I’m not surprised I failed at my first attempt of a TBR mug.
Hello and welcome to my April book wrap up. This month, I read 13 books. All but one were from the library. I’m just going to get into the books, because we have a lot to cover today!
The first book I read this month: Upstream. This story is set in Alaska, and follows a girl who’s lived there all her life. It’s very clear from the beginning that her boyfriend died, but we don’t know yet how he died, why he died. So she’s going on with her life, trying to deal with the loss of him. This is a short book. Not that hard to read, I finished it in a couple hours. It’s a good story, but not mind-blowing and wow! Yeah, if you like stories set in Alaska, outdoor stories, this is a good read.
Deadpool Classic Vol. 3. When I got this from the library, I thought it was Vol. 1. I looked all over the book, and could not find anything that said what volume it was, so I assumed that meant it was number one. Turns out, when I pulled it up on GoodReads for adding it to my list, it said Vol. 3. Great labeling. So I… It’s Deadpool, you know the comics. No need to explain more. I personally wasn’t that into this one. It may just be because it’s Vol. 3, and it may be because it’s not what I was really expecting from Deadpool. I know, I’m bad, I have expectations from the movie, and I tried to apply that to the book. No.
A Darker Shade of Magic. I was expecting to like this when I got it, I’d seen a few recommendations. So, fine. I got it and oh, wow. I really like it. I made this my recommendation for Kathy. She did a “BookTube picks her TBR” video, so I put in A Darker Shade of Magic for that. And it’s basically multiple dimensions, multiple Londons, and only a few specific people can travel between the different Londons. They’re parallel Londons. And there’s a lot of magic in this. This is a really fun book if you like magic and fantasy, this is great. I have the second book, A Gathering of Shadows already waiting for me in e-book form. So I’m excited to read that.
The Street of a Thousand Blossoms. This was very touching. This is set in Japan in 1939, I believe, and this follows two boys who grew up in Tokyo. One has dreams of becoming a sumo warrior. The other has dreams of becoming a Noh mask artist. It’s their story of growing up through the war, the end of the war… It’s really good. It starts when they’re about eight, nine years old, around that age, all the way to adulthood. This is partly based on true events, partly made up. I was very touched by this, it talks about war, and it doesn’t really shy away from being graphic. So… Be warned if you read this, be warned. This is a really good story of family, friends, love, and more. It’s great.
The Kite Runner. Really, really brilliant move Rogan, reading this and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms at the same time. Great move. Okay. The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan over the past 30 years. It starts about 30 years ago, when the monarchy in Afghanistan was collapsing, and war was starting. It follows a boy and his friend. The story is in first person. His father is wealthy, part of the ruling class, he had a good life. The war hit, so he escaped, eventually moved to America… He writes the story about his experiences in the war, his guilt with leaving his friend, what things happened. I don’t want to tell you too much because this requires you to really read it. But I will warn you, there is sexual assault in this, and obviously, violence from the war, obviously. And just, heavy topics are in this book. So be aware of that. I did think this was really well-written, so if you feel you can handle it, read this.
Next is my new favorite sci-fi book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Y e s. This story is mostly set in a spaceship that is responsible for creating wormholes for ships to travel across the galaxy a lot faster. It has a lot of queer rep and diversity. Now, diversity—not necessarily in color diversity, but species diversity. It still has parallels with racial diversity, so that part is good. It will have a lot of mentions of racism, and touching on those topics. But the queer stuff is just… Okay, cool. It’s there, no one blinks when two women are together, two men are together, or alien with human. Whatever goes, goes. This is fantastic. It does touch on some semi-heavy topics, and I think it was done really well. I loved this book, so yes, definitely read it.
Next, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. YES. Yes. Read this. No question. This is basically about Evelyn Hugo. She’s a famous billionaire, she’s been in movies her whole life. Now, she has, for her whole life, rarely given interviews. So one day, she contacts a news (organization) and says she wants to do an interview with this specific person, Monique. She wants only her, they don’t understand why, but okay. They sit down… Oh. Turns out, Evelyn wants her to write her biography. Now, her reason for doing that is kept a secret until much later, so I will let you read that for yourself. What she’s famous for is her seven husbands. But what most people don’t really know, or not really advertise, is that she’s bisexual. And her greatest love in life is not one of those husbands. This woman is amazing, and yes. I love this book. Everyone needs to read it, like, ASAP.
All Out: The No-Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages. It’s exactly what it seems like. It’s an anthology of different stories of queer teens through different eras. Some are set in the 1950s, some in the 1700s, it varies. All over the place, but mostly in America and Europe. I wish it was a little more diverse in that aspect. But in attraction and identity, the diversity is fantastic. Racial diversity is fantastic. These are written by a lot of really great authors. If you have the opportunity to read this book, do it. Yes. I really—it’s very interesting, because some of the stories are classic fairy tales, given a new life with queer representation in it. Some are just original stories. It’s a great mix of stories.
A Closed and Common Orbit. This is the second one to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and yes. It was not exactly what I was expecting. I didn’t read the synopsis for this, so I was reading it a little confused. Oh, it’s a little different. It picks up pretty much right after the first book ends, but it starts somewhere else, and it focuses on a different group of people, not the first group. It wasn’t bad, I really enjoyed it actually. Just be aware of that if you go into reading this.
Reign of the Fallen. This story is basically about necromancers, people who raise the dead. But not in the way you expect. This story is about a royal family that has been ruling for centuries. I mean, literally. Like, the king has been king for 200 years or so. So how do they do this? Necromancers. They will bring them back from the dead. Every two or three years, they kill him, then bring him back again. The reason why they do this is because if they stay in the real world too long, they will become something called a Shade. Another way of becoming a Shade is being exposed to the living. Shades are awful monsters that will just destroy everything in their way. This story was really good, it has queer representation, it has diversity. It’s great. Yes, read it.
Renegades. I love the cover! This is basically a superhero story. This is a world where people have powers, but they’re called prodigies, not supers or whatever, prodigies. And back then, years and years ago, they were afraid and had to hide, keep their powers secret and not show them. Until the Age of Anarchy. The government collapsed, schools shut down, everything. No control, no systems, nothing. Just a free-for-all. And this was instigated by people who have powers. Then came the golden days. A group of supers called Renegades came in and stopped them, brought order back. So the Renegades grew and became a big team. This follows, specifically, a child whose parents died during Anarchy, and she hates the Renegades. (For a reason that will be told in the story.) When I first started reading this, I was thinking an usual superhero story, cool, fine. After reading some, I was surprised. They show both the good side and the bad side, but also the gray area. Also, when I was a little further along, I started being reminded of The Incredibles a lot. I think it might be because of the Incredibles 2 trailers. They’re kind of bringing back supers into the public eye, because they had a point where people were angry, didn’t like them, and didn’t want them anymore. So they went into hiding, and now bringing them back. I guess that’s what I was reminded of?
In Other Lands. This is… I laughed several times reading this. I want to insert the first line from this. “So far, magical school was total rubbish.” That’s a great way to open a book! This story is not set in our world. There are only a few humans who can see a magical wall between our world and the otherlands. The otherlands have everything—magic, trolls, elves, harpies, mermaids, and so on. Elliott is the main character, he was given the choice of either going and training in the army on the magical side, or staying in his world. He decided to join the army. The story goes from there. Adventure ensues, he learns about the Borderlands, that’s what they call it, being in military training. I really enjoyed this. It also has queer rep. The queer rep in this is really interesting, because it’s almost not a big deal, but at the same time, occasionally and in specific situations, it is a big deal. I thought that was really interesting, how the author decided to approach this. I enjoyed reading this, I laughed several times like I said, it was… Elliott, the lead character… I can relate to him, he has SNARK and attitude, it’s great. I love him. I would like to mention, Elliott is a little bit of a jerk. Wait, a little bit? No. He is often a jerk. But he does grow and learn from that.
Next and last, The Elephant in the Brain. This was a really great book. The sub-title says “Hidden Motives in Everyday Life.” It basically looks at the psychology, kind of psychology. But it looks at the reasons WHY we do the things that we do. Like for example, we do things to be altruistic, do good. But behind that, really? Are we really doing it to be nice, or are we doing it to serve ourselves? Or are we doing it to raise our social status? Things like that. It did a lot of variety, looking at different areas in human lives like education, politics, medicine, and so on. And looked at the various things, and asked, is it really effective or what’s the real reason why we do things this way. I really enjoyed it, it’s a fascinating topic. So if you like psychology, if you like trying to understand why we do the things we do, this is a good read.
At the beginning of this post, I said of course I would fail at my first attempt for a TBR jar. Well. I just happened to get a lot of books from the library, and oops. So I will seriously aim and try to read more this month. My three books for last month were Upstream; Lord of Snow and Shadows; and Profiles of Gay & Lesbian Courage. I read only Upstream. I will try to read at least one of the other two this month. So now is time for this month’s three books. Touchy Subjects by Emma Donoghue. Okay. That should be good. The Innocent by Harlan Coben. Hm. I was kind of hoping for another book. Oh well. Cyclops by Clive Cussler. Great, I’ve been waiting to read that one. Hopefully I will read at least two of them, plus one of the books from last month. Okay, I am going to finally finish up this post. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you want to read any of these books, or if you’ve read any of them, what you think of them.
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