bean books 2Q

Bean’s reading slowed down a bit during the second quarter of 2019. She was spending more time with friends and on her Kindle playing games (I’d like to think she was playing solely logic games, but the reality was more along the lines of Roblox, Minecraft, and various Papa Louie games). She still struggles with reading book books; not being able visually focus on the words. When I get back from my work-cation, I am going to call the school so she can be tested. Both she and I want to see if there is a legitimate issue, and if there is, skills she can pick up to help her be able to read.

Her favorite books were: Moxie, Skyward (listened to twice), Haunting the Deep, Code Name Verity, Caraval, Legendary

2019 Manga / Graphic Novels (First Half)

My graphic reads were across the board in terms of qualty (imo), though definitely heavy on the sci-fi/fantasy. Most of the manga was a disappointment because it felt like most of them lacked a cohesive plot, or a plot at all. I can handle gore and violence and whatnot in manga, but can there please be an intriguing plot a la Tokyo Ghoul?

Several of the graphic novels used their format and characters to address current issues, and they were well-written and thoughtful at at that – My Boyfriend is a Bear, Illegal, The Flintstones, and Snagglepuss. Judas was also an interesting imagining of his relationship with Jesus.

Favorites

*Skin & Earth – post-apocalyptic and dystopian with its own soundtrack. I ended up buying the soundtrack because I couldn’t stop listening to it at work on YouTube. I hope Light writes a sequel.
*The Adventure Zone – the banter, the snark, the adventuring!  Can’t wait to read the sequel!
*The Woods – a high school is transported to a new planet and Lord of the Flies ensues.

Honorable Mentions: Silver Spoon, Sleepless, DedEndia: The Watcher’s Test, Spill Zone: The Broken Arrow, My Boyfriend is a Bear, Check, Please!: #Hockey, vol 1

Manga (15)
The Devil’s Line, vol 1
Wotakoi, vol 1
Mermaid Boys, vol 1
Silver Spoon, vol 1-6
Goblin Slayer, vol 1
Black Torch, vol 1
The Girl from the Other Side, vol 1
Shibuya Goldfish, vol 1
Satan’s Secretary, vol 1
Sleepy Princess in a Demon Castle, vol 1

Graphic (37)
The Little Red Wolf
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, vol 1
Skin & Earth
Slam!, vol 1
Sleepless, vol 1-2
Fake Blood
DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, vol 1
Spill Zone: The Broken Arrow
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins
My Boyfriend is a Bear
The Prince and the Dressmaker
The Flintstones, vol 1-2
Snagglepuss, vol 1
The City on the Other Side
Be Prepared
Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules
The Woods, vol 1-4
Ice Cream Man, vol 1-2
Heavy Vinyl
Mae, vol 1
Illegal
Kim Reaper, vol 1
Dead Weight
Lady Castle
The Realm, vol 1-2
Judas
Moonstruck, vol 1
Check, Please!: #Hockey, vol 1
Crush

Nonfiction (3)
The Faithful Spy
The Unwanted
Kid Gloves

June Books

There was a definite decrease in the amount of books I read in June – part reading slump, part doing other things.

Amazon: added 65 ; read/DNF’d 29
Audible: added 5 ; read/DNF’d 7

Audiobooks Fiction (8) / Nonfiction (4)

all i want halloween hunter jagannath

The four nonfiction books were alright, none of them really standing out. Girt stood out a bit from the rest, but that was mainly because the humor was too off-color at times, bordering something your uncouth drunk uncle would loudly say in public. Dungeon Born was fun, written from the dual perspective of Cal (the sentient dungeon) and Dale (mountain owner and adventurer). I wanted to smoosh Cal’s granite cheeks because he was just so darn cute. His excitement in successfully creating monsters and killing adventurers. Rebel Belle was an interesting take on demon hunting, but from the reviews I’ve read of the remaining two books, the focus on that aspect leaves a lot to be desired. Jagannath is one of the best short story collections I have read. It is speculative fiction done right, and I am still squigged out from the story “Rebekah.”

Novels (5) / Novella (1)

Love a la Mode was a cute, fluffy read. Bayou Born took a while to get rolling, but I enjoyed it enough to read the sequel. Could have done without the romance.

Manga (3)

None of these were really interesting. Shibuya Goldfish was an interesting idea, but the story didn’t flow fell. Satan’s Secretary was on the annoying side, and while Sleepy Princess in a Demon Castle had multiple funny moments, it didn’t feel like there was a lot happening other than her hijinks.

2018 Audiobooks (Second Half)

With incredible belatedness, the audiobooks I listened to from July to December 2018.

Favorites

Enough time has passed at this point that I am not going to try to wrack my brain for wordy reasons why these books are my favorites. In short:

*Lake Silence – I loved the dynamic between humans and the terra indigene in The Others series, and this book kept that dynamic burning.
*The Shape of Water – Swamp Thing gets the girl. I like seeing the monster find love.
*Dragon Teeth – I like the straight-forward narrative Crichton uses for his historical fiction. A fun romp through the surprisingly vindictive early years of dinosaur fossil hunting.
*Lostboy –  from the perspective of Hook, now probably my favorite Peter Pan reimagining, I’ve always found Pan to be a dodgy character.
*Three Mages and a Margarita – saucy and sarcastic, with a realistic main character.
*Carry On – the only Rainbow Rowell book I actually like. A surprisingly fun and solid riff on Harry Potter.

Honorable Mentions: The Lost Book of the Grail, Bohemian Gospel, Old Man’s War, On Stranger Tides, The Wedding Date, Dread Nation, A Million Junes, Wildwood Dancing, Akata Witch, Strange the Dreamer, Cake, The Making of Asian America, The Left Behind, Words on the Move, The Hating Game

Adult Fiction (39)
Sweet Tea and Sympathy
Lake Silence
The Shape of Water
The Midwich Cuckoos
Paradox Bound
Midnight Riot
Fitness Junkie
The Lost Book of the Grail
The New Hunger
The Forbidden Garden
A Princess in Theory
Origin
An Excess Male
Secrets of the Tulip Sisters
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
The Almost Sisters
Dragon Teeth
The Golden Spider
A Dirty Job
The Hike
Bohemian Gospel
Lostboy
The Round House
Old Man’s War
Burning Bright
Not Alone
Dead Witch Walking
The Postmortal
Three Mages and a Margarita
A Gift of Time
Dark Arts and a Daquiri
The Unlikeable Demon Hunter
The Silver Skull
On Stranger Tides
First Mate’s Accidental Wife
The Wedding Date
The Hating Game
Wildfire
Burn for Me

YA/MG Fiction (27)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Tithe
Made For You
Girls Made of Snow and Glass
American Panda
Saints and Misfits
A Countess Below Stairs
Carry On
Waterfall
The Beast is an Animal
York: The Shadow Cipher
Dread Nation
Invictus
Release
Dreaming the Eagle
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
A Million Junes
Wildwood Dancing
Strange the Dreamer
Akata Witch
Dead Little Mean Girl
Heart of Iron
All Rights Reserved
Not Your Sidekick
Lotus and Thorn
The Crown’s Game
The Casquette Girls

Dramatization/Multi-Cast (6)
The Stars Are Legion
Treasure Island
Defy the Worlds
The Lines We Cross
Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Cake

Nonfiction (23)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
Galileo’s Daughter
Matriarch
Victoria & Abdul
Too Fat, Too Loud, Too Slutty
The King’s Bed
Radium Girls
Nowhere Near First
No One Can Pronounce My Name
The Professor and the Madman
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking
Sin in the Second City
Hidden Figures
Words on the Move
How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
The Making of Asian America
The Lost History of Christianity
The Normans: From Raiders to Kings
The Left Behind
This is Your Brain on Parasites
Code Girls
The Year of Living Danishly

Read Harder – March & May 2019

In 2018, I blew through Read Harder in less than one month. In 2019, I seem to be taking a leisurely stroll through it, even skipping months (like April and June). I plan on finishing RH in July as a two-week work-cation is on the horizon, and I only have four books left.

Remaining Books: Underground Girls of Kabul (#5) ; Terra Nuvilla (#8) ; Hot Art (#19) ; Cherry (#20)

Lady Susan by Jane Austen
#1 – Epistolary novel / letter collection
I love how clever and scathing Austen tends to be, but I have realized that she is not an author I can audiobook. I felt like I missed some of the nuances, and that is a bad thing, especially given how awful and salacious Lady Susan was. I definitely need to reread in print format.

 

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette
#10 – Translated book written/translated by a woman
This was an odd little book. I don’t entirely know what to make of it, but it was an uncomfortable read.  An absurdist look at an authoritarian regime, the characters dealt with the nonsensical rules and edicts while (some) tried to maintain their optimism that their cases would be heard by the government.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh
#15 – Mythology / folklore
I know I’ve made my opinions known about short story collections, but thankfully this was one I thoroughly enjoyed, even with a few duds. I loved “Forbidden Fruit” (love between a goddess and mortal man gone wrong), “Steel Skin” (the truth isn’t always a good thing), and “The Crimson Cloak” (per Paul Harvey, “…and now you know the rest of the story.”).

big ship at the edge of the universeThe Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White
#18 – Trans/nonbinary author)
It took me several months to finish this book because the first half was frustrating (holy cow, did Nilah lack both self and situational awareness), and because it was on my Kindle, and thus easier to put aside for a library book. That being said, the second half was much better, the action ramped up, and I want to read the next book. The mash up of magic and science systems working in tandem was unique and creative, and the overarching plot was intriguing with a lot of potential.

PopSugar – May 2019

I limited myself to six books for PopSugar in May with the hope that I would focus more on the Hub (only sort of successful). My favorite May read was Skin and Earth – post-apocalypse multi-media storytelling works. All six books were from my Amazon TBR.

June Books – nothing on the docket; planning on skipping PS in June in favor of finishing up the Hub.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
#24 – Takes place during a single day
After listening to two books by Maria Semple, I need to give up on her as an author. Her style is not my style. Both Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette are the same basic plots with differences in details – women having midlife crises, are unhappy in their marriages, and have whiny, precocious children. I don’t know if Semple writes the kids as whiny, or if the narrator just reads them that way. Regardless, it was very annoying.

Skin and Earth by Lights
#3 – Written by a musician
An awesomely executed multimedia story combining a comic with a soundtrack. QR codes at the beginning of each chapter linked to the corresponding music video. The story was interesting, the music was catchy, and I hope Lights writes a continuation.

 

my oxford yearMy Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
#17 – Set on a college campus
I enjoyed this story overall, though I had to suspend belief for most of it. Ella checked off enough accomplishment boxes that she didn’t feel believable, and many of the characters/subplots weren’t fleshed out. I would have liked more about her time at Oxford and Ella’s juggling of academics with her political obligations, and less somewhat saccharine love story.

Wicked Weeds: A Zombie Novel by Pedro Cabiya
#19 – Multiple POV
After finishing this book, I still don’t know how many POVs there were. 3? 4? 5? It was so damn confusing. All of the voices sounded the same, and because some of the characters’ backstories overlapped, it was hard to figure out who was narrating at any given time. While the introduction to the book offers an alternate way to read – you could either read by page order or by the “clusters” of given chapters, either method is confusing because of the lack of differentiation in the narrators. That being said, the concept was interesting. However, I would have gotten more out of it if I could figure out all of the details.

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner
#37 – Two-word title
Boy likes girl, boy pretends to be a vampire to impress girl, gets more than he bargained for. I liked the idea, but the story was surprisingly boring with some head-scratching plot points. And I really didn’t like the kids’ teacher. Or the werewolf kid.

 

mermaidThe Mermaid by Christina Henry
#38 – Based on a true story (P.T. Barnum’s Fiji mermaid)
I love Henry’s horror-ish reimaginings of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, and I was expecting a similar tone with The Mermaid. Instead, it was a straight historical fantasy. This is not a bad thing by any means, but I was looking forward to how she would twist mermaids. Getting past that disappointment, The Mermaid was the story of P.T. Barnum’s Fiji mermaid, if the mermaid was real. Both the plot and the characters were well thought out and well written.

May Books

Even though the number of books I read in May was normal, I am having a hard time focusing. I should be reading Hub books, but all I want to do is read down Amazon. A good thing is that I will have another work-cation this summer, and plan on bring a ton of books with me. I keep telling myself that it’s alright if I don’t read Amazon books right now.

Amazon: added 60 ; read/DNF’d 38
Audible: added 8 ; read 4

Audiobooks Fiction (13) / Nonfiction (6)

Lost City of the Monkey God – interesting, but would have liked to hear more about the lost city itself and the people who lived there
The Soul of an Octopus – I was hoping for more science and less sentimentalism. There was also a disconnect between the author waxing poetic about the intelligence of octopuses and detailing her Wednesday playdates at the aquarium while acknowledging that the octopuses in museums are stolen from the wild and have short life spans.
Space Opera – there was so much that could have been done with the concept of Eurovision in space as a way to keep galactic peace. Unfortunately, the author was trying too hard to be  clever, spent too much time on asides, and the actual “Eurovision” part (which is WHY I wanted to read the damn book) was a flash in the pan at the very end.
This Side of Murder / Trecherous is the Night – a mystery series set post-WWI. Verity is a strong, intelligent character. A big part of why I like this series is because it deals with how the aftereffects of war impact individuals and their relationships.
The Bride Test – a cute romance that had me giggling to myself more than once. The story is good, and I like both Esme and Khai. It is a romance that would be readable for non-romance readers.

Novels / Novellas (12)

Murderbot is awesome, and 2020 is a long time to wait for the full-length novel. This series should be turned into a TV show.

Graphic (9)