Another successful month. Not as great as January but still a great month.
- I read 15 books this month
- Genre: 6 fantasy, 3 sci-fi, 3 romance, 1 crime, 1 magical realism and 1 non-fiction
- Gender of authors: 9 women, 3 men, 1 duo and 1 unknown
- Race of authors: 9 white authors, 5 Asian authors and 1 Middle Eastern author
- Age range: 10 adult, 4 YA and 1 middle grade
- Format: 7 paperback, 6 ebook and 2 hardback
- Prompt: Romance
- Inuyasha Vol.1
- Blood in the Thread
- The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
- My Killer Vacation
- Wotakoi, Vol.1
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
- This Is How You Lose the Time War
- Sequel: Didn’t read any
- Tor.com: Blood in the Thread – Cheri Kamei
This Is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (DNF)
Now did I DNF this book 75% in? Yes… Was it super short? Also yes. This follows two women who are time travel spies that fall in love during a war. I personally found this to be too pretentious for me. Now I don’t mind my fair share of pretentious writing. But this writing made it super hard to follow which just left me not caring about the characters or their story.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab (DNF)
I have learnt that I am not a vibes person. If someone describes a book to me as nothing but pure vibes – I now know to stay away. Barely anything happened in this book and it bored me. It follows a young woman who makes a deal with a god to get out of an arranged marriage. The god ends up granting her basically a life of no ageing and we follow her during the time she gets this curse and then like 300 years later.
The scenes set around the time Addie makes her wish and the first couple of years as she learns and adapts were super interesting. I enjoyed learning about how the wish worked and what its restrictions were. But once that passed the rest of the book was just boring. It is literally just following Addie walk around New York. I didn’t think she was that interesting of a character so she didn’t keep me wanting to read more.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – Fujita (3 stars)
This was fine. I enjoyed it as a whole and I really enjoyed the friendship dynamic between the four characters. I cannot say though that I enjoyed any of the romance elements. I found them to be unrealistic and, in the case of one couple, very unlikeable. I did enjoy some of the topics of gaming and anime.
My Killer Vacation – Tessa Bailey (3 stars)
This was a fun easy read. It was a romance with a murder mystery side plot. I enjoyed the characters and I found the dialogue to be funny and fun. Was it the best mystery I have ever read? No. But it was super fun and added an extra exciting layer to the story. I will say that by the end I started to feel that the story got a bit cringe mainly because Bailey kept adding what I felt was unnecessary sexual dialogue in moments that I felt should have been left to be romantic. I also am not a fan of how quickly everything progressed within the relationship it was too fast for my liking. Finally, when will we free authors from the shackles of the ginormous man x tiny woman trope PLEASE!
The Sixteenth Century in 100 Women – Amy Licence (3 stars)
A super informative and concise look at women from across the world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about women I didn’t know plus re-reading and familiarising myself with women from 16th-century history that I already knew.
Some of my favourite stories to learn were:
- La Malinche
- Elizabeth ‘Blessie’ Blount
- Roxelana, aka Hurrem Sultan
- Mary Boleyn
- Women of the Devonshire Manuscript
- Lady Nata, or Otomo-Nata ‘Jezebel’
- Susan Clarencieux
- Amye Robsart
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride – Roshani Chokshi (3.5 stars)
This was an interesting book to read. Overall I really enjoyed the story. I felt the book did a really great job of delving into the complexities of certain types of female friendship specifically the cases where it’s all-consuming and toxic with very strong sapphic energy! I have rarely seen this portrayed in media and I found it to be a really interesting dynamic. I thought the female characters in this story were expertly written. That being said, I will be critiquing the main male character as that man was boring. I didn’t really feel that he brought much to the story apart from being the force that allows us to find answers. I will also say that I found the constant reference and discussions of fairytales and folklore to be great at the start but it got old very quickly. It was over-saturation by the end of the book and I found myself skimming those paragraphs so I could get to the actual meat of the story.
Knee Deep, Book 1 – Joe Flood (4 stars)
Following in a semi-post-apocalyptic climate change disaster world we follow a young girl who goes on a mission to find her parents. Great art, amazing character design, and an engaging storyline that left me wanting more!
The Promised Neverland Vol, 12&13 – Kaiu Shirai (4 stars)
What can I say that I haven’t already said before. Always a great read.
Blood in the Thread – Cheri Kamei (4 stars)
A powerful sapphic short story about 2 high school sweethearts who hide their relationship when one of them becomes a famous actress and how they navigate the toxicity and abusive nature of Hollywood.
I loved this short story so much. The writing was beautiful and atmospheric with amazing imagery. I loved the ending and how it tied into ‘The Crane Wife’ folktale.
Moonlight – Gill Lewis (4.5 stars)
A middle-grade story about a young rat going on an epic adventure to return a stolen jewel. I could see Disney or Studio Ghibli snatching up this story for an adaptation! This story has heart, exhilaration, plot twists and a strong message, throughout, of doing the right thing. With incredible settings, a fun myriad of characters and a plot that keeps you wanting more.
Inuyasha, Vol. 1 – Rumiko Takahashi (5 stars)
A manga about a young girl who falls through her family’s well and ends up in Ancient Japan. It’s there she gets caught up in the fight of good v evil. Inuyasha was not a disappointment! I loved the blend of history and fantasy. I love the lore behind this series and how we mix historical moments with folklore. I really like our main characters and their dynamic is super engaging. I just really wish Kagome was older than 15 as it was the only thing that felt a bit icky. I also want to add that I did not expect it to have any horror or gore elements whatsoever and was super shocked when the blood started spraying. Not a critique at all, I was just super unaware.
Godkiller – Hannah Kaner (5 stars)
This world was a great balance of taking well-known and highly loved elements of the fantasy genre but adding a fresh new set of ideas and world-building. I loved the staple of the very detailed world with a brewing civil war where we get a lot of detail about different cultures etc. but I loved the addition of the Gods. Everything surrounding the Gods from the ones we meet all the way to the long and twisted history of the Gods was by far my favourite part of the book. They added so much depth to the story not just in terms of varied and vibrant characters but also in terms of world-building and character motivation.
We follow 4 different characters in this story all with secrets to hide and questions to answer. I found every single POV in this book to be engaging and exciting. I enjoyed all of their stories equally and I looked forward to turning the page and seeing who we were following next. I really enjoyed watching these characters as individuals and learning their story and learn who they are at their core but I LOVED watching these characters together and bond with each other.
The story itself was simple and detailed at the same time. The story is a quest story. A journey that leads all our characters to the same ruined city but the detail of the world and the history that we learn alongside this journey was so grand and detailed that it elevated such a simple concept.
The Mountain in the Sea – Ray Nayler (5 stars)
A near-future dystopia is about a young woman researching a possibly killer octopus. This book is so much more about an incredibly intelligent Octopus. This book is kind of a window to the future, to what our future may be like if we stray down the path we are going. Where AI and technology start to take over our world when corporations get greedy and we destroy our eco-system, over-fishing, capitalism, and modern-day slavery. This book covers a lot. This book covers so much that on paper you think how can this author cover all of these themes in a coherent and easy-to-follow/accessible way while also maintaining an engaging story about humanity and connection as well as a killer Octopus? Well, Nayler does all of that and more.
Speak of the Devil – Rose Wilding (5 stars)
This book swept under the radar at the last minute for me. It follows 7 women as we navigate their lives after the head of a man is found in a seedy hotel room. As the story continues you find that all these women had some connection to the deceased and as you unravel the secrets of the women you find out who killed him. This book is heavy for trigger warnings re. rape, sexual harassment, abuse, forced outing, alcoholism.
I have never been so strongly impacted by a book in my life. The harrowing, raw and truthful way that Wilding writes as we slowly learn more about these women and how one singular man’s actions caused a ripple effect in these women’s lives was a hard read but a powerful read. I really enjoyed getting into the mind of these women and living their stories and their truths. Some of the best character work I had read alongside a super engaging mystery where each time we learn something you feel yourself creeping closer and closer to the reveal of the murderer.