Category Archives: monthly book list

January 2017 round up

Books already talked about

Dared & Done by Julia Markus

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Reek of Red Herring by Catriona McPherson

Return Fire by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Other books
A Little Taste of Poison by RJ Anderson: This one is the follow up to one of my favorite books from 2015, A Pocket Full of Magic. It was delightful to be back with Isaveth and Quiz, and I enjoyed the school setting of this book as well as the complications that arose from the resolution of the first book. I do think the set up portion took longer than I expected it to, and I wished for more of Isaveth’s family, because I think they’re delightful. But overall, this is another solid middle grade mystery.

Chime by Franny Billingsley: This was a reread, the first book I finished this year. It’s one of my favorites (the humor! the language and word-play! BRYONY!) and it fit especially well with some things I’ve been thinking about in regards to my personal life and this year. But mostly, I just love Billingsley’s books and especially this one: a story about a prickly, unkind girl whose voice shines from the very first page.

Bandette v. 2: This series manages to be incredibly charming and incredibly menacing somehow at exactly the same time. The tone is light and cheerful and the storyline flows along merrily until you realize that actually the villains are pretty terrifying. It’s a very weird mental adjustment, but I like it.

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill: This is one where my personal reaction and my professional reaction are totally different. Personally, it just didn’t resonate for me–the story is a little too condensed, and we don’t spend enough time seeing the characters get to know and appreciate each other. However, I absolutely see the value in it, even though it didn’t quite work for me as an adult reader, and I’m glad I know about it and can recommend it to the readers who need it.

A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand: Florand’s latest release in her Provence series is absolutely lovely. Tristan hasn’t been my favorite character in the previous books, but as usually happens with Florand, I wound up really appreciating him in a new way. And Malorie won my heart almost from the first page. This is one that meant a lot to me personally, which is really why I haven’t written a longer review–I think I have too many feelings about it to do it justice! Beautiful, as usual.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl: review coming soon

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: review coming soon

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie: Continuing my Ann Leckie reread and ooohhhhhhhh, I have so many thoughts and emotions and reactions to this book. It manages to do so many things so well, and there are moments that are just so beautifully written. Leckie’s control of Breq’s voice is fabulous. But perhaps one of my favorite things is the way we begin to see what Breq can’t, reading other characters’ reactions differently. I can’t wait to reread the third one and have lots more feelings about what it means to be human + found families + surviving trauma.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: I can’t BELIEVE I waited this long to read Binti, because it is outrageously beautiful and amazing. I really like Okorafor’s work in general, and this one is just great. It’s a novella, and the first of at least two, so there’s a slightness to it. But there’s also a lot packed into the pages: family and culture, diplomacy and building trust, math as–religion? experience? Plus spaaaace. Most of all, though, Binti’s voice is so clear and vivid right from the first sentence. I can’t wait for the next one!

Let Evening Come – Jane Kenyon: I recently discovered Kenyon’s poetry and wanted to check out a collection. Overall, this is a powerful set poems, though there are a few that certainly stand out more than the rest. I loved the juxtaposition of nature imagery with a kind of rejection of sentimentality that runs throughout.

The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn: I loved Kuehn’s first book, Charm & Strange, but haven’t actually read any of her subsequent work. This one, dealing with a cult in California, was a little bit difficult because my adult brain with a lot of experience reading and thinking about cults was yelling things the whole time. Certainly, the ending wasn’t a surprise to me. However, that isn’t to say that  teen reader won’t like this a lot and find that the ending works for them.

Other posts
Favorite children’s & YA read in 2016

Favorite adult books and reading notes in 2016

2017 releases I’m excited about

Currently reading: 1-19

Books that have been helping me lately

Newsletter + news

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here that I’m writing a newsletter now! It goes out monthly, with reflections, recipes, interesting links, and whatever else I’m interested in when I sit down to write it. You can check out the first two and sign up right here.

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November 2016

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron: I’ve liked Sharon Cameron’s books in general, and this is another solid one from her. It’s a slightly different take on a dystopianish society–although it feels familiar in some ways, it also reminded me that sometimes tropes are tropes for a reason. And in the second half of the book, there are some interesting twists that change how the story unfolds.

The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier: review coming later

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders: My friend Shae sent a copy of this one to me because she thought I’d like it–and I did! It’s a Victorian mystery with some Dickensian elements (loosely inspired by parts of David Copperfield). I liked that it features an older woman as the detective, and Saunders does a nice job of weaving in everyday details without clunkiness.

Nomad by William Alexander: Sequel to Ambassador, which I also loved. I read this one just after the election, and a story about a Latino kid saving the world through diplomacy while facing his father’s deportation was both heartbreaking and really affirming. Alexander is great at quiet, kid-centered SFF, which engages thoughtfully with political issues and tells really valuable and beautiful stories.

The Pocket Emily Dickinson: I went to look for a few poems and ended up reading the whole thing. Lo, the power of poetry, I suppose. [that’s a quote]

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens: Look, I just really love the Wells & Wong books. They’re 1930s-set middle grade mysteries, which sounds pretty simple on the surface. But Stevens actually tells a really complex story, and there’s a lot about friendship and identity and privilege woven into the whole series. This third book started off a little slow, but it ended up being possibly my favorite yet as we see both Daisy and Hazel dealing with their family histories and the realities of growing up. (ARC read through Edelweiss)

Ms. Marvel Last Days by G. Willow Wilson: Every time I read a new volume of Ms. Marvel, I think that it couldn’t possibly be as good as the last one (because the last one was so good). But every time I am wrong! If I had to only read one comic series for the rest of my days, it would be Kamala, no questions. I love the depth of relationships shown here, the way Kamala’s family and culture and faith influence but don’t define her, the balance of hope and struggles. It’s just so good.

Goldie Vance vol. 1 by Hope Larson: My friend Kate gave me this one for my birthday and I really liked it! It’s a 1950s mystery, set in a hotel, and featuring a young detective. There are so many black and Latinx characters, which is nice to see, and the comic does deal with privilege and prejudice to a certain extent. I also really liked the art! It felt very fresh and clean and bright, which fits Goldie’s character well.

Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers: I reread this with my friend Ally and WHOOOO BOY WE HAD FEELINGS. (I talked about this one at length recently enough that I’m not going to go into more detail at the moment.)

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: 1919-set historical fantasy, which seems to be a Thing at the moment? But I liked this version–the friendship between Ada and Corinne really drove the book for me (you all know how I love a good female friendship). I kind of saw the big twist coming, and there were a few clunky moments, but overall I found this one pretty solid. (I can’t speak to how good the representation is, and I’m not finding a ton of reviews for this one? If you have thoughts, I want to know.)

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley: This book is definitely a case where I can’t step back from my adult reaction enough to say fairly whether I think this is a successful book for kids. It’s a nuanced look at friendship and family and class; Gertie’s complicated feelings about the people and events in her life are compelling. But I wanted something to break free a little bit sooner, I guess. Whether a kid would feel the same way is a question I keep wondering about and not really coming up with an answer for.

Diva Without a Cause by Grace Dent: I’m really sad that only the first two books in this series have been published in the US. I liked this one quite a bit–it’s thoughtful and sharp and funny. In a certain way some of the concerns do feel very specific to the UK, and yet I think that 1) the overarching themes are totally relatable and 2) it’s good for us to read outside of our own culture!

Bandette vol. 1 by Tobin and Coover: Another recommendation from Kate. I LOVE IT–the story feels fresh, although the art feels retro and that’s a combination that works really well for me, it seems.

Rogue Heroes by Ben MacIntyre: I like MacIntyre’s non-fiction style; I was less interested in the subject of this book. [I could say more about this, and the fact that MacIntyre tries to push back against the glorification of hypermasculinity that’s almost inherent in his subject, but doesn’t entirely succeed. I’m not sure I’d be entirely coherent enough to make it worthwhile, though.]

New and Selected Poems, vol 1 by Mary Oliver: Rereading this volume and realizing I need to read vol. 2, since there are whole chunks of Oliver’s career that I’m missing! I am occasionally impatient with Oliver, and yet every time I feel this way, the next poem pulls me back and reminds me of why I love her.

Ahsoka by EK Johnston: I love Johnston’s books and I love Star Wars, so this seemed like a natural fit! The take on the universe, the aftermathy kind of story, was really interesting to me, and I liked the look at everyday life and resistance. This is about what happens when you lose the war; it seems unfortunately apt at the moment. Also, Ahsoka’s relationship with Kaeden and the way that played out seemed like a story I haven’t seen a lot of, in a way that seems realistic and true to the characters.

Guile by Constance Cooper: On a personal level, I found the story, characters and writing fairly strong (I do think it dragged in the middle) I am wondering about the representation and portrayal of bayou culture–not because I saw anything inherently problematic, but rather because it’s hard to tell how well Cooper has written it from the outside.

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October 2016 round up

Crosstalk by Connie Willis: I was so excited for this book–a new Connie Willis! And then, although I read the whole thing in one gulping evening, I ended up sadly disappointed. It had all the elements of her beloved books but it wasn’t cohesive. And most of all, I was bothered by the implications of the story. The romance; the pseudo-Irishness that didn’t succeed in it satire; the weird element of ethnic purity; the tired idea that we are all too connected. Ana’s review at The Book Smugglers sums up my feelings well.

Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve ValentineTalked about this one here!

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: I appreciate what this book is doing a lot–the sweeping, epic feel, the star-crossed romance across time and space, the lush and gorgeous prose. Chokshi engages with mythology and stories on several levels and in really interesting ways. I’m just not personally as drawn to the kind of romance and epic story that this is (which is true for several other well-loved books in a similar vein). This isn’t a book that is for me as a reader, but it is definitely one for lots of other readers out there.

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff: review coming soon!

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern: I was curious about Ahern’s first YA book–I know she’s a respected adult author–and how it would read. I think she managed the transition to a different audience well. Her teenagers do read as teenagers and her take on dystopia is really strong and doesn’t pull punches. The last part of the book didn’t work quite as well for me, but overall I think this is one with a lot to chew on.

Something New by Lucy KnisleyLovely story about Knisley’s romance and wedding. She weaves in a number of thoughts about marriage and dating and what that means in this day and age. While I differ on approach and belief in a number of areas, a lot of what she said also rang true to me. A great mix of charming and thoughtful.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: So strong on plotting and premise–three queens are always born as triplets, each with their own deadly gifts, but only one can rule–and yet oddly flat for me on characterization. The ending also felt less like an ending and more like a hook for the next book. However, that twist is interesting enough that I’ll probably try to read the next one when it comes out!

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds: I feel like this is just stating the obvious, but Reynolds is so, so good at voice. Everyone in this book feels like a real, distinct character, even though we get them all filtered through Gene’s perspective. And there’s also a great sense of what a kid would be concerned with, that neither talks down to the audience nor turns Gene into some ultra-wise prodigy. Thoughtful and nuanced, this is definitely one I’ll recommend.

This Savage Song by Victoria SchwabI hate to admit it, but this one didn’t work nearly as well as I wanted it to. Mainly, it felt long. Once I reached a certain point, I felt much more interested and invested in the main characters. But I think if I hadn’t been reading for the Cybils, I likely would have put it down before I got there.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: This is now one of those books that I’m always re-reading in bits and pieces here and there. I noticed this time through how much of Maia’s journey is learning to live with the wounds of his past without acting in bitterness or letting them define him.

Goldenhand by Garth Nix: So, I love Sabriel and enjoyed the other earlier books about the Old Kingdom that I’ve read. I was intrigued by this one, especially since it sounded like it would tie together some of the strands from the other books. Which it did! And the story here is engaging enough. But I found my enjoyment hampered by two facts: I expected a depth and richness that I didn’t find here, and I think this book could have used another round of copy-editing. A small thing, and not Nix’s fault as such, but also jarring enough to bump me out of the story a couple of times.

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar: Eagar’s prose is really sharp and the interplay of the family history and Carol’s slow growth worked nicely. However, I think this one is on the long side. I don’t know if this is quite fair to the book, but I wanted a little more engagement with cultural and social issues as well–which I say mostly because I felt like they were almost present, or there in a kind of ghostly way, but not fully fleshed out.

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters: review coming soon!

A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee: I absolutely loved 95% of this book–the characters! the historical details! the sense of landscape and setting! all the bits about learning to be who you really are! It’s thoughtful and sharp and lovely. However, I also have some questions about the way Kitty was portrayed, which seemed to use the Victorian trope of the pure, wild orphan child without pushing back much at the social problems that create that condition.

Other posts

Burn, Baby, Burn by Meg Medina

10 favorite books about sisters

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Reading Notes

Currently reading: 10-5

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August 2016 round up

I am strongly torn between, “August, you’re fired, go home” and “HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER ALREADY!?”

Book reviews
Josephine Tey Reading Notes: Daughter of Time
Josephine Tey Reading Notes: A Schilling for Candles
Josephine Tey Reading Notes: All the other ones
Josephine Tey Reading Notes: Brat Farrar
Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Other books
Thor: Who Holds the Hammer
Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power
Loki Agent of Asgard: I Cannot Tell a Lie
The Unwritten Vol. 1
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart
Stormy Petrel by Mary Steart
The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Icon by Genevieve Valentine
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and Devid Levithan
Loki Agent of Asgard: Last Days

Other posts
Out of the Woods: Books set in forests
Books set in royal courts
Books in my Beach/Traveling Bag
Favorite SF from the last five years
Why I love Galadriel
Landscape and Character
Links 8-3
Links 8-31

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July 2016 round up

Books I’ve already talked about
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
False Hearts by Laura Lam

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Other books

Little White Lies by Brianna Baker and F. Bowman Hastie: I’ve been going back and forth about this one, and at a certain level I think I’m just not quite able to say from my own background whether it successfully does what it’s setting out to do. I’m glad to see exciting, timely YA contemporary fiction about a Black teen, but here it seems undercut a bit by the other point-of-character, who’s a middle-aged white man. It just–seems like a weird contrast and I’m not sure how it sits with me. If you’ve read this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Far From Fair by Elana K Arnold: Middle-grade contemporary. It’s a quiet look at family dynamics and end-of-life issues. While I can’t say my personal views align with the characters’ at all, I do think it could be a valuable book for the right reader. Overall, I thought Odette was really well drawn; as an adult reader I got a little impatient with her at points, but I suspect the target audience won’t.

Packing For Mars by Mary Roach: This is a look, not so much at the history of the space program, as at the history of the stuff needed to go into space. By and large, Roach has an easy breezy, readable style that is quite engaging. However, occasionally it’s a little at odds with her subject. And in one place I noticed a transition that came across as really, really racist (PRO TIP: don’t talk about how black women are ideally suited to being astronauts and then switch to black bears. Just don’t. This is why we need more diversity in publishing across the board.)

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks: Sometimes you just really need to reread a favorite, delightful book. This basically always means rereading Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, because it’s pretty much the definition of delightful.

Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger: YA scifi, a quietish book with some strong worldbuilding and characters. I can’t say much about the plot, because uncovering what happens is part of the fun, but I really liked it. I suspect that for the right readers it could be really great, and I hope it finds them.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Plamer: reviewed here
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey: reviewed here
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey: (review coming soon)
Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus: (review coming soon)
The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey: (review coming soon)
To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey: (review coming soon)
A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey: (review coming soon)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey: (review coming soon)
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman: (review coming soon)
Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana: (review coming soon)

TV and movies
Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, go see Ghostbusters. It’s so fun and lovely and yes.

I also have been watching The Great British Bake Off because it is on our TV screens once again! You should be able to watch it on PBS.org right now.

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June 2016 round up

Well, that was…a month. Also, just so everyone knows, I’m going to be mostly taking July off here. I’ll probably do a weeklyish round up, but I’ll be spending the time in planning, reading, and writing ahead.

Books I’ve talked about already
A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth Wein
The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein
The Lion Hunter by Elizabeth Wein
The Empty Kingdom by Elizabeth Wein (coming tomorrow)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand
Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis (read last month)

Other books
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling by Tony Cliff: This is a fairly enjoyable historical fantasy graphic novel. I remember hearing there were some issues of accuracy or representation after reading the first one; I’m not really qualified to comment on that. I did notice a fair amount of “not like the other girls” in this one, and yet I do also like reading them.

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire LeGrand: I loved, loved, loved this book. I wanted to talk about it in more detail, but ran out of time. It’s a wonderful mix of families, secrets, the stories we tell ourselves, and magical forests. It’s also a great way to show the realistic experience of a child with anxiety, who also gets to be the hero. More, please.

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh: I’ve read some Balogh before, but I wanted to go through an actual series. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, based on a number of friends’ enthusiastic responses.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro: Modern-day take on Holmes and Watson which engages a lot with the implications of being descendants of the most famous Holmes and Watson. I appreciated it without necessarily loving it.

The New Guy and Other Senior Year Distractions by Amy Spalding: I enjoy Amy Spalding’s books a lot and this was an fun premise. The plot was a little all over the place, but the characters were great.

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi: This was my first Oyeyemi and I LOVED it. It’s an immersive book, full of gorgeous language and unusual but not overly mannered. It’s also about a lot of my favorite themes and things. I will definitely be reading more Oyeyemi.

Chase Me by Laura Florand: Florand’s latest; I liked the characters and their dilemma a lot. The background was less specifically my thing than her other books, as I’m not generally invested in military stories (probably a result of being raised by two former anti-war protestors), but Chase and Violette were enough to get me through the story.

Mind Your Manors by Lucy Lethbridge: An interesting mix of historical detail about middle-class Victorian/Edwardian housekeeping, and practical tips for cleaning today. It was a little heavier on the historical detail than I was anticipating from the description, but it was certainly well-researched and engaging.

Company Town by Madeleine Ashby: I liked a LOT about this one–the world, the voice, the characters. There’s a lot to think about in terms of the implications and themes. I especially liked the fact that although it’s a brutal world, and horrifying things happen, Hwa herself is definitely a competent person who’s trying her best. It’s not necessarily perfect in all regards–there were a couple of moments that seemed a little tone-deaf–but overall this was a well-done futuristic story that’s gritty without being grim.

Other posts
Links 6-29
Ten favorite 2016 releases to date
Ten anticipated releases in the rest of 2016
Books for lazy days
What I’m reading 6-7

TV & movies
Grantchester: I’ve watched most of this series now and I like it a lot. I have reservations about the Amanda storyline which seems lazy and cliche’ but overall it’s pretty fun.

Rosemary & Thyme: I’ve now finished Rosemary and Thyme, which is a little sad. The mysteries are pretty predictable–I think I correctly identified both killer and motive for 7/8 of the episodes in the last series–but Rosemary and Laura are why I kept watching.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: It had been too long since I delighted in Phryne and Dot, and Jack and Hugh, and Jane, and Mac, and I just love this show, okay.

Finding Dory: I went to see this primarily to hang out with a friend, and I ended up liking it more than I expected. Like most Pixar/Disney films, much of it seems geared at adults vs. actual children–the Sigourney Weaver bit is hilarious but kids don’t care. I actually think I would have found it terrifying as a kid, since getting lost/separated from my parents was a big anxiety of mine. However, as an adult it’s pretty fun.

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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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