laceblade: Juri of Utena anime in middle school uniform; Shiori's hand covers her eyes. (Utena: Juri eyes covered)
Barrayar and The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold - Barrayar was perfect and I gave it 5 stars. As for my first Miles book, HOLY SHIT IT IS SO CATHARTIC TO WALLOW IN A PROTAGONIST WITH CHRONIC PAIN/HEALTH ISSUES WOW. I joked on Twitter, asking whether it was normal to spend a Miles book going, "Miles stop; Miles no!" and everyone assured me that it was. I am looking forward to reading more, and grateful to [twitter.com profile] deermews for making my reading of these books possible!

House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard - I was looking forward to this because people with good taste recommended it, and it sounded like something I'd enjoy. I got over 100 pages in, but unfortunately found it appallingly bad, like straight-up. Between this and my dislike of The Fifth Season, it makes me wonder whether I'm deficient in my appreciation of feminist fantasy! idk.

Full Moon O Sagashite, vols. 1-6 - Arina Tanemura - A girl who loves to sing has sarcoma, but the surgery necessary to curing her condition would ruin her voice. This is hands-down my favorite Tanemura so far, I think because the protagonist has SO MUCH agency, and because of the unrequited/impossible loves that are going on. These are also some of the best omake pages I've read in a manga so far, bahaha.
I have one volume to go and am semi-afraid for it to end. That said, I appreciate that Tanemura tells her stories & gets out, without rehashing the premise for 25 volumes!
In one of the omake columns, she talks about how the ultimate manga story she's always wanted to create will never be written because Ribon would never publish it & she would never leave Ribon. I appreciate this BUT ALSO I REALLY WANT THAT STORY WHAT THE FUCK WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT.

Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn - The Force Awakens made me wistful for old Star Wars novels, so I'm trying to reread things in publication order that I haven't touched for 15-20 years. This has the added bonus of bringing these paperbacks to my apartment, and getting them out of my childhood bedroom in my parents' house, >___<
These two were way better than I remember? At least, I hadn't remember there being this much politicking going on, and <33333333. MARA JADE 4 LIFE. And I love that Lando Calrissian is involved because of course Lando is involved. You don't have a sequel to Star Wars without Lando. [*looks directly at Force Awakens*]
Spoilers for both this 'Thrawn Trilogy,' future/already-published Star Wars expanded universe novels up through those published in the past 5 years or so, and The Force Awakens movie )

Requiem for the Rose King, vol. 1 - Aya Kanno - AKA: THE RICHARD III SHOUJO MANGA. I was alerted to the existence of this manga by a [personal profile] coffeeandink post. In addition to being very pretty, it's a great read after having just read Alison Weir's Wars of the Roses; however, NOTHING is done to provide the reader with context/who the hell these people are, so I could easily see this being frustrating to those unfamiliar with this chapter of English history.
THAT SAID IT IS AMAZEBALLS. She bases it heavily on Shakespeare's Richard III and Henry VI plays. The "twist" is that Richard III was born intersex, so there is some body angst happening. He is also haunted by visions of an apparition of Joan of Arc, who taunts him for not being a real warrior/etc. because of his body.
I did not expect to like the portrayal of Henry VI so much.
I loved it and the next two volumes are waiting for me to come to the bookstore and buy them. *____*

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - the first of her novels focusing on a pre-Tudor era: the Wars of the Roses. This book focuses on Elizabeth Woodville: the wife of Edward IV, and the grandmother of Henry VIII. One thing that I like about Gregory's books is that she pushes the, "Yes, this historical character was accused of witchcraft and isn't that horrible BUT ALSO WHAT IF THERE WAS WITCHCRAFT AND WHAT WOULD PEOPLE DO WITH IT?" so we have Elizabeth affecting battle outcomes by cursing people and/or controlling the weather. I probably liked this one more than the latter Tudor books I read/anything I've read since The Constant Princess [about Catherine of Aragorn], which still has my favorite canon-compliant AU of Catherine + Arthur Tudor = OTP4LIFE.
I'm looking forward to reading the other Wars of the Roses/"Cousins' War" books in this cycle, & have already started the second one focusing on Margaret Beaufort.
laceblade: Cardcaptor Sakura, smiling at viewer, surrounded by pink. Text: RESOLUTION (CCS: Resolution)
I'm not great at this once-weekly posting about books, am I?!

Mercedes Lackey update: After reading/really disliking Winds of Fate a while back, I was concerned I'd only like the first trilogy; however, I read Exile's Honor and By the Sword and really liked both. tbh I LOVED By the Sword so much. Super excited to read Oathbound also. Reading in publication order seems really important, and I think is why I floundered so much in Winds of fate. I kinda want to reread the Valdemar parts of Winds of Fate with more context now.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken - I remember reading this several times in elementary school, but all I remembered about the plot/characters was that I liked it. It holds up well - LOVE! - and apparently is part of a series, so I'm looking forward to finding out what happens to everybody.

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu - Basically like Animorphs where a Yeerk takes over your brain & can control your movements, except no morphing lol. This was a real page-turner and hit a lot of my trope buttons, but I really hated how the female characters serviced the plot [as in I can't remember the last time I felt so angry over this] and it REALLY needed an editor. Did it get edited at all? It felt like no. STILL, I liked it enough to be interested in reading the next book to see what happens.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman stuff - I read Fall of Light even tho [personal profile] jinian warned me not to. This was pretty creepy but I liked the protagonist?? Still, uncomfortable/sense of unease. Read Heart of Memories really annoyed me, and Stir of Bones actually kind of really set me off. I need to not read things where the protagonists talk about wanting to be dead :)
It's kind of put me off trying more by her, even though I'd like to try more. :/

Story of Saiunkoku manga - UGH SO GOOD. I LOVE THIS STORY SO MUCH. [personal profile] intothespin said on twitter that Shurei is like Leslie Knope and YES, SO MUCH YES. ALL SHE WANTS IS TO BE A CIVIL SERVANT AND DO A GOOD JOB AND HELP HER COUNTRY. It really speaks to the state employee in me, :*) In addition to bureaucracy + shoujo manga + amazingness.
I really wish the novels would be translated into English, either professionally or by fans, so I can find out what happens next, :( I think the manga and the anime left off in the same place.

Time Stranger Kyoko, vols. 1 and 2 by Arina Tanemura - pretty good, fluffy fun? But what I loved most of all was the implicit f/f declaration of love. Like Tomoyo and Sakura, it just makes me go *____*

The Movement by Gail Simone - Suggested by someone at comics club, honestly can't remember who. Sadly, this tried to grab a niche from the Occupy movement, and fill this space of "fuck the system" vs. police, but the dialogue was terrible, I gave zero fucks about the characters, and it was just really bad.

Phoebe and her Unicorn - Meant for children, compared to Calvin and Hobbes. Lots of one-off pages that also tell a story about a precocious girl with a prissy unicorn friend. Boring, hated it.

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, aka her book about Mary, Queen of Scots. This details when she was held prisoner by George Talbot and Bess of Hardwick. I REALLY LOVE MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS? I THINK I LIKE HER MORE THAN ELIZABETH I? It's funny - I have a couple coworkers who are really into Tudors books [one of whom is the one lending me all these, who's sadly leaving for another job!], and one of them really despises Mary QoS, thinking she was stupid for not just taking her Scottish crown and being happy with it. Gregory makes her sympathetic, and from her POV all of her actions make sense, to me. Her observations of Elizabeth as mean, entirely under the control of William Cecil, and how she reacts to fear/etc. rang 100% true to me. Bess of Hardwick was pretty fun to read about, too. I can see why some people would dislike the impressionistic POV-switching that's going on between the three characters, but for me it help the pace going in what was overall a reflective book, excepting all the Rise of the North stuff.
laceblade: Risa of Lovely Complex, contorting thumbs & index fingers into a heart, winking (Love*Com: Risa Heart)
I've been trying to read LeGuin's Hainish cycle, somewhat in order. I really liked Semley's Necklace, which was a lot like Rip Van Winkle. Why doesn't more SF deal with the effects of FTL travel?
I enjoyed Planet of Exile and Rocannon's World mostly for the prose, but liked Semley's Necklace better.
I've also read "April in Paris," which is unrelated to Hainish stuff but in the same collection of short stories as Hainish stuff.

Phantom Thief Jeanne, vols. 1-3 - I really enjoyed these. I love Maron's hair, which is always perfectly drawn. Viz's release is very pretty.
I think this is the first time I've seen virginity explicitly/textually linked with mahou shoujo power. The threat of rape is used repeatedly in the third volume, which I really didn't care for.
The primary love interest also makes comments that he might not be able to "help [himself]," and wants Jeanne to stop being a Phantom Thief, :[ Very controlling, sometimes disturbing images of him holding her wrists against the wall while towering over her to argue. Ugh.
What does attract me is Maron's loneliness, her desire for strength/fortitude but eventual acceptance that she can and should rely on her friends while she's not yet strong enough to do everything on her own.
Also loved Maron's facade of cheerful strength, which covers up her loneliness. I hope to read more of this rerelease.

After volumes 19 and 20, I've finally abandoned One Piece. I seem to never be able to make it past ~20 volumes with shounen, or at least that's been true of this, Naruto, and Bleach. Fullmetal Alchemist is a well-loved exception.

Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary is hard to describe, but I absolutely loved it, definitely going on my list of favorites. I think it might be my favorite by Dean.

Vampire Knight, volumes 1-5 - I've read the first few volumes before, but now that the final tome has been released, I thought I'd reread & go straight on through to the end. I'd forgotten how heinous this is.
Everyone's hair always looks wet. Sucking of blood is used an excuse for everyone to bit/like one another while having mid-orgasmic facial expressions. The omake pages are literally titled, "Vampires covered in blood are forbidden from entering this page!" AMAZE. Self-aware manga-ka are the best.

One Salt Sea - Fifth Toby Daye, which I enjoyed a lot, possibly even more than #3, which had been my favorite.

Please Save My Earth, vol. 1 - This was a reread from a lonnnnng time ago. Sadly, my library system doesn't carry the rest of the series, and I'd have to outer-library loan every single volume after this. Not sure if I'm interested enough to keep doing that, but I'd also really like to see where the story goes, after only knowing the beginning for about a decade.

Fangirl - I pretty much devoured this. Over-identified in a few places, as I had a hard time making friends in college, spent a lot of time in my dorm room, etc. There's a lot of mental illness running through the pages of this book, so cw for that.

Arrows of the Queen - Someone at Tor.com is reading a reread of these Mercedes Lackey books. Having never read any Lackey ever, I thought I'd join in to learn about "sparkle ponies" that have often been discussed at WisCon.
I think I referred to reading this book as like eating cotton candy. SPARKLE PONY SCHOOL?! WHERE YOU GO AFTER BEING CHOSEN BY A PONY TO HELP RULE THE KINGDOM?! Amazing.

Malice - another fantastic book by Higashino, although this one was NOT about Detective Galileo, as the last two published in the US were. I love the writing. I'm completely unable to guess how things fit together, and I just really love Higashino as an author and wish that more of his books were translated into English.

How to Save a Life - With this, I've now read all available Sara Zarr books, I think? I usually suck these books down in about a day, becoming completely enthralled, and this one was no different.

ATLA: The Rift, part 3 (final) - I really enjoyed this as an end to this third post-ATLA series trilogy. Is Gene Luan Yang doing more? I really hope so!


I know there have been a bunch of other comics I've read after borrowing them from people from comics club, but I'll have to do those after my vacation!

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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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