October in Review

2229976314 books, guys.  Lots of audiobooks and lots of class reading for children’s literature.  Let’s go!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

4.5 cups of tea.  I thought this book was really solid.  It didn’t knock my socks off like Six of Crows, but Bardugo seriously knows what she’s doing.  The variety of characters and representations they embody are fantastic, and the action and capability of the characters keeps the plot moving.  I think my main hang up was just that I didn’t fall in love with Ketterdam, as much as character as the rest of them.  It was fine.  But, all of this changed with the ending and the end of my dreams.  Basically, Bardugo killed off a character, and I totally understand why, and I think it was well-done, but I am still sad about because I loved that person’s story arc and romance.  But, I am now, ready to dive back into the Grisha world at Siege and Storm after a lukewarm experience with Shadow and Bone.  And I have my fingers crossed for future stories following at least one specific character from the Six of Crows series!

12788124Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

5 cups of tea.  Holy cow, this was a surprise!  I heard about this book from Sharayna Sharma’s blog Inkspot, when she found a little pocket of YA books focusing on Benvolio and Rosaline, minor characters from Romeo and Juliet.  I had written an in-class assignment with this same premise when I read Romeo and Juliet in 9th Grade, and was floored to see that others were doing it justice.  I read Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub, which I thought was solid and fine, but this book blew me away.  It kind of crept up on me.  I had been thinking this book was alright, and then suddenly, I was SO into it and I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and the story and how it interwove into the Romeo and Juliet play, and gah! I knew what was coming!  I also really liked the way the romantic tension was built up.  Benvolio and Rosaline don’t have a lot of scenes together, and they aren’t long scenes when they do, but man they pack a punch!  Whew!  I will be picking up some Rachel Caine in the future, and giving it a chance to sneak up on me.

14623529Princeless by Jeremy Whitley

4 cups of tea.  Read for my class.  Fun, a good introduction to feminism, great for setting fairy tale tropes of all kinds on their ear.  Not sure graphic novels are the way for me.  But I want to keep trying with this one.  YES for POC princesses too!  And ginger heroines!

30025791Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neil

3 cups of tea.  A sweet middle grade comic looking at fairy tale tropes with weight-positive, queer-friendly, POC, active heroines.  A little bit thin for me to totally fall in love with–I wish it would have been a little longer, or the first in a series, but I think that it is very important and appropriate for kids 10 and under.

15803186If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother by Julia Sweeney

3.5 cups of tea.  Sweeney tackles her life, experiences in motherhood, love, and family loss in these set of essays.  I had thought they were just fine, until we got closer to the end when all of the threads really came together to make a beautiful picture.  Lovely.

21965115Mystery of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stanford

4 cups of tea.  A fun Holmsian kind of mystery starring some repurposed historical figures.  It might be better if Stanford had just written them as their own people rather than shadows of history.  The audiobook narrator is the same lady who reads for the Jackaby books, and she is excellent!

4961048Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

3.5 cups of tea.  Fisher is funny and irreverent, giving details about her well-known past as the child of a top Hollywood couple, with her own crazy career, crazy romantic life, and crazy personal struggles.  Fun for anyone who loves both Star Wars and Carrie Fisher as a larger than life character.

22551747A Dragon’s Guide to Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder

4 teacups.  One of my new faves!  This was fun with a cranky old lady dragon and a spunky little girl, both of whom believe that the other is their pet.  Mix in some magical friends, creatures, and item, hijinks ensue!  I’m planning to pick up the audio for the next one once I don’t have so much reading homework.

6201557Anna Hibiscus by Atikune

4 teacups.  Read for class and with my kids.  It’s a sweet story about a girl living in Africa with her family, and her little adventures.  It’s really good for building connections between young children in Western countries and seeing that people living in places like Africa aren’t so different, while at the same time, pointing out that life is different in different places.  I thought it was lovely and my daughter immediately asked if we could get the next book from the library.

30731095Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

4.5 teacups.  My first f/f romance, this one a fantasy romance set in Carriger’s Parasolverse of her previous Parasol Protectorate/Finishing School/Custard Protocol series.  I did a full review linked here, as Carriger provided this e-ARC to me before publication for the purposes of reviewing.  I think Carriger did a wonderful job tying this story

16173250Gilded by Christina Farley

2 cups of tea.  DNF.  Too much high school, too much angst, not enough magic.  And, several reviewers had problems with the white boy love interest (who frankly seemed like a douche and I did not want our main character to serve hot chocolate with him, or whatever), as well as the thinly drawn Korean backdrop.  Maybe I’ll come back to it for the mythology, but today, no.

28230509Bride’s Story 8 by Kaoru Mori

5 teacups. Pretty slow in terms of plot (as usual), but lovely as ever.  This focuses on the volatile Priya whose house and wedding linens have been destroyed.  She and her family move in with our main family, who help her and teach her to have the patience to re-do her linens carefully.  But will the groom and his family wait for her to re-embroider them all?  Ready for the next one, ok Ms. Mori?

18209477The Dinosaur and the Griffin by Marc Aronson

4 teacups.  Fossils as the ancient basis which mythological stories grew out of is my favorite, favorite thing.  I considered going in this direction for graduate work, but it’s a pretty tiny field.  I loved this book as a kids’ introduction to the idea of nature and fossils introducing with some amazing pictures (seriously, that cyclops and elephant skull drawing!).

29396738Monstress by Marjorie Liu

2.5 cups of tea.  Super gory, took me a while to get into.  I’m trying out graphic novels, and while they aren’t my favorite medium (I think my aged brain is too trained for text for story consumption), I do like many of the stories and the art so I’ll keep trying and see if I fall in love with any of them.  This one I just had to quit on.  Too much gore and was a little bit hard to follow.  Maybe I’ll be able to pick it back up sometime when life is slower.



Currently reading:

The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede

I picked this up at the beginning of the month and have ground to a halt with all of my class reading and my anticipated releases reading (see below).  But, it’s my last hardcopy book from 2014, and then, for a short period of time, I will not have any physical books from longer than last year (still a couple of ebooks hanging on).

Hexbound by Bec McMaster

How can you tell it was my birthday this month?  Well, I got to read new releases from Carriger and McMaster in the same week which basically is a birthday present.  Homework/life keeps interfering with my reading of this book, and the start is a little slow.  I’ve crossed halfway and the plot is picking right up!

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

Reading this for my class on children’s literature.  Fun, wacky, and interesting!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Just barely started this one before WondLa came in from the library, but I think I’m going to love it!


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