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The Wonder Woman Book Tag

the-wonder-woman-book-tag

I saw this tag over on Melanie‘s blog, and it’s really short and fun so I thought I’d give it a shot! (Also it’s one in the morning and I’m not sleepy so here I am.)

Wonder Woman: Your favorite badass female book character…

a gathering of shadowsThis is probably a surprise to no one, but V.E.Schwab’s Lila Bard is one of my favorite female characters of all time. I love that she’s a female hero with typically masculine traits, I love that she’s ruthless and does what she has to do without feeling useless guilt, I love that she craves power, I love that she’s not afraid of her power, I love that she’s adventurous, and I love that she wants to leave her mark on the world. I read a post by Schwab a while back where she was relating Hamilton lyrics to her characters, and Lila gets this gem: “There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait. Just you wait!” How fitting! (and also shout-out to Mia Corvere of the Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff, a female assassin who is super badass!)

Fantasy Island: A book setting you want to escape to…

sweepEither I haven’t been reading too much high fantasy or I just like my modern life too much. I’m gonna go with an urban fantasy answer: the Sweep world by Cate Tiernan. It’s basically our world, except Wiccan magic really exists.  Tiernan crafted her magic system in such a way that it had fourteen-year-old me truly believing in its existence; that is, she incorporated a lot of real-life elements of Wicca (a real pagan religion) but mixed it with false elements. In her world, there are Wiccan clans you are descended from, and people have magical powers to varying degrees. Magic can vary from cooling your hot tea to lighting a candle with your mind to shape-shifting.

London: A hyped book that let you down…

children of blood and boneI just do not get the hype for Children of Blood and Bone.  I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t like it either. I found it generic, immature, poorly written, and melodramatic. There are so many reviewers whose opinions I usually trust and/or share who are rating this highly, and I’m starting to believe we read different books because ??? I’m sorry but this book is just so aggressively mediocre?? Like I appreciate that the setting is very cool and very fresh but otherwise the book has so little going for it, in my opinion. And it’s one of those things where I’m seeing it everywhere and everyone is lavishing praise on it and I’m over here like ??? Did I read this wrong???

Steve Trevor: A book that has a beautiful cover and a great story (i.e. good personality)…

the city of brassIt’s funny how difficult it is to find a book that has both of these things! But The City of Brass was the best high fantasy book I read last year, and probably the best I’ve read in many years. It features a sensible heroine, stunning writing, a heterosexual romance I was actually on board with, a morally grey male love interest, rich world-building, and complex political intrigue. I’ll probably have to reread this book before I jump into the second one because there are so many details I’m sure I’ve forgotten, but that won’t be a problem because I literally loved this book so much. And the cover. I mean, God, look at it! It’s atmospheric, it has gorgeous colors, elegant font, a sky full of stars…! I cannot wait to see the cover for the sequel!

Lasso of Truth: A book you hated…

roarSpeaking of books with gorgeous covers and stories that don’t match…Roar is another relatively popular and well-received book that I just Do Not Get.  It’s almost entirely romance, and a really gross heteronormative romance at that (the male love interest literally calls the female MC’s mouth his “territory” at one point).  Said gross romance overshadows all the things about this book that were interesting: side characters and the worldbuilding involving SENTIENT NATURAL DISASTERS.  Also, this book is boring. I don’t even remember what the supposed plot was about because it was so blah and was taken over completely by the awful romance.

Wonder Woman’s Shield: A book so sad that you need a shield…

we are okaySo, I don’t read a ton of sad books, because I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t like it when a book crushes my heart and demolishes my soul. I generally like books with closure and somewhat-happy endings. One of the only sad books I can think of is We Are Okay, which is a very heavy look at grief and loneliness that expertly utilizes a bleak setting to reflect emotion. The MC in this book suffers a heavy loss and I could literally feel her sadness poring through the pages – I think I may have cried at one point? Like nothing that terribly sad happened, but the author just wrote it so well I felt like all these emotions were pressing down on my chest and choking me.

 

Ares: a villain that is scary, but you can’t seem to hate them…

now i riseThis is a question that clearly seems to want you to talk about ATLA’s Azula (or Legend of Korra’s Kuvira, who is one of my favorite villains of all time)…but I will try to keep this book-related.  I don’t know if this counts, but Lada Dracul? She’s not quite a villain, but she’s definitely an antiheroine who by the end of the second book has become rather terrifying, and I LOVE HER. I love her growth and her arc and her self-isolation and her single-mindedness and how she’s not totally likable and I can’t wait to see how much more vicious and bloody she becomes in the third book.  She needs to become Lada the Impaler, yes? I’m certain Kiersten White will not disappoint on this front.

The Amazons: A book that you wish had more/better LGBT+ representation…

circeHalf of the Western literary canon, dear Reader…but I will try to stick to one book, and that book is Madeline Miller’s Circe.  Like, are you telling me Circe lived on that damn island with all those other nymphs for hundreds of years and never had even a tryst with any of them? I ain’t buying it. There was so much of a focus on Circe’s relationships with men, and yes, yes, I get that Miller was generally sticking to the truth of the various myths about Circe, but she embellished/straight up invented a whole bunch of other stuff, so I don’t really see why there couldn’t have been more Sapphic women.

 

Justice League: What superhero book friends do you tag…

Pace Amore Libri
Spotlight on Stories
Lost Purple Quill

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The Netflix Book Tag

I should be doing something more productive like working on my Fulbright essays or my novel, but I’ve had a rather tiring day at work and I haven’t had my daily coffee so my brain is fizzling out. So therefore, to waste time until I can go home and eat a hearty dinner (yes, I’m also starving), I’m going to do this tag, which I got from Rachel!

RECENTLY WATCHED: The last book you finished reading.

girls made of snow and glassGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust! You can find the book review on here if you’re so inclined (it’s just the previous entry on my blog) but I liked it a lot! I didn’t love it with all my heart, but I definitely enjoyed it and I appreciated what it was trying to do. Also, fantastic character work!

 

TOP PICKS: A book that has been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

wicked comethThe Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. Rachel actually recommended this book to me a while ago because it’s about women in 19th century London, which really is enough to get me to check out any book. Plus it’s shelved as LGBT and it features two female characters, so that bodes very very well! I tried to get it out of my library but apparently it’s only been published in England so far, so they couldn’t purchase it! I might buy it myself at some point unless I see plans for it to be published in the US.

RECENTLY ADDED: The last book you bought.

I went to a used bookstore and found Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and a delightfully pulpy edition of Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan LeFanu! Rachel has sung the praises of the former (if I’m remembering correctly), so I’m excited to read it, and the latter is part of my whole ~exploring Gothic classics~ phase but it also sounds so cool?? It’s a locked room mystery?? With occult and supernatural themes?? Bring it on. Also, I don’t know if this “counts” but State of Sorrow was this month’s FairyLoot book, and I definitely paid money for that, so I’m putting it on here.

POPULAR ON NETFLIX: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading.)

In YA/fantasy circles, Truthwitch and the Shades of Magic series are pretty well known! I’ve read both, loved both.

Also famous in YA circles is The Winner’s Curse, a book that is highly praised and has actually been recommended to me several times, but…maybe when it was published it seemed original but now, with a thousand other YA plots similar to it, it feels very derivative. I have little interest in reading it because there are so many other books that take on similar themes and do it better. And then, of course, there’s John Green’s Looking for Alaska, which sounds like embodiment of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope with a side of brooding white boy, and, yeah, no thanks.

COMEDIES: A funny book.

godsgraveI’m reading Godsgrave now, and it’s hilarious. Which is strange for a book that is steeped in slavery and blood and guts, but the narrator is so freaking funny. I’ve literally laughed out loud so many times when reading this book. There’s such dry tongue-in-cheek humor here that I love. Of course the first book was hilarious too, but I feel like the humor has really found its feet here (or maybe I’m just more used to it). To be clear, though, this book is definitely not a comedy.

DRAMAS: A character who is a drama queen/king.

libba brayIf there’s one thing I remember about The Diviners, it’s that Evie O’Neill was a complete and utter drama queen.  She’s a clairvoyant who…is sent to live in the city with her uncle? I think? Anyway I remember her being very dramatic and big-hearted and spirited and I’m so excited to read this entire series once the fourth and final book is released (or at least announced). Also, because I definitely don’t see people complaining about this enough, WHY did they change the cover design???

ANIMATED: A book with cartoons on the cover.

uprootedI kind of took this to mean some kind of cartoonish art? Which few of the books I’ve read seemed to have, but perhaps Uprooted fits the bill? I feel like I read this book so long ago but it was just in 2016, wasn’t it? True to form, I’ve forgotten most of it, but I remember the writing was pretty, there was a great female friendship that should have been Sapphic but alas, and an actually decent heterosexual romance that I did not hate? But I also remember being very quizzical about a rapist character being humanized.

WATCH IT AGAIN: A book or series that you want to re-read.

I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone back in 2013. I liked it a lot, though it was exciting and well-written and pretty original! I’m not sure why I never continued with the series, though? I’ve been meaning to re-read the first book because I’ve forgotten nearly everything (of course), and because Laini Taylor is one of those authors that everyone loves.

DOCUMENTARIES: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.

I read a lot of non-fiction so I’m going to have a hard time recommending just one, so I’m choosing my top three, books that are super important but still accessible and readable and not super dry or academic.  The New Jim Crow is probably the one that folks are most familiar with, and its summary is, basically, if you think the U.S. has any sort of fair justice system, prepare to have your entire belief system shattered. It focuses specifically on racial injustice but in the process also reveals a legal system that is fundamentally broken.

Queer Injustice does a similar thing, only it focuses on the arbitrary criminalization of LGBT people. This was one of the first non-fiction books I ever read, and it was the first book that made me realize that non-fiction could be so engaging.

Finally, Do Muslim Women Need Saving is a book that on its face seems to be about a rather obvious and simple concept but actually delves deep into a big philosophical question: why are Western values considered the best values? Why is sexual freedom considered the height of freedom? Why do we assume that the West’s version of enlightenment/freedom/democracy is what the entire world needs to adhere to? In a world shaped by imperialism and colonialism what do those things even mean? It’s a mindfuck in the best way.

ACTION AND ADVENTURE: An action-packed book.

empress of a thousand skiesEmpress of a Thousand Skies is a book that made my jaw-drop with the amount of chapter cliffhangers it had. But it never really felt cheap, it was just exciting and fast-paced. I’m really annoyed though because even though I literally read it last year I’ve already forgotten half of what happened so I’ll probably have to re-read or at least skim it before picking up the sequel.


NEW RELEASES: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read. 

beneath the citadelThere are so many incredible YA fantasy books coming out this year and the next that I’m losing track. Some of the ones I’m really, really excited about – like Emily A. Duncan’s Something Dark and Holy – don’t have covers yet, so I’m going to go with Destiny Soria’s Beneath the Citadel. I really liked this authors historical fantasy novel even though it wasn’t as gripping as I had hoped, but I’m really looking forward to her high fantasy debut! But do allow me to say that I loathe this cover because it looks like something out of Nickelodeon’s Secrets of the Hidden Temple circa 2005. Not a great look.

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Wrap-Up: March

 

 

  • My Lady Jane by Hand, Ashton, & Meadows (★★★☆☆)
  • Unmentionable by Therese Oneill (★★★★☆)
  • The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (★★★☆☆)
  • The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James (★★★☆☆)
  • Hunter by Roxane Gay (★★★★★)
  • Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls (★★★☆☆)

MONTHLY TOTAL: 7
YEARLY SO FAR: 21

I’m hoping I can keep up this average of six books a month thing I’ve got going on! This was kind of an average reading month, and it was 100% mood reading. The only book that wasn’t a mood read was Things a Bright Girl Can Do which I’ve been reading for over a month. I’m glad I explored outside of my usual reading preferences, though; only two books this month were YA! And although I didn’t love The Haunting of Maddy Clare, I look forward to checking out more of Simone St. James’ books.

Oh, I also started and DNF’d Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Check out my Goodreads review for why. I was really disappointed, as I had hoped to love it.

UPDATE: Rachel kindly reminded me that I’ve also finished Circe by Madeline Miller this month.

I am currently reading an ARC of Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft, but I’m strongly considering putting it on pause until the book is published. I’m loving the short stories so far, but the formatting of my e-ARC is awful, so I’m thinking I may just wait until I can get a physical copy from my library. I’m also reading Girls Made of Snow and Glass, which I’ve been wanting to read for ages and I’m liking it a lot!

Finally, a couple of days ago I started a non-fiction book I’ve been wanting to read for months – Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. Y’all might not know this about me, but I’m a Victorian era fiend; I’m utterly fascinated by its history, literature, and culture.  This book is going to explore the various relationships between women in the Victorian era, so it’s right up my alley.

As for what I’ve got coming up, I’ve checked out Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave from the library and I am SO EXCITED to get to it next! Also, hopefully Chelsea and I will start out buddy read of Jane Eyre this month!

I’m going to play the rest of the month by ear; even though this month’s reads were average, I really enjoyed surprising myself with random reads. Mood reading is the best! I’m also really enjoying reading outside my usual genre of YA fantasy? So we’ll see how that goes. I’ve been meaning to pick up another Sarah Waters book and to check out Agatha Christie and Megan Chance. But we’ll see!