laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Anne of Avonlea - A decent follow-up to the first book, although I gave it one less star because it felt a little floundery in the middle.

Matthew is not discussed much in this book, but in the first part of the novel characters are pretty preoccupied about what heaven is, what it means.

I loved the resolution to Lavender's storyline, and also take a lot of joy in seeing romance bud between Anne and Gilbert. I'm excited to read the next one, where they're at college.


Anne of the Island - So, I love the relationship between Anne and Gilbert in this book. I also really identify with Anne's heartbreak about growing up, and the realization that even your closest friends change over time, and that nothing can be as it once was, even if you still have old writings from you/your friends that transport you right back to old times. Also loved her friends cackling over gossipy situations.

That said, the book feels like it's bumbling from one scene to the next, season to season, year to year, with no transitions, just filler to try & resolve the main plot (Anne and Gilbert). I know that a long period of time was covered in the first book, but it didn't feel like this, I don't think.


Jim Henson's Storytellers: Witches, #1 - I don't remember where I saw a link about this months ago, but I pinned it and saved the date. It's gorgeous, and wonderful. I'm so glad I read it, and I'm really looking forward to the next one. These are stand-alone, and there are going to be a total of four.


Liminality's first issue came out. While I'm not usually much for poetry, I did enjoy my friend Gabby's The devil riding your back.
laceblade: A curved dirt road in the middle of a forest (Up North)
Otherbound - read for [community profile] beer_marmalade (whose DW is terribly neglected, lol self). This got a three from me because it really stuck the landing.

This is a fantasy book where the idea is more interesting than the execution. Nolan is a high school teenager who has a problem - every time he closes his eyes, even to blink, he lives the life a girl named Amara, a servant to a princess who lives in a different world - one with magic. In his own world, Nolan's inability to control when and where he slips into the other world causes his family and doctors to try and treat him for epilepsy, to no avail.

Coming to this while in the middle of Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, it makes me think a lot about the characters and their responsibility to another story's narrative. They're participating in worlds they're not sure are real, and it's difficult to discern how much duty they owe to people who live in a different world, especially when their activities in their fantasy world are costing them in their "real" life. It's an interesting concept, and I think it's now a trope that I enjoy.

So, yes - interesting concept & ideas, but overall I really didn't care for the writing until the last few chapters. I believe Corinne Duyvis is a relatively new author (younger than me!). I'd be willing to try other books by her, given the concepts in this one, to see if the writing improves.

Content warning for violence/abuse and self-harm.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North - [not the one by Basho] Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. So, this book is about an Australian doctor who becomes a POW during World War II. He's forced by his Japanese captors to do slave labor with his comrades, working on their railroad.

The story of his experiences in World War II is interspersed with his celebrity in the present as a war hero.

The author lifted this story from his own father's, but I pretty much hated the protagonist, who likes driving drunk & having affairs.

I'm sure there are some interesting truths in the rest of the novel - toward the beginning, for example, Major Nakamura is arguing with the protagonist about "freedom" & colonization, essentially, after the protag asks for a day's rest for the other POWs to work more effectively. Nakamura says they're redeeming their honour by dying for the emperor. "Your British Empire...You think it did not need non-freedom, Colonel? It was built sleeper by sleeper of non-freedom, bridge by bridge of non-freedom."

Anyway, I'm sure there's more to uncover, but based on this prose & what I've read so far, I'm not sticking around to find out.


Once Was Lost - I'm not sure I can say anything about Zarr that I haven't already said, but I loved this one too. I'll read any book she publishes.


History of the Rain - Put this on hold at the library because it was on the Booker list. This was both heartfelt and amusing - a love letter to people who love both books & poetry (well, very white books & poetry, I should add).

The protagonist is bedbound, & she views the people in her village in Ireland through the lenses of books - characters, locations, how people say things, etc.
There's a lot of tragedy, too, as I guess happens with any book about the Irish.
I read this during the one-year anniversary of a friend's death, and found it helped me with my grief.
I'm not doing it justice, but this one touched me down deep. Here's a much better review from someone on Goodreads that gets what I liked.
laceblade: Kate Beaton comic of frustration from playing Super Mario (VIDEO GAMES)
I've started some of these games before, but the thing that binds them all together is that I've never beat any of them.

As always, I may not take your advice ;)

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


Help me choose a video game!

View Answers

Final Fantasy III (DS)
1 (7.7%)

Final Fantasy IV (GBA, played on DS)
2 (15.4%)

Chrono Trigger (DS)
9 (69.2%)

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (PSP)
3 (23.1%)

Okami (PS2)
6 (46.2%)

Epic Mickey (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Xenosaga (PS2)
2 (15.4%)

Final Fantasy X
3 (23.1%)

Final Fantasy XII
2 (15.4%)

Dirge of Cerberus (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

Persona 3 (PS2)
4 (30.8%)

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

laceblade: fanart of Ohana smiling at viewer, Yuina winking while putting her hands on Ohana's arm (Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana/Yuina)
[personal profile] troisroyaumes is doing a give-away of Zen Cho's Spirits Abroad.
A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.
Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, SPIRITS ABROAD collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility.

The post is here, if you're interested. The condition is that you review it on your journal or blog or Goodreads.
laceblade: Jubilee from X-Men, headphones on, working on an iPad, lookin' chill (Jubilee work)
A True Novel - One of the best books I have ever read, hands down.

Reading this was like peeling an onion, layer by layer, tears leaking every step of the way.
At its heart, this book is about love, but it's also about jealousy, racism, class mobility, the westernization of Japan post-WWII & the emergence of the middle class.

I think this book is better than the source its adapting: Wuthering Heights. The English translation is the best English translation of any Japanese source material I've ever read. I hope that more of Mizumura's work gets translated into English.

I'll be thinking of this book for days; I'll be rereading it for years to come.


Avengers Assemble: Science Bros - I liked this much more than the first volume. For people loooking to jump in after the Avengers movie, I think this is a much better spot to start than volume 1.


The Hidden Land - I can definitely see how this & The Secret Country were originally published as a single tome, & it probably reads better that way? Regardless, I liked this one just as much as the first. In addition to Dean's prose & her commentary on daily life ("the [people] melted away around them as cats leave the room when people began to quarrel"). I've been saying this a lot lately, but I was glad to find this & The Secret Country used so that I can reread them many times in the future. & for now, I look forward to getting my hands on The Whim of the Dragon.


X-Men: Reckless Abandonment - I liked this as a wrap-up to the story's arc. I particularly enjoyed Pixie as a character.
Sadly, didn't care as much for the Domino/Daredevil story. But I think I'm getting the swing of X-Men, sort of?


X-Men: Primer - Technically a reread. It was nice to return to this with more X-Men background, having read the run-up that came before this new "reset to issue #1."

I'm a huge fan of the all-female cast, less so of Storm's mohawk :(

There's a lot going on & being set up, but it's a fun ride, & as a bonus, I like the art (hit or miss with me and Western comics).
Is there a collection or series about kids at the Jean Grey Academy & hanging out?


Alias, vol. 3: The Underneath - I think the thing with Alias that I like most is that it acknowledges that in a world of super heroes & massive popularity & ridiculous plots, there are also people with super powers who either cannot or choose not to engage at that level. There are other ways of living, & other ways of being heroes.

It seems to be a running theme that any Marvel series I enjoy, it will have either Jessica Jones or Carol Danvers (or both) hanging around in the background. They are my personal bat signal.

[meme]

Aug. 29th, 2014 11:51 am
laceblade: Rachel & Santana wearing eye masks, arms folded, on their couch (Glee: Pezberry couch)
Accidentally let my DW account lapse, SO THIS IS NOT MY IDEAL ICON.
[don't pay to renew for me! I have the $$ and will do it when back from work/Up North]

Via [personal profile] rilina. You can tell a lot about a person from their music. Hit shuffle on your iPod, MP3 Player, etc. and put the first 10 songs! One rule, no skipping! Tag 10 people and pass it on!

1. Down With the Trumpets - Rizzle Kicks [on here via Teen Wolf complete season 2 playlist from 8tracks]
2. LA Song - Christian Kane
3. Stay and Defend - Wolf Gang
4. Angel of Music - Sarah Brightman [Phantom soundtrack]
5. Mama Who Bore Me - Lea Michele [Spring Awakening soundtrack]
6. Singing in the Rain/Umbrella - Glee cast, feat. Gwyneth Paltrow
7. The Small Print - Muse
8. 707 Goshitsu - NANA OST
9. Lucky - Bif Naked
10. Ready Aim Fire - Imagine Dragons

I am also not tagging, but participate if you feel so inclined.
laceblade: fanart of Inner Senshi in street clothes, hugging & smiling (Sailor Moon: inners)
I feel like many of us will have things to say on the question posed by [personal profile] wrdnrd: What does feminist/social justice conrunning look like?
How does a group balance existing according to its own principles while at the same time still getting stuff done? How does it deal with straying from those principles -- whether as an org, or on the individual level? How does it deal with toxic volunteers, especially when they're an otherwise effective worker? Conversely, how does it deal with ineffective volunteers who are otherwise individuals deeply committed to the principles?

Where are the tipping points? Put up with X amount of bullshit in order to get stuff done? Or kick out problematic people and risk not having enough staffpower to get that stuff done?

And, most importantly, how can we actually make it work?? What are the secrets to recruiting and retaining good volunteers? To creating a healthy organizational working environment? To getting stuff done while still upholding our own principles?

Can it be done?
laceblade: A curved dirt road in the middle of a forest (Up North)
Journey Into Mystery Featuring Lady Sif #2: Seeds of Destruction - I really had nothing to say about this. It was /shrug/


X-Men: The Curse is Broken - I was grateful for the focus to return to Jubilee, and enjoyed this volume more than I have the last few.
I liked Pixie, too. I've seen her in a few comics, and am interested in learning more about her.

The art feels like a series of micro-aggressions to me - the center of a panel will be the back of a woman's spandexed ass, and you're looking at someone else *from between her legs*. Like, really? Obnoxious. Not to mention the breast-accentuation.


X-Men: Blank Generation - This arc was like a breath of fresh air after the previous few. Everyone has distinct personalities, the plot is actually interesting, etc.

I enjoyed seeing the team hanging out on their plane/ship, & actually talking strategy, as opposed to just showing up places & fighting.


The Secret Country - I loved this. As with The Dubious Hills, I love the way Dean includes details not often mentioned in fantasy novels - breezes, insects, too many stairs, etc.

The premise is that a group of cousins play-act a Shakespearean fantasy with magic & murder & etc. During the summer they're separated, their pretend world - "the game" - becomes real. (Maybe.)

I'm excited to read the rest of the trilogy, and also glad that this seems to be a series that will lend itself well to rereading. Not only are there many clues & nuances to the plot, but I really just enjoy Dean's prose.

Laura sure gives shoujo manga heroines a run for their money with her clumsiness, ;)
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Sparrow Hill Road - Rose Marshall is a ghost, and her story is not told in a linear fashion. As she interacts with truck drivers & other people on the road (she is a hitchhiker ghost), we learn about her past: how she died, and what's happened to her during her afterlife.

The worldbuilding is interesting, the way highways and roads are both real & not. The rules for various types of ghosts, etc. Rose is a very likeable protagonist. We see her most often in greasy diners, one specifically called Last Chance, which isn't fixed & seems to move around just as much as she does.

I sometimes find the writing to verge on the edge of cliche, but it never fully dips down into making me feel embarrasssed. And McGuire's writing sucks me in. I read the second half straight through, couldn't put it down.


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Shortlisted for the Booker, and rightfully so. The narrator's voice is both matter of fact and nonlinear. Unreliable, but honest. It's best to not know what's coming, so I'm purposely being a little obtuse.

I know of Fowler from WisCon, as she has attended many times in the past, and in fact co-founded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

There were references to Jo, Amy, and Beth from Little Women. But I didn't know how badly I needed to see Dicey Tillerman in a list of orphaned girls like Jane Eyre and Anne Shirley until she was. A genre of buldingsromans that had always felt coherent but disparate to me suddenly snapped together.
There are allusions to Star Wars throughout. I also enjoyed the comparison of Merry and Pippin in Isengard to the Romans sitting amid the ruins of Carthage.

I work with human subjects research for a living, and this book made me reflect upon animal research more than anything has before. It's timely, too. Last week, there was a semi-heinous Isthmus cover story called MOTHERLESS MONKEYS (http://www.isthmus.com/isthmus/article.php?article=43284) about a new study at UW in which rhesus monkeys will be taken from their mothers at a young age, and killed one year later in a research study about anxiety & depression.
There's a human counterpart study related to that one: in the human study, babies go into an MRI scanner instead of having their brains cut up.

It was hard to put this book down. It pulls at you, & doesn't let go. The ending is perfect.
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Avengers Assemble, vol. 1 - I believe this was intended to be a jumping off point from the "Avengers" Whedon movie.

While it's a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, I was able to follow the plot decently well despite being unfamiliar with the GoG.

This book is high on action but low on characterization, making me feel kind of "meh" about it. Clint Barton constantly cracking jokes about his own stupidity, Hulk did nothing for me, etc.

I don't regret having read it, but I'm glad I got this from the library & didn't buy it. The art didn't do much for me, either. I have higher hopes for DeConnick's run, which I believe follows this one.


Anne of Green Gables - I know I read this at some point in my childhood, but it was never a favorite series for me, even though my sister had them on the shelves.
It was my sister's copy that I borrowed; I picked it up while sitting in her living room during some family function.

I loved it, all of it. Anne herself is a critique on the silliness of Victorian society, & she also grows up into an understanding and gracious woman.

I'm really excited to read the next books in the series - I can't remember ever having read them, & I'm eager to see what Anne & Marilla do next.


The Kingdom of Gods - I'm having a hard time figuring out why I disliked this book so much, especially considering that I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy quite a bit.

The dialogue, the endless exposition, all of it - I got two-thirds of the way through & just cannot stand it, cannot finish it. I think it's the pacing that's throwing me off, or perhaps Sieh's voice, I'm not sure.


Saga #21 - I miss Lying Cat.
laceblade: Mikage from Silver Spoon anime, on a horse. (Silver Spoon: Mikage)
Chief and I have been working on more precision stuff. We walk over brightly painted poles, most of which are on the ground, but some of which are a few inches off. Sometimes, we work in the indoor arena, and sometimes in the outdoor one. We also still go for trail rides once in a while.

When not going over poles, we switch between walk/trot/canter. Chief is a gaited horse, so his trot is very smooth.

Last night, I rode one of my instructor's other horses, a white horse named Jesse.
Jesse is 2 years older than Chief (so, Jesse = 20). The other person who rides Jesse is an 11-year-old girl, and as such he has six braids in his mane lol.

When we brought Jesse inside from his pasture, my instructor told me not to be surprised if he fell asleep in the cross-ties while I brushed him, and...THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! I'm kind of shocked that he's able to fall asleep while I'm doing my thing with him, but I guess it's probably soothing. We had to wake him up a little aggressively so that he could cooperate with putting his bit/bridle on.

Jesse and I rode in a small circular gated thing that I'd never rode in before. With Jesse, I rode on an English style saddle, which so far I don't like at all. There's much less between you and the horse, and I feel less secure.
However, this didn't go as poorly as my previous attempts at English style riding, which was on a different horse (Jake).

We worked on posting, which is difficult for me. I have a hard time finding the rhythm unless I'm actually looking at Jesse's legs to see when the "outside" front leg is moving (aka, when I should stand up). This is super frustrating to me, because I'm used to having good rhythm musically.

We also worked on a position called two-point, which is sort of like the "standing" part of posting, but involves hovering over the saddle. This position is generally used for jumping. It takes a lot of muscles to do it!

Jesse's trot is MUCH more bouncy than Chief's. So far I really dislike English-style riding, I think. The bouncing makes me feel semi-out of control, although Jesse is a good horse & if he feels me losing balance, he'll slow back down to a walk right away.
Jesse is also a legit horse (remember that Chief is technically a pony), so when riding, I'm about seven inches higher off the ground, which feels like A LOT!

I guess one thing I do like about English-style is that the saddle is much less involved & therefore lighter, and I can carry it with no problem. (I struggle a lot with the Western saddle lol.)

I felt as though I had deeply betrayed Chief when I walked Jesse back to the pasture and gave him a cookie, but had none to offer Chief. I'M SORRY, CHIEF!! I AM A MONSTER!

Other points of amusement last night included the fucking cats. One cat would sit in the circular pen we were in, right in the path Jesse & I were walking, and even though we kept steadily approaching, the cat would get all, OH SHIT!! when we were right about to step on him, & then run off.

One cat also kept crouching in the weeds, & then when a few birds flew overhead (way overhead), he jumped into the air & swiped, as though he would get one - he must have really poor depth perception, idk.


I'm so grateful for this time, every week.
laceblade: Dark icon, white spraypaint on bottom with "DA" for Dumbledore's Army. Top text, in caps: We will not obey. (HP: Dumbledore's Army: We will not obey)
A Young Radical's Guide to Love by [archiveofourown.org profile] blamebrampton - "Memories of the war are still fresh, which is all the excuse Decent People need to do appalling things. In this quietly waged conflict, Draco Malfoy is happy to be on the right side of things for once, and even happier to find he’s not alone."

After the books, the Wizarding World tries to go back to normal as best it can. Trying to make up for his past deeds, Percy Weasley uses his position at the Ministry of Magic to issue arrest warrants for friends/family of former Death Eaters - whether they're actually guilty of any crimes or not. A sort-of-coping Draco Malfoy eventually meets up with Auror Potter, & things go on from there.

INSURRECTION. THE ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WIZARDS. A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. A LOT OF TEA. PEOPLE BEING NICE TO KREACHER. PEOPLE ENJOYING THEIR FOOD EVEN WHEN SHIT IS HARD. EVERYONE WORKING TOGETHER OVER BOOKS AND LEGAL BRIEFS. THE INNER-WORKINGS OF BUREAUCRACY.

BASICALLY EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED IN AN HP FIC.

It was amazing. My ranting doesn't do it justice.
laceblade: Season 3 Buffy. text: I'm the slayer, so fuck you. (Buffy: I'm the slayer so fuck you.)
If people could not a) link my online pseudonyms to my legal name or b) discuss my mental health in public, that'd be really fucking great.
laceblade: Toph of Avatar: The Last Airbender, earthbending (ATLA: Toph)
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift, part 2 - I'm still really digging this story arc. I love the focus on "what happens after the end" - in this volume, Sokka and Katara run into old members of the Southern Water Tribe who have moved north to work in unsafe conditions because they don't have another choice. The team also meets up with past soldiers from the Fire Nation Army who need work now that their steady source of income is gone. These are the kinds of details that I always WANT to read about, & would love in say, Harry Potter and dozens of other world. I'm glad to read about them here.

Toph and Aang having to deal with their pasts is also compelling, particularly Aang, the sole survivor of an entire race, who's trying to figure out how the Air Nation traditions he knows can live on, when it seems like the entire world has moved on without them. I'm eager to see how this trilogy will end.


Ms. Marvel, #3-6 - Finishing up the first arc & starting the second. I just really love this series. I love Kamala. I loved her conversation with Sheikh Abdullah in #6. Kamala is a hero I need. Reading the series is a delight.


Brunette Ambition - It's impossible for me to be objective this one, as Lea Michele is one of my most-admired & most-adored celebrities. It was a treat for me to hear her voice so strongly, unedited by Hollywood Reporter or other gossip sites.

I enjoyed the insights into her routines & how she keeps herself centered. I don't think I'll be able to take much of the advice, as a lot of the self-care tactics are costly.

Still waiting for a behind the scenes Glee cast tell-all, ;)


Gertrude and Claudius - Hamlet's always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, if not my most favorite.

This is my first Updike novel. While the prose is good & the writing technically great, the book as a whole is...kind of boring? A little disappointing. What I liked most were the glimpses at Hamlet and Ophelia. Mostly, I now want to reread Hamlet.
Maybe I need to create a "books: fanfiction" tag for books like these?!


Kitty Goes to War - I kind of had a hard time rating this one.

I dug Kitty trying to rehabilitate two army-created/trained werewolves. This entire series' comparison of lycanthropy to mental illness is why I stick around. Her encouragement of the guys to focus on one day at a time, one hour, one minute, then the next one, etc., is just spot on.

That said, I felt pretty dubious about this entire plot, as I work in human research administration professionally. I get that someone went rogue to create the werewolves, but the fact that all of this stayed somehow secret, *especially* in the VA, is ludicrous to me.

The Speedy Mart/wizard subplot was intriguing, although I could use a little more worldbuilding there.
& speaking of worldbuilding, Cormac's plot got laughably little screentime for how important his development was. I really hope that's further explored in future books.

I keep picking these books up when I'm feeling low, & Kitty is always inspiring to me. I hope I reread these many times in the future, but for now they're great on the first time through.
laceblade: fanart of Harry Potter in Gryffindor scarf, Hedwig landing on his outstretched arm (HP: Hedwig)
Rosemary and Rue - I got this from the library because I've been following Seanan McGuire on Twitter for a while & find her pretty cool. I'd bounced off of Feed a while ago, but thought I'd try this urban fantasy series. It reminds me of Kitty Norville in how in the first book, the protagonist is bucking away from the abusive paranormal situation she's been in for a while.
This one's a little different, though, because the protagonist spent 14 years as a koi, in a pond. Random, lol. I plan to read more!

March Story, vol. 1 - This was okay?! Paranormal stuff happening in what they call the 18th century but I'm pretty sure is the 19th, Europe. Very pretty art. Interesting thing with gender that I hadn't seen coming. It's a pity there only seems to be one volume out in English so far.

One Piece, vols. 13-15 - I found the first two volumes really boring. But now that Nami's sick & they're in a snow area trying to find the doctor, I'm finding it really interesting?! I like Vivi even though she's probably temporary. I like that Nami's illness shows how absolutely essential she is to the crew. I think in the first two volumes contained in this omnibus, I was having my typical shounen feelings - annoyed by neverending fights. UGH.

The Lives of Christopher Chant - I liked this WAY MORE than Charmed Life. Christopher is a much more interesting protagonist, and the I found the plot & world-building in this book to be much more fascinating, and I usually don't care about world-building so that's saying a lot.

The insights into everyone who becomes a character in Charmed Life are fascinating, and now I just want to reread certain parts of Charmed Life to see those characters later on. I really love Christopher, & plan to reread this book in the future.

I LOVED the Goddess/Millie. It's so important to me that she found a life she wanted to emulate through books, and let her fictional heroine guide her own actions in a time of crisis - staying loyal to her friends because that's what Millie would do - genius! So special.

Nineteen Seventy-Nine by [archiveofourown.org profile] blamebrampton - The last year of Regulus Black's life, which I really, really liked. Even while getting in with the Death Eaters, Regulus checks in on Sirius to make sure he's okay. He accidentally bumps into Lily Potter, with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. This shows Regulus getting deeper & deeper into the Death Eater group, even while questioning some of their methods. His compromises & eventual inability to compromise are fascinating to watch. I appreciate the way that Lucius Malfoy tries to mentor him, too. I'm still looking forward to reading more HP fic by this author.
I think that reading Rowling's latest Cormoran Strike novel has made me really, really long for her to write some adult Harry Potter books, which is why I'm trying to fill the hole with politically intelligent fanfiction.
laceblade: fanart of Harry Potter in Gryffindor scarf, Hedwig landing on his outstretched arm (HP: Hedwig)
Charmed Life - I do like this world of magic, & the Chants, even Gwendolyn.

I usually dislike plots that can be resolved by two people simply talking to one another, so I spent most of the book just wanting Cat to TALK to Chrestomanci. Still, I like the world & more importantly, the writing, so I'll be reading more.


Alias, Vol. 2: Come Home - Still really enjoying the writing in this series, which is about Jessica Jones, a former super hero who's now a detective.

The use of frames/etc. is a little different, and I'm interested to see how it translates to TV when the Netflix show based on this series gets made. In the meantime, looking forward to volume 3.


For the Public Good by [archiveofourown.org profile] blamebrampton - This was recommended to me on twitter so long ago that I can't remember who recced it >_<
"Harry is loaned to the Muggle government to assist relations between the two governments after the London bombings. When his counterpart in the Communications team comes to him with evidence of a plot to expose wizarding Britain, he is all ears. And only in part because the messenger has such a familiar voice."

The counterpart in the Communications team is, of course, Malfoy. This takes place post-canon, & I really liked it. Catnip for me, sort of - tons of politics & bureaucracy, I actually found the Harry/Malfoy pretty sweet, & it was funny, too.
I'm going to look for more by this author.
laceblade: Sasuke and Ponyo; Ponyo w/light over her head, expression gleeful (Ponyo: It's a light!)
X-Men: War Machines - This plot was...something about an international INCIDENT in a fictional Eastern European nation. Our Heroes engaged in fights, & some rote lines were spoken. Yawn.


One Bird - I bought this book a few months ago, during Frugal Muse's going out of business sale.
I read most of Mori's books as a kid. Since I grew up in Green Bay, her fiction was readily available, as she taught nearby at St. Norbert's.

One Bird has some similarities to her more famous Shizuko's Daughter in that it's about a Japanese high school girl coping with an unhappy home life. In One Bird, Megumi finds a role model in Dr. Mizutani, who shows her how to rehabilitate sick birds.

The book spends a lot of time on the impossible choices women had to make due to the unfair societal expectations people had based on gender, even with this being 1975. It's an interesting insight and commentary. I really enjoyed how Megumi's support system eventually allows her to challenge the virtual prison she's been placed in, disallowed from visiting the mother who's left her for the next seven years.

Most of all, though, I appreciate Mori's writing. Her prose is cutting, just as visceral for me now at 28 as it was when I was 10 or so, reading this the first time.


Sweethearts - I really loved reading about Jenna's relationship with her childhood friend, Cameron.

Jenna's transformed herself, but never forgotten him or the impact he had on her when she was still unpopular and had no other friends.

There's a lot of tension when he shows up - she and her mother and shifted upwards in terms of class, she has a boyfriend, & a group of friends.

Cameron & Jenna's relationship felt real to me.
It makes me wonder what it'd be like if people with whom I used to be close to showed back up & I tried to fit them in with my life as it is now.

I guess it's hard to write about this one! Anyway, I've been tracking down Sara Zarr's novels, & loving each one. I particularly enjoy how important class is, is each protagonist's viewpoint and story.


The Housekeeper and the Professor - A housekeeper & single mother comes to keep house for a retired mathemetician suffering from a memory problem: while he can remember everything up until 1975, his current memory only lasts for 80 minutes.

There's a romance for numbers here, as well as the quiet creation of a found-family.

I liked it quite a bit, although I probably won't reread it.


The Lady Elizabeth - It's nice to read this after Weir's other historical fiction novels about Lady Jane Grey & Katherine Grey/Katehrine Plantagenet. Elizabeth learns how to play the game, & *wants* to play the game.

This book covers Elizabeth's life from birth up to Mary I's death.
I don't have much to say about it. Weir's prose is very readable and engrossing, but at the same time not particularly memorable.
Having read this, I'd love to read more about her reign.


Tokyo on Foot - I reserved this because Gerard Way tweeted about it.

A French twenty-something spends six months living in Tokyo because his girlfriend has an internship. While there, he sketches every day with colored pencils. This isn't a normal sketchbook - he shows detailed maps of each neighborhood in Tokyo, prefaced with a picture of that neighborhood's koban (police box).
Sometimes, he sketches the labels that come on expensive fruit, or copies of receipts from cafes, tickets that get left when he parks his bike somewhere he shouldn't, the contents of a cup noodle meal, etc.

This made me remember a lot of little details from my own trips to Japan, especially the "thousands" of potted plants that appear outside many people's houses/store fronts.

A couple of comments made me uncomfortable - overtones of transphobia, and also a couple comments about fat people (showing a group of high school girls & then saying "There's always one fat one") left me cold, preventing this from receiving a higher rating. He has some other observations of people that feel a little mean-spirited, too, :/


The Dubious Hills - Also purchased when Frugal Muse was going out of business.
This is a beautiful fantasy novel, one in which people consume many pots of tea, plan for childcare, prepare food, & herd cats. It contains the type of mundane details that I wish more speculative fiction would include.

The premise is that wizards eliminated war by parceling knowledge among the members of a community so that they have to rely on one another to navigate through life. One person teaches, one person experiences pain, one person knows plants, etc. Then, the wolves come.

In her review, Jo Walton said this book expands the possibility of what fantasy can be. It really does.


The Silkworm - As with The Cuckoo's Calling, I find the Cormoran Strike novels less condemning than The Casual Vacancy (essentially an evisceration of the white middle class), but still focused on issues of class, wealth, inequality, & human nature.

Rowling's prose is masterful, the vocabulary in particular.
I love the protagonist's reflections on fame. (His estranged father is a rockstar.)

Strike is a veteran, & had part of his leg blown off in Afghanistan. His disability is something that never goes away, is never forgotten by the author. It affects his ability to perform his job, how he travels, how other people perceive him.

I find the Strike novels almost as difficult to put down as the Harry Potter books.
While I rarely by hardcover books brand new as soon as they come out, I did with this one & I don't regret it. I can't wait for the next one.
laceblade: fanart of Ohana turning to look beyond viewer. Coloring blue/moody. (Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana)
Buffy #3 - I read this! Written by Nicholas Brendan, which is sort of notable. It was amusing enough, although I'm probably not as excited as other fans are.

Plume 1-4 - I picked these up in the $0.25 bin at the comics shop. It's apparently based on a webcomic. It gave me a lot of feelings reminiscent of Min-Woo Hyung's Priest manhwa, but I think I like this heroine a bit more. The art style is really great. I asked my comics guy to order the fifth issue for me, which wraps up this introductory arc. I believe this printing was funded by a Kickstarter; to read the rest, I'll need to read it here.

One Piece, vols. 10-12 (omnibus) - A decent continuation of the plot from the previous volume. I liked Luffy's superpower actually being used (as opposed to a glaring continuity error). I also liked Usopp finding the will to fight after thinking about facing his courageous friends afterward if he hadn't.
I enjoyed the closure to Nami's arc - she's my favorite character. It's fun to see the gang finally hanging out in the Grand Line, even if it's not going as they expected. I hope that Tashigi sticks around. She seems like an interesting character.
For 12, I felt pretty meh of the denoument of this arc?! But the next volume starts a new one!!

Homecoming - This series used to be a childhood favorite of mine, & I was in need of a comfort read.
I still really love this, & it came at a good time for me. I like how the kids respond positively to being treated like adults, how much they trust one another, the way the entire book is about class privilege, and how awesome Dicey is.
I'm glad this comfort reread held up for me.

Dicey's Song - This is another reread; it's probably been at least fifteen years since I'd last read it. Dicey defying her teacher over something she wrote made me remember why I identified with her so strongly.
Even though I knew what would happen, the ending still made me cry.
I love this family and the community they create. The truths everyone teaches one another are comforting.
I'm really glad to have returned to this series, & hope to keep progressing.

A Dangerous Inheritance - This was a good follow-up to "Innocent Traitor," which I'd read back in April, & focused on Lady Jane Grey.
This book picks up where that one left off, focusing on the life of Jane Grey's sister, Katherine. I found Katherine Grey to be pretty stupid, but luckily this book has two heroines. Interlaced with Katherine Grey's life is the story of Katherine Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III. Both Katherines live mostly unhappy lives, manipulated by the people around them due to their bloodlines. They fall in love with people they shouldn't. And they both have an unhealthy obsession with what happened to Richard III's nephews, famously known as the princes in the Tower.
I like Weir's historical fiction in part because I know she's an historian and a lot of her plots are based on facts. Her afterward reveals what she made up, and from where she found her facts.
I loved the small glimpses we got of Elizabeth I in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, which focuses on her: Captive Queen.

A True Novel, Book I - This is only the first "half," but the library only sends me one at a time, & at 450 pages I'm counting this as its own "book," even though I haven't read the second volume yet.

This is technically a retelling of Wuthering Heights. The characters are Japanese. It's a book about wealth, racism, westernization, the effects of World War II on Japanese society, and human nature.
I've consumed a lot of Japanese-created media, but this book is unlike anything I've ever read. Mastserful. I kept having to remind myself that it's fiction.

There's a family tree in the back - wish I'd known that all the way through.
I really hope they translate more of Mizumura's novels into English. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to book II.
laceblade: chibi version of Wakana from Tari Tari riding a bike, cat in front basket (Tari Tari: bike)
On Wednesday, I biked for the second half of my commute home from work.
Due to construction, west-to-east evening traffic has been abysmal this summer, whether one is traveling by bus or by car.

The b-cycle station is not really conveniently located for getting on to the bike trail, & I had to back-track a couple blocks.
Still, the bike ride portion took about 18 minutes.

Overall, I only saved 5 minutes. But all of the start-and-stop that riding the bus involves - particularly the evening drivers on my route, ugh - usually leave me feeling sick.
Biking doesn't make me feel sick like that, however it did wipe me out for the rest of the evening.
My mind felt good - it was a great way to let things go after work. But my body was exhausted. I'd previously planned to cook dinner that night, & I had to microwave something instead.



My second ride was this evening. The Boyfriend and I walked took a walk for a few blocks, & then I grabbed a b-cycle & took it to the market to buy a couple food things for the week. It was a nice ride, mostly, but other bikers kept passing really close to me without shouting out, "On your left!" or etc., which made me feel anxious, :/

It's pretty buggy, too.


I'd sort of like my own bike for trips like these. I tried checking out the nearest St. Vincent DePaul's bike sale Saturday morning, but it was a bust.

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