Book Review, Monthly Recap

May Recap

Here, the World Entire by Anwen Kya Hayward ★★★★☆

Read: May 5 – May 7

I read this because I follow the author on tumblr and she does hilarious rewritings of Greek myths. And this was a good book – it was short, but that doesn’t mean anything, really. But I had the same issue with this book as I had with Circe – let these women be villains! It’s Medusa, for heaven’s sakes! She was even worse than Circe! Let her be evil! Let her take revenge for her trauma! Let her be unapologetically bad! So it’s not that it was bad writing, or anything, I was just… bored, maybe? I don’t know.

All Out: The No Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Agesedited by Saundra Mitchell ★★★☆☆

Read: April 18 – May 14

Why do I read short story anthologies? Why do I continue to do this? As you can probably tell from the fact that it took me nearly a month to read this, I wasn’t a super big fan. Sure, some of the stories were really enjoyable, but I just do not enjoy short stories, so I’m not sure why I keep reading them. 3/5 for not being a bad book, and if you’re a fan of the short story I would definitely recommend this, but short stories just aren’t for me.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson ★★★★★

Read: May 22 – May 24

First off – WHAT a cover, am I right? So nice. Anyway, I loved this book. It was original, cute, great female friendships, a body positive protag. There isn’t much that I want to say about this book, to be honest, just that I really, really liked it and it was a great read.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi ★★★☆☆

Read: April 28 – May 26

3.5 stars. I was really looking forward to reading this. It’s one of the Rick Riordan Presents, and I do love Riordan. And this was said to be very much like Sailor Moon, which I ALSO love. But I was underwhelmed, honestly. It was cute, and I liked Aru and I loved Mini, but it seemed kind of disjointed and like there was so much packed into one, and honestly towards the end of it I sort of just wanted it to be over. It was enjoyable enough that I will at the very least read the next one and see if that keeps me intrigued, but honestly I’m pretty disappointed.

Peter Darling by Austin Chant ★★★★☆

Read: May 26 – May 27

I’m not the biggest fan of Peter Pan, to be honest with you, but the premise of this book was just too interesting to pass up – Peter Pan is a trans man who fled back to Neverland so he didn’t have to continue to live his life as Wendy Darling. This was such a cute read, and it was written by a trans man so it’s #ownvoices. A nice, easy read that puts a really interesting spin on Peter Pan. Highly recommended.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli ★★★★★

Read: May 27 – May 29

THE FAT, BI REP WE DESERVE. I liked Simon Vs., but this one was leagues above, in my opinion. Leah was AMAZING, the romance was so cute, and Leah was such a good role model. An amazing, amazing book.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand ★★★☆☆

Read: May 30

3.5 stars. This had four stars going into the last two chapters or so, but I had to drop it down for two reasons. One, the love interest SUCKED. Ethan was a whiny little fuckboy, excuse my language, and he was horrible and I hated him and I was not at all interested in their romance, and honestly the book kind of hinged on that. And two, there were too many unanswered questions at the end, and it wrapped up neatly, completely ignoring all the paradoxes the ending created. I can’t get into more without spoiling, but the ending ruined a perfectly acceptable book for me.

Okay, I’m caught up! Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

 

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Book Review

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black

Read: June 1 – June 3

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does… (via Goodreads)

Review:

I would like to formally apologize to Holly Black for the ten or so years I spent thinking she was a mediocre writer and putting her in the same category as Cassandra Clare and John Green (no offence). I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was really interesting and original and I love the way Black writes the Fae. She never shies away from how vicious and cruel they can be, while at the same time managing to write them as more than just villains. Her work is so nuanced and good. I fell in love with all the characters and grew so attached to them. She really created such a rich, immersive world in just one book and it was such a good read.

tl;dr: sorry Holly Black, I have done you dirty for too many years

Book Review, Monthly Recap

April Recap

Hello friends! I am very behind on the books I have read, so instead of going through each book in individual posts like I usually do, I’m just going to quickly recap all the ones I’m behind on in this post, because frankly if I do individual posts I’m never going to catch up! So I will just run through the ones I’m behind on quickly in order to get back to normal. Links to their Goodreads pages in the title.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★

Read: April 5 – April 8

The prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, this story follows Jack and Jill as they travel through their door into the unforgiving world of the Moors. Jill becomes the adopted daughter of a vampire, while Jack becomes the prodigy of a mad scientist like man. I loved this book so much! While I thought the first one felt unfinished, I didn’t have that feeling at all with this, and it gives you so much backstory on the twins. This is such a fascinating series, really original, and this book is my favourite of them all.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★

Read: April 8

The third book and the sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, this book goes back to the home for Wayward Children and the characters we met in the first book. It’s nice to see some familiar faces, and we also meet Rini, a frankly hilariously charming lady, and it’s nice to go to a Nonsense world after the depressing setting of the Moors from Sticks and Bones. Like the previous book, I felt like it was more cohesive than the first one in the series, and it felt complete and finished.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore ★★★★★

Read: April 6 – April 12

Honestly this book WRECKED ME. It was so beautiful, the writing was gorgeous, the characters were so good, it’s literally LIFE CHANGING. It was one of those books that when I was finished reading it I sort of just sat there in awe and didn’t move for a little while, just soaking it in. I am in awe of this book.

Circe by Madeline Miller ★★★★☆

Read: April 18 – April 22

So, I love Greek mythology. And I love villainous women. And I loved Miller’s other book, The Song of Achilles. And I did enjoy this book, a lot. It was a great read, an excellent character study, and Miller is a good writer. It was a good read. Probably a reread. But I have two main issues with this book. The firs t is that I am tired of rape being used as nothing but a plot point to explain why a woman goes ‘bad.’ This leads into my second point – I want unapologetically bad women. I want villains. In Greek myth, Circe was a woman who turned men into pigs, and while I liked Miller’s portrayal, I also wish she had have let Circe be a villain. Instead of having her be raped to explain why she turned against men, I kind of wish she just did it because she was a goddess who didn’t care. Human morality does not apply to the gods, and I think it’s a lot of wasted potential to pretend that it does. But I get that it is not that kind of book. Regardless, that’s more personal preference. I did like this book a whole lot, and I think it was super well done.

 

Book Recs

Pride Month Recs

Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while, but it’s Pride month so I thought I would make a quick list of my favourite LGBT+ book recs! Click the titles to go to their goodreads pages!

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

This was SUCH a life changing read. Fair warning that it is a M/F main couple, but the lead girl is bi, as are all her sisters, and quite frankly this was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever read, and I’m not super big on romance. Plus, WHAT a beautiful cover, am I right?

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

F/F romance with a happy ending. The romance is not a super big part of the plot, but it’s a Snow White retelling with such beautiful female relationships and it’s one of the favourite books I’ve read this year.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Okay, so fair warning that, well – they both die at the end. It says it right on the tin. And since that’s kind of the whole shtick, I don’t really consider it to fall under the Bury Your Gays trope. It’s a beautiful book about unlikely friendship and love, and even though it doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, it’s still a great read. M/M.

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

I’m not the biggest fan of Peter Pan, to be honest with you, but the premise of this book was just too interesting to pass up – Peter Pan is a trans man who fled back to Neverland so he didn’t have to continue to live his life as Wendy Darling. Featuring an adult Peter and a M/M romance, this was SUCH a cute, heartwarming read, I devoured this book in less than a day.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

I’m going to be honest, here, I don’t remember much about this book other than the fact that I cried, like, a whole lot. No real romance here, but the main character is wlw, and unfortunately I can’t go into too much without spoiling it. Great female friendship, beautiful writing, a plot twist that blew my MIND, and a whole lot of tears, man, I’m telling you, this book absolutely wrecked me.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Before you get into this book, please be aware that there are massive content warnings for homophobia, conversion therapy, and just overall bad people doing bad things that could seriously trigger some people. A book set in the early nineties about a lesbian who gets caught in a relationship with a girl and is sent to a Christian conversion camp. It’s a pretty heavy handed book, but it’s very worth it. It really impacted me a lot.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Let’s go a little bit historical, huh? So, realistically, I think I might be cheating a little bit putting this in here, because I wouldn’t exactly call it super LGBT, but it is a book that carries a WHOLE lot of subtext, that spurred an amazing webseries of the same name that you can watch for free on youtube, and a lot of angry people back in the day. I’m not usually a fan of anything written pre-1950’s, to be completely honest, but I loved this book in a way I don’t normally love things I had to read for school.

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue

You might know her as the woman who wrote Room, but I will always know her as the woman who instigated my love of LGBT fairy tale retellings. This is one of the only short story anthologies that I actually like, as I am not a huge fan of the short story as a medium, and it features a bunch of retold fairy tales that all focus on female relationships. Not all of them are romantic, although many of them are. Some of them are about platonic love, but all of them are retold to be about women.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

The fat, bi rep that we deserve! Listen, I did enjoy Simon Vs., but this sequel was fantastic. I loved Leah in a way I haven’t loved a character in quite a while. I felt so connected to her, the way she handled her sexuality, her body positivity, etc. F/F romance with a beautifully happy ending and such a great portrayal of friendship.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Okay, how could I not end on this? The Holy Grail of LGBT lit. I read this a few years ago, and if I recall there were, also, quite a few tears. A beautiful book that is an absolute must read. There’s nothing more I can say about this book, other than if you haven’t read it, go and read it. It’s worth it.

Book Review

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Read: April 4 – April 5

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost. (via Goodreads)

Review:

In university I took a course on fantasy, and I kind of want to email my professor and recommend this book, because wow, what a good example of portal fantasy!

This was a good book. My main issue is it wasn’t long enough, but I guess I shouldn’t be too picky about novellas. It was so fascinating and original – a home for all the children who fall into different worlds and can’t readjust to this place. It’s a home for the Alice’s, for the Lucy Pevensie’s, maybe even a little bit for the ones who read Narnia and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and wished that they were anywhere but where they were.

Sometimes they get to go back, but sometimes they don’t. How indicative of life, huh? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you find your way back home, and sometimes you have to figure out how to exist in a world that doesn’t really want you.

I loved the characters in this book. Nancy!! My girl! And Jack, and great trans representation in Kade! This was a book that packed so much in and had so much potential to be longer and God, I so wish it was! And maybe that’s why I only voted this four stars, whereas I voted the other ones both five (yeah, I’m behind on my reviews, sorry). I’ll get into it more when I wrote those posts, but those books, despite their shortness, seemed complete. This one didn’t, necessarily. It seemed almost rushed. Like there was so much more that could be said and done, but instead everything was wrapped up.

tl;dr: a good book, but too short to feel complete. Read it just so you understand that next two.

Book Review

A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

Read: April 2 – April 5

Review: ★★★★★

Summary:

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together. (via Goodreads)

Review:

Listen – if Becky Chambers needed a kidney, I would give her one of mine. Seriously, I would. Hey Becky, do you need a kidney? Another organ? Call me, I swear.

What I mean is – damn, this woman. Look, I’m not actually that big on space. I think that it’s silly to explore the universe when our own planet still has so many secrets. By which I mean, let’s figure out what’s going on in that ocean! I know there are mermaids down there! I know the Megalodon still exists! I watch B Movies!

I’m getting away from the point. The point is this – every so often an author comes along that is so good, you just read whatever the hell they put out. Becky Chambers is that author. I don’t know what the hell is going on in her brain, but I want in. Her writing is phenomenal, her characters are so complex, her plot lines, her aliens… everything she does, she does well. If Becky Chambers released a 500 page book called ‘Different Types of Cheese’ I would read it. And I don’t even like cheese!

My main issue with her first book was that it was a little disjointed. It felt like a bunch of serials, and sometimes I felt like the overarching plot was lost, which was a shame, because the overarching plot was great! This book definitely fixed that. Alternating pov’s can often backfire, either because they don’t fit properly together, or because you’re more invested in one side, but in this book it definitely worked. I admit I was more eager to get to Pepper’s parts, but I didn’t hate Lovey’s parts, either.

This is such a useless review, it’s pretty much me just yelling about mermaids and how much I love Becky Chambers and how I’d totally give her a kidney if she asked but basically,

tl;dr: please read Becky Chambers because she is such a great writer and this was such a great book. Definite reread, definitely a book to bury with me so I can read it in the afterlife.

Monthly Recap

March Recap

March wasn’t the best month! My mother was in the hospital for almost two weeks and then got sick for a bit, so I didn’t get much reading done. Only three books this month, but on the plus side, they were all good books!

Books I read this month (click the title to read the full review):

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: ★★★★★
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: ★★★★★
Uprooted by Naomi Novik: ★★★★☆

Star book of the month: Not many choices, to be fair, but even if there were I think it would still be Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Fairy tale retellings are my favourite to begin with, but this was done so well, with strong, loving relationships and a f/f couple to boot.

Disappointing book of the month: None! Again, not many choices, but I enjoyed every book I read this month, so happily I get to leave this section empty.