April in Review

The 15 books I read in April.  Probably while I should have been. . .doing other stuff.

1984 by George Orwell

2 cups of tea.  DNF.  I couldn’t do it.  I didn’t care.  I am not good at reading white dudes right now.  Maybe I’ll try and see if there is a movie that will help me push through. (borrowed from a friend)

26853604Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott

5 cups of tea.  LOVE!  Kate Elliott is a goddess and I am definitely pre-ordering the next book.  I love finding new surprises of books and worlds to fall into and fall in love.  Books like the ones in this series are why I read.  Jess is a great heroine, the women around her are bamf, the social commentary is spot on, the issues are clouded, the community is mixed in all senses of the word, and I love them all.  Even the Fives, sports aren’t my usual favorite to read about, and even Jess’s dad, because even if I don’t agree with him, Kiya and Jess still love him, so there’s a lot more to him than the bad stuff.  I wish everyone could/would read this series and fall in love with it.  (library checkout)

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

3 cups of tea.  Meh.  Davy and Dory were unpleasant, most of the kids were pretty insipid, Diana and Gilbert weren’t in it enough, and I felt like I couldn’t listen to the audio in front of my kids because of the huge sexism and gender-norms in the book.  I need a break before I get into another one. (library audio)

29475447A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

5 cups of tea.  Fucking amazing.  Chambers totally goes on my favorite authors list now that I’ve read two whole books by her.  I think this book will be on my favorites of the year.  I keep thinking of it and the lovely, tough characters who care for each other in such human ways.  My favorite theme is the exploration of how humanity is defined, which is all of what this book explores.  So good.  (library audio)

1491 by Charles C. Mann

4 cups of tea.  This was dense and kind of slow reading, so I’m glad I had it on audiobook, but it was SUPER good as well.  If you want to have your mind blown about everything we think about the history of the Americas, this book will do it.  I don’t know what Indigenous academics and people think of the book, but I’m planning to pick up some more books on this topic!

39020Night Flower by Kate Elliott

4.5 cups of tea.  Kate Elliot is my new girl.  Apparently, I didn’t realize feminist fantasy is where I am at.  This is a sort of Romeo and Juliet-type of tale (with a happier ending, sort of) about Jessamy’s parents when they meet.  I love young Kiya and I’m hopeful we’ll see  more of her in Buried Heart WHICH I AM SO READY FOR. (library checkout)

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

3 cups of tea.  No, wait 3.5 cups of tea?  Or 4?  Ugh.  So, this book was so good as a fantasy and then so dreadful with the romance tropes.  I think I might be phasing out of fantasy romance in my tastes.  SO many people love this book, and it does have so many things to love.  But, then the main guy is all grabby and physical with the main lady, which made me feel a bit ‘urgh!’ but then I’d get sucked back into the world and be along for the ride until the next time that I felt ‘urgh.’  The world building is fun and intriguing, if not economically realistic.  The magic is cool and crazy, although sex magic storms are not my fave.  I did like that Khamsin, our main girl, is constantly described as having brown skin, which is not the standard in well, any publishing segment.  I love the cover on the sequel, The Sea King, which I am planning to give a read.  Sooo, if the standard romance tropes don’t bother you, then DEF pick it up.  If you’re not happy with the usual romance manhandling, man feelings tropes, then maybe hold off.  (library checkout)22393174

Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

3.5 cups of tea.  Maybe a 4.5 cups of tea for some.  Ok, so this book is really good.  But not my thing.  I don’t really love urban fantasy as a sub-genre. I’m a country bumpkin at heart–also the violence/horror crossover doesn’t usually work for me.   Also, the over-sexualized woman main character who get threatened with rape all the time THIS book is NOT like that.  To start, the main character is a guy, which I think helps me a lot with urban fantasy (no one is threatening to rape him all the time–woohoo!).  Then this one is set in Brooklyn (like actually set in Brooklyn because it couldn’t possibly take place anywhere else) with a possibly Puerto-Rican main character (he’s dead and doesn’t remember his previous life).  The story is told first person, in vernacular and happens in a Brooklyn full of people of all different walks of life (and death) and attitude.  (I heart Kia.)  I love the idea of it, I love the way it makes urban fantasy what it should be, but I just don’t love urban fantasy.  However, I’d highly encourage other people to pick it up!  And, I’m not sure if I’ll avoid or pick up the second book. (audible)22718701

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

4 cups of tea.  A fun and thoughtful story of classism (which needs to happen more) shown as magicism.  This was set during the Gilded Age in NYC (which needs to happen more) in an alternative world where Britain kept the American colonies because the upper class has the money and they use that to subjugate the poorer classes.  This was very solid and fun, if not magnetic for me.  And it was DEF properly steampunk.  I’ll def pick up the next book!

The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho

3 cups of tea.  Fun and different, but I just didn’t get sucked in, probably because of me.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a story set in a Chinese-influenced afterlife.  I really enjoyed the setting and some of the themes, although I think I’ll need to re-read it. (library)

29387827The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

3 cups of tea.  This was a gift from my mil.  Ok, so, in this book. . .so much rape.  Not in a titilating way, it was portrayed as being pretty horrible stuff, but it was featured several times.  The writing was really solid and kept me coming back despite the harsh material (in case you didn’t know, I’m anti-rape in stories because. . .overuse as a plot device; also it’s horrifying.).  I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone interested by it, and I’d consider reading another Eskens book.

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGuinness

3.5 cups of tea.  This book starts off pretty intense.  (*spoiler/trigger warning* dead babies *spoiler/trigger warning*)  Grace is quite passive and believably so for someone who has been sexually abused.  Thornhollow was funny and an interesting counter to Grace.  I appreciated seeing Grace’s growth in small ways as she moves away from her traumatic past and learns to develop her active self, I loved her friends in the asylum, I appreciated that McGuinness shows us just how varied asylums were in their operations and their patients (i.e. discarded wives, girls with syphilis, unwanted people).  I also 24376529enjoyed the way the story played around with the idea of sanity and insanity, though I think overall I want to reflect on this book a little more. (ebook)

Radiance by Grace Draven

4.5 cups of tea.  I’d heard about this book around a few places, but when I saw the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club doing a book club about it (and they all enjoyed it!), I knew I was def going to pick it up.  I really enjoyed it as well.  This couple is very much the kind of healthy married relationship we don’t see enough of in popular media.  Brishen and Ildiko are fun and loveable, I can see why they like each other, and how they deal with their abhorrence of the other’s appearance at first.  Also, marriage of convenience is a trope I super enjoy.  I gotta get to that sequel! (library)

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughen9479871

4.5 cups of tea.  I have been waiting to read this after seeing it recommended by author Gail Carriger.  Xylara goes to be the warprize to the barbarian Warlord laying siege to her family’s kingdom.  Did I mention that I like stories with a marriage of convenience?  I really liked this one, in particular the way that some of the regular romance tropes are present but handled so deftly that I didn’t feel bored by them.  The romantic hero is really lovely and not-testosterone laden asshole (which irritates me a lot in romance).  Lara is not a doormat, she has her own passion and motivation and friends, so that I didn’t even mind the first person narration.  Just call me a fan of respectful relationships in fantasy romance.  I’ve heard the sequels aren’t quite as good, but I will probably give them a try. (library)

53496Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

3.5 cups of tea.  I’ve been hearing about this book since the late 90’s.  A friend loaned it to me, and I got to it.  And, clearly, I was not super impressed.  Creech has a great voice, Sal felt believable as a kid’s voice, and the exploration of grief and many different angles of loss were wonderful.  And I was choked up at that ending.  However, I struggled to work out what decade we were in (60’s?  90’s?), pretty much every mention of the Native peoples and culture made me uncomfortable, and as someone who has been to Lewiston, ID, I can say that the author is not a local.  I’m glad I read it, but I’ve got to come up with a positive angle for my friend when I return her book. (loan)


Currently reading:


Menagerie by Rachel Vincent



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