Wednesday, September 20, 2017

DNF: When I Cast Your Shadow

The small potion of this book that I did make it through gave me some very strong sensations, namely, disgust and confusion. And not the general confusion that I feel everyday when I wake up and stumble around my apartment, pre-caffeine intake. It was the kind of confusion that complex mathematical word problems engender in my brain. I found myself wondering whether the confusion was intentional or an organic result of how the story was written.

But aside from any critiques of style, plotting, characterization, or even logic, there is the very simple fact that this is a very creepy book about incest.


Seriously though, I feel anxious just writing about thinking about reading this.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

Ahh, New England. Home of cute little hamlets under an autumn sky, aristo families tracing their roots back to the Mayflower, and the most hateful football team on this earth. Seriously. I do not think I would apply the word hate to many institutions, but I unequivocally hate the New England Patriots. But I digress. What I'm trying to get at is that there is a cultural shorthand when we talk about New England. I usually think fall and spooky stories and cider. I think about Nathanael Hawthorne and Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft (minus all the racist stuff). The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding takes the best of all of those things and makes that delicious concoction even funnier, scarier, and smarter.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ARC August Roundup

So that I feel that I have accomplished something this month, here is a list of all the ARCs I opened up and read in August. Many of them are books that just didn't strike my fancy, so I didn't keep reading. But I cleared a lot of them off of my Edelweiss and Netgalley accounts (not to mention my ARC Shelf of Shame).

In no particular order:

Slider by Pete Hautman: I wanted to see if I liked Hautman's contemporary writing more than the woowoo time-travel of The Klaatu Diskos. Nope. I don't. It felt strangely 90s to me, with teens who have "edgy" nicknames like "HeyMan" and "Slider." I guess it's a story about competitive eating, but it's not something I hungered for.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. Also a DNF--I think I had the same problem as Emma at Miss Print: the pirates were not historical pirates, but they also really weren't fantasy pirates? I need a book to COMMIT to Fantasy Pirates, ARGHHHHH.

Thornhill by Pam Smy: Review here.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: Soooo cute. I love the color palette and Jen Wang's art in general.

The List by Patricia Forde: Oh my goodness, I forgot all about this one! If I had more hours in the day I'd post a ranty review, but it's not worth it. It's basically The Giver except instead of emotions and colors, the new government in Noa's Ark (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP) rations words because #reasons.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken. This. Book. Is. Amazing. I am working on a coherent review right now. Seriously, pre-order this.

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows. Sadly, another DNF for me--and no, it wasn't about the cover at all. I loved the idea of the story, but holy Moses. It took sooooooo looooooong to get anywhere near the plot. The first half of the book is basically a prison break story, and not a unique one, either. Evidently there is supposed to be dragon smuggling in the book, but I had a hard time visualizing the dragons in question, so I just gave up. For people more patient than I am.

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza. I read this with Drea for Reader Vs. Reader on TSU and I really loved it. You can see our joint discussion over there, but be warned! We spoil everything.

Warcross by Marie Lu. Review here.

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini. I really didn't like this one. Mostly because of the casual use of the r-word to refer to the narrator (which isn't called out), and the unrelenting abuse she suffers not only at the hands of her parents, but her siblings. In the end, the kids are placed in foster homes, but the abusive behavior of the siblings is forgiven, as if by somehow being away from their parents, everyone will turn out to be a good person. However, this does have good content about being poor in 1980s America.

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson. This slim tome is unrelentingly bleak but also beautifully written. I highly recommend it, but would suggest a chaser of something fluffy afterwards to banish the existential dread.

What did you read during ARC August? Did you have a list to complete or was it more freeform. I eschewed the list this year and it helped me a lot--so much less pressure. I read what I wanted. Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Sword of Shannara

It is so very tempting to do this review entirely in gifs from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: Also A Trilogy Despite Being A Shorter Book, however: I will be the bigger person and actually include words. And to tell the basest truth: this wasn't as terrible as it seems. I finished it, didn't I? I am intrigued about further entries in the series because 1) people pretty much agree that the books get a lot better and 2) he ran out of LOTR to retell by at the end of this book, so hopefully books two and three (and beyond) are more original. Please accept my assurances that this is not an attack on the author at all, and that I mostly enjoyed reading this book, if only because it was mind-candy of the high-fantasy order. Yum.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet is a book about many wonderful topics: friendship, family, games ... but it is going to make you hungry.

I mean it. Grab some pastries for nibbling as you devour this fantastic book, because you will crave some sort of sticky-sweetly-carby deliciousness.

So. Before The Gauntlet launched it was riding high on my to-read list but I had no idea (no idea!) that the author, Karuna Riazi, and the lovely Kaye @gildedspine were the same person! Kaye is a truly lovely person and a fantastic voice in the community, so to have a whole book from her was a rare and delicious treat.