My reading challenge fervor has died down a bit. I’ve listened to 15 audiobooks for PopSugar so far (six of them in February), and I don’t want to listen to more than 20. I am trying to make sure that at least half of the books I read for this challenge are book books. This puts a severe limitation on my challenge reading because I don’t necessarily have the actual or mental time to sit down and curl up with a book.
Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown
#6 – Novel based on a real person (Mary Rowlandson)
Inspired by the experience of Mary Rowlandson after she was captured by Native Americans during a raid on her village in 1676, the novel looked at how she survived. It was fascinating to see the stark differences between how Mary was treated by her Puritan community both before and after her captivity, and how she was treated by Weetamoo and the Narragansett. It was not an easy captivity by any means. Mary witnessed brutality, watched one of her children die, and was treated roughly, but at the same time, she had more freedom than was allowed her by Puritan society and was exposed to completely different gender and parent/child dynamics. I liked seeing how she grew as a person and gained an understanding of the complexity of the struggles of the Native Americans to maintain their sovereignty and way of life.
Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
#8 – Time of day in the title
If I wasn’t reading this for a challenge, I would have DNF’d it. I probably should have anyway. Lucan was the emo asshole version of a Mary Sue. Gabrielle was an idiot. Their relationship went from zero to sex in no time at all, and there was nothing in that acceleration that made the relationship believable. The story itself was boring, the writing felt juvenile, and the lack of any kind of humor made listening a chore. In addition, Adrian pretty much lost me with the “vampires from space” origin story.
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
#13 – Time travel
I liked this book enough that I want to read the sequel. It wasn’t so amazing that I couldn’t put it down, in fact, it took me several weeks to read it, but the pacing was fast and the story interesting. I would love to learn more about this history of this alternate future, but that doesn’t really fit in with the plot other than gaining needed supplies and allies. Grace is by far my favorite character. Levin also has potential. I’m curious as to how the plot develops.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
#17 – Set on a different planet
I enjoy Jon Scalzi’s writing style in conjunction with Wil Wheaton’s narration. Scalzi’s ideas are always interesting, and his humor is up my alley. I love a space opera rife with political machinations, and I can’t wait to listen to the sequel. Kiva is by far my favorite character. She has an incredibly foul mouth, but she operates within her own set of standards and woe to anyone who doesn’t live up to them.
Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
#18 – Song lyrics in title (“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC)
I enjoyed the development of the friendship between Tourmaline and Virginia; that they took the negatives of their personal situations into their own hands instead of relying on the help of the (older) men in their lives. I liked that neither girl was perfect, each was grappling with her own past, and was trying to find a way to make it through as unharmed as possible. Most of the characters exist in the gray zone, though some were definitely beyond that and existed in the realm of reprehensible. There was some squickiness with several of the male/female relationships because of the age gap and/or the power dynamics.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
#23 – Also a stage play/musical
Aspects of Peter Pan definitely don’t age well, specifically regarding the depiction of Native Americans. There were many, many negative stereotypes. I’ve never read the book before, but the various movies I’ve watched and reimaginings I’ve read reinforce my opinion that Peter is a selfish and insensitive git, that Tinker Bell is petty and vindictive, and that Wendy is a somewhat oblivious Mary Sue. My brain kept trying to compare and contrast the book to the Disney movie and the broadcast from 1960 starring Mary Martin. I shouldn’t be surprised that Disney changed a major plot point – Tinker Bell does not, in fact, betray Peter Pan by being lured in by sweet nothings from Hook. Instead, Hook sat on a chimney disguised as a mushroom, and thus discovered the Lost Boys’ lair.
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
#25 – About feminism
This book has been added to the list of books my girls need to read when they’re older. It is an angry book, but one that makes you think about just how misogynistic and racist both the writing world and geek world can be. And in all honesty, how the rest of the world can be as well. Hurley uses her personal and professional experiences, examples from pop culture, and examples from her writing to frame her observations. Perspective is inherently linked to a given author’s/person’s identity, and the dominant perspective is that of a white, straight, male.
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
#39 – Involving a bookstore/library
I liked the concept and what Swanson was trying to do, but the execution was only alright. It’s so disappointing when a book could have been amazing, but wasn’t. The story was missing oomph. I don’t know what, but there no pop or tension, but maybe that lack of something was from the writing style. Some of the details were also confusing because the set up for them was little to non-existent, such as the random appearance of dream world Michael mid-way through the story.