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text 2014-08-01 06:55
Books Read in June (A Belated Roundup)
Among Others - Jo Walton
Merrow - Ananda Braxton-Smith
Tantony - Ananda Braxton-Smith
Brown Skin Blue - Belinda Jeffrey
Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

Here's the June Roundup of books which I forgot to post earlier due to a busy semester:

 

- Among Others by Jo Walton

 

When I was a teenager, I pretty much grabbed any SFF tome that was available in the library so Morwenna's love for science fiction and fantasy novels made me smile. The magical rules Morwenna follows in her daily life builds a grey world between magic realism and fantasy. This blurred boundary contributed to a powerful ending. Recommended for any lover of SFF.Recommended for any lover of SFF.

 

- Merrow by Ananda Braxton Smith & Tantony by Ananda Braxton Smith

 

'What I needed is my own, my very own story. One that would lie like a reptile over the hot rock of my heart and tell others to go away.'

 

I'm a new fan of Ananda Braxton Smith's writing. I wrote a short review of the first book Merrow which I'll post later but Merrow and Tantony can also be read separately as stand-alone books.

 

- Brown Skin Blue by Belinda Jeffrey

 

“I’m like a river without a name. Flowing through life because that’s what I do without knowing where I’ve come from and where I’m going. There’s beasts that have made a good home in me, too.”

 

I love Jeffrey’s writing. Darwin as the setting was vividly combined with Barry’s intense voice as the protagonist. Barry struggled with the disconnection between how others see him and how he perceives himself in relation to his mixed Aboriginal identity. This book also re-affirmed my fear of crocodiles. Prehistoric predators indeed.

 

 

- Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

 

I thought the plot development was moving too fast in the first quarter of the book but the plot clicked for me as I read on. I was hooked by the magic and the politics of this trapped world of trolls. The character's flawed personalities made me laugh.There's a dash of potential romance (and youthful attraction) but the political struggles, magical system and linked identity issues weave into the main crux of the story. I'm looking forward to the sequel. Recommended for readers of YA fantasy books like Throne of Glass by SJ Maas or an interesting original YA series like The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

 

On a random note, I thought that the heroine was POC based on the cover model so I was mildly disappointed when I realised she wasn't but I recommend the novel.

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text 2014-07-11 00:11
Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels

Jane, the Fox, & Me Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault

 

 

 

Summary: It's about a girl who gets teased at school and turns to her book that she's reading, Jane Eyre for comfort. Takes place during school and the main character and her classmates go to a camping trip.

 

Review: (3.5 stars) I thought this was a cute little story. Very relatable and I'm sure we all know about teasing and how cruel school kids can be! Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books so I loved the references to that (however the whole plot/story of Jane Eyre is given away in this story just to warn you if you haven't read it). I liked that it was like a coming of age story and I liked the illustrations where they looked like sketches that the main character did and wrote so that helped to really relate to the main character further. It was very memorable but it was a cute little story.

 

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

 

 

 

Summary: Completely in pictures and no words - it reads like a silent film. It's about a immigrant who has to leave his family behind to a whole new country and make a life for himself and his family.

 

Review: (3 stars) If I would have read the summary of this graphic novel before I went into it, I would have appreciated it much more than I did. Reading it, I was a bit confused about the main point of the story. I thought the illustrations were beautiful and dark but I just didn't get it because the way the country he travels too (I'm guessing America) is drawn in a magical fantasy'esque type way that I just didn't get. When I finished it and then finally read the summary to see what it was about - it all made sense and it was kind of beautiful. But it still didn't leave a lasting impression on me - but I do recommend reading the summary before going into this one! Definitely unique!

 

Blankets by Craig Thompson

 

 

 

Summary: This is about a boy who has grown up as Christian where he attends bible school and is trying to figure out his life and his beliefs based on things that has happened to him in his past with his family and things that are going on currently with his life. It's more of a finding yourself type book with emphasis on faith. There is a romance that takes place too! (it's also very long)

 

Review: (4 stars) I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I am not a religious person myself so some of the preachy stuff I kind of glossed over but overall it didn't bother me too much because I can understand that faith is a pretty big deal in certain peoples lives. I liked the illustrations and how it went back and forth from present and past as the main character was figuring out his life and telling us his story. I did like the romance of this book too, it was fairly realistic and I appreciated that. I thought it was a beautiful coming of age story!

 

Boxers & Saints by Gene Juen Yang

 

 

 

Summary: This is a duology about the Boxer Rebellion that took place in China back in the day. The first book, Boxers is in the perspective of a boy that rebelled against Christianity and was known as a Boxer and it goes through the story of the Boxer Rebellion from the "Boxer" point of view. The second book, Saints is in the perspective of a girl that  becomes Christian and goes through the Rebellion in the Saints perspective.

 

Review: (3.5 stars) I thought this was a pretty good duology. If I learned about the Boxer Rebellion - I think I would have enjoyed this duo more. I didn't exactly get all the references to the Rebellion but I was overall able to follow and understand what was going on. I liked the illustrations and the way the story was told. I did like Saints, the second book better because by then I understood the whole story and I looked up the Boxer Rebellion to understand more. And I liked that it was in the girls perspective and it was just more interesting and easier to follow along in my opinion. Overall - these were pretty good and if you are interested in the Boxer Rebellion - I think you'd really enjoy it. I do prefer his other graphic novel, American Born Chinese over this two.

 

DNF: Stuck in the Middle by Various Authors: This consists of 17 stories written by various authors that depict hard times during middle school. I read the first 3 stories and the one by Daniel Clowes (also wrote Ghost World) and was absolutely bored. The stories that I read were all mediocre and didn't seem to be complete. I just couldn't suffer anymore - the art didn't even help. Nope, had to take that one back to the library with no regrets!

 

(I also took My Friend Dahmer back to the library unread because I knew I wasn't going to get to it. I still have Fables, A Bride's Story out from the library and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to them (or be in the mood to) before they are due. I also am waiting for Skim to come in and I will be reading that one)

 

Have you read any of these? Please leave me recommendations for graphic novels :)

 

*********************

 

Links:

 

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review 2014-07-10 01:17
book review why will hates ducks by cassandra clare
Why Will Hates Ducks: A Clockwork Angel ... Why Will Hates Ducks: A Clockwork Angel Extra - Cassandra Clare

this is taken place in chapter 9 of clockwork angel will explains why he hates ducks when he was kid he was feeding a duck and he didn't have enough bread so it bit him and then it bit him again and then it stalked him his sister ella took care of it the duck never bothered him again . Never trust a duck oh will.

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text 2014-07-03 19:40
June Recap
Devil's Game - Joanna Wylde
Fighting to Forget (The Fighting Series) - J.B. Salsbury
The Fight for Us - Elizabeth Finn
No Regrets - Sienna Mynx
Twist of Fate (The Renegade Saints Book 2) - Ella Fox
Cooper - Harper Sloan
Officer Next Door (Lock and Key) (Volume 1) - Ranae Rose
Breathe With Me (With Me In Seattle Book 7) - Kristen Proby
Burn - Crystal Hubbard

June wasn't my best month in reading/reviewing. I was on vacation for the first week when I did fit in some reads between excursions with the hubby. Then I came home and had major surgery mid-month. Pain killers don't allow for much mental fortitude to concentrate on digesting a book and reviewing it properly.  So there it is...

 

Count on Me by Lauren Dane - 5 stars

Officer Next Door by Ranae Rose - 4.5 stars

Devil's Game by Joanna Wylde - 4.5 stars

Fighting to Forget by JB Salsbury - 4 stars

Cooper by Harper Sloan - 4 stars

Burn by Crystal Hubbard - 4 stars

Breathe With Me by Kristen Proby - 4 stars

Twisted Fate by Ella Fox - 3 stars

No Regrets by Sienna Mynx - 2 stars

 

 

 

 

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review 2014-07-02 19:40
Review: WDSF
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue - Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein,Nisi Shawl,Tracie Welser,Stina Leicht,Jennifer Willis,Mary Robinette Kowal,Pat Murphy,Galen Dara,Wendy N. Wagner,Katherine Crighton,Samantha Murray,Effie Seiberg,Cathy Humble,Holly Schofield,Kim Winternheimer,Ellen Denham,An

Kickstarter assures me, at the time of this writing, that 14 of the 19 projects I have backed have been works of written fiction – anthologies, magazines, novels. It’s the perfect hobby, requiring no effort or skill on my part. Do I need to disclose that I was a backer for this? I’m reviewing the special, limited edition one, so it may go without saying.

 

I started reading it on my Kindle as soon as it came out, but swapped to the print copy (with its lovely color art) as soon as it showed up. I might have waited, but I forgot my reward even came with a print copy. It had been a while.

 

Also, the print copy has an extra story in it.

 

Also, I know it's not June anymore, but I wanted to take my time reading this one, which appears to mean more than a month.

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve described the disappointingly familiar shape of anthologies before. Where the best story is frontloaded and the quality rapidly dives from there, followed by a few more strong entries in the middle and tapering off again? While I didn’t love everything in this one, it didn’t conform to this all too familiar shape, which is itself a refreshing change in my short fiction reading. Perhaps because it is a special issue, and not an anthology?

 

It’s also refreshing to find the ones I don’t love being simply a matter of taste, and not a glaring logical inconsistency or yet another attempt to feed me an unexamined toxic notion of romance or women’s roles in life. (One might argue that those are matters of taste. And one might find that I don’t take fiction recommendations from them after such an argument.) That being said, I’ll limit my review to picking a few favorites from this very strong collection of so much more than works of fiction.

 

“Each to Each” is the first piece of fiction and for me the strongest. I want to read the novelization - no, the trilogy - no, the trilogy of trilogies set in this world. I had no idea, having not read McGuire’s fiction before. Lots of you have told me to, and I’ve been meaning to. But I’ll be honest here, her fans love her with a kind of fervor that has put me off reading her. Because what if I don’t like her work? I’ve been on the wrong end of that conversation before – so much so I won’t even tell you whose work I’m referring to. Now? Okay, now I might be one of her legion of devoted fans. This story, on its own was worth backing this collection for.

 

“The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick” took a few pages for me to get into. But when I did fall into the groove of it, this was quite a bit of fun.

 

“The Lonely Sea in the Sky” is the short fiction version of my favorite parts of space opera [except welding].

 

“A Burglary, Addressed By A Young Lady” is yet another I wish were longer. I think this might be the start of a romance novel I could actually enjoy.

 

“Like Daughter” pinged pretty hard against a few novels I read in my teenage years. This is A Choice of Gods with bio-engineering instead of robots and without the racism. This is the upside down version of Fifth Head of Cerberus meets the inside out retelling itself.

 

“The Cost to Be Wise” is not my favorite McHugh, but might be the most representative piece of her work I’ve ever read. If you loved this one, and wished it had kept going, try Mission Child. If you thought this was kind of interesting, but too long, pick up After the Apocalypse. If this wasn’t your sort of thing at all, China Mountain Zhang might still be for you, but most of the rest of her catalog won’t work out.

 

The nonfiction interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick is excellent. Actually, all of the nonfiction and personal essays are worth a read through.

 

I think the only thing I really don’t like about the print version of this special issue is that it ends with ads for books that aren’t predominately female in content. The last page inside is an ad for a trilogy edited by Adams and Howey. I liked Wool quite a bit, but I also read Howey’s “Suck it, Hugo bitch” blog post before he deleted it and made a non-apology. I guess that post must still be bothering me since seeing his name be the last thing I saw before closing the cover stung a bit. That ad isn’t in the Kindle edition, so I’ll recommend that format instead. Or just skip the last page.

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