The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Like Raybourn's Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor, TDTF features strong and interesting characters, a likable heroine, an intense, mysterious and brooding hero, and an irresistible Victorian setting with a deliciously Gothic flavor. This book reminds us all of the origins of the current vampire craze and the chill it should bring...without sparkles. If you enjoyed Raybourn's other works, you're sure to like this one.
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
The first in a new YA trilogy set in Snyder's fantasy world of Sitia, Storm Glass follows the trials and tribulations of Opal, a glass-making magician whose hang ups about being a "one hit wonder" are almost as destructive and thwarting as the bad guys she keeps clashing with. I found it hard to read this book without comparing it to the award-winning Poison Study, Snyder's first work in the worlds of Sitia and Ixia. Though it took me a while to get to like Opal (I couldn't put my finger on why until a character actually pointed her flaws out) the plot carried me along, driving me from location to location in the company of a few interesting fellows. A light but meaty read for lovers of YA fantasy.
Ponyo (film) by Hayao Miyazaki
The latest offering from one of my favorite artists and animators is true to Miyazaki's spirit of innocence. It goes back to Studio Ghibli's tradition of blending mundane suburban/rural Japanese life with childhood fantasy. Similar to My Neighbor Totoro, we follow the adventures of a five-year-old boy named Sasuke and his enduring innocent love for a magical goldfish, Ponyo, who escapes from her magician father to live among humans. While it is loosely based on the Little Mermaid tale, this film is infinitely more child-friendly. Adults won't be treated to the visual and dramatic treat that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away were--in fact, the animation and art seems to have been deliberately toned down with more primary colors and smoother textures. But if you can allow yourself to remember what it was like to be a kid with dreams, to accept reality for the grand adventure it can be, then Ponyo won't disappoint.