July ’19 Reading Recap

I didn’t read as much this month but everything I read was E X C E L L E N T. Huge fan of everything here.

Fiction

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (4/5 stars)
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger (4/5)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston (5/5)
The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff (4/5)
The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff (4/5)
The Kindly Ones by Melissa Scott (5/5)
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (4/5)

Comics and Manga

Silver Spoon volumes 1-3 by Hiromu Arakawa (5/5)
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl volumes 9-10 by Ryan North (5/5)

Nonfiction

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (5/5)
Quiet by Susan Cain (5/5)
American Nightingale by Bob Welch (5/5)

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May ’19 Reading Recap

I am loving the reboot of Runaways by Rainbow Rowell. She manages to capture everything I loved about the first run but also break new ground with the characters. And it’s so fun to read and so nice to look at. A+.

My favorite reads this month were probably Finders by Melissa Scott and Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear, which both started with a similar premise: hardworking salvagers go out on a routine work-trip and find MUCH more than they bargain for in the depths of space. Both books went in very different directions, though, and I really enjoyed both takes.

Fiction

Nate Expectations by Tim Federle (5/5 stars)

The Tale of the Five by Diane Duane (4/5 stars)

Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson (4/5 stars)

Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel (3/5 stars)

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (3/5 stars)

Finders by Melissa Scott (5/5 stars)

Shadow Man by Melissa Scott (5/5 stars)

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear (4/5 stars)

A Middle-Earth Traveler by John Howe (4/5 stars)

Reread

The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin (5/5 stars, read Jan-May)

Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (5/5 stars)

Comics

Sandman 9-12 by Neil Gaiman (2-4/5 stars)

Runaways: Best Friends Forever by Rainbow Rowell (5/5 stars)

The Royal Tutor volume 11 by Higasa Akai (4/5 stars)

Avatar the Last Airbender: Imbalance volume 1 by Faith Erin Hicks (4/5 stars)

Poetry

The Kalevala (5/5 stars)

Nonfiction

The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan (4/5 stars)

April ’19 Reading Recap

Oooooooooooooo lots of good reads this month! I adored Spindle by E. K. Johnston (I’m almost finished with her backlist now!). The Bedlam Stacks confirmed that I’m obsessed with every word Natasha Pulley writes. I read my first Cherryh book and vastly enjoyed it so I’m on the prowl for more Cherryh now.

On the nonfiction side, Be Quiet, Be Heard is a fantastic book on How to Communicate and I really recommend it.

Please don’t yell at me for not rating Sandman higher. It’s clearly not my cup of tea. I’m determined to finish Gaiman’s run, though!

Comics

Sandman volumes 5-8 by Neil Gaiman (3-4/5 stars)

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (3 stars)

Fiction

Dumplin by Julie Murphy (4/5 stars)

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (5/5 stars)

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson (4/5 stars)

Lovecraft Unbound short story anthology ed. by Ellen Datlow (4/5 stars)

Spindle by E. K. Johnston (5/5 stars)

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (4/5 stars)

Armistice by Lara Elena Donnelly (5/5 stars)

Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly (4/5 stars)

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (4/5 stars)

Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars)

Chanur Saga books 1-3 by C. J. Cherryh (4/5 stars)

Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston (3/5 stars)

Nonfiction

Be Quiet, Be Heard by Susan Glaser (5/5 stars)

A Brief History of Painting by Roy Bolton (2/5 stars)

Tussie-Mussies by Geraldine Adamich Laufer (4/5 stars)

Bibliophile by Jane Mount (5/5 stars)

Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees by Ernst and Johanna Lehner (4/5 stars)

March ’19 Reading Recap

I’m just . . . going to keep doing these. It was really fun to look back over my 2018 ones so let’s keep a good thing going.

I finished 2 series about dragons this month: the first arc of the Wings of Fire series, and the Lady Trent series. My favorite reads this month were Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston and any of the Diana Wynne Jones picks.

#DWJMarch

(aka that month where I try to read a lot of Diana Wynne Jones and sometimes succeed)

Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

A Tale of Time’s City by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars)

Drowned Ammett by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars)

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars)

Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars)

Witch’s Business by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones (5/5 stars)

Comics

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (4/5 stars)

Fence volume 2 by C.S. Pacat (5/5 stars)

Giant Days volumes 7-8 by John Allison (4/5 stars)

Noragami volumes 13-19 by Adachitoka (3-4/5 stars)

Sandman volume 4 by Neil Gaiman (3/5 stars)

Fiction

Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan (5/5 stars)

Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston (5/5 stars)

Dark Secret by Tui Sutherland (4/5 stars)

Brightest Night by Tui Sutherland (5/5 stars)

Tolkien’s World by David Day (4/5 stars)

Rereads

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey (4/5 stars)

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey (4/5 stars)

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (4/5 stars)

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (5/5 stars, read Jan-Mar)

Nonfiction

The Road to Middle-Earth by Tom Shippey (4/5 stars)

Poetry

Sir Orfeo ed. by A.J. Bliss (5/5 stars)

March 2018 Reading Recap

Whew I read a lot this month! And most of it was really amazing. My favorites were Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura series (this was just nominated for a Hugo award, too!), and The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski (my review here). My favorite comics were Joyride, which I’m pumped to read more of, and the Library Wars manga series, which is hilarious but also really resonant. Yikes.

What were your favorite reads this month?

Comics/Graphic Novels

Fruits Basket 16-23 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 stars)

Library Wars 1-15 by Kiiro Yumi (5/5 stars)

Heart and Brain by Nick Seluk (5/5 stars)

March: Book Three by John Lewis (5/5 stars)

Garbage Night by Jen Lee (2/5 stars)

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (4/5 stars)

M.F.K. Book One by Nilah Magruder (4/5 stars)

Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates (3/5 stars)

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Who Is Oracle? by Julie Benson (3/5 stars)

Joyride Volume 1 by Jackson Lanzer (5/5 stars)

The Force Awakens by Chuck Wendig (2/5 stars)

Lumberjanes: A Bird’s-Eye View by Shannon Watters (4/5 stars)

The Wicked and The Divine: Imperial Phase 2 by Kieron Gillen (4/5 stars)

Afar by Leila del Duca (4/5 stars)

Poetry

How We Became Human by Joy Harjo (4/5 stars)

Fiction

Opal by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Siren Depths by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (4/5 stars)

Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess) by Ursula Vernon (5/5 stars)

Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham (5/5 stars)

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia McKillip (5/5 stars)

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (5/5 stars)

Nonfiction

Castles by Alan Lee (3/5 stars)

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski (5/5 stars)

 

February 2018 Reading Recap

Comics/Graphic Novels

Fruits Basket volumes 1-15 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 stars): I’m rereading this series and it turns out that it’s still one of my top 3 manga of all time.

Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer (4/5 stars): Funny! Adventurous! Romantic! And it’s groovy, too!

The Backstagers: Volume 2 by James Tynion IV (5/5 stars): It’s about highschool stagecrew who explore the magical land of the backstage. I love it.

Nonfiction

Myths and Legends of Japan by F. Hadland Davis (3/5 stars): This was first published in 1913 by British authors and YOU CAN TELL. The narration really annoyed me at times. That being said, this was a pretty comprehensive volume of legends, myths, ghost stories, etc. so it’s a good starting point for newbies like me.

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker (3/5 stars): I love Jen Hatmaker but most of this was aimed exclusively at moms, despite being marketed at all women.

Bitch Magazine #77 (4/5 stars): I finally gave in this year and subscribed. So far, so good!

Fiction

Thief’s War by Hilari Bell (4/5 stars): Hilari Bell is always a good time.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim (4/5 stars): Sim’s writing/plotting/characterization has improved by leaps and bounds since her first book, Timekeeper (which I also enjoyed). WHEN CAN I GET BOOK 3???

Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells (5/5 stars): THE LEIA NOVEL WE ALL DESERVE.

Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith (3/5 stars): It was okay? But I might be too old for it, as it’s aimed at middle-grade readers.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Sumelis (4/5 stars): This is one of the best fictional treatments of family abuse that I have ever read. Judging by the author’s note it’s at least partially autobiographical. I dropped a star for some rough debut-novel edges, but I will be keeping an eye on this author!

The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang (4/5 stars): Magic, love, and raptors.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (5/5 stars): It’s a classic.

January Recap: Goodreads

I didn’t read very much this month so I decided to give you mini-reviews for everything. This will be in two posts: Rereads and Goodreads. This one will cover the books I read for the first time this month.

By the way if anyone finds my blogging brain please return it. I miss it and I need it.

Meet Me In St. Louis by Sarah Benson

This was a light and enjoyable read for the most part. The book is divided into the months between June 1903 and May 1904. The “chapter” months are very episodic, almost like a series of short stories, as there aren’t any strong arcs to speak of. The characters are consistent but a little shallow; Esther and Rose, especially, don’t ever move past their boy-crazed silliness; but at least they keep us entertained. Grandpa Prophater was my favorite, as he is the most “aware” of the hilarity of this family. One of the scenes I found most interesting was when Mrs. Smith said she could understand why someone would want only one child, creating an ABSOLUTE UPROAR in the house from her five kids. Mr. Smith explains she’s upset because she can’t care for all five kids the way she wishes she could, but there’s a subtext of real frustration in Mrs. Smith’s pronouncement, as well. No matter how hard she tries, life is always uncertain and keeps her anxious about taking care of everyone.

So. Light and enjoyable read, but with some darker undertones that kept it interesting.

 

Rey’s Survival Guide by Jason Fry

This Middle Grade book is a delight. It’s a fictional nonfiction book, written by Rey about the planet of Jakku and the people, places, and things you will find on it. There are lots of pictures: Rey’s drawings and schematics, manuals, documents that she has picked up in her wanderings. I have never cared about Jakku much, either as a fictional setting that I wanted to know more about, or a place I wanted more stories set on. However, author Jason Fry make Jakku really fascinating through Rey. Part of it is all the plants and animals she describes, which make Jakku feel more like a real place with an actual ecosystem. The geography was even more fascinating: some of the locations Rey draws and describes we see in The Force Awakens, but some of them we don’t, like The Sitter on his rock and Old Meru’s shack. Rey mentions lots of stories and legends floating around Jakku as well, such as a secret imperial base that someone is still guarding, buried beneath the sand.

If you’re looking for a “story,” though, you won’t find much of one here. It’s almost entirely exposition, with anecdotes from Rey’s childhood, her scavenging adventures, or about other scavengers that she knows or has known (she knows a lot of dead scavengers who weren’t careful enough to avoid sinking sand or live wires or leaking fuel lines. Yikes.). The end of the book tries to tie this book into TFA more, but it was the only part of the book I didn’t like. If she takes her “survival guide” with her off-planet it becomes more of a diary with a lot of useless tips about how to survive a place she no longer lives in. I like the idea of Rey leaving her journal behind, so someone on Jakku exploring can find it in her AT-AT house, and use the information to survive.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

What a heartbreaking book! Each of the characters from the protagonist Sethe, her boyfriend Paul D, her lost husband Halle, her MIL Baby, to her daughters Denver and Beloved have their own personal scars and brutal histories. In multiple ways this book is a horror story: the horror story of American slaves and their owners; the horror story of Sethe’s murdered daughter and the family she is haunting; the horror story of Paul D’s life history.

However, there is such a strong hope throughout the book, even in the very worst moments, that redeemed the story from a bleak resolution. Sethe begins to realize that maybe she can hope for more than just getting by, or living in the horrible choices of the past. She learns how to want things for herself, and since she’s got her freedom legally, all she needs to do is seize it psychologically. The way the different members of the family persevere and support each other, and the way their community forms around them to help at different stages, is amazing.

Even if every happy bit in this book was gone, it would still be worth reading to remind us of how horrific American slavery was and how we should never ever ever forget or gloss over it. It happened, to real people, by real people, in a country that prides itself on liberty and justice for all.  Beloved doesn’t shy away from this or completely excuses the choices that anyone makes, whether they’re slaves, ex-slaves, slaveowners or employers.

The ending of Beloved, with the emphasis on community, and the importance of asking for help, concluded the psychologically-messy story very well. I would have liked to see Paul D take some responsibility for his actions re: Beloved and being so rude to Sethe but it is implied that he’s going to make up for past behavior.