meganbmoore: (too many books)
your favourite book! (  [personal profile] jazzfish )

I get asked this a lot and I never understand how other people get asked can answer! Like, I have plenty of books I love and plenty of books I feel were very influential to my adult tastes, some of which I enjoy as much revisiting as an adult, and others less so (Both versions are largely childrens’ and what’s now considered YA fantasy series*, as well as things like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.) but narrowing it down to just one or even a few isn’t something I can ever really do. Sometimes I can’t even do that for authors! I think the last time I could state a favorite book above all others was in high school with Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard,” which I read several times a year for all 4 years. (Then I wanted to read it again a few years later and couldn’t find it because I couldn’t remember the title or author-I knew exactly what shelf it was on in the school library and what the binding looked like-and couldn’t find it for years [for a while I had it in my head that it was by Charles deLint. I dunno…] until someone recommended it to me back during the LJ days.)

*Including but not limited to: LeGuin’s Earthsea series, Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain and Westmark books.

(I assume no one is surprised that it'll be well into February before I finish even though only about half the slots were filled.)

meganbmoore: (sw: leia x gun)
Bloodline is a Star Wars novel about Leia set around halfway between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Like a lot of people, I was looking forward to it for the promise of a Leia book, and one that dealt with her as Darth Vader's biological daughter, but I saw several people express disappointment with it. I both agree and really really liked it.

See, the core plot of the book is a middleaged senator who was a hero of the rebellion that created the current government becoming jaded and tired of the government she helped create, which has been divided into to polarizing factions, as the senate starts to be overrun with Bright Young Things who are old enough to remember the war, but not really old enough to understand what it was like to live it, or what the corrupt previous government really was, and so idealized views of it are cropping up. She decides to retire and undertake one final, important mission so that she can go out with a bang and have some more intergalactic adventures with her husband and also spend more time with her brother and kid. She finds the perfect Final Mission, then gets stuck babysitting a young senator from the opposing political faction for it. Then there are a bunch of shenanigans and adventures that alternately involve blasters and political speeches as the two senator work out their differences and are doing Grand Things together until SECRETS and BETRAYAL rear their ugly heads.

The book does a far better job of explaining WTF is going on with the First Order and The Resistance than The Force Awakens did, and bridges the gap between ROTJ and TFA pretty well (though part of me is always going to think that TFA would have been better if it were a few more generations down the road, not one generation after ROTJ). All the political shenanigans and the plotline of the antagonistic senators becoming allies were good and I enjoyed Leia's various sidekicks a lot. As a Leia book though, it just...falls flat somehow. I don't really know how to pin it down completely. Leia doesn't have enough anger or sass, and is too willing to try to color inside the lines for my tastes at times, though I did appreciate a lot that her opinion of Vader's literal last second redemption was pretty much "Well, Luke, I'm glad you have that to make you happy" instead of forgiving him or, you know, naming her kid after the guy who tortured her, made her watch her planet blow up, took an entire city hostage to catch her, froze and sold her boyfriend, and spent a few years chasing her across the galaxy. (My EU exposure was limited, but learning that in the "Young Jedi Knights" series way back when elicited a huge "NNNnnnnoooooo!" from me.)

So, it actually is a good book and one well worth reading, it's just probably not quite the Leia book ost of us wanted.
meganbmoore: (tnkk: get off me i'm reading)
The Ancient Magus' Bride is a shoujo series about a young woman named Chise who has a past of abuse and neglect due to her ability to see supernatural things. through a sequence of events, Chise ends up being taken to England to be auctioned off as a slave to a magician. However, the Magician who buys her, Elias (who happens to be very tall and have an elongated animal skull for a head) tells her that he has actually bought her to be his apprentice (he initially neglects to inform her that he ALSO bought her to be his eventual bride) and that he intends to save her from absorbing too much magic, as she's likely to die within a few years without intervention. from there, they go on a series of adventures involving a variety of mythical creatures, tied in with a conspiracy involving other magicians, as Chise also tries to find out just what Elias actually is, as he isn't human, and isn't like other magicians.

I thought the first volume, though good ,was somewhat stiff and awkward in a lot of places, but it smoothed out the edges in the second volume. I like Chise, Elias and their friends, and find the various plot points interesting, but I'm not really fond of the fact that I'm meant to view Chise and Elias as a slow burn romance, in large part because the relationship comes across primarily as paternal to me so far. There's also the power imbalance and the fact that Chise's emotional issues make that imbalance even bigger, but the series is aware of and handling that aspect pretty well, regardless of the context of the relationship.

There's apparently a prequel OVA series coming out later this year which will come out with later volumes of the manga in japan. I wish it was an adaptatio of the manga plot (Maybe that'll come later? But I imagine the OVAs will be pretty limited in what they can do.) but maybe that will come later.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I only went 2 weeks between installments of this this time instead of months. Go me?

What are you currently reading

The Debs of Bletchley Park by Michael Smith. Nonfiction about the women who worked in Bletchley Park during WWII. This one doesn't have a lot yet (I'm about 1/3 through it) about politics and codebreaking, and is instead focusing on how and why various women were recruited, and how they dealt with the everyday life end of things. One story involved a woman being told she was being stationed somewhere else, and when she got there, she sat in a room while the officers discussed whether she should be blindfolded or just transported in a covered car. She ended up being left a the Bletchley Park gates with no knowledge of where she was and no pass. Another story involved two women getting in a catfight over lunch, each shouting that their mutual lover had told her more secrets than he had the other. They didn't stay very long after that. One of the interesting things is that there were so many people that recruitment went from "why hello there, well educated, literate friend of an official who wants to help with the war effort, you come with great recommendations!" to "Hi, you're smart, can keep your mouth shut, and need a job. Sign this document here."

Anytime I read nonfiction about Bletchley Park, or read or watch fiction in which the OSA plays a part (which most certainly does not include TV shows in which the protagonist blithely violates the OSA and reveals BP secrets to the agents of a foreign government in a show of poor codebreaking in what is apparently meant to be a Moment of Cool*) i'm amazed not only by the scope of the OSA, but also by the fact that it actually worked. You had people working together for years, sharing boarding house rooms, spending their free time together, etc, and they NEVER said a single word about their work. Not only that, but this app;ied to family members, and people who married other people who worked at BP or remained lifelong friends after, and they just...never said a word about it for decades.

Getting back on topic, the books isn't lightweight, but is less dense than a lot of WWII nonfiction. It does, though, assume the reader has a general knowledge of Bletchley Park and the OSA. It's a good read, so far, and would probably be liked by most interested in the subject.

What did you recently finish reading?
K: Stray Dog by GoRa and Gohands. A prequel to the first season of the K Project about Kuroh. It's mostly Kuroh having various adventures (including a Shounen Cooking Battle) while looking for the new 7th King. The first few chapters are pretty "LOLs that Kuroh..." but it turns more serious towards the end as it catches up with the anime. Based on the content and art, I thought this was shoujo, but it's apparently categorized as seinen.

Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron & John Cassaday. TPB collecting the first 6 issues of the current Star Wars series from Marvel, which takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The first few issues feature Luke, Han Leia and Chewie sabotaging one of the Empire's plants when Vader shows up and makes things go terribly wrong (Lots of "Anakin! Stop trying to kill your kids!" from over here, while also approving of Leia ordering that her father be shot down.) In the last couple issues in the collection, Luke goes off to do some angsty soul searching stuff while Han and Leia go off on a separate mission.

spoilers )
I enjoyed this more than I expected to. I remember that when I was still reading a lot of superhero comics, I recognized that John Cassaday's art was good and warranted the praise he got, but just couldn't get into it myself, but I liked it a lot here. i do have some issues with Leia's characterization,though. At one point, Leia makes a decision that, while understandable, we know will go very very wrong. Thatin and of itself was fine because of what it was, but it's framed as if she should have just listened to Han in a way that made me uncomfortable. In another scene, it comes across as if she tends to badger Luke into going on missions, which I don't think fits at all.

Kamisama Kiss vol 14-19 by Julietta Suzuki.

spoilers )
A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin. One of Jeannie Lin's Tang Dynasty series. In a previous book that I haven't read, the male lead attempted to assassinate a warlord and is now on the run. He goes to a magistrate friend of his and ends up in a compromising situation with the magistrate's daughter, and they have to get married. At this point, I was very confused because I had really liked Lin's first few books (haven't read the last few before this one yet) and this was reading like a Regency Romance with the numbers filed off, and the cover blurb had given me the same impression. Then the magistrate tries to have him assassinated because having a wanted criminal in the family doesn't actually appeal to him a lot. At this point, I girded my loins, my experience many many 80s and 90s romance novels telling me to expect vengeful abduction and accusations.

Instead, Our Hero goes "welp, I actually was starting to really like her and think we might have cute kids, but she actually is way better off without me, and I do need to warn some people about the angry warlord hunting me down..." and takes off. Our Heroine, for her part, figures out what happened and decides that she is TOTALLY NOT OK with her father trying to assassinate her husband and runs away from home, finagling her way aboard our Hero's ship.

His pirate captain ex-girlfriend finds all this incredibly entertaining.

A lot of the plot is a carryover from the previous book, with a bit of setting up for future books, but I wasn't lost with the plot despite the heavy reliance on the earlier book. Despite a less than great start, I ended up liking it a lot.

What do you think you'll read next?

More manga and Star Wars comics, library books.

*Not, I'm not over that one episode of Agent Carter yet, WHY DO YOU ASK?
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I haven't done the Wednesday reading Meme in ages, but I'm going to try to get back in the habit of doing it at least semi regularly.

What are you currently reading
Carlene O'Neil: One Foot in the Grape: First book in a mystery series about a photojournalist who takes over her family's winery. Dramatic neighbors abound. I'm only just to the murder, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

Neil Gaiman: American Gods: I remember this being a huge thing when it came out, and may have been pretty into it if I'd read it then, but I mostly found this to be an interesting idea told in a way that I didn't find interesting, with characters that mostly bored me. I also found Gaiman's detached recounting of incredibly awful things happening to people-mostly to women and POC- to be offputting. I mean, it wasn't bad, it just didn't work for me, aside from a few parts.

Rick Riordan: Blood of Olympus: The last of Riordan's Heroes of Olympus books and, as far as I know, the last in the Percy Jackson series? I was surprised by how low the body count was, but certainly not disappointed, and was glad Raina finally got a lot of page time. Riordan seems to forget that Jason was supposed to be the nominal lead (or colead with Percy, I guess) of this series, and that's ok. I did enjoy this series a lot, possibly more than the first, sdespite never developing an attachment to Jason.

Lauri Robinson: The Bootlegger's Daughter: A romance novel set in the prohibition era. A federal agent goes to a bootlegger's resport undercover to find a mobster, and falls for the bootlegger's daughter, who actually runs the resort. Entertaining, but I was thrown off by how 2/3 of the book take place over 2 days. It seems most romance novels I've read in recent years take place over a short period of time. I remember when most historical romances took place over the span of months or even years.

Noelle Stevenson: Nimona: Nimona is a graphic novel that was originally a webcomic about a young shapeshifter named Nimona, who is assigned as sidekick to Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom's Official Villain, as his sidekick. Ballister was a hero in training until he lost an arm at the hands of his friend, Ambrosius Goldenloin, in a joust. Ambrosius says it was TOTALLY AN ACCIDENT and Ballister says it was done in a jealous rage. Add to this that Ambrosius is the kingdom's main Romantic Hero, and they don't talk much now, except for occasions when Ambrosius tries to arrest Ballister. Ballister is the most moral person in the book and really against random killing. Nimona is really REALLY into being a future supervillain, and prone to turning into various animals that and eat or trample guards, much to Ballister's dismay. It starts with LOLarious hijinks with the honorable and moral villain and his tiny murdering sociopath sidekick trying to expose an evil plot by the organization that runs the kingdom. Then it escalates into illegal experimentation, and legends with darker undertones, and possibly conspiracy theorist lady scientists, and ex-lovers working out epic misunderstandings and drama and trauma and destruction all over the place. I mean, it's great, but boy does it escalate.

Victoria Jamieson: Roller Girl: Graphic novel about a 12 year old girl named Astrid who has always done everything with her best friend, Nicole. When Astrid decides to enroll in Roller Derby Camp for the summer, she assumes Nicole will come with her. Instead, Nicole enrolls in Ballet Camp, and befriends Astrid's nemesis, Rachel. So Astrid lies to her mother that Nicole is going with her, and that Nicole's mother will be picking her up from camp every day (she walks home instead). At camp, Astrid has enthusiasm (sometimes, so much work!) but not much in the way of talent. The book is mostly about a 12 year old growing up and figuring out that life doesn't always going the way you want, but that that isn't always bad. And roller derby. Lots of roller derby.

Patrick Carman, The Land of Elyon series. MG series about a girl named Alex who spends her summers in a border city walled off from the wilderness, snd likes to spend hours and hours exploring the city's labyrinthine library. sadly, thre is little library exploration, but lots of having adventures in the lands beyond the city. Very enjoyable.

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Perilous Pranks, Murderous Matrimony, Bewitching Boots, Fatal Fairies: Up to the current book in a cozy mystery series set at a RenFaire that's open all year and has permanent residents. I really enjoy these books despite the main character having flares of internal misogyny at times (though she does finally seem to become aware of it in the latest book.) Perilous Pranks introduces supernatural elements into the series, which stayed and are becoming increasingly prominent. I don't object, I suppose, it just seems odd to so suddenly switch to that when earlier books made a point to contrast fantasy and reality.

Fujiwara Cocoa: Youko x Boku SS Vol 1: Manga series about youkai and their bodyguards. I watched the anime based on it a few years ago, and based on my recollections, the first few episodes of the anime follow the first volume of the manga pretty faithfully, though I seem to recall the anime having more "cutesy" fanservice and fetishism. I put off reading it for so long because I know the current plot is actually a prologue to the main plot, and wasn't sure how I felt about getting there.

There are other books that I've read and not posted on since I last did this, but I'm too lazy to go through all my tags to see if I missed something I should comment on.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a bunch of mysteries, romance novels and YA novels checked out from the library, so those, and I intend to do a lot of manga bingeing in the near future, since I haven't read much in recent months.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
For the last few months, this series has taken up most of my reading time.

Set in late 19th century New York, Sarah Brandt was born to to a Dutch "old money" family, rebelled against her parents and married a poor doctor, and is now a widow who works as a midwife. While checking on one of her patients, she gets caught up in a murder investigation and meets Frank Malloy, a less-corrupt-than-average police officer, woh really doesn't appreciate interference from anyone. Through the course of her interfering, Sarah speaks to her mother for the first time in years, deciding that solving a murder is worth rebuilding bridges.

Sarah and Malloy's relationship starts rock bottom and progresses to the inevitable romance slowly, with a number of books stuck in "I actually really, really dislike to always getting involved, but somehow, people find you less scary than me..." and "You are mean and annoying but I strangely like solving crimes. Also, it gives me an excuse to hangout with my mother." A couple nice highlights are that while Malloy redeems himself because of Sarah, it's not actually at her prompting, and is 100% without any expectation of acknowledgement or the idea that she should reward him for achieving decent person-ness, and that her response to "I loved you from the day we met" was "I didn't like you then or for along time. you were MEAN."

And then I get depressed that the state of romantic tropes is so rock bottom that men not expecting romantic/sexual rewards for not being awful people and women not loving guys for being jerks is worth noting.

But, I mean, in context, it's done very well and the depressing state of romantic tropes is separate from the actual series.

The series starts in 1895 and the first 10 or so books deal with Roosevelt's turn as police commissioner (Roosevelt and Sarah knowing each other growing up is also a device used to get her involved in some cases) and his reforms in the police department. The reforms provide a fair bit of dramatic impetus in early books, until history dictates that Roosevelt moves along. There's a lot of triggering stuff in the books, primarily child abuse, rape (to the best of my recollection, this is only in the cases. I don't remember any of the major female characters having been threatened with rape.), and pedophilia, but it isn't treated as easy drama or "that's just the way things were," but as abuses of power. A lot of the case are inspired by real events that Thompson found records of. Classism and institutionalizes privilege and oppression are also a major theme, with most plots focusing either on the murders of lower classes that no one official cares about, or trying to investigate murders among the classes you aren't allowed to touch. There's also a lot of racism, though in the context of racism in 1890s America, not 2015 America. We'd consider most of it to be xenophobia today. The prejudice is primarily directed towards white immigrant groups, and I think the only books to feature a non-white group the latest book, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue, which seems to indulge in a bit of "Old South" and "not all slaveowners were awful" nostalgia at first, but pretty thoroughly rejects that idea by the end, and Murder in Chinatown. I did read 16 books over a period of several months, though, and some plots have blended together in my head. And, I mean, a lot of the groups represented are groups that people tend to ignore were there and on the receiving end of prejudice at the time, but the almost-all-white 1890s New York can be a bit off putting at times.

Aside from Sarah and Malloy, the principal character include:

Mrs. Ellsworth: Sarah's very very nosy neighbor who has an omen for every little thing, is frequently very useful, and possibly has a custom made Sarah/Malloy shipper badge.

Mrs. Malloy: Frank Malloy's mother, who is considerably less personable than Mrs. Ellsworth (but I'm 99.9% certain they'll be BFF in a few more books) and very not open to the idea of Malloy finding a new wife. also prone to giving good advice.

Brian Malloy: Malloy's young son. Born with a clubbed foot and initially believed to be mentally handicapped, but soon revealed to actually be deaf. Thompson put a lot of research into beliefs about deafness and the schooling of deaf children for the time period, and it shows.

Felix Decker: Sarah's EXTREMELY estranged (at first) father who has a lot of money and influence and few problems with using them, but mostly in moral ways, at least in the current timeline. (In the backstory, he was considerably less moral about this, with catastrophic consequences.)

Elisabeth Decker: Sarah's much-less-estranged mother, who initially seems a bit too passive and obedient, but soon gets really, really, REALLY into helping out with cases. She also seems to regard the apparent passivity and obedience as a form of passive aggressive warfare that women of her class engage in.

Later on, we also have:

Catherine: Sarah's 4-year-old ward, who has a surprisingly traumatic and angsty past for a pre-schooler.

Maeve: Officially Catherine's nursemaid, actually detecting sidekick. A teenaged ex-grifter who possibly intends to become a Pinkerton agent in a few years and successfully cons and manipulates her way into being involved with various cases.

Gino Donatelli: A very young Italian police officer who hasn't been on the force long enough to become more than a tiny bit corrupt. He is VERY happy to be Malloy's sidekick, thinks Sarah hung the moon, and has an ill-disguised crush on Maeve that he has no intention of doing anything about any time soon, possibly out of fear that Malloy would very literally kill him if he did.

The books, in order, are:

Murder on Astor Place
Murder in St. Mark's Place
Murder on Gramercy Park
Murder on Washington Square
Murder on Mulberry Bend
Murder on Marble Row
Murder on Lennox Hill
Murder in Little Italy
Murder in Chinatown
Murder on Bank Street
Murder on Waverley Place
Murder on Lexington Avenue
Murder on Sister's Row
Murder on Fifth Avenue
Murder in Murray Hill
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)
I picked this up on a whim at the library, not entirely certain what to expect from it. The main character, Charlotte, is a Vicar's daughter who was a nurse in the Great War, educated at Oxford (though not allowed a degree, because 1910s), and now works at a constituency, where she also worked before the war. Between Oxford and her first turn as an assistant at the constituency, she was also a governess, and kinda-sorta-maybe fell in love with her pupil's entirely class inappropriate brother, Edward.

Reading it, I almost felt like I was reading two books.

The first book was about a woman determined to help people whose lives had been ruined by the war, who meets a reformer newsman who has her write for his paper so that she can speak out for marginalized people and the injustices the poor and women faced during and after wartime.

The second book was a romance about a woman who helps a man she was in love with recover physically and emotionally from the war. You'd think they'd go together easily, and they should, but for one thing. As a part of Edward's recover, he and Charlotte move into an isolated cottage where he can be almost completely free of civilization and recover in peace. Edward's family is in a position to have an isolated cottage with people who can drop by just often enough to provide for his and Charlotte's basic needs, and to pay all of Charlotte's wages and help ensure that her job is still waiting for her when she gets back.

The narrator and main character of the first book would be understanding and nonjudgemental, but also extremely aware of just how many social and economic privileges were involved in Edward's treatment, and aware that there were hundreds of men with Edward's problems who couldn't get the care he had had, who didn't have the resources to arrange to have a family friend as a private nurse AND secure her future employment, who don't have access to isolated cottages and who have to work to support their families and live with 5 other people in a two room apartment.

I mean, I'm all for the PTSD and undiagnosed injuries and reconnecting with an old quasi-flame, but where was the social justice oriented reformer from the main book?

I mean, it was good, and is apparently a sequel to a book about Edward's sister/Charlotte's former pupil, and I'm going to read that too, I just felt like two books were merged into one and didn't make an important connection.
meganbmoore: (emma: turning brains since 1816)
A rather fluffy murder mystery set in the 30s. Several years pre-book, Amory Ames dumped her nice, stable, somewhat dull fiance, Gill, for Milo, a charming playboy who stayed reformed just long enough to get bored with marriage, leaving Amory to twiddle her fingers on his estate while he has affairs in every country he can think of.

During one of Milo's brief visits home, Gil shows up at their door and would like to know if Amory would please come to Brightwell, a coastal resort, and convince his sister to please not marry a very Milo-like playboy (which I don't think we were meant to read as rubbing an apparently terrible life choice in Amory's face, but I couldn't help reading it that way to a degree). Oh, and also, could she pretend to be his lover? For Plot Reasons. Amory agrees because it's Milo-free and she does like Gil's sister after all, and who knows, maybe fake affairs can be like fake dating and turn real in the last two scenes.

At the resort, Amory barely has time to acquaint herself with an Agatha Christie-esque collection of guests before the playboy fiance ends up dead, with Gil as the prime suspect. Them Milo shows up, apparently having decided that maybe he isn't really ok with Amory having as much extra-marital fun as he has. Possibly, someone gave him a speech about Geese and Ganders.

Between a somewhat dull murder suspect with possible Nice Guy tendencies and a more entertaining philanderer who could have STDS for all Amory or I know, I can't say I think much of Amory's romantic options, but I did have a lot of fun reading the book, and look forward to the sequel.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

A Wonderlandiful World, the new Ever After High book, though I haven't read enough of it to know much more than that it's about the Wonderland characters. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun which I don't find quite as delightful as the anime based on it (which I really should post on) but still really like.

What did you recently finish reading?

Death at Wentwater Court and The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn. First two books in a long running series about an upper class young woman in 1920s England who works as a writer for "Town and Country" rather than be reliant on her brother and his family for money. There's nothing wrong with them (well, there are some classist comments that are accurate for the period, though I'm not sure about the narrative's stance on it) but they didn't grab me the way I expected. There are well over a dozen (maybe even over 20?) books in the series, and I'm sure I'll read more eventually, but I'm not in a rush to right now. 

Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda Carmack. Mystery set in the final months of Elizabeth Tudor's imprisonment at Hatfield House. The main character, Kate, is the daughter of Elizabeth's musician who is sometimes employed by Elizabeth for light spying on the residents and visitors. The plot revolves around an investigator of Mary's being attacked in route to Hatfield House, and believing that someone in Elizabeth's household is responsible. It's a solid book, though Elizabeth is portrayed as too good and virtuous for my taste. I mean, not that she was portrayed as saintly, but she's almost Totally Innocent of Scheming (Probably), and doesn't have enough rough edges. Though I'll certainly take this over the Jealous Harpy portrayals. The author's bio states that Carmack has written romance novels under another pseudonym, though it doesn't say what it was. This is pretty obvious at times, though not in a bad way. There's just a way that clothing and setting tends to be described in historical romances that you don't see a lot of outside the genre, and it stands out when you encounter it elsewhere.

Mind Over Murder and A Sinister Sense by Allison Kingsley. First two books in a series about a pair of cousins who run an occult bookstore, and whose family has a history of psychic powers. Stephanie, the owner, has a husband and three kids, loves sticking her nose in mysteries, and is very, very envious that her cousin got the family psychic powers, and she didn't. Clara is the cousin who did inherit the psychic powers, really really wishes she hadn't, is a bit more cautious about sticking her nose in things, and recently returned home after A Bad Romantic Experience. I enjoyed them, but not as much as I'd expected to.

Mayhem at the Orient Express, A Tale of Two Biddies and The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan. My favorite of the mysteries I've read recently, and not because the series is titled THE LEAGUE OF LITERARY LADIES. Bea (local B&B owner with a secret past identity and Dark Secrets), Chandra (local hippy and psychic with a lot of ex-husbands, one of whom gets regular booty calls) and Kate (very by-the-books owner of the local winery. She and Chandra are Enemies, and totally not Secretly Best Friends Forever And Ever.) keep going before the local judge for a variety of property squabbles. Eventually, he gets fed up and sentences them to form a book club so that they'll be forced to talk to each other about other things. Unfortunately, said other things are sometimes all the dead bodies that somehow tend to pile up in these small towns. The first book is modeled after Murder at the Orient Express, and involves the owner of the local Chinese fast food place dying right before everyone in town ends up stranded at Bea's B&B just as a snowstorm hits. These are my favorites of the mysteries I've been reading lately.

I haven't done a whole lot of reading (for me) the last month or so, but I think I posted separately on anything else I read since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of what i'm reading now. I have romance novels, some mysteries, and some One Piece checked out from the library.
meganbmoore: (ever after: books)
This was a somewhat awkward book, primarily because it's the book that marks the end of part one of the series, and also because it's the book that marks the series switching over to hardcover format. There's a character list at the beginning and a narrative prologue in the form of (IIRC) Barabas writing a journal entry to catch people up, but the book is burdened down not only by having to wrap up most of the plots that were building up to this point, but also having to explain what's going on to people who picked it up in hardcover but hadn't read the previous ones. So it's good, but awkward and/or clunky in places.

spoilers )

For a bit of amusement, I was looking at Amazon reviews earlier and there was a reviewer very put out because she hadn't know Andrews was a husband/wife team and declared it "subterfuge" because it hadn't been spelled out in previous books. Except that it was officially declared after...what, the third book? And has been part of the author bio everywhere (including Amazon) since then. And it wasn't exactly a secret before then, it just wasn't official.

And I get not knowing if you don't go to author websites and blogs and online review sited and haven't read other reviews (because quite a
few have mentioned it over the years). I mean, it's a bit of a stretch for me, but, I mean, SUBTERFUGE. I wonder if they get put out every time they learn an author's name is a penname, and not the author's real one. (And if they realize how many authors have written under more than one name, and how many pennames are for collaborations.)
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

What did you recently finish reading?

The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Several short stories set in the world of the Chronicles of Prydain, but before the main series. Mostly backstories about characters in the series and stories that were told during it, all pretty enjoyable. My favorite was the story about Eilonwy's mother.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. The fourth Maggie Hope mystery, and one with a title which only relates to about the last 50 or so pages of the book. Centered around the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this one was a bit odd. MacNeal's audience is primarily American, as far as I know, so Pearl Harbor takes a fair bit of narrative priority in this one. The mystery that Maggie is involved in is almost perfunctory (I would have rather spent the time dealing with her PTSD after the previous book, and her Baby Spies seeing her as a demonic taskmaster) and most of the rest is setting things up for future installments, which look to be changing things up some. Not a bad or disappointing book, but a bit different from what I was expecting.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom. It's been long enough since I read a superhero crossover event that I had forgotten how inconsistent characterization and costuming can be with them. Errr...I was mostly confused by this. If I were caught up with X-stuff in general, I think I would have been into it, but as it is, I was mostly left with irritation at "Jubilee will grow up to be just like Woverine! But angrier and shriekier and irrational. I mean, she is a girl."

X-Men: Muertas by Brian Wood and Terry Dodson. I followed this one more easily than I did Primer and Battle of the Atom, mostly because most of the events were directly related to events in those two volumes, though I have no idea where Rogue went off too. I'm glad there was a mini Gen-X reunion this quickly into my dipping my toes back into superhero comics after years away, but wish there had been more Jubilee/Monet interaction.

Toradora vol 1-4 by Yuyuko Takemiya. Romantic comedy light novel series about a boy who looks like a scary gangster but is actually a sweet and harmless pacifist addicted to cleaning, and a tiny cute girl who's actually extremely rude and violent. They have crushes on the other's respective best friend, and join forces to help the other out. What I've read is entertaining and usually cute, but I don't see myself reading another 6 books about it, especially since it's starting to veer into fanservice territory and having an increasing "cute and helpless" aspect to the heroine ,despite her forceful personality. I do think I'll watch the anime, though.

Coffin Hill Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda. Eve Coffin is a police officer who returns to her hometown after being shot and leaving the force. The catch is that Eve comes from a long line of dark witches, and a monster she let loose as a teenager is back and abducting teenagers in the woods. I thought it was a minseries when I picked it up an the library, but it's an ongiong series. It's a bit bloody for my taste, but I like Eve and the mythology, and am interested in seeing what happens next.

Ao Haru Ride/Blue Spring Ride Vo l1-4 by Io Sakisaka. Enjoyable but sometimes frustrating shoujo who meets her junior high crush in high school, only to find him with an entirely different personality. for the most part, it's very enjoyable with lots of friendshipping with Futaba (the heroine) and the other girls who join her in the student council. The romance is...also enjoyable, but also irritating. A lot of it is sustained by "something is about to happen, but isn't yet" and Futaba's love interest, Kou, is prone to "standoffish shoujo jerk moments. He's far from the worst about that, but a bit of a disappointment after Ren from Strobe Edge, who was really refreshing in that regard, and there's at least one time when his treatment of Futaba made me angry. I've heard some things about future volumes that make me leery, but I've enjoyed it so far, so I'm sticking with it. The anime adapts the first 4 volumes of the manga, minus the last chapter of volume 4, and is extremely faithful. The OAD is about Kou and Futaba's quasi-relationship in junior high, but only the last few minutes has anything significant that wasn't covered in flashbacks in the main anime/manga.

Barakamon Vol 1-2 by Satsuki Yoshino. Handa Seishu is a young calligrapher who gets exiled to an island by his father after he punches the curator of an exhibition for saying Seishu's work is boring. On the island, he constantly gets caught up in the goings on of the locals, particularly the local children and teenagers, when he's supposed to be working on making his calligraphy not-boring. And learning how to not punch old men for offering criticism. He very quickly becomes that guy who sits down to work after lunch and goes out to get a toy out of a tree so the local kids will stop yelling, and then suddenly it's getting dark and he didn't notice because the kids kept him that busy. The main local he interacts with is Naru, a 7 year old girl, and one of the children who used Seishu's house as a hangout while it was abandoned. (The youths collectively decide that occupation is no deterrent.) I find it a sad commentary on a lot of anime that there was zero sexualization of of a young girl being overly attached to the much older male protagonist. It's a very entertaining series. The first 5 or so episodes follow the first two volumes of the manga pretty faithfully, though some events are moved around a bit, based on my recollection of early anime episodes, and a few scenes didn't get animated.

And I think that's everything that i haven't posted on separately since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of Magic Breaks, probably start reading Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.
meganbmoore: (tnkk: get off me i'm reading)
It's been very light on reading here, lately. I've bounced off a few things in addition to what's here, but couldn't tell you what now.

What are you currently reading

Manna From Hades by Carola Dunn. First in a mystery series about a retired world-traveller who now works in a thrift shop in Cornwall. I haven't read enough yet to have a real opinion of it.

What did you recently finish reading?

A night Like This by Julia Quinn. Pretty standard Quinn fluff, which is what I was in the mood for. though I feel compelled to mention that according to the blurb, the 11-year-old who won the debate with the mathematician over the existence of unicorns in The Sum of All Kisses, thought she was a unicorn in this book. This is not true. She just wants to play a unicorn in her sister's play about Henry VIII. I feel a touch betrayed.

Youn In-Wan and Yang Kyung-Il: Shin Angyo Onshi Vol 1-5. A Japanese-Korean collaboration manhwa loosely based on the legend of Chun Hyang, in which Myong Rong dies very early on, and Chun Hyang becomes the bodyguard of a would-be-amoral angyo onshi named Munsu, who has a dark and angsty past and lots of secrets and is connected to the downfall of the government. I read the first couple volumes a few years ago and liked it, but didn't get very far due to only being able to read scanslations on a computer screen at the time. I still like it now, but am much more aware of how Chun Hyang has gotten far less development so far than Munsu (or Bang Ja, for that matter) and how incredibly scantily clad the women are. (Chun Hyang literally runs around wearing nothing but a few leather scraps and a giant cape.) It's very interesting and entertaining anyway, and I'll read more later, but I need a break for a bit.

A Bride's Story Vol 5. As charming and full of scenery pr0n as every other volume. I am greatly amused that, as soon as the plotline about the twins' weddings was concluded, there was a chapter that was almost literally nothing but gorgeous spreads of Amir's daily life. It was almost like "hey, in case you forgot who the main character is supposed to be..."

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of the Dunn book and the other two books in the series, if I like it, and probably manga.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
Hopefully I'll get back to actually doing this weekly.

What are you currently reading

Nothing. Sadly, I haven't read any more of Legend of the Condor Heroes since last time.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. About a magician's shophand, Oscar, who lives outside of a city where no one is ever sick. Oscar (along with a healer's apprentice, Callie) has to figure out what's going on when a monster starts killing people in the woods, and the children in the city start suffering from a mysterious illness. Like Breadcrumbs, this is based on a fairy tale, though not in the way you'd initially assume. It was pretty good, though very much overshadowed by its predecessor.

Do You want to Try? Vol 1-5 by Kim Kyung Hee. Manhwa about a girl who ends up fake-dating another school's gang leader to help him get out of an arranged marriage. It's mostly comedy but part melodrama, and never quite manages to quite get the right balance between the two, but I enjoyed it, despite the need to add extra unnecessary drama in the second half by adding a pre-series sexual assault on the heroine to help drive the plot. The manhwaga has also clearly come across a few of the 500 or so versions of Hana Yori Dango, though in a way that was amusing more than anything else.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. YA fantasy based on a multitude of fairy tales, but mostly The Frog Prince. The heroine, Sunday, is the seventh daughter (with a few brothers mixed in, too) of a seventh son and a seventh daughter. Her mother's family already had numerous fae abductions and sisters running off to become good and bad fairy godmothers, and her father decide it was the perfect family to marry into. (No. Seriously. He actually sought out the most magic and cursed family he could find to marry into.) At the start of the story, several of Sunday's older siblings have already had their fairy tale stories and or either dead or probably miserable because of it (Except the one sister who ran off and married the pirate king. She seems pretty happy.) and the talking frog she befriends is actually a cursed prince who is partially responsible for one of her brothers being turned into a dog, and then disappearing (presumed dead) shortly after. It wants to criticize the idea of the happy fairy tale ending and general romanticism with the worldbuilding and extended family, but it also wants to be the idea of the romantic fairytale with Sunday and her romance. It's a bit over ambitious and doesn't quite come together the way it should, but I enjoyed it, especially with the focus of thoroughly messed up but devoted family dynamics, and all the sisters with complicated relationships that rather took over the second half.

Don't Touch Me Vol 1-5 by Soo Hyun-Joo. Incredibly cracktastic manhwa about a narcissistic and violent girl, Mirang, who returns to her childhood home and falls for her childhood frenemy, Won, who is incredibly dense and exceptionally pretty. Won appears to be veryvery loosely based on Gao Changgong, as they both have to go around hiding their faces behind masks lest people swoon due to exposure to their incredible beauty. Except that Won, being dense, thinks people react to his face because he's ugly. It spends a lot of time going "neener neener" to a lot of shoujo tropes, mostly in a "I gleefully trample over you as I bulldoze my way to the next plotpoint" way. It was fun, but possibly too odd for a reread.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure yet. There's a new "Women of the Otherworld" book by Kelley Armstrong that I have from the library, but it's a werewolf book, and those are hit and miss for me.
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)

What are you currently reading
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Not far enough into it to have an opinion.

I'm a few chapters into Rose of Versailles, and it's very different, so far, from the anime, which I knew to expect going in, as the mangaka started it expecting to do a series about Marie Antoinette.

What did you recently finish reading?
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Dreaming of Paradise by Fuyumi Ono, and all of Venus Capriccio by Nishikata Mai, all of which I posted on separately.

Young Miss Holmes Vol 5-7 by Kaoru Shintani. These volumes are available in the US as a single omnibus inthe US, and complete the series. I understand there's a sequel, but haven't found it anywhere yet. This is the manga about Sherlock Holmes's crime solving niece, and it is great, though I don't have anything to add that I didn't say about it when I read the other volumes earlier this year.

Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki, Vol 1-8: Shounen series set in a pseudo-Victorian world about a boy who falls into an abyss, gets linked to a residence of the abyss named Alice, and pops back out 10 years later, thinking it's only been a few minutes. Alice in Wonderland references are a dime a dozen, but in a fun way. I read a bit of this when it first hit stateside, liked it, but kept not getting back to it. The actual plot, once stripped of the trappings, is fairly typical shounen, but I find it very entertaining and enjoy the characters and am generally a sucker for "Lookit my Lewis Carroll references, aren't the clever in their blatancy?" Also, the main character, Oz, gets spoiled for a major character death in his favorite book series (that he's now 10 years behind on) and pretty much has what's my internal reaction anytime someone blithely lets out major spoilers for something I'm reading/watching. Except that his reaction is very very external.

There is one thing that bugs me though.

spoiler )

What do you think you'll read next?

Pretty sure reading the rest of what i'm on now will keep me occupied for a bit.
meganbmoore: (the bletchley circle: ordinary)
This is a companion novel to Code Name Verity but one that can be read completely independently of its predecessor. It's apparently getting criticism for not being as good as Code Name Verity, but the narrative devices that made that one so popular aren't something a writer should try to do twice, especially in a related book. Rose Under Fire is a very good book on its own merit, though one I have some issues with.

The main character, Rose Justice, is an American pilot working as a courier who is captured and sent to Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp. Ravensbruck is real and...well, it was a concentration camp. If you aren't familiar with what went on there, please look it up. (Trigger warnings for...everything.) It's very much a concentration camp novel, but also one about women from different walks of life bonding and helping each other. It also addresses the aftermath of concentration camps for the survivors, both in terms of PTSD and what was expected of them after, such as having to recount their experiences in trials.

It's also a concentration camp novel in which there isn't a single Jewish character, and in which the Jewish people are barely mentioned. On the one hand, I find it endlessly frustrating that so much of modern culture and fiction tends to think that (A) the Holocaust is the only thing of note to ever happen to Jews, and (B) the Jews were the only ones who were persecuted and/or sent to concentration camps by the Nazis. But skipping over that altogether isn't exactly an improvement, IMO.

Then there's Rose. My criticism here is not of Rose herself (I like Rose and think she's a very good character!), but of the choice to use Rose. Ravensbruck is a real thing that happened to around 150,000 women, a high percentage of them Polish and Jewish, and only a few thousand of whom survived. To tell their story, we're given a narrator who is an educated, literate American girl who writes poetry and appears to be from a reasonably well off family. There may have been American women in Ravensbruck (I don't know) but theirs isn't the main story of Ravensbruck, and reading it, I couldn't help thinking that as bad as Rose's story was, those of the other women were far worse, and more representative of the real women in Ravensbruck.

It's a very good book and very worth reading, but should also be read with the knowledge that all the trigger warnings ever apply.
meganbmoore: (labyrinth: reading)
What are you currently reading
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. Semi-autobiographical novel about the daily life (and sufferings) of a governess. It lacks The Tenant of Wildfell Hall's sheer awesomeness and "Screw you, misogynistic laws! Also you, romantic ideals of brooding Byronic heroes redeemed by the love of a Pure Woman." and is a much calmer and more sedate book in general, but Im enjoying it. (Not that there's anything wrong with calm or sedate, just a marked difference from ToWH.)

What did you recently finish reading?

The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino (trans. Rebecca Copeland). A feminist retelling on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanaki, through the eyes of Namima, a young woman who grows up in the shadow of her sister, who is meant to become their island's oracle, while Namima herself is destined to live in isolation, overseeing the island's dead. It's very good but also very frustrating, largely for reasons connected to the myth, and relentlessly draws attention to the unfairness and inequality of men's and women's choices and fates, and how they pay for their choices. Kirino also seems to be deliberately emphasizing Izanami's similarities to Eurydice and Peresephone in Greek myth, and throws in a bit of Hera, too. (Not that those tales don't also have parallels in other cultures too, Greek mythology is just the one that immediately stands out to me.) Though, while it's very good and interesting, I actually remained more emotionally unengaged than I was expecting. i'm not sure if it's the translation, or a subconscious defense mechanism giventhat emotional engagement would have led to much pain and despair. [personal profile] coffeeandink has a much better review here.

The Story of Saiunkoku Vol 9 by Kairu Yura and Sai Yukino. Final volume of the series. This is all sidestories, set before and during the main plotline. On the one hand, I enjoyed this a lot due to attachment to the characters and the stories themselves were enjoyable. On the other hand, it's very frustrating because volume 8 ends with Shuurei about to embark on an important journey at a major turning point in her life. Thanks to the first season of the anime, I've seen considerably further into the story, but reading this reminds me of my bitterness that not only will the second season probably never be released in the US on DVD, but the light novels will probably never see the light of day here, either.

Who is AC? by Hope Larson and Tintin Pantoja. Graphic novel about a girl whose cell phone zaps her with magic powers. Entertaining, but I feel like I didn't really take anything away from it. Probably because it rather feels like the creators were only just starting to do what they wanted by the end. I assume it's the beginning of a series.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Stories. Anthology GN of short comics set between various episodes of AtLA. Cute and entertaining, but largely forgettable, aside from a few stories.

Kitty and the Midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn. First book of an urban fantasy series about a werewolf who's a nightshift DJ for a radio station, and accidentally turns her show into an advice line for the supernatural. I REALLY liked the talk show part and it had a nice vibe of making the reader feel like you have your own private therapist. OTOH, pretty much everything about werewolf culture as portrayed here made me queasy (I mean ,we weren't supposed to like it and Kitty wasn't happy about it and it wasn't portrayed as hot or kinky or whatever, I just wanted to hide in a hole every time it came up) I hated almost every male character in the book (and I am sideeyeing the choice of Kitty's apparent love interest, but we'll see) and Kitty's few relationships with other women in the book are pretty negative, except for her mother, who we see little of. I kept thinking that things might improve re: her relationships with other women, but they didn't, though one could later. Still, I enjoyed large bits of it, and it looks like a lot of the things I didn't like may have been done away with as of this book, and I intend to read the rest of the series, though it really drove home how the few urban fantasy series I've been reading the last few years really lack a lot of the things that bother me about the genre, or at least handle them better/in a way that's easier for me. (Also, awkward situation in this book where, aside from the "kill Kitty" part, I kinda rooted for the antagonist.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise. Three volume series bridging some of the gap between ATLA and Korra, focusing on the origin of Republic City. The charcters felt a bit off at times, but it's a good followup to the series. I'm miffed, though, that after a certain important bit, it kinda...forgets all about Mai. Then again, the series itself was a bit guilty of that at times. Also, Aang and katara constantly refer to each other as "sweetie," which made me want to gag eventually. Not out of any objection to the pairing, it was just way way too much. (Also, I can really only see them doing that so much at their ages to harass Sokka.)

Omens by Kelley Armstrong. Start of a new series, and one that, based on this book, is a far cry from Armstrong's women of the Otherworld series. A wealthy socialite, Olivia, gets dropkicked into the wrong kind of spotlight when it's revealed that she's adopted and that her biological parents were infamous serial killers, andteams up with her biological mother's ex-lawyer to investigate her mother's claims that they're innocent. It's structured more like a thriller than anything else, with hints of the supernatural sprinkled throughout, though it isn't made clear until the end whether or not the supernatural is involved, or just superstition. I liked it, but am more interested in seeing where ARmstrong goes from here than in a lot of the book itself.

What do you think you'll read next?

Manga, the second Kitty Norville book, whatever else I have on hand.
meganbmoore: (too many books)

What are you currently reading
Legend of the White-Haired Demoness by Liang Yusheng, ch 14. I think it's been about a month since 7 Seeds completely took over my kindle time, so I'm still playing catch up and trying to remember who all these secondary characters running around are.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished Georgette Heyer's The Black Moth. Slow start but entertaining overall, though it's more a case of you can see the elements that eventually became Heyer's strengths than that it's really good on its own. I doubt I'll be reading These Old Shades, as "redeem the rapist" plots don't appeal to me. (And while it may have been a failed rape attempt in this book, not only was the intent still there, but he was obviously successful more than once in the past.) I'm curious, though, to see if we start getting some adaptations of Heyers books over the next few years, as they start entering the public domain.

Caught up with 7 Seeds, which I posted on separately.

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay. Graphic novel set in a medieval-lite world in which a dragon is born 200 years after the last of the dragons were supposedly chased away. When a dragon begins attacking a town, several young men are sent out to find a "hero" to fight the dragon, and instead return with a braggart more familar with spinning stories than fighting. Meanwhile, the local healer's youngest daughter comes up with plans of her own to beat the dragon. It's simple and straightforward and relies more on wit and creative thinking than flashy heroics, and is more concerned with how the dragon affects people's daily lives than with the dragon itself. Very nice little book.

Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews. Fourth book in Andrews's "The Edge" series. I liked it more than the last 2 books in the series, but less than I do most of the Kate Daniels books. The first half is pretty much the protagonists setting out to destroy every human trafficker they can find, and it later branches out to wrap up most of the threads from previous books. I think it's supposed to be the last book in the series, but if so, I suspect it'll get revisited once or twice later down the road to focus on the teen characters as adults. My favorite part was when the heroine would invert healing magic to make her enemies sick, as I've always wondered why people with healing magic in fantasy worlds aren't able to do that more. (Sadly, the book didn't go where I wanted with that. Oh well.)

Black Bird Vol 1-3 by Sakurakoji Kanako. I read a little bit of this when it first came out, and couldn't quite remember if I disliked it or wasn't quite grabbed by it when I saw that the library had the first 10 copies, so I checked out the first 3. I feel like i need to read about 30 columes of good manga to make up for this.

The heroine, Misao, has blood that is superduper extra yummy blood that makes demons stronger. Her One True Love is a tengu named Kyo who was her childhood friend, and is now a teacher at her school. His saliva can cure wounds. Naturally, Misao is constantly bleeding. (I will pause a moment to ponder what Clamp and/or Kaori Yuki would do with this idea. Whatever it was, it'd be better than this.) The healing is frequently over Misao's protests, and often staged to look like sexual assault. This is aside from Kyo's regular sexual assaults (often at school) that are ok because they're in love and she's his destined bride. Kyo is also fond of deliberately terrifying Misao to teach her that she has to rely on his body for protection, and Misao thinking that there's no reason to refuse Kyo's sexual advances if he loves her, and that it's touching when he's cruel to her because he's trying to teach her to rely on him out of lurve. There is, I think, an average of about 1.3 rape attempts (not including anything from Kyo) per volume. All by people Kyo has warned Misao to avoid. In fact, I think every person Kyo has told Misao not to talk to (which is everyone but his servants) has tried to rape and/or murder Misao. She has to learn her lesson about never having an independent thought or decision of her own somehow, amirite?

Brain bleach required. Very glad I only grabbed a few volumes, because I probably would have felt to read the rest if I'd grabbed them.

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. This is kind of like reading Astro City in prose form. That's not a criticism. Celia West is the non-superpowered daughter of her city's (the world's?) superheroes. At 17 she became emancipated and ran away to college, and is now a forensic accountant who does her very best to avoid her parents' superhero lifestyle. Unfortunately, her parents' secret identities were exposed when she was a teenager, and she's been kidnapped so many times that it's become boring, and the prosecutor trying her father's archnemesis for tax fraud has decided that it'd be good publicity to have her hepling on the case. There are elements of a parody in there and a pretty strong critique of superhero/vigilante culture and romanticism (one that appears to have made some Amazon and Goodreads reviewers cry in agony at the book daring to resist), and the general feel is of Silver Age surperheroes giving way to more modern superhero through the eyes of someone on the outskirts. While I haven't read superhero comics in probably 5-6 years, I read enough in the 15 years before that to see a lot of the twists coming, but that didn't affect my enjoyment.

The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated by Gerald Morris. Part of Morris's irreverent "The Knights' Tales" series of children's books (not to be confused with his YA series, "The Squire's Tales," which can also be irreverent depending on Morris's opinion of whatever tale he's adapting at the time, but is another beast entirely). If you're familiar with the tale of Balin and Balan, you're probably going "but how do you make that a children's book?" The answer is "by relentlessly mocking obsession with fate and destiny." Light fluff, but entertaining and funny, and a quick read.

Rasetsu Vol 1-9 (complete) by Shiomi Chika. I read and enjoyed the first couple volumes of this when Viz first started publishing it a few years ago, then wasn't able to continue buying it because of finances, but the library now has the volumes I didn't, so I finally read all of it. Rasetsu is about a 18-year-old psychic named Rasetsu who was cursed by a demon when she was 15, with the demon claiming that he'd claim her for his own if she didn't find her "true love" by her 20th birthday. Thankfully, while the "find your true love" element isn't completely shelved, there isn't much of a focus on it more often than not (it's there and not something she can exactly forget, but there are other things going on) and most of the focus is on Rasetsu and her coworkers fighting malevolent ghosts and demons. There's a romantic plotline and something of a triangle, but it's generally well done (I say "generally" because I wasn't fond of the third party or his behavior, but it fits the overall plotline) and I liked the actual romance more than expected. My only real beef with it is that, as usual, Shiomi tends to surround her heroine with several men, and no other major female characters. It's connected to Shiomi's other series that was released by Viz, Yurara, in that Rasetsu's love interest, Yako, was in Yurara, and both heroines are psychics, but you don't need to read Yurara to read this.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have Natsuo Kirino's The Goddess Chronicle and the latest Kate Daniels book, and since I've read a bunch of Carrie Vaughn's standalone books, I went ahead and checked out the first couple books in her urban fantasy series. I also have the ATLA tie-in books that my library has, as I recall some listies liking them. I was going to say "I should back off a bit from manga for a while before I OD," but then I was at the Library's main branch this morning after a doctor's appointment and they had just acquired a lot of manga i haven't read yet, so that might not be happening. I also still have Kelley Armstrong's Omens to read.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)

What are you currently reading
7 Seeds Vol 15 by Yumi Tamura. CANNOT STOP. APOCALYPSE WILL GET ME. Or Ango. Not sure which is the more concerning possibility right now. Speaking of which:

brief spoilers for the arc I'm reading now )

I'd probably be completely caught up now, but I spent the long weekend sick, and this way way too much for me to handle while sick. But this series is pretty much Yumi Tamura's attempt to see how many times and with what frequency she can crush your soul and stomp on your heart and keep you coming back for more, though every once in a while, she takes pity on us and gives us Summer B hijinks, which are still more tense than most series are at their most serious, but are positively relaxing compared to the drama and trauma of the rest of it.

ETA:  My twitter feed is probably ready for me to catch up with 7 Seeds, as I think only 2 people who follow me there read the series, and I keep going "7 Seeds!  Soul crushing angst!"  "7 Seeds!  Anytime X shows up, it's like being repeatedly stabbed in the heart!" "OMG Yumi Tamura how does your brain exist?"

What did you recently finish reading?

Volumes 8(?)-14 of 7 Seeds.

Dust Girl and Golden Girlby Sarah Zettel, which I posted on separately.

Moving Pictures by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen: Noir-ish graphic novel about a minor museum curator who hides both art and people in Nazi occupied France, and who is being interogated about her work. I found it very engrossing while reading it, but finished it without having a clue how I really felt about it.

Mercury by Hope Larson. Graphic novel set in Nova Scotia in both 1859 and the present, following Josie (1859) whose farmer father goes into business with a potentially shady traveller to mine for gold, and Tara, a descendant of Josie's who is living with her Aunt and Uncle after the farmhouse that's been in the family for generations burns down. It follows Tara's upwards arc and Josie's downwards arc and bothe were interesting (though I prefered Tara's plot to Josie's) but while it did tie the two together beyond the family element at the end, they never quite felt connected to me, and people were strangely casual about things like pits full of snakes and being attacked by talking crows with human faces. Still,very enjoyable read altogether.

What do you think you'll read next?

More 7 Seeds. Probably attempt to force myself to stop and read something less stressful for my own good, but I don't know what.
meganbmoore: (fire dance)
The first two parts of a trilogy about Calliope "Callie" LeRoux, a teenager who lives with her mother in the Dust Bowl during America's Great Depression. Callie's father was a black musician who promised to come back for them, but never did (Note: due to spoilers, the plotline is not the failboat the early details may lead you to expect.), and Callie has spent her life "passing" as white, with she and her mother claiming her father was an Irishman. When the biggest dust storm anyone remembers hits town, her mother disappears, along with everyone else in town who hasn't already evacuated, and Callie sets off to find her, encountering strange people and creatures along the way, many of whom want to capture and use her for their own ends.

While I'm not sure about some parts of it, it's a very different take on the Fae, and one that actively rejects the common interpretation of "all or most fae are white." It also seeks to tie the mythology to Americana, and features one of the few "chosen ones" in Western literature who is a WoC.

brief spoiler for Callie's father and the seelie/unseelie courts )


meganbmoore: (Default)

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