grav_ity: (books 2011)
This was a SUPER light sci-fi novel where a "mirror Earth" is discovered, throwing our Earth into some chaos, and allowing our protagonist to have her Teenage Existentialism against the backdrop of the very real possibility that there's another her on that planet. It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but I actually really enjoyed it, though usually I prefer my sci-fi on space ships. :)

I think the reason I liked it so much is that the main character wasn't white (one of her main struggles is with being the "second generation", and also with deciding what of her culture she wants, and what of American culture she wants). And also because there were about nine side-characters, all of whom were super teenager-y, which I always like as well.

Basically, it was quiet and the high school politics were painfully on point and the family drama was real, and I thought it was very well done.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
I think one of the smartest things I did this year was remember to read Jen's books. She's so smart and her books are SO well constructed. They're just a delight to read.

This is the third book in the Naturals series (the fourth one's out, but I've come this far in trade paperbacks, so...), and the stakes are quite high. We also get a lot of fun new backstory, and development for the ensemble. I felt like there was a lot more teamwork in this one, but I think that might be a reflection of how the series' arc is coming together. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and I can't WAIT for the final instalment.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
I'm really not sure about this one. It's clever and interesting, and the voice is good, but the portrayal of disability (specifically the "magical cure" trope) is...well, honestly I am not an expert at this, so I don't know for sure, but it made me uncomfortable. The book is an ARC, so I'm waiting for people wiser than me to weigh in, but...yeah. I'm not sure about this one.
grav_ity: (john crichton approves of this plan)
This is the sequel to Madly/The Potion Diaries, which I read last year and really enjoyed. Basically, it's modern England/Europe, but with magic, so everything is slightly more complicated, as you do. It's a "light" fantasy, which means it's a fun read and there's not death and rape all over the place, which I also really appreciate.

Anyway, Sam, our heroine, continues to make potions and defend the crown princess. There's magic and science, friendship and romance, adventure and family legacy, allies and betrayal...all the good stuff, really. Alward's world-building is top notch, and the structure of the book is also excellent. I don't think the book suffers from 'second book' syndrome (the trilogy will end next year), which is also nice.
grav_ity: (aly married a crow!)
I think my chief problem with this was that I read it right after The Girl Who Drank The Moon, and therefore was v.e.r.y. picky about my Middle Grade at the time.

It's impeccably researched and the story is neat, but it's not as deft as tGWDtM, and it's certainly very dude-heavy. (I mean, there's a reason I rarely read books written by men in the first place.)

So anyway, it was interesting but not really gripping, and then I read the author's note and felt it was a little patronizing, but it's a solid entry, and it doesn't fall prey to any of the "But there weren't any black people!" bullshit that lazier medieval storytelling does (the three main characters were a girl, a Jewish boy, and a boy whose mother was African). Also, the whole book is illuminated, and the art is wonderful.

Anyway, so I didn't love it, but I do kinda respect it? YMMV.
grav_ity: (star wars bb-8)
This comic is so good.

First of all: Poe, Jess, and Karé are NOT drawn with lighter skin AT ALL. Second, Jess and Karé get a TONNE of screen time (both independently AND as part of the team). So I was super happy on that front.

Also, the writing mirror's Oscar Isaac's actual delivery and cadence of speech, which is great.

Also, BB-8 has, like, a whole action sequence at one point, and it's BEAUTIFUL.

Also, despite having accidentally spoiled myself reading the Flight Log, the comic was really good. I enjoyed it immensely. It was gorgeously drawn and coloured, and the story was top notch. I hope they keep doing it (even though waiting a year for the volume in the first place r.o.u.g.h.).

ALSO, the scenes with Leia and Poe were AWESOME. Leia was also drawn fabulously, and I live for their relationship at this point. It's just awesome.

10/10 would recommend. (especially if you, like me, watched Rogue One and need something to warm your soul.)
grav_ity: (star wars team i ship it)
This is a Middle Grade, in the style of Rey's Survival Guide (which was amazing and made me cry more than once), except I didn't like this one as much. It was more a straight up summary of the movie and the comic (which I hadn't read yet, so I also accidentally spoiled myself!). Much as it pains me, you can probably just skip this one.

(There is a glorious section where he repeatedly laments having lost his jacket, but still.)

I hope the Finn one (in the mail, arriving at some point) is better.
grav_ity: (enterprise)
I liked this one a lot. I think it's the first adult book I've read in...well, a while (not counting The Order of the Air, which are, like, DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR ME, I mean, kinda), and I was super worried I wouldn't like it, but then I did.

Anyway: crew of not-quite misfits on year-long journey in space, shenanigans ensue (or don't, as the case may be. This book had great use of pauses). They've all got secrets, they've all got pasts, some of them have super questionable romance options...it was really well done.

I also really like space operas where humans are not The Great Saviours Of The Galaxy, so that was super fun. And there was interesting intra-human politics, depending on when they left Earth which I ALSO really enjoyed. Basically, the world-building was excellent, regardless of which world Chambers was talking about.

I did read several reviews complaining about the pacing, but honestly I am not too fond of that method of critiquing a book. Usually I think that if you don't like the pacing, it means you and the author have different ideas of what's important to the story. In the case of PLANET, apparently I agree with Chambers, because I thought the pacing and construction was fine.

There's a second book which I will get to, but this book is really well contained, so I am not in a rush.

Highly recommend this.
grav_ity: (River)
THIS BOOK.

THIS BOOK.

I am really hit or miss for Middle Grade, but Kelly wrote a FANTASTIC book here. Her politics and values are seamlessly woven into a plot about magic, legacy, inheritance, horror, and the things we do for love (even when they can go very, very badly). And absolutely STELLAR world-building. And I know that sometimes "worthy" MG books aren't actually books kids enjoy, but I think this is one of the ones that manages to do both. It tackles HUGE issues and has wonderful moments of humour and fun, and the issues are dumbed down any more than the fun is off-putting. It was just so, so good.

And also there's a really excellent Simply Enormous dragon.
grav_ity: (books)
So much backstory. So much backstory that I wished I was reading a novel instead, because I found it difficult to follow (with my eyes, I mean, not the actual plot. I remain, it turns out, terrible at reading graphic novels). But it was freaking beautiful and Coates is wonderful, and I'm going to keep reading them because 1) I want to know, and 2) I want Marvel to keep making them. So.
grav_ity: (avengers)
ARGH, renumbered comics are so bizarre. Also, they had to rehash the backstory a lot? Maybe that's normal? I don't know.

Anyway, I continue to really like this series. It's super on the nose and I don't care. I really, really love how both Thor AND Jane are important people with important work to do, that cannot be done by the other.

I remain, to the surprise of no one, entirely lukewarm on Loki.

But I'm interested in seeing where it goes!
grav_ity: (PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS)
This is one of those books that I can totally recognize the brilliance of, from a craft perspective, even though it did absolutely nothing for me. It's a contemporary thriller, and I really liked several of the characters. Also, Kuehn's writing is absolutely stellar. Not liking the book is 100% on me, so if you like dark and twisty, you will probably like this one.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
This was an interesting one for me, because it kind of showcases how much I will forgive if 1) the MCs are both girls, and 2) one of those girls can light things on fire with her brain.

(The book had two of my ultimate pet peeves: general incompetence from characters who should be better, and a girl who is "better than other girls" because she doesn't like girly things, or want to do her job.)

So while the world-building didn't work for me, I really liked the romance. And the part where Denna could light people on fire with her brain. I'm not sure if it's a series (the book ends nicely, but there's plenty of room).

What it comes down to, really, is that we NEED more f/f fantasy books in the YA section, and this is a good gateway novel. I think Coulthurst has potential, and I think her next books will keep pushing boundaries that need to be pushed.
grav_ity: (books)
This series is called "Once Upon A Crime" and follows three families involved in the illegal organ transplant trade.

The first book is The Princess and the Pea, and follows a girl whose body does not produce platelets properly, which means she bruises at everything. Her parents keep her sheltered, but then disaster strikes, and she has to go out into the real world (i.e. New York City) for the first time.

The second book is The Princess and the Frog, and follows a girl from the other family. She's the opposite in most ways: hard, calculating, eager to take her place in the business.

As far as fairy-tale re-imaginings go, they were both on the "light" side when it came to details and themes and whatnot, which is totally fine with me. I enjoyed how Penelope and Magnolia came to an understand of each other's strengths and weaknesses, and the politics were moderately interesting. Also, moral questions and so on, and I don't feel the book was overly preachy, which was nice.

I kinda hope there's a third one called Rock Me Like A Hurricane, tbh. ;)
grav_ity: (books)
aka the one where she deconstructs toxic masculinity, twice, once by illustrating ugly and possessive "love", and once by allowing the dude whose decency we've seen in flashes throughout the series finally pay off.

I mean, Bewcastle is still a dick. But he's our dick.

I did get a lot of stuff done today, even though I read a book this evening, which is nice. And a box from ThinkGeek came, and everything fit, which was GREAT.

CynBnifWIAICCME.jpg-large

I am pretty delighted, tbh. (That's the Her Universe Star Trek party dress, with petticoat. 4X.)
grav_ity: (PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS)
This is one of those books where I am impressed by the construction and writing and plotting and whatnot, even if the story itself didn't exactly land for me (there's a lot with grown-up pirates and it's tangential to the plot, but also important to the plot, and I just...drifted a bit?).

But anyway, there's a code built into the pages, and the world that Chee made is AMAZING, and I'm interested to see where it goes.
grav_ity: (brave)
I really, really love this series. I mean, I love Rae's books in general (her first trilogy is marvellous, if you have the chance to read it), but this one is just plain good.

Lee and her companions have made it to California, but their trials aren't over yet. Lee's murderous uncle still wants her, she still has a dangerous superpower, and California is not an easy place. But they work and they trust and they learn, and they make a new home.

I love that Lee at her deepest suffering can recognize that others have it worse, and that she acknowledges her privilege even when she has been betrayed by it. She knows her job isn't over, and in the end, it's herself that saves her, not her power.

I am very, very interested in what happens next.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
This was the first book I read after the election, so I was kind of a mess? And almost not in the mood for fake politics? But, man, Kate Elliot is so good, and this book is so good.

Hard conversations were had. Justice was given. Giant magi-mechanical spiders were driven. A not-great conspiracy was, well, that would be telling.

All in all, I really like this series a lot.
grav_ity: (books)
Yesterday instead of doing literally anything on my to do list, I re-read two romance novels.

(Not entirely true: I did laundry and put together floor lamps.)

Anyway, I regret nothing. While not as polished as the later books, I love these two SO MUCH. And, you know, over-identify with them a lot, but whatever.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
A NEW SERIES! It's the same general time as The Survivors' Club, but I don't know if it'll be in the same world (i.e. if there will be cameos. there weren't any so far), but anyway, SO NICE TO BE BACK HERE.

StL starts off with one of the most amazingly scandalous reveals I've ever seen, and then just barrels on from there. I love Balogh's ability to go for it, in terms of setting up her plots. Like, it could be completely ludicrous (and in a lot of ways, it really is), but it's so well written and the characters are so compelling that you really don't care.

I'm so glad there's a new series. I hope it hits me in all the ways the Survivors did. So far, so good!

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