I don’t think I’m going to meet my reading goal this year guys. I thought it was a tiny bit ambitious when I made it in January, but I had managed to conquer the last several I took with time to spare, so I figured that while I might have to book it (hahah) to complete it, it certainly wouldn’t be something I was constantly trying to stay on top of while life constantly told me otherwise. Ah, 2020, what sort of beast are you, to feed upon us so insatiably?
So here’s a follow up to a post I made (too) long ago, filled with paragraph long reviews of books I never got around to writing proper reports on, or I did not finish them and was ashamed enough at the time to not mention it. Under the cut there be gay men and straight men, bears and nightingales, crazy rich Asians, and me caring more about a side plot then a main plot.
Fall is in the air, and I feel like it’s time I take stock of the multitudes of books I have failed to review so far this year. While my reading goals are being met (barely, thank you manga), it hasn’t been the best year for motivation. Not to mention I feel like every other book I pick up fails to really grab me like I want it to. I’ve read 32 books so far this year and I’ve written seven reviews- that’s not a shining track record, let’s be honest.
So here’s some paragraph-long reviews of the books I read that either didn’t leave a great impression, or I was so anxiety riddled that the though of voicing my opinions on something made me shut down completely.
How do I even start? How do I review a book that I’ve never read the likes of before? Not even reading the first book in the series prepared me for the mind-fucking mystery that is Harrow the Ninth. I suppose I could start by saying that I loved it- with a hugeness and ferocity that is reserved for a very short list of titles. Harrow is a hero like we’ve never seen one, damaged and lost in her own story… or is she?
This book will have you asking question after question- I spent the first three quarters of it absolutely enraptured and utterly bewildered. Does it answer every one? Of course not, it’s the middle of a trilogy, after all, but the answers we are given are satisfying, and the new questions posed have got fans breathlessly waiting for the next release.
A spoiler free review of our favorite lesbian space necromancer and her erstwhile adventures lies below the cut…
You know that feeling when you’re just starting to read the sequel to a book you really, really enjoyed? That buzz of expectation, that calm assuredness that you will be in good hands, because you’ve read this author, you know these characters, and there’s no way any of them would ever, ever let you down.
You know that feeling when they do?
Today I take a look at Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, the unexpected sequel to the smash hit, Carry On (you can read my review for it here). And the furious bouts of disappointment that I had to contend with every time I managed to convince myself to pick it up and try again.
I don’t think it would be good for my mental health to rehash what made me so unhappy with this story over the course of several paragraphs. So instead, you get my disjointed thoughts and reactions as I read the story. It wasn’t… the best reading experience I have ever had, to say the least. Spoilers abound below the cut.
Where to even begin with this story? I loved it so much, so fiercely and completely, that it’s hard to put into words just what I enjoyed the most. Is it the fantastic lead character who is scarred and flawed but manages to still be kind, strong, brave, and funny? Is it the phenomenal supporting cast with their fleshed out personalities and great dynamics? Or maybe it’s the fascinating world building and interesting magic system? Or is it the intriguing back story? The sparkling dialogue? The perfect pacing of the story? The level of inclusiveness and pure acceptance and love these characters show for each other?
It’s all of that, it’s more than that. I’ve never been happier to find out I had just gotten into a series that will eventually have nine parts. I haven’t looked forward more to continuing a series since I was in high school and Harry Potter was coming out every year.
Rune Saint John is back, and this time he must face the oldest and most dangerous Scion in the Arcana. The Hanged Man is unwilling to give up his arranged marriage with Rune’s ward, Max. But people who go to the Hanged Man’s compound never return, and Run and Brand will go to any lengths to make sure Max is never forced into a situation he doesn’t want to be in ever again. The stakes are high, and only get higher as Rune and Brand find one atrocity after another…
I hopped on the feel good train for a quick little respite in the pages of this book. Told in an epistolary style by Mary Anne Shaffer and finished by her daughter Annie Barrows, this book tells the tale of Juliet Ashton, 33 and emerging with the rest of the world into a post WWII land. Through random chance, a man on the English island of Guernsey acquirers a book once belonging to her, and finds her name and address written within. What begins is a correspondence between Juliet and the people of Guernsey that will lead her away from home and into the arms of a small, tight-knit community that spent five years under Nazi occupation.
Elena Boureanu emerges from a seven year curse and returns to the place she once called home. But things have changed; what was once a world renowned vineyard now produces something more akin to vinegar then the ruby hued wine that once came from it’s vines. Her Grand-Mère was forced to sell the vineyard, and it’s new owner, Jean-Paul Martel doesn’t believe in witchcraft. Too bad for him then, that his land is riddled with curses, and the only one who can undo them is Elena…
This debut novel from author Luanne G. Smith is set in early 20th century France and follows Elena from the marshland she was trapped in as she attempts to reclaim her home and her power. Once a powerful vine witch, the years she spent as a toad have left her weak, but that doesn’t mean she cannot sense the truth, someone has lain a series of curses and hexes across her beloved Chateau Renard. Now she has to contend with more then her weakened state if she wishes to save the land she once called home. Non believers, rivals, and ex lovers all will challenge her as she attempts to right seven years of wrong and find revenge along the way.
It is done. After yearning to read this since it’s release, I finally got the chance to after the holidays. And I… have thoughts. Most of them a little muddled and confused right now because I’m attempting to write this after a night of excellent food and lavender labyrinths, and without any tea.
Like… augh… argh… how to even start this? I mean, I suppose at the beginning…
January is a precocious girl; rambunctious, a little wild and a little rude- in spite of being raised up to this point by a mysterious benefactor and the various nurses he has hired over the years, as well as having a soft spoken father. We meet her on a hot summers day, while the aforementioned benefactor, Mr. Locke, (his names a metaphor, clever!) makes some business arrangements. January grows bored, and decided that waiting around in a stuffy foyer is not acceptable, and she lets herself out, but not before pointlessly attempting to destroy an expensive vase…
What happens when you are looking for a portal fantasy and instead find… something else?
Twenty Years have passed since Atlantis fell. Now New Atlantis rises, built from the remains of humanity; abandoned and forsaken homes and buildings scavenged through spell craft and used to establish a city of magic, decadence, and power.
Our hero is Rune Saint John, detective, assassin, Scion, and last living member of the House of the Sun. With his human bodyguard, Brand, at his side, he is called on to unravel the cause of a horrible presence in the city, and the disappearance of his mysterious benefactors godson.
“My name is Rune Saint John. I am, before anything else, a survivor:”
It only took me four years (it feels like much longer) but I impulse bought Carry On yesterday (because I have a problem) and then compulsively read it all in one sitting, (because I couldn’t stop). I got 200+ pages in and thought, “Oh, I’ll just take a little break, beat the next gym in Pokemon Shield, come back to it later,” except that it drew me back in with it’s promises of gay and shenanigans, and probably gay shenanigans, so next thing you know I’m back in the book, wanting to both hug and give some strongly worded lectures to the lead characters.
“I’d eat butter with a spoon if it were acceptable.”