The first month of Hub reading is over! My goal is to read 12 books per month (at least until I’m finished with my semester). In February, I completed 11 books and DNF’d one book. Most of the books were either audio or graphic because I don’t have the mental time to sit down and focus on a book. Most of the books were in my reading comfort zone for this reason.
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
This was an interesting imagining of how a 18th century boy became Santa Claus. There were definitely dark moments, but at its core, the story was about the importance of hope, goodness, and not giving up. The magic and the humor made it a fun read, enjoyable to both children and adults. And of course, Stephen Fry was the narrator for the audio version.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
I loved that David Tennant was the narrator (he was the reason I listened to this book). He was wonderful with the various voices – though I could have done without the random sound effect explosions, especially when I was driving. The story was great – I loved Cowell’s idea of witches and what they meant to the rest of the characters. However, Xar was selfish, self-absorbed, and utterly convinced of his own greatness, to the detriment of those around him. I’m assuming he will grow as a character and realize his errors, but I have no interest in being there to see that happen.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
I can see why YALSA thought it would be a good YA crossover. The story moved quickly, and Murderbot, for all that he was a ‘droid, was incredibly relateable. He was fairly apathetic about his existence, his job, and humans in general. His main desire was to have uninterrupted tv-watching time. While Murderbot didn’t completely lack emotions, he did try to quash them. Towards the end of the novella, he did start developing some level of attachment to the crew. I am looking forward to reading the remaining three novellas in this series as they are published.
My Brother’s Husband, Omnibus Vol 1 by Gengoroh Tagame
As an introvert, I had trouble with the beginning of this manga. The thought of having a large, loud stranger show up unannounced at my house would give me a huge amount of anxiety. Until the story got rolling, there were times I had to put the manga down because I found that situation stressful. My personal issues aside, the story itself was very good. Thought at times the story veered into educating territory – meaning the narrative felt it was attempting to teach instead of allowing natural interactions between the characters – it was an enlightening look at a man’s attempt to understand and accept his brother’s choices and his own personal prejudices. I liked how Kana’s social innocence was used to create the bridge of understanding and acceptance.
The Backstagers, Vol 1 by Jamie Tynion IV and Rian Singh
Generally I don’t have an interest in theater, front- or backstage, but the added magical element put The Backstagers in my reading realm. It was a good balance of adorable and creepy, both elements working well with each other. I loved the cast of characters and their (somewhat dysfunctional) dynamics. The McQueen brothers especially were entertainingly over the top. I want to learn more about the magic tunnels, and what happened to the 1987 backstagers.
Black Hammer, Vol 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston
I love the story idea of a group of superheros transported to an alternate universe, and how they would cope with being stuck there. This volume was mostly set up and character backstories. I plan to keep reading this series because the set up at the end makes me want to learn more. What I didn’t like (and this is one of the main reasons I don’t read traditional superhero comics) was the illustration style. I have a really hard time getting past how faces are sketched out. There are too many random lines and it can be hard to determine what emotion the character’s facial expression is supposed to convey.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
This is the second time I’ve read Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and it is still an amazing read. McGuire has a wonderful cadence to her writing that lends to the fairy tale feel of the narrative. The subject matter is dark, but it is balanced with the flaws and dreams of Jack and Jill. They are broken and far from perfect, and I love that the story showcases that there is no one right way to be a girl.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
I read Scythe last year for the Hub Challenge, and I listened to it this year for the challenge again. The story is suited to both formats. After reviewing what I wrote last year, I still agree with my thoughts on the enjoyment of watching Citra and Rowan learn about the rot that pervades scythedom, and how they decide to tackle it. Citra grew me this time, and I enjoy how both her and Rowan compliment each other in their approaches. She is definitely closer to the white hat side of the spectrum, but she is good at manipulating the system. I am looking forward to seeing how things progress in Thunderhead.
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
This was a fairly fast read – it helped that the chapters were fairly short. I liked that the chapters alternated between the present (June and her initiation into the world of avtomats, and her quest to find a way to save them) and the past (Peter and Elena’s story from the 1700s forward). The story was enjoyable, though it felt like there were plot explanation holes.
Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green
Lighter Than My Shadow is definitely an uncomfortable read. Watching the adults in Green’s life fail her as she suffered from various eating disorders and sexual assault was hard. From the teenage perspective, I could relate because I had issues with food and regulation when I was in high school. It was so easy to go down that path because it was one of the few things I could control. From the perspective of a parent, I truly hope I never minimize and invalidate my children’s feelings and reactions the way her parents did. They were oblivious to how harmful their platitudes were. Both Green’s parents and doctors interacted with her only on a superficial level and didn’t really look at “Katie”.
Jonesy, Vol 1 by Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle
I’m going to start with the fact that this is not a comic for me, and that I have zero interest in reading future volumes. I can see why it would appeal to readers, especially teenagers who feel like they are on the fringe of things, but I found Jonesy to be selfish, obnoxious, and fairly shallow. I couldn’t handle how annoying and spiteful she was.
**DNF** The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I listened to about one hour before I had to DNF it. While the writing may have been lyrical on paper, it did not necessarily translate well to audio. The story was boring and felt monotone. I don’t know if this was due to the narrator or the writing, but I had a hard time listening.