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text 2017-12-28 16:40
Favorite and Least Favorite Books of 2017
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie
Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) - Sue Grafton
In the Woods - Tana French
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
A Crown of Wishes - Roshani Chokshi

Just going to recopy part of this from one of the 16 Festive Tasks posts. 

 

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders-Wow all I have to say is that this book was great. More than anything I love clever books like this, and this was definitely very clever. I honestly was a bit worried for a couple of minutes that maybe I wouldn't be able to get the book since the setting is in Japan. But wow the author Soji Shimada is able to pretty much show you that murder is murder no matter where it takes place.

 

Y is for Yesterday- I have to say that I love the fact that even though this book takes place in 1989 there's definitely some similarities to what's going on in the world today in this book. There's the question of rape, there's the question of getting consent, there's the question of violence against women and what do women do in order to fight back against that. I feel like all of those are discussion topics that are very relevant in today's world. 

 

I've really hated how isolated Kinsey felt to me in the past few books was just her interacting with Henry and Rosie. But this one definitely showcases how many people are connected to Kinsey, and how many people just love her.

I was really glad to finally see it seem to laying to rest her whole relationship with the missing Robert Dietz. And I think I see a game plan coming with regards to Cheney Phillips. It was good to read what was going on with him and finally having me not wanting to kick the crap out of him based on what I thought was going on with this character.

 

In the Woods- What a compelling read. I finished this thing in about a day and a half. I will say that at first I found myself somewhat bored. But this book ends up being a nice slow burn of a read. I wanted even more by the time I got to the end. I already put a hold on the second book in the series. I have to say that I am really glad that French didn't try to solve the overarching mystery for the main character, Rob Ryan. I know that some readers ended up loving this character and I had to say that in the end, I didn't feel love, but just outright pity for him.

 

The Hate U Give-I got so many feels while reading this book.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas takes a look at a teenage black girl who is trying her best to be Starr back home in Garden Heights and Starr at her suburban prep school.

 

Thomas doesn't just make this a YA book, she makes this a YA book accurately showing the struggle for black Americans, for black men, black women, interracial relationships, the pain that we feel when we move away into what is considered "good areas", etc.

Thomas is able to show you so many layers to Starr and the other characters in this book that is becomes mesmerizing to read. Even with the subject matter, I loved that Thomas was able to inject humor and show how for many black Americans that tragedy does not define us, that you still keep going as much as you can, as long as you can. Heck, Thomas even shows you how much simmering anger is under the skin for many black Americans in the U.S. right now, and how those that people screech about as "thugs" and "monsters" can finally just have enough and yes start rioting.

 

A Crown of Wishes-  I needed a fantastic book and I savored this one for two days though I wanted to swallow it whole at times. It lingered with me in my sleep and I smiled when I woke up because I was so happy to just keep reading this book. Chokshi includes Indian myths and also just really great characters that you want to keep reading about. We also get appearances from characters from the last book that I was sad to see go when we finished. I often worry when authors start writing a YA book and write a sequel or decide it will be a trilogy. That's only because not many have held up. This one holds up. I highly recommend.

 

 

The Airing of Grievances as performed by the Book Gods:

 

Book God 1: Look I just want to say, this is the price you readers pay to find that diamond in the rough. I don't feel bad for you. Who cares that you read a book where a young girl was slut shamed, where a plot made no sense, that you realized that every book now has the word "girl" in the title. 

 

Book God 2: Speak for yourself. Look, sometimes we can work miracles and you get "The Hate U Give" and other times you get "50 Shades of Grey." Tomato, tomahto. 

 

Book God 1: We told Obsidian Blue the rule was that she had to name 5 books that she actually finished that she disappointed her. No fair just throwing out DNFs. 

 

Book God 2: She maybe flipped us off. Okay, she totally did. 

 

Book 1

 

How to Change a Life

 

Book God 1: Oh yeah. I remember this one. There were two characters that were African American and Obsidian Blue felt as if the author had never met black people before in her life. And also thought it was kind of gross the main character was being portrayed as reasonable after it comes out that she is now sleeping with her friend's ex-husband. 

 

Book God 2: I would have kicked her ass. 

 

OB: What they said. Seriously though. I like/love most of Ballis's books. She incorporates very real characters for the most part and also includes recipes that have me craving all kinds of food while reading her books. I think that she had the opportunity to show how the best friends you have growing up are not the perfect fit when you are adults. I think she was heading that way for a bit, and then it turned into some weird/gross piling on of the character of Lynne for being work focused. I don't know if I can articulate this correctly, it just felt mean to me in a way. Did not enjoy and was very upset that I bought this one. 

 

Book 2

 

Zone One

 

 

Book God 1: Nah. 

 

Book God 2: Nope. 

 

OB: Forget you both! Seriously though. I don't understand how the man who wrote "The Underground Railroad" wrote this mess of a zombie novel. I kept comparing it to the "Girl With All the Gifts" and just did not enjoy it. I think the fact that Whitehead chose to tell this story in a non-linear way focusing on three specific days just didn't work. I liked the idea of the survivors of telling stories about their lives before the dead rose. I wish that Whitehead had worked more of that into his story. Other than that, this was just a lackluster read. 

 

Book 3

 

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

 

Book God 1: Okay, this one actually made me mad too.

 

Book God 2: Dear authors, don't make a character's rape into some weird character motivation for one of your other characters and have them acting as if it somehow affects them more. Did we learn nothing from that story-line on Games of Throne when Sansa's rape is somehow affecting Theon Greyjoy more? 

 

OB: I found issues with book #1, but honestly book #2 just did not work for me on any level. I think the biggest issue that I have said before when it comes to YA books is that when the publisher's think they have a hit on their hands seem to spur the author to put out sequels before they are ready. Or even put out more books than were planned.

 

"The Last of August" moved the setting to Germany and Cavallaro didn't even play that up at all in the book. 


The main characters of Charlotte and Jamie are just toxic together. I am not rooting for them to get together. Jamie in turns desires and hates Charlotte. She doesn't do what he wants her to and gets weirdly competitive with her about who will solve the case they are on now. It doesn't help matters that Charlotte is not as great as deductions as her so-called relative Sherlock is. 


The other characters are poorly developed and Charlotte's brother makes a fatal mistake that I can't even believe he would have made, but you know let's throw some drama in there. 

 

As the book gods have already said, we know that prior to the events in book #1, Charlotte was raped. I hope you enjoy Jamie making it all about him the entire time. Cause that didn't get annoying at all. 

 

Book 4

 

Echoes in Death (In Death, #44)

 

Book God 1: I don't know why she keeps reading this series.

 

Book God 2: At least she no longer buys the books and just borrows them via the library.


Book God 1: Still though, none of the characters are progressing that well based on the last few books. Peabody is a callous moron in this one. And we have the final act where Eve deduces a crime and is all surprise about it in the end to those she gathers. Who is she, Hercule Poirot?  

 

Book God 2: I also kind of hate that it's been like what, 10 books in a row and only three months have passed. Something like that. Get your timeline together Robb. 

 

OB: I should probably just quit this series. But this series has some of my favorite books which is why I keep persisting with it. I think at this point Robb should consider how to wrap things up with Eve Dallas and friends since all of the books have started to read a bit samey. It didn't help that Peabody was abducted by aliens and replaced with a person with no soul. Who stands around a dead body gushing about someone's shoes?

 

The other characters don't have much to do anymore besides sit around and tell Dallas how she is right in all things (see Dr. Mira). 

The writing got very repetitive and there were no surprises in this one at all. You can guess the guilty party earlier on since Robb doesn't provide any other viable suspects. 

 

Book 5

 

Well this was a hard one, but I finally went with this on. 

 

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)

 

Book God 1: Man, even I was disappointed with this one.

 

Book God 2: Why are New Adult romance books mostly about cheating/almost cheating and/or slut shaming? 

 

Book God 1: I don't know. It's weird. I also don't get how anyone reads a romance and is all yes main couple, cheat. Please cheat.

 

OB: UGHHHH. This one was so frustrating. I read one of Hoover's books last year, "It Ends With Us" and was so moved by it. I freaking even wrote it in for one of the Goodreads 2016 awards. And to go back and read this I just wonder if the same author wrote both books. 

 

"Maybe Someday" has a very thin plot contrivance to get two strangers (Sydney and Ridge) living together with two other people. Yes, cause Sydney has listened to Ridge play his guitar from his patio they somehow have a connection. Whatever.

 

Things get worse when Sydney and Ridge proceed to get all jealous about any one of the opposite sex paying the other attention. Did I mention that Ridge has a great girlfriend and it makes no sense at all why he is so drawn to Sydney?

 

I can't even discuss the terrible ending where Ridge's girlfriend rightfully dumps his ass and then he runs back to Sydney and she is all true love. 

 

Honorable mentions: "All the Missing Girls" "In the Water", "The Best of Adam Sharp", "The Girl Before", "I Am Watching You", and "The Sleepwalker". 

 

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review 2017-12-18 04:40
Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vol. 5) by Sui Ishida, translated by Joe Yamazaki
Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 5 - Sui Ishida

Kimi, Nishiki's human girlfriend, comes to Kaneki for help - Nishiki's wound isn't healing well. Unfortunately, this puts her in the Gourmet's sights. He

uses her as a hostage to lure in Kaneki, and ends up getting Nishiki and Touka as well. None of the three are strong enough to battle him, so Kaneki offers himself to Touka as a snack, thinking that his body is probably human enough to help her build her strength up enough to fight the Gourmet. She does manage to beat him and then wants to kill Kimi too, for knowing too much, but ends up sparing her. There's a flashback showing how Kimi and Nishiki met. She learned he was a ghoul shortly after Kaneki fought him - she even offered herself to him as food so that he could heal better. Then there's another flashback, this one to Rize moving from the 11th Ward to the 20th. Then back to the CCG and the present - things are ramping up, and a new ghoul investigator, Juzo Suzuya, is introduced.

(spoiler show)


I enjoyed the flashbacks to Nishiki's past, although the way that Kimi came to accept him isn't something that would work for most humans. I'm not quite sure how I feel about their relationship. On the one hand, they seem to genuinely care for each other. On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that hanging around ghouls is healthy for Kimi.

While her relationship with Nishiki kept her from committing suicide, she's made it clear that, if he needs food, she's willing to be his meal even though she might end up dead.

(spoiler show)


The flashback to Rize's past was a bit worthless, although it did show that there were lots of ghouls with a reason to want her dead. Kaneki is going to have a tough time narrowing down the suspects.

The CCG stuff was just...not good. Even if one of them hadn't killed the relatively harmless Ryoko Fueguchi a few volumes ago, every time they appear on page at least one of them strikes me as being at least as scary as the scarier ghouls. The scene with Suzuya and the officer made me decide that I probably don't want to watch the anime, not if that scene is included. I couldn't tell exactly what it was he did (I mean, did he really just blow something through the guy's skull via his ears? did I interpret that right?), but whatever it was, it should have qualified him as just as much of a monster as the ghouls they were trying to defend humanity against. And yet.

Amon seems to be the most normal of all the ghoul investigators readers have so far gotten to know, and I'm not particularly impressed with him either if he can witness the behavior of someone like Suzuya and not start to question whether he's on the right side.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-12-18 04:33
Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vol. 4) by Sui Ishida, translated by Joe Yamazaki
Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 4 - Sui Ishida

We get a glimpse of Touka's school life. As anti-human as she has previously seemed, it turns out that she actually really values her best human friend, to the point of regularly choking down the food her friend makes for her. Kaneki visits Hinami at Touka's place, learns more about how to fight, and meets up with Yomo, Uta, and their friend Itori (the owner of a bar called Helter Skelter). Itori wants to know more about a special ghoul restaurant, so she offers to exchange info about

the person who killed Rize - it turns out that Rize's death was not an accident like Kaneki had previously thought. In order to learn about the restaurant, Kaneki has to get closer to Shu Tsukiyama, nicknamed the Gourmet. Unfortunately, he is soon betrayed. Instead of taking him to the restaurant as a guest, Tsukiyama brings him there as an exciting new entree.

(spoiler show)


I wish these volumes came with translator's note and/or a bit more information about the world terminology. So far words like "quinque" and "kagune" have been thrown about with little explanation. In the previous volume, Mado's last words were something to the effect that he wanted to bury the "Sekigan" with his own two hands. In this volume, the translator opted to translate "Sekigan" as "one-eyed king." Why not translate it this way in the previous volume as well, or include a brief note?

We see more of Nishiki in this volume (who, since I took crappy notes, has not been mentioned in my summaries at all - I'm not even entirely sure I have his name right). He

hasn't been doing too well since he was injured. Kaneki saves him and learns that he has a human girlfriend who knows he's a ghoul and doesn't seem to mind.

(spoiler show)

I suspect that this will end badly.

Kaneki is kind of dumb. He knows that Tsukiyama is a flashy killer, and yet he's still drawn in. I wouldn't be surprised if

Tsukiyama manages to trick him again.

(spoiler show)


Again, this series continues to throw characters at me that I don't really like and don't necessarily care to see more of. Part of me is still tempted to get the anime, to see if aspects of the series go over better in that format, and part of me is just not into this series enough for that.

One thing that surprised me: apparently this series is digitally illustrated, and Ishida only has one assistant. 

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-12-18 04:24
Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vol. 3) by Sui Ishida, translated by Joe Yamazaki
Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 3 - Sui Ishida

Touka and Kaneki try to spread a little disinformation about Hinami at the CCG 20th Ward branch. It doesn't work, but they do discover that

Kaneki can go through RC scan gates like a normal human being - apparently his body is still human enough for that. At any rate, Hinami leaves Anteiku, and Touka and Kaneki go after her. Touka finds her first, but the two are soon attacked by Investigator Mado. Kaneki, meanwhile, comes across Investigator Amon. Hinami attacks Mado when it looks like he might be about to kill Touka - it turns out that Mado (who is, in fact, human and not a ghoul, no matter how strange he looks) fights with quinques he made from the kagunes of Hinami's parents. It's no wonder the ghouls hate the ghoul investigators so much, when they use pieces of their friends and family members as weapons against them. Mado is killed by Touka. Kaneki defeats but doesn't kill Amon, determined to show Amon that there's more to ghouls than he thinks.

(spoiler show)


Dang but these battles are hard to follow.

I rolled my eyes a bit at Kaneki's battle. As cool as it was that he was able to

survive and defeat Amon

(spoiler show)

, he really shouldn't have been able to.

Amon had at least some experience under his belt, while Kaneki had no clue what he was doing. He was just lucky that Amon was apparently off his game or something.

(spoiler show)


Hinami is the first ghoul we've seen in this series who for sure has ghoul weaponry but who also doesn't seem to be emotionally capable to killing. I wonder if that's what Yoshimura meant by ghouls who are unable to hunt?

This volume was pretty decent, and I'm interested to see if Kaneki can bridge the gap between humans and ghouls, but I'm still not in love with this series.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-12-18 04:15
Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vol. 2) by Sui Ishida, translated by Joe Yamazaki
Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 2 - Sui Ishida

Kaneki starts working at Anteiku, learning to make coffee and wait tables. He meets Ryoko Fueguchi and her daughter Hinami, two ghouls who don't (can't?) hunt. Kaneki starts practicing eating human food like normal, so that he can more easily blend in and hide his ghoul nature, orders his first mask from Uta, and controls his hunger with brown "sugar" cubes in his coffee. I have a feeling he's going to rely too much on those "sugar" cubes and forget that he actually needs to eat human flesh every once in a while. This quiet period ends when

two ghouls investigators track down the Fueguchis and try to exterminate them. Ryoko sacrifices herself so that her daughter can escape, and Kaneki, who witnesses Ryoko's death, decides that he no longer wants to be helpless. He asks Touka to teach him how to use his kagune (ghoul weaponry?).

(spoiler show)

The volume ends with Uta's delivery of Kaneki's first mask, which is way more badass (if impractical) than he, at this point, deserves.

I'm intrigued by the world and the story, but many of the characters are just not very likeable. For example, I understand what drives Touka but I can't entirely root for her. Unlike Yoshimura, she seems to have a much more black and white view of the world. Then there's Kaneki, who's still a spineless wimp (granted, I doubt I'd manage much better than him if I were suddenly told that the only thing I could comfortably eat was human flesh). The Fueguchis were nice, but clearly low level ghouls and not the sort of folks that this series is going to focus on. And again, Yoshimura seems nice enough, but readers haven't exactly gotten to know him much yet. Uta intrigues me, at least. I have to wonder how he stays hidden from ghoul inspectors, considering that his appearance screams "ghoul." Is it even possible for his eyes to look normal?

This volume's main goal seemed to be to make the ghouls more sympathetic, at least low level ones like the Fueguchis, and it succeeded in that. As far as I could see, they weren't hurting anyone, and even their Anteiku-provided meals were acquired in as harmless a way as possible.

The ghoul investigators, on the other hand, were a bit disturbing. At least one of them didn't seem to be quite human himself. I wonder, is he a ghoul hunting other ghouls?

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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