May 2016 round up

Books I’ve already talked about
The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
Dancing to the Precipice by Caroline Moorehead
Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand
A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand

Other books
Rey’s Survival Guide by Jason Fry: If you want to know a lot more about Rey, do check this out! Fry is a great writer who knows his Star Wars stuff (he’s written a number of other Star Wars tie-ins). Be prepared, though–there are definitely some punches to the heart in these pages.

Captain Marvel: Stay Fly
Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propiis
: I like Captain Marvel. I’m not entirely sure I like where her arc is going? But I’m willing to keep reading anyway.

Freedom & Necessity by Emma Bull and Steven Brust: This is an odd book–it skirts right around the edges of being fantasy, and reminds me a bit more of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond books than anything else. I liked most of the characters quite a bit but occasionally wanted to tell James to stop being so self-absorbed and annoying. It’s not exactly what I expected or wanted, and yet I find myself thinking of it later with a lot of affection. (Also, I love that it illuminates a lesser known moment in history.)

Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire: Perfectly okay urban fantasy, which I mostly read because I’ve heard that the series as a whole is amazing. I wasn’t super invested in this first book, but I will keep reading at least a few more.

Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan: (reread) I normally love Courtney Milan’s books, but I have to admit that this one didn’t work that well for me–the main characters never quite came alive.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: (audiobook, reread) So, if you have a chance, definitely listen to this audiobook. Woodson’s narration made her words and story come alive. I liked Brown Girl Dreaming a lot when I read it the first time–I flat out loved it this time. Laughed, cried, smiled.

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia: This was the first in a string of books I liked and also didn’t like as much as I expected to. I know several other people who LOVED it (here’s Jenny’s review) and I do see why, but it also just wasn’t my reading experience. I did finish, obviously, and I did like it–but I’m a bit troubled by Minnie’s characterization, and I wasn’t super impressed by one of the twists, and I just wish I loved it the way everyone else does. The end.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw: I really, really liked this one–I think it’s a positive and honest depiction of being a fangirl. I also appreciated that Breslaw shows us a character who’s feminist but who’s also still learning–who messes up and judges other girls and has to overcome that very real human tendency. I didn’t flat-out love it, but I would definitely recommend for people looking for a light & also thoughtful read.

Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi: I’ve been meaning to read this one for awhile and I ended up really liking it. Koyanagi builds a complex and fascinating world, and the main character, Alanna, is wonderful. It’s also inclusive–Alanna is described as Black, has a chronic illness, and is gay, and some other spoilery stuff. I’m not an authority on any of those identities, but they seemed to be well handled. This is a nice science fantasy kind of book, and I’m happy to recommend it.

A Tangled Web by Lucy Maud Montgomery: (reread) Ughhhhh, there’s so much racism. And ableism. And weird romances where we’re supposed to cheer for the characters but I just wanted to yell: GET OUT! I did love Margaret, and Aunt Becky, and dang Montgomery can turn a phrase. But this was not my most successful re-read ever, although the people I was reading it with are wonderful and there were many knives emoji used.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: I absolutely loved 9/10ths of this book–it’s slight but packs a lot in, and is probably my favorite thing I’ve read by McGuire so far. (I mean, if Feed had not been followed by its sequels, that would be my favorite.) But I wasn’t–expecting? hoping for?–the ending that we got, and I think the slightness of the book worked against it in that regard. Overall, however: YAY.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle: So–so I liked this book, and I liked Quinn, and I think Federle is a good writer who has a specific & unique voice that I enjoy a lot. But I have two quibbles. First, I recognize & respect what Federle is trying to do in the depiction of Quinn’s mom, but I’m not sure it works. Second, I think it wants to be both a serious book and a lighthearted book and it isn’t quite one or the other, or evenly balanced between the two.

Peas & Carrots by Tanita S. Davis: review coming on Friday!

Other posts
Ten years at By Singing Light!
essay: Finding new people, finding my value
essay: Pop culture & me
booklist: Musicians in fantasy books
booklist: Alternate takes on portal fantasies
What I’m reading 5-11
What I’m reading 5-25

Me elsewhere
On the Myrrhbearers

TV & movies
Hinterland/ Y Gwyll: I’m not generally a fan of the genre that might best be described as “sad white male detectives” but for some reason I do like Hinterland. I had almost finished the first season, so I wrapped that up and went on to the second. I have to say that despite generally liking the show, the last episode of the first season really annoyed me–it seemed to fall into all the lazy tropes of the genre. What I do appreciate about Tom Mathias is that he reaches out to people, but in this case the way he reached out was super unethical, and the consequences were super annoying and boring. In short: I like this show, but be better, please.

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6 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list

6 responses to “May 2016 round up

  1. Oh, well, you’re not wrong about Minnie’s characterization. It doesn’t even matter to me what your issue with her was, because I bet I agree with it. I think for me, a factor that made Bellweather Rhapsody work so well for me was that I expected it to have a different type of ending. I was pleased that instead the ending was all feelings.

    I hate that I’m saying this but — was Courtney Milan maybe better when she wasn’t self-pubbing? Her early books are among my favorite-ever romances, and she’s the author that made me stop despising romance novels, but I haven’t liked most of her recent books nearly as much as I liked her early ones. I dunno. It’s a concern.

    • Maureen Eichner

      I can definitely see that with Bellweather Rhapsody! And I don’t want to overstate my objections–I did genuinely enjoy a lot of the book. Just not as much as everyone else.

      You know, you might be right. At the very least, I think they’re more uneven. I liked some of the books in the Brothers Sinister series, but I liked the novellas more. Regardless, her last two books (Trade Me & Marquess) haven’t worked for me, and that makes me sad.

  2. I have been seeing Every Heart a Doorway everywhere and really want to read it, but I have never read her before period and have other books by her on my TBR…. So, I should probably get to them, first!

    • Maureen Eichner

      She has quite a few! However, Every Heart a Doorway is definitely a standalone, for what that’s worth.

  3. 100% agree on the Milan and Racculia! (I read Bellweather Rhapsody last year, though, on a random “this looks interesting” library visit, and I’ve been a bit surprised that so many people LOVE IT.)

    I am so “meh” about Great American Whatever (and have THOUGHTS about it being an adult novel turned YA, which is where I think a lot of its flaws come from).

    Every Heart A Doorway, however, I just LOVED, though I’ve never read McGuire before.

    • Maureen Eichner

      I mean, I can see it from the mystery/place aspect, but it’s also flawed enough that I’m surprised that didn’t get mentioned more.

      I did not know Great American Whatever was originally adult, but yeah. I can see that being part of the uneven tone issue.

      Every Heart I did love up until the very end and I think that was frustrating to me primarily because of the length–I just wanted a little bit more/different tone?

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