May in Review

26889195Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

4 cups of tea.  I enjoy stories about how we define who gets to be a person, though this one worried me about the violence.  Violence isn’t too bad, though I saw some mild versions of urban fantasy tropes that I don’t love.  Overall, though, I quite liked it.  I’m on the fence about the sequel (re: more violent I’ve heard), but I think the cover of the second is super beautiful! (owned audiobook and library hardback)

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

3 cups of tea.  DNF.  The cover is beautiful, the prose is beautiful, but I didn’t fall in love with Enki like everyone else seems to be in the book.  I loved the non-European setting, the matriarchy, the focus on performance art, but this book just wasn’t for me.  I just couldn’t get into it. (library audio and owned hardback)

Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan

4 cups of tea.  I guess I was a little disappointed with the revelation of the Draconians’ secret.  ***spoiler***I think I liked the dragons as wild animals being studied by a naturalist, rather than the anthropological “lost civilization” that we got with this book.***spoiler end***  That said, it was great as always and I’d recommend it for fans of the series.  (library audio)

Lost Stars by Claudia Grey

4.5 cups of tea.  Holy cow!  This was unexpected.  The start is a little slow, but it feels SO much like Star Wars.  Not in a copy-way, but in a tonal-way.  The story touches on the main trilogy in believable ways and ties together some of the weird things, like why didn’t anyone talk about Alderaan or how the Death Star impacted the moral of the Imperial troops.  And, I loved Ciena’s growth, I love the star-crossed lovers feeling.  I have some mixed feelings about ***spoiler*** Thane overriding Ciena’s choice in going down with her crashing Star Destroyer, because he knows better? ***spoiler end*** but it’s not enough to put me off. (library)

Princeless Vol. 2 by Jeremy Whitley

4 cups of tea.  Fun as ever and the story seems to finally be getting meaty!  (library)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

3.5 cups of tea. Hmm, fine?  I’m not a big fan of contemporary YA or of illness stories, but this was is so popular I wanted to give it a try.  It was. . .good in some parts, ok in others, and pretty poor in a major way that does a disservice to people with disabilities.  I liked the layout with different methods of communication (although I feel like they are from like 2003, seriously Mads, where is your massive ebook collection, your book tube channel, your online presence beyond teeny reviews).  Maddie was fine as a character and I liked Ollie (his narrator was much better for the character too, which might be what is influencing me).  But, as I saw in NPR’s review of the movie, there is a huge structural flaw in the story that keeps it from being awesome.  I will, however, pick up Nicola Yoon’s next book and see if I can do better. (library audio and owned hardback)

The Valiant by Leslie Livingston

4.5 cups of tea.  I saw this book in a few booktube hauls in the winter and I’m currently a sucker for Romanesque fantasy (thanks, Court of Fives and The Winner’s Curse!), so I placed a hold on this book.  Also, Fiona Hardingham.  My favorite narrator.  This follows a Celtic girl who is sold to a women’s gladiator ring.  Lots of excitement ensues before and after that particular event.  I really really liked this book!  I didn’t even mind the first person narrator too much (high praise from me!) and I didn’t even see a big plot twist coming because I was totally enthralled with the book (great job Leslie!).  It’s definitely a bit fighty, but not too bad/boring, and I quite liked out feisty heroine.  And Elka.  I’m def picking up the next one!  (library audio and library ebook)

Steampunk Bible by Jeffrey VanderMeer

3 cups of tea.  A little repetitive, especially after The Steampunk User’s Manual, but fun. (library book)

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

3 cups of tea.  Oh, Carrie Fisher.  I don’t have a lot of celebrity attachments, but she was definitely one.  I love the way her brain puts ideas together, but generally I struggle with her books because I don’t love the topics, i.e. celebrity, infidelity, drug abuse, mental health issues.  I mean, I’m glad some of those are being talked about, but I don’t want to run right out and read about them.  But, this book had pictures and stories from when she was filming Star Wars, which I was interested in.  I know a lot of people wanted the juicy affair, but I just wasn’t that interested in that part.  Fisher handled it quite well, that the book is about her 19 year old self, not about sexing her co-star, and I found that far more interesting.  She also muses on aging and having to sign pictures of your waaaaay younger self.  Worth the read, but I’m not totally sure I’d re-read.  (purchased)

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

4 cups of tea.  A surprise delight that I got from the library on a whim.  I wasn’t totally sure what I was getting, but I loved that it mixed the two sides of old tech and new tech.  (library audio)

The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger

4.5 cups of tea.  Maybe 5.  Delightful and raunchy at the same time.  A full review coming up near the release date.  (pre-review for the author, ebook)

Princeless, Vol. 3 by Jeremy Whitley

3 cups of tea.  A detour which was a little odd.  I’d rather be following the princess sisters, and Bedelia and Sparky.  (library)

Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta

4 cups of tea.  I heard about this from Fangirl Happy Hour.  It was alright.  My kids were SO into the art.  I think my main problem was just that I’m not that good at graphic novels/comics, but I enjoyed this one.  It felt a little bit Buffy, if Buffy had been in a team of equally badass girls.  Also, representation!  Taurus was my favorite–no wait!  Maybe Pieces.  No, Ares.  No, actually not Ares.  Anyway, friendship to the max, and all that. 😉 (library)

Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan

4 cups of tea. A fun extension on the original book, giving us a back story of Mr. Penumbra and a fun, historic mystery.  (library audio)

Currently Reading:

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi




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