I had my first book club meeting at the beginning of the month. We discussed Elenor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. I don’t know how it’s supposed to go, but I enjoyed myself. We’ve all got different reading tastes, so it will be interesting to see what sort of books we’ll discuss in the future. We’ve decided to rotate choices. Every month one person chooses four books, then the other two choose one book each from the four possibilities. It’s complicated, but it gives everyone a bit of a choice every month.
In other news, I quit on the Literary Grand Tour of the World Reading Challenge in order to try and finish YARC, but I’m not hopeful I’ll succeed at this point.
Last, but not least, I completed my Goodreads Challenge of 100 Books! Yay!
Key: 💕 2019 Release 📚 Retelling 🏮 Asian
Ooku by Cecilia Segawa Seigle ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was a fascinating look at the Tokugawa Shogun’s inner chambers, where only women could reside. It was run entirely by women and mirrored the hierarchical structure of the shogunate itself. The only let down for me was how little information there was about it from the inside. The author has to construct this book largely by looking at the gaps, so to speak.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman ⭐️⭐️
My thoughts about this book are hard to process. I read this for my book club, so I felt compelled to finish it. I’ll admit, the writing was very easy to read, so I got through this in two days. Eleanor Oliphant is a strange character to say the least. I could relate to her one minute, then I was rolling my eyes at her stupidity the next. I saw the twists coming a mile off, so there wasn’t much in the way of surprises. I also didn’t find the treatment of sensitive subjects (such as alcoholism and trauma) handled that well.
Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
My journey into classics is continuing, and I was very happy reading the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series. Anne has gone to Redmond college with some of her friends, and is studying for her B.A. I love the characters and the friendships and the little scrapes Anne gets herself into. There is one scene with a cat that I found quite distressing, so watch out for that.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be, but it was a perfectly decent book. It’s basically about a girl who has been on the run with her mother her entire life. One day her mother is kidnapped, and she has to journey to her reclusive grandmother’s estate to rescue her. I enjoyed the sort of strange, dark, whimsical atmosphere. I also enjoyed reading the dark fairytales her grandmother had written about in Tales of the Hinterland. Sadly, other than that, I found it fairly forgettable.
#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil ⭐️⭐️💫
The basic premise is that our main character is convicted of killing her stepsister, and is sent to Alcatraz 2.0, where state sanctioned killers hunt down the prisoners and execute them in a theatrical way. All of this is filmed and distributed on social media. There’s even merchandise!
This was supposed to be a YA thriller, but there was zero suspense. It was basically an exercise in gratuitous violence. Despite the star rating I actually enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and very predictable but sometimes that’s what I need. I thought the themes were actually quite interesting – the commodification of violence, corruption, and social media’s role in vigilante/punitive justice.
And Shall Machines Surrender by Benjanun Sriduangkaew 💕🏮 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I read this novella in one sitting. It was completely addictive, and there were so many twists. It’s about a former spy/doctor being invited to an AI run Dyson sphere in order to solve the mystery as to why AI-human cyborgs are committing suicide. I feel like anything else I say will give too much away. I appreciated the range of gender identities that are represented. The only thing I fee I should mention are the two sex scenes, which featured BDSM. They only last 1-2 pages, so if you’re uncomfortable they’re easy to skip.
An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard (Re-read) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was one of my choices for our book club last month. I love pretty much everything about it. I like the characters – their nuance and their relationships. The magic system is darkly fascinating, and the plot is twisty and completely satisfying. The themes of corruption and power are tackled head on, but it’s not moralising or tedious. I think it’s also subtly feminist, which I love. The editing is a bit poor in places, but I like the writing style overall. The first scene is my favourite in terms of imagery.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett 💕 DNF 41%
This was my other choice for book club, and I was so disappointed. The pacing was slow, and the plot sort of gets lost in the worldbuilding. It’s set in a dystopian society ruled by the patriarchy. Every year, 16 year old girls get sent away to an island to “expel their magic,” which is really code for going crazy and bullying each other (although abuse would be a better term.) I wasn’t enjoying the writing style, alI didn’t really care about the characters, and there wasn’t much plot to speak of by this point.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee 💕🏮 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I wish I’d read this at a different time, because I struggled through the first half (I was reading 5 other books simultaneously.) I loved the main character – Jo was complex, and smart, and sarcastic. My kind of girl. The themes explored were one of the biggest strengths in this novel – racism and sexism, and the intersectionality between them.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (re-read)
I decided to re-read the whole Raven Cycle quartet before diving into Call Down the Hawk, a new trilogy set after the original. I love these characters and their quest to find an ancient (possibly magical) Welsh king who will grant them a favour. The atmosphere is whimsical and unsettling at the same time. And the writing is so easy to get lost in.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The premise sounds weird, but it is part of the ‘magical girl’ genre. By day, Kusakabe Maron is an ordinary high school girl, but by night, she is Phantom Thief Jeanne. As the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, her mission is to steal demon-possessed paintings and neutralize their evil. Jeanne’s only ally is the angel-in-training Finn, but things become more complicated when another thief appears on the scene. I love this series because it has humour, and romance, and magic, and adventure. It tackles a lot of deeper stuff too, like child neglect. Overall, a fun series about believing in yourself.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 3⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is my favourite volume of the series. It makes me cry every time. This one focuses on a boy in hospital called Zen, who just wants to see his family. The relationship between Maron and Zen is beautiful.
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 6⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Volume 7⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fruits Basket Volume 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.
Fruits Basket Volume 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane 💕📚
An anthology of short stories inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Inspired by Mesopotamian mythology, this novel is about two goddesses and the quest to restore a world that has been broken and ravaged by extreme weather.
Reading Challenge Updates
Retellings Reading Challenge – 50/25 complete
Year of the Asian Reading Challenge- 27/31 so close
My Blog Posts
Recent Reads: Micro Reviews
The Tenth Girl/ Labyrinth Lost DNF reviews
Stepsister/ Robbergirl mini reviews
August Bullet Journal Flip Through|| Disney Princess Theme
October Bullet Journal Flip Through || Cute Spooky Halloween Theme
Blog Posts I Liked