laceblade: Toby, Josh, and Donna of The West Wing, talking intensely (WW: 20 Hours in America)
I swear to God I've written this post twice before, but I keep drafting it in email and then somehow losing it. It's pretty upsetting. It's been a while since I've read some of these, so this might be short. I'm skipping most of hte comics I've read lately.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - I actually read this months ago and keep forgetting it due to a fluke in it not showing up in chronological order in my Goodreads list.
I like Nemisin's ideas and her politics. Unfortunately, I can't stand her prose.

/some more X-Men comics/

Half-Off Ragnarok and Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire - As suspected when I read the books narrated by Verity, I enjoy the books narrated by her brother much more. (And I'm anticipating Antimony's books EVEN MORE. WANT. SO BADLY. Also maybe Elspeth's :D) Sadly I really disliked Pocket Apocalypse/the one that took place in Australia. So many cliches, SO MUCH EXPOSITION, people just explaining things to each other in big swaths of dialog. Also unnecessary sentences ending chapters in ways that were just...too dramatic. Did her editor fall asleep? idk? It was disappointing, but I'll be coming back for more.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott - her first YA novel! This is like Little Women set in Egypt but also The Hunger Games. BUT SO MUCH BETTER THAN HUNGER GAMES. So well-written, imagery that was genuinely creepy, so much agency, THE TWISTS, UGGGHHHH I'm ready for the next two in the trilogy and in the meantime I'm giving this to my youngest niece for Christmas.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda - I picked this up because the editor attends my comics club. The first issue is almost 70 pages long. IT'S SO GOOD. The story and the imagery both. The only thing I can compare it to is Ashley Cope's webcomic Unsounded. Really looking forward to more of this in the new year.

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett - Full disclosure that I received an advance copy of this book through a Goodreads give-away.

City of Stairs was my favorite sf/f book last year, and this follow-up did not disappoint at all. I love Bennett's writing. The dialogue feels real, which is so uncommon in most fantasy.
I was worried about Mulaghesh as the POV character only because I loved Shara from the first book SO MUCH. That said, once we got going, it was very clear that this had to be Mulaghesh's story.

Both this book and its predecessor address what happens to the economies and political structures of societies when gods die and disappear, as well as the psyches of individual people.

Like City of Stairs, I plan to keep, reread, and recommend this book.

Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope - Sometimes the art was cool, but overall this was kind of terrible? idk? I'd found it in a list of recommended US superhero comics. I wouldn't have put it there myself, :p

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold - Yeah, I'm the last person on earth to read these books. HOLY SHIT THIS WAS GR9. Already reading Barrayar, which is in the same omnibus edition that I have. Cordelia 4 life.

Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov - Kasparov is a former chess champion from the USSR who now lives in New York and is a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. There's a lot of review of the last 25 years or so of history in this book, which I found extremely valuable. The dissolution of the Soviet Union happened too recently to have been covered in any great detail while I was in K-12 school, and despite one of my majors being Political Science, we never studied it there either.
Kasparov has been warning about Putin for over a decade, before he started invading sovereign nations & assassinating his political enemies. Kasparov is frank in covering the failures of recent presidents, covering all of them since Reagan. His thesis is that morality must have a place in global affairs, and that in recent years it hasn't because it's easier to just say, "The Russians need to take care of their own Russian problem." He paints the Cold War as good vs. evil, which in the past would have struck me as a simplistic reduction, but he explains how governments resisting democracy are trying to control the press/other people's voices in order to continue holding their power. Anyway. He tips towards a level of American exceptionalism that makes me uncomfortable, but it's a good, if unsettling, read.
I'm still horrified by the lack of protest over the MH17 flight being shot down by the Russians over Ukraine. What is it going to take?
laceblade: Manga drawing of Yamada sipping from a milk carton with a straw (Honey & Clover: Yamada drink)
Prince of Dogs - #2 in Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series. Lots of chess pieces moved across the board, but it felt like not much happened. This book sadly suffered from more bloat than the first one. Still, there's a lot to love, and I will continue reading to find out what happens.

Eleanor & Park - I really didn't like this. Maybe it suffered from my having read Fangirl first. This felt more like a sketch of a book than a book.

Maus, vols 1 & 2 - Borrowed from [personal profile] jesse_the_k via comics club. Hard to say much about books that focus on the Holocaust? This was remarkable for two reasons: one being the author's relationship with his father. In the present, he's trying to get his father to tell his story. & despite his father literally having survived the Holocaust, he gets annoyed by him, has to deal with him, tries to avoid getting asked to do work for him, etc. (tbh Spiegelman the author seemed like kind of a dick to his dad)
The second reason being that the parts focusing on the actual Holocaust discussed not only the brutality of the Nazis, but the way equals attacked each other for survival. The characters in this book absolutely survived because if their wealth. & the father telling the story makes it clear to his son that the people who helped them did not do so out of the goodness of their hearts, but because they were paid.

Gangsta, vol. 1 - Checked out form library b/c [personal profile] inkstone loves it. This was a fun ride, and an interesting premise. I'm eager to read more.
Content warning for some transphobia.

The Ice Dragon - Story by George RR Martin that's supposed to be for kids, but it's pretty fucking violent? Worth picking up for the art.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - I think I heard about this in the New York Times? Can't remember any more.

Marie Kondo has created her own tidying system, which she calls KonMari.
The book is sometimes hilarious, because she chronicles her lifelong obsession with organization and tidying, starting in kindergarten. She tidies her school rooms; she gets in trouble with her family for throwing out old clothing in the back of their closets that they never wear anyway; she eventually gets banished to only being allowed to tidy her own bedroom.

The book suffers from a lot of...encouraging talk to the reader? Whereas the system itself is pretty basic. Everyone has enough room to store all of their belongings neatly. If you never have enough room to put everything away, the problem is not that you need to buy some specific kind of closet organizer or plastic drawers, but rather that you have too much crap.

If you're able to put everything away, Kondo argues, you will only have to "tidy" once in your whole life. It'll take a huge commitment on your part to do it, & to do it right, but once you've done it, you'll be surrounded only by things that you love. Sure, you'll have to clean like everyone else, but you won't have to tidy up before you do it.

The key is to ruthlessly go through all of your belongings - all of them - and physically touch each item to see whether it sparks joy or not. You need to focus on what to keep, rather than what to discard. This must be done in a specific order: first clothing [there's a specific sub-order for how to do your clothes], then books, papers, komono [randoms: CDs/DVDs, makeup, electrical equipment, etc., all also in a specific order], and finally, mementos.
This specific order must be followed, because the skill of determining whether something sparks joy in you or not has to be honed. You won't be able to bear to part with any mementos unless you've sharped this skill by going through everything you've done before.

Once you have done this, she argues, you will have enough room for everything.
[She also has a few tips, such as storing everything vertically. Pinterest & YouTube seem to have her folding recs, etc. up: http://www.pinterest.com/eburymakes/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying] Kondo says that making the commitment & tidying up will probably change your life. She spends a lot of time on weight loss/people's figures, but also talks about people quitting jobs they hate to do things that they love. She thinks people will take better care of their belongings after having completed the program.

There are a few quirks here - Kondo encourages the reader to speak to their possessions, to thank them each day for the help as you put them away.
While I have been known to sing to my rice cooker while washing it in my sink, or to my mushrooms as I slice them up before cooking them, I found these passages kind of a far stretch.

There's some advice I'm ignoring, also. I strongly disagree on how many books are necessary in a home, for example, and it'll be a cold day in hell before my bookshelves are shut away in my closets.

She can also be a little sexist/heteronormative/classist.
Kondo advises readers to toss any/all manuals on how to operate and fix appliances. She says that you can just look things up on the internet or take them to a repair person. While the internet might be helpful to all, I think this is assuming a little bit of privilege.
As is her sometimes repeated advice, "If you actually need it later on, just buy a new one."
She talks about "lounge wear" at home being something that should be clothing is specifically tailored for, rather than old/worn clothes. She asks women to consider buying an "elegant nightgown," :p
The narrative also seems to assume the reader is a woman, and refers at times to "old boyfriends."

For me, I was able to skim over the stuff I didn't like and hold on to the method.
The last thing I disagree with might be the most important. Kondo says that you must do everything, wholesale, all at once. All your clothing - all your shirts at once, in a pile, and then go through all of them.
Juggling a bunch of medical issues, this simply isn't possible for me.
Still, I've gone through the bottom drawer of my dresser. Everything has been discarded except for a sweater, a long-sleeved shirt that I've all but stolen from my boyfriend, and a t-shirt from high school. I've kept all the t-shirts from high school musicals and plays for years, but only one of them ever fit me well & felt comfortable. Getting rid of the shirts doesn't mean I'm getting rid of the memories, though - just that I'm getting rid of the negative associations I have with the shirts not having fit me for over ten years.
I've also cleaned out a suitcase that was both filled with & covered with clothes in the bottom of my closet. The suitcase is now upright, as is my spinner suitcase, next to it.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this book continues to influence me & my home, even if I'll be moving along more slowly than the author suggested, and I'm glad I checked it out from the library.

Ashes of Honor - (October Daye #6) I waffled on rating this 3 stars versus 4. This plot has been the most interesting to me after Book 3/Blind Michael.

However, I feel like this one suffered a little from too MUCH banter? idk.
It's also bugging me how much exposition there is - through internal narration and dialogue both.
To be honest, this is something I struggle with in my own writing, so feeling harsh about it might be my own deal.

That said, I still love these characters, & I think I grow to love them a little more every book. Dying to see the follow-up on the cop. Tybalt's voice is Balthier's from FF XII to me.
As always, I'm looking forward to reading more.

The Moe Manifesto - It would've been better if there was a "manifesto" of any kind? Instead, it was a collection of interviews with Japanese people about what they think moe is/means. Interviewees included Mari Kotani, a frequent WisCon attendee. The entire focus of the book was men's relationship with moe. I know that moe is targeted toward men, but sometimes I think literally only [personal profile] littlebutfierce & I care about how not!men feel about/react to moe.

The Runner - Fourth entry in Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman cycle. I don't think I've read this one before. It's weird to spend most of a book disliking the protagonist, but then Voigt just grabs you with a sucker punch. I really wish I could write like her. Wow.

Honey & Clover, vol. 1 - I've never actually read the manga all the way through, although the anime remains one of my hands-down favorites. Umino's art is sketchy, but unusual from other manga styles in a way that's interesting. Part of what's unique about this series is that I actually give a fuck about the male characters, which is pretty rare for me in a shoujo series. I know a lot of people bounce off this series for the way Hagu first appears, but I think it's important to keep in mind that her initial appearance - tiny/"cute" - is from Mayama and Takemoto's points of view. Over the course of the series, Hagu undergoes a tremendous amount of emotional growth.
Paying a lot of attention to things Hagu & Shu say to/about one another, knowing how this ends :[
Now that I'm actually out of college & have settled in a job that I love, I think I have a better appreciation for the struggles the characters are going through. Most non-sf/f anime/manga take place in high school, so it's cool to see a series where the characters are a little older, & really need to get their shit together.
Reading manga is faster than watching the anime, but I find myself thinking a lot about the insert songs by Suga Shikao and Spitz. This was a great fucking show. Also, I forgot how funny it is.
& now I want to upload more Honey & Clover icons that I've had saved for fuckin' ever.
PS: My faves are Yamada & Morita.
laceblade: Fanart of Revolutionary Girl Utena, holding sword and looking at viewer. (Utena fanart)
Vampire Knight, vol. 5 - Uhhh, I finished this right before going out of town for a week & have no memory of it. VAMPIRES COVERED IN BLOOD.

Kitty's Big Trouble - I still like this well enough, but this one I liked less than others. Can't remember too many specifics >__<

Dealing With Dragons - Yes, it's true; I've never read these. Recced to me by [personal profile] were_duck when we were wandering Half-Price Books with [personal profile] wild_irises. I liked this a lot. Would read Cimorene hanging out w/dragons forever. Loved how this fucked with so many tropes. If anything, this book was too short, which is why I'm glad the second one is already in my basket of books checked out from the library.

Unnatural Death - Was this book about lesbians, or did I make that up?

Sister Light, Sister Dark - This is the book that [personal profile] wild_irises recced to me in Half-Price Books after I brought up the fact that I'd never read anything by Jane Yolen. Enclaves of women live separately from other sections of society. Each (well, most) is able to call up their own "dark sister" through mirrors. These dark sisters are then forever bonded to them, although they can only appear where there's darkness - shadows, etc.
Jenna is an heroic figure who might be the fulfillment of a prophecy - but mostly she's trying to do what she feels like she has to.
Yolen mixes the narrative with ballads, songs (with actual music), academic analyses of Jenna's culture.
I'm glad there are more books, and also eager to read more by Yolen. (Feel free to tell me your faves.)

City of Illusions - Continuing my tour of the Hainish cycle. I really did not care for this one. Like, at all. And have struggled to get myself to return to LeGuin since reading it.

Whiteout - Borrowed this at comics club. Via [personal profile] jesse_the_k, I've been reading/watching [livejournal.com profile] antarctic_sue for a few years; thus, the concept of isolated bases where a substantial portion of the population leaves annually & supplies are scarce wasn't new to me. The ongoing murder mystery wasn't very interesting to me; however, the relationship between U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko and Lilly was.
I liked this, & the art, well enough to put volume 2 on hold, anyway.

The Goblin Emperor - LOVE. Written under Sarah Monette's new pseudonym. The airships made me think of Final Fantasy IX.
Basically the protagonist, Maia, has always lived banished with his abusive relative. Despite being the son of the Emperor, his mother has been dead for years after having been cast off, and nobody else really cares about his fate. Until his father, the Emperor, and all his half-brothers in line for the throne ahead of him die when an airship blows up. So Maia has to go to court and learn how to rule. Not only does Maia have no friends at court, he's never had any friends period. He doesn't know how to have friends. Happily, the compassion that his goblin mother taught him to have for others leads him to make choices that better the realm.
I loved that Maia's spirituality was so important to his staying grounded. Time spent meditating was always restorative to him. I think it's rare to read a fantasy series where a character's faith feels authentic. It probably helps that most of the background characters were not down with the religion, so it was a conscious choice made by the protagonist.
Another thing this novel did that I don't think I've ever seen in a fantasy before was a spoiler )
I loved the politics, loved how Maia chose to solve problems.
Definite content warning for an abuse survivor, who gets triggered and stuck in flashbacks.
People who have read both: Is this similar to the Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet? I own 3 of the 4 and while one time I almost finished the first one, I could use some motivation to get these read.

Anne of Windy Poplars - Probably my least favorite of these books so far, tbh. Everything feels like a retread of things that have already happened.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life - Abandoning this on page 180, partly due to time constraints & this being due back at the library before I could finish it, but also because it started losing steam after the beginning. I liked reading about Fuller's childhood a lot. Once she gets older, things sort of read like a who's who of American Transcendentalism, and good Lord, Ralph Waldo Emerson sounds like a brat.

Please Save My Earth, volume 2. This series is SO nineties shoujo manga. AND THAT IS WHY I LOVE IT. I continue to slowly obtain this series through the library's outerlibrary loan system.

King's Dragon - LOVED IT. I was really craving a brick of a fantasy novel, and am so glad that I read this. I've already gushed about Elliott's Spiritwalker trilogy [Cold Magic/etc.], and I feel similarly gush-y about this one. This is the first in a series of seven bricks.
Elliott's fantasy world, which is sort of an alternate Europe with magic, feels real. The gender-equal world was so naturally described that I caught myself being tricked by my own socialized assumptions - assuming that warriors and biscops were only men & getting myself confused, etc. The religion felt SO real to me. Like people's beliefs actually shaped their thoughts and actions throughout the entire novel, and not just when it was convenient to the plot. I should have a disclaimer that at least some of my affection for the religion is probably due to the fact that it's so similar to Catholicism.
I have a lot of love for both protagonists, Liath and Alain. Loved the epic battle at the end.
Has anyone else read these? Just. UGH. LOVE. Very excited to read more. Really don't understand why this book has so many haters on Goodreads.
Definite content warning for domestic violence/abuse, as well as rape.

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent - This book grabbed me from page one, in which the protagonist is described as being one to read while she walks so as not to waste a moment - which is a habit I share. Ivy Lockwell and her two sisters live in a house due to be inherited by their repulsive male cousin upon their mother's death. While their mother hopes one or two of them will marry well to avoid destitution, the girls are pretty happy in the meantime.
Of her sisters & mother, only Ivy is still able to maintain a relationship with their father, who stays in the attic tossing books about magick around after having gone mad a few years ago.

I loved the writing - the author is clever and has a better grasp of language than many other fantasy authors, especially those trying for the Regency era.

I had to give this a three because Beckett relies too much on the sources he's drawing from - Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and what I think is Dickens, although I'm not 100% sure on Eldyn's plot.
While Beckett's third-person prose is great, approximately 100 pages in the middle of the book are written in the first-person, when the protagonist leaves her family briefly to become a governess for a few months, & then marry her employer - aka the Jane Eyre plot. I don't know why Beckett made this choice, but I think it was a poor one.
This middle section feels like an entirely different book. Not only does the narration change, but the POVs of Mr. Rafferdy & Eldyn are dropped completely.

While Ivy and her two sisters - Lily and Rose - are actually pretty interesting to me, I was really disappointed that Eldyn's sister Sashie is a prop for his entire story. I don't know if Beckett was trying to make a commentary on Charles Dickens's useless female characters, but I'll assume this was not deliberate.

The defects are unfortunate, because the writing is very high quality (Jane Eyre episode excepted), and world-building is very intriguing, and I'm not usually one to give a crap about world-building [because lots of authors focus on it instead of the quality of their writing]. Days (lumenals) and nights (umbrals) are variable, and characters must consult almanacs to know what kind of day it's going to be.

While Ivy is unable to perform magic herself, due to being a woman, her role in the main plot is far from passive.

This book's failings knocked it from a four to a three for me. Still, it was good enough that I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the trilogy's second installment. The review on Book Smugglers is probably more useful than my own.

The Diviners - Another book for my "abandoned" shelf on Goodreads. I made it to page 72.
I think I just can't stand Bray's writing. The characters don't talk like people, but rather historical caricatures.
It seems like there might be an interesting plot, but I can't force myself to keep going in order to find out what it is.
laceblade: Fanart of Yukiko & Chie from Persona 4 (P4: Yukiko/Chie)
SO...after my HP reread, I had a lot of stuff due back at the library.
Then I went to comics club & borrowed lots of stuff from people. SO THIS IS A LONG LIST, is what I'm saying.

Cold Steel by Kate Elliott - Great conclusion to a trilogy I've loved. I LOVE CAT AND BEE. CAT AND BEE FOREVERRRRRRR. Also I now want to read a bunch of other Kate Elliott stuff. Good thing I've been buying her novels wherever I find them used/cheap.

Kaze Hikaru, volumes 14-18 - Things are getting a little more intense! I loved the foreshadowing when the doctor came to visit - listening to Okita's chest, when the reader knows he's going to end up dying from consumption.

Saturn Apartments, volumes 6 & 7 - The end of this series! It got a little more intense than I thought it would. Anyway, I can't remember any manga or comic focusing so much on class issues as the central theme of the plot. I'm glad I read this - great sf/f ideas, and a great entry manga, if you're looking for something.

Tears of a Lamb, volume 2 - Didn't like this volume as much as the first - almost the entire thing was about the school's sports festival. I did enjoy meeting Kanzaki's sisters, though.

Dengeki Daisy, volume 2 - I loathed the first half, where Teru was a "slave" doing domestic tasks for Daisy (although she doesn't know he's Daisy).
I LOVED the second half, though - where it's about hackers & the work Teru's brother did while he was still alive. I really hope that Teru goes & lives with Riko.
I'll keep reading FOR NOW.

Very Vicky, issue #? & The Very Vicky Junior Hepcat - This was described to me as a fashion magazine, but idk if I agree? Anyway, Vicky dresses in black cocktail dresses & oversized black hats, & is going to visit her aunt & uncle down in the South (she lives in NYC). She hangs out at the beach although she tries to stay out of the sun. She makes friends. The pages are filled with references to old fashions & alcohol. One of the side character meets God on the beach, & he walks around & tries to meet people. I think I didn't read enough to get a full picture. Overall, it seemed kinda weird. I didn't like it enough to seek out more, I don't think.

Dykes to Watch Out For, vols. 1 & 2 - borrowed from [personal profile] jesse_the_k - I've heard about these for years but never read them before. Strip comics about the lives of lesbians! Just people living life. I really like "mundane" comics like these - it happens more often in manga than in US comics, I think. I'm glad there's lots more to read. The references to late-1980s politics make me happy. The errant transphobic comment does not.

Pretty Deadly, #1-4 - Glad I went back to reread #1 & then reread everything that's been released through now. It all makes sense again! I love the writing & the art. I'm excited to see where this goes.

Saga #18 - Decent wrap-up to this arc. Loved the final panel. Thirsty for more, but the next arc won't start 'til May!

Hawkeye #16 - I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching my apartment for #15 before complaining on Twitter & being told that Marvel skipped #15! Weird, but yay for more Kate Bishop!
laceblade: Jubilee from X-Men, headphones on, working on an iPad, lookin' chill (Jubilee work)
• What are you currently reading?
Cold Steel - Picking up right where Cold Fire left off! I’m finding it hard to focus on this one, maybe because I really prefer mass market paperbacks to trades, maybe because I’ve just been kind of busy. BUT still love this trilogy.

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - I’m reading the first collection of this story arc. As far as I can tell, this precedes the X-Men series I’m currently buying/reading by Brian Wood, & explains how Jubilee became a vampire. So far it’s pretty silly & I barely know who anybody is, but I think it’ll be helpful in figuring out wtf’s going on in the current series. Plus, the current title is doing some “Battle of the Atom” crossover event, of which I only think I have part of the story, so I’m not really eager to catch up until they return to their own story.


• What did you recently finish reading?
Pretty Deadly #1 - Someone posted a nice review on this somewhere on DW, & now I can’t find it but I am still too lazy to write in depth about it. It’s a neat premise, great art.

Saga #15 - That ending, tho!

Sandman Prelude #1 - I never got around to finishing the first run of Sandman, but this one’s okay?! idk. I picked it up but find myself way more into J.H. Williams III’s page layouts/use of color/etc. than I am into the story.

Salvation of a Saint - I got this from the library becaude I’d liked The Devotion of Suspect X. I may have liked this one more, I’m not sure. I wish that more of Keigo Higashino’s books were translated into English. Nobody knows of a place online where to find translated Japanese novels such as these, do they? ;)
In the meantime, I have lots of other novels lying around the apartment by Japanese authors that I need to read.

ATLA: The Search, #3 (final) - I might not have liked this as much as The Promise, but I like them well enough. I know I’ll reread, etc. Anyone know if GLY is planning to write more ATLA? I’ll miss them if he doesn’t :/

Killjoys #3-5 - I caught up on this series & was feeling blergh until issue 5. There are a lot of details that feel lost on me, or like I don’t quite get the plot, which is a thing that annoys me. Hopefully it goes away when I read them all at once.

Captain Marvel - where I left off through #17 (final issue for this arc) - I wish it were possible to read these but drop all the crossover events. I can’t stand those, :/ #17 was fabulous. I still love Felipe Andrade’s art, & I am SO EXCITED for Ms. Marvel. Sad that we have to wait a while for both.

Trillium #4 - The last page said, "The End," & if it is the end, it's kind of sad & pointless. However, there's supposed to be a Trillium #5, so idk what the hell's going on.

Hawkeye Annual & #13 - It was really nice to return to this series. I love the writing. Kate Bishop has the voice of [personal profile] raanve in my head. The Internet leads me to believe that issue #14 came out, but I can't find it anywhere in my apartment. WOE because if I could read more I'd do it ASAP!
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
FINISHED READING
Cold Fire - This was a very engrossing follow-up to the first book, Cold Magic. It's a bit of a brick, but I was never bored, and every single chapter ended on a cliffhanger. These books are a delight for me - revolutionaries and political intrigue, deceit and betrayal, Cat and Bee's fierce friendship and banter. I liked Rory a lot more this volume. I basically loved everything about it. I have Cold Steel on hold at the library, and I think this trilogy is going on my list of favorites. I know I'll be rereading them.

Kaze Hikaru, volumes 3-5 - The more I read in this series, the more I like it. Sei's love for Okita Souji is compelling. At some point, Sei's woman confidant asks Sei if she wouldn't be happy marrying Souji and bearing his children. Sei replies that no, she would prefer to show her love by protecting Souji as a remember of the Shinsengumi. <3 <3 <3!! Sei repeatedly tells those who know the secret of her sex, "I'm not a girl! I am bushi!" It's nice getting to know Kondo and Hijikata better, too.

IRB Member Handbook - I'm not an IRB member, but this book is still relevant to my job training. It's a nice distillation of why IRBs exist and best practices. Probably a little dry for those not required to read it for work, ^^


READING NOW
The Lucy Variations, which I think [personal profile] owlectomy blogged about. It's about being a teenager & figuring out who you are. Lucy comes from a hella rich family who's played piano internationally, until her family's tendency to place fame/piano over everything else prompts her to quit.
I like the book okay, & it's going quickly.
And I think I'll probably dig out my Mozart & Chopin music and bring it home with me this weekend, when I visit the family piano at my sister's.
laceblade: fanart of high-school age Chibi Usa in sweater & red scarf (Sailor Moon: Rini scarf)
• What are you currently reading?
Unsounded - still love it. I really like the things Cope does with the frames and her websites in dramatic &/or magical moments. Ugh, it's so good. I'm in chapter 6.


• What did you recently finish reading?
Killjoys #1 - IT'S OKAY?! I liked this more than the free comic book day one-shot, although now I'd like to go back & reread both of them.

Avengers Assemble #16 - Meh. Not much to say about this.

Buffy #22, The Core, part 2 - Not much to say about this, either. Annoyed with the final line of the issue recycling a line from the TV show.

Wild Ones 6-10 - I decided to just push forward & finish this series, as it was only 10 volumes & I already had 6-8 in my apartment.
It's still terrible. About one panel of Sachie looking like a yakuza bamf-boss for every 50 pages of her completely lacking agency. I rated volume 6 three stars on Goodreads because a plot point progressed due to Sachie's choices & talents. After that, back to the same-old, same-old.
I finished this to be a completist. Rakuto's love for Sachie was something I didn't find romantic. He would say things like, "I wish I could lock you up," etc. to prove how ~protective he is toward her, which I found gross.
The final volume shows Sachie about to embrace the other female daughter of a DIFFERENT local yakuza boss - WHY COULDN'T THIS HAVE BEEN THE ACTUAL ENDING?
Instead, the ending is predictable except by focusing on a previously unmentioned dramatic problem.
Anyway, with this, I'M FREE. I'M FREE.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott - I didn't think I was going to get through this in time for book club, but I miraculously did.
As I mentioned last week, I read this in September but had forgotten all the details. This is why rereading books is super rewarding for me! My memory's weird. Certain things = steep trap. Books/etc., though, main plot points totally escape me & I'm usually only left with vague impressions.
Anyway, I like how important lies are in this book, both as part of the society in which Cat lives & also major plot point progressions.
I also still love how strong Cat is, even when so many things about her life are revealed to be lies. It's very much like the finale of Buffy season 2 - "Take away your friends, blah-blah, and what's left?" "Me." /kicks ass/
I'M SO READY TO READ THE ADVENTURES OF CAT AND BEE, BOOK 2 :) :) :)


• What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, I have a pile of manga I've been amassing from the library, so more of that. I'll be picking up Captain Marvel #13 and possibly other stuff at the comic book store tomorrow or soon.
laceblade: fanart of Sailor Venus, smiling at the viewer, looking like a BAMF (Sailor Venus)
• What are you currently reading?
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott. I read this back in September or so & loved it. We're reading it for [community profile] beer_marmalade, & I wanted to reread to better remember & to be a better participant ^_^
The beginning part, with Cat & Bee just living life & going to school? I'd read that forever.


• What did you recently finish reading?
Batwoman #16-20 - Meh. They're setting up a new arc & idgaf what's happening, so I dropped Batwoman from my pull-list.
I'd be willing to read it in trade, when it comes in at the library.
It's hard to tell whether it's my own apathy or the comics themselves that's at fault. EITHER WAY, goodbye Batwoman.

Wild Ones volume 5 - I keep wanting to read manga & going with this one because I have it from the library but UGH. The once-per-volume shots of Sachie looking like a total badass aren't worth all of her agency being erased by Rakuto.
This volume's low-point was when another dude asked Rakuto why he didn't just tell Sachie he loved her, & he said, "If I did that, I wouldn't be able to stop."
Stop what, you wonder? Repeating over & over that he loves her? Or is that a creepy overtone of rape threat?
The answer's revealed a couple pages later when the words are repeated as he stumbles on Sachie lying asleep on a futon at the end of a chapter. That's the cliffhanger - WILL HE ABLE TO STOP HIMSELF?
Fuckin' gross.
AND YET. Volumes 6-8 were already in my library basket & I just want to see what happens, so. I'll likely continue.

Unsounded, volume 1 by Ashley Cope
Ashley Cope used to go by "GlassShard" on the Internet. I've been following her work basically since I started hanging out online - I loved her FF7 fanart & fic.
Unsounded is a webcomic; I bought the first physical volume from her Kickstarter. I'd been following this online, but because the chapters are sort of written to be read all at once, it was hard for me to read this when it updated (every M, W, F) & I fell off. This volume collected chapters 1-3, and I'm hoping I'll keep going with chapters 4 & on, & get all caught up :D
This is a fantasy series. The protagonists are Sette, a young thief with a tail who swears more than me, and her magic-casting friend Duane. Sette refers to him as her "attack zombie," and makes fun of him for having such a boring name.
Cope is one of the rare webcomic artists who's also a really strong writer. Her time management is professional, too. Her hiatuses last exactly as long as she says they're going to, which is much appreciated in the world of webcomics, where people sometimes disappear for years.
Unsounded is free online, for everyone. You should totally do it.


• What do you think you’ll read next?
In a fit of angst some point this week, I went through my Goodreads list from the past couple years & made a list of the manga series I'd stop reading. Even though I'd stopped reading some of them b/c I found them boring, I checked out the next volumes in various series (Bride's Story [love it], Cross Game, Soul Eater, rest of Wild Ones, Saturn Apartments, Shugo Chara!) & a couple novels (Parable of the Talents, Summer Prince). So. Expect some mass-reading of manga, I guess.

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
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