drawn into Bloodhound. Great characters, great plot, great action, as always with Pierce's books. It got a bit long at times (it's 500+ pages, after all), but never unexciting or boring. The last 150 or so pages really picked up again and reminded me why I've loved Pierce's novels ever since I started reading them five years ago.
The Jack Tales are a series of folk/tall tales from the Southern Appalachians. They come from English as well as continental European traditions, though this particular edition tells the stories in mountain dialect. Eighteen humorous and, at times, ridiculously exaggerated tales are collected in this book, which is written for both folklore and comparative literature students as well as readers just looking for a fun book. For a more complete review, see my mom and I's failed attempt at a dual blog here.
A post-apocalyptic book like no other: the sci-fi part's really just at the beginning - an epic flu pandemic - before the story settles into a (non-dystopian) bildungsroman in a fundamentalist Christian community. Odd, slow, but not unpleasant; I enjoyed reading it, but I only figured out where the author was trying to go (a coming-of-age tale) at the very end. It's well-written, which helps alleviate any of its negative attributes. A longer review is to come.
I haven't actually finished this one yet, mostly because I don't understand the anthropological jargon and it's kind of boring. It took me 30 pages before I could make heads or tails of anything, and now most stuff is going in one ear (eye) and out the other. This will be one I return to in sections, with more background knowledge, taking notes, once a couple years have passed after whenever I finally finish reading it the first time.