Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Sun of Blood and Ruin by Mariely Lares. Fantasy.
I need to stop reading debut authors. This book was billed as a gender-swapped Zorro combined with Mesoamerican mythology and alternate-history Spanish-Colonized Mexico. And it was indeed that, with a nice mix of adventure, political intrigue, magic, and some hints of romance-to-come. I was enjoying it a lot.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong. Science fiction.
A Hunger Games knockoff with a 90’s cyberpunk movie vibe. An ambitious failure of a book. I had fun reading it only because I kept reminding myself not to think about anything. So I don’t regret the time I spent reading it, but I’ll also say: you can do better.… >> Read more
Thumbs up (with caveats) for Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger. Psychology.
A short book. This is Junger’s rather diffuse “theory of human satisfaction” interweaving threads of PTSD, belonging, and how humans frequently feel better during hardship. This was an interesting book which made me think, so if that is its goal, it has succeeded. As a work of rigorous intellectual study, it fails utterly.… >> Read more
Neutral rating for The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten. Fantasy.
Woman who wields death magic is thrown into court intrigue, has lukewarm love triangle. There was nothing truly bad about this book. But when you start out thinking “oh, I like this” and then by page 250 you’re looking to see how many pages are left (answer: way too many), you know the pacing is wrong.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. Dark fantasy.
I love a big book with lots of worldbuilding, and, well, that’s good, because Miéville never describes anything in one paragraph when he’s got ten pages to spare. Sometimes it’s brilliant; sometimes it comes off as sheer wankery. (He also goes out of his way to be gross, which I found comical after a while: this book contains the word “filth” 49 times and then there’s his hilarious passion for “glutinous”) The story itself–monsters!–doesn’t… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young. Romantic contemporary fantasy.
A woman who owns an herb shop on a magical island outside Seattle has to unravel the true story of what happened when she was a teen–did the man she was in love with (who’s now returned to the island) really kill her friend? Although it’s not quite my usual thing, I did enjoy this book.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Sam Saves the Day, Island Rescue, and For Rent by Charles E. Martin. Children’s.
I remembered these from my childhood and it took me ages to track them down, because I didn’t remember the author’s name. It was nice to see them again, so there must have been something little-me connected with in the art, but when viewed with adult eyes I don’t think I would choose to give these to a child over other books with cleverer stories.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland. Anthropology.
Some while ago I read a very interesting article in the Atlantic about, basically, why human beings – as a species – go to so much trouble to get drunk (or high), considering how very bad for us it is.… >> Read more