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Monday, November 20, 2017

Things I've Read Recently (61)

If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black

Published: May 24th, 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy Anthology
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 516 plus acknowledgements and about the authors.
Part of a series? This is apparently number 5 in the Bordertown series. I'm just gonna link the Wikipedia page because I am not an expert here.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho. Terri Windling's original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today's urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner.

In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.

Thoughts: This was actually a really random read for me. I was searching for another book on my library's website and this popped up, and looked interesting, so I went, "Okay," and ordered it. And I'm glad I did! It was certainly interesting. I haven't read an anthology in a really long time and I'd kind of like to read more.

As someone who didn't know very much about the premise or setting of the whole Bordertown world, the book did a fairly good job explaining it both in the foreword by the authors, and within the world and the various stories. I liked how queer a lot of the stories were and overall this is a kind of mythology is really in my wheelhouse. I didn't love all of the stories, and some of them did things that bugged me, but that's an anthology for you, and for the most part I enjoyed it.

Something different and interesting for sure.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Published: January 26th, 2016 by Katherine Tegan Books. The paperback came Septeber 5th, 2017.
Genre: YA Paranormal
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 358 plus acknowledgements and such.
Part of a series? I WISH.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.

Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.

Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Review: Holy balls this was good. This might be one of my favourite books this year. This was so good. I would reread this. I want this for my birthday because I really want to own this. The opening is incredibly engaging and the voice immediately sucked me in. This is the kind of book I want the books I write to be like. This is like somebody thought, "What would a book Laina would love be?" and then did this.

It's just so good, guys. Breezy is awesome. I just love queer monster girls so much. I had this whole thing on Twitter that was more profound, but it's something I enjoy so much. I liked that there wasn't really a romance

This would be an amazing read for Halloween. This post is probably going to go up long past Halloween, but you know. If you're making a blog post or something. And it's good no matter what time of year it is.

Damage Per Second by G. Willow Wilson

Published: August 1st, 2017 by Marvel Comics
Genre: YA Comic
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 136
Part of a series? This is volume 7 of Ms. Marvel, and has issues 13 to 18 in it. Volume 8 doesn't come out until December (it's September) and I'm totally pouting about that already. Waiting is harrrrd.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Civil War II is behind her, and a brand new chapter for Kamala Khan is about to begin! But it's lonely out there for a super hero when her loved ones no longer have her back. It's time for Kamala to find out exactly who she is when she is on her own. Plus: it's election time! Kamala gets out the vote!

Thoughts: I honestly think this is one of the most emotionally complex comic series I've ever read. And granted I don't read that many, but I think that's true anyways. Kamala's going through some hard stuff in this, and she feels incredibly lonely, and yet she still reaches out to help people without hesitation.

This is kind of a quiet arc, and it does feel a bit like it's setting up for other things, but after everything that happened, it's not bad to have some downtime and some time for everyone to rest and heal. I don't think any series, especially with comics or television, can be all action all the time, or it seriously ruins the emotional impact of those things. This is a needed balance, and I think the series handles it very well.

Okay, I want the next one now. I don't wanna be patient anymore XD

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

Published: Originally published November 2014 as Laurinda by Black Inc. Books, this edition was released September 6th, 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 338 plus the acknowledgements.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.

Thoughts: I liked the idea of this more than I liked the book. There's a fairly major twist in the book  and the whole premise of that really didn't work for me at all. I got it, but I didn't like it. Beyond that, I did not like the voice of this. It's not even that it's annoying, because that'd be more interesting. No, it's just dull. The whole book is dull, with very little actually happening, and the voice is not strong or unique or interesting enough to carry that nothing happening.

Everyone is straight and thin because of course. Jokes about being queer are not the same thing as having actual queer characters. One thing that I found really confusing was I wasn't exactly sure what time period this was supposed to be taking place in. Only one of her rich classmates is ever mentioned to have a cellphone and I think it's a smartphone, but apparently her school doesn't use computers for homework at all? It's confusing.

Honestly the biggest thing for me is that very little actually happens in the book that feels emotionally impactful. It feels like the book wanted to be important and dramatic, but it wasn't willing to take enough risks to do this. Random, but also, the comparisions to Mean Girls, Gilmore Girls, Fresh of the Boat, and Lord of the Flies are all VERY strange. The book honestly isn't really funny or a comedy at all, so those comparisons are really weird.

Just... I was really meh on this one. Probably other people would like it better, but meh. Didn't work for me. Most of the time I was just bored.

Trigger warnings for abuse, ableism, slutshaming, cissexism, racism, fatshaming.

Okay, I guess that's four!

So that's what I've been reading lately. What have you guys been reading?

Peace and cookies,

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