May 2018 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher (My Rating: 4/5) This was surprisingly wonderful. I thought it was going to be an amusing lark and nothing more, but it actually had a lot of cleverness and depth to it. Doescher doesn’t just ape Shakespeare’s style and structure. He doesn’t just make winking jokes to the audience in using the language in conjunction with Star Wars. He also carefully considered the characters and what kind of Shakespearean roles they fill. With R2 being Puckish and Vader’s and Obi-Wan’s soliloquies adding the depth of their sordid history to this movie’s canvas. He also made some sly Shakespeare references that were purely for the Shakespeare nerds in the audience, with Luke giving rousing speeches by way of Julius Caesar and Henry V. One downside? Trying to make that run on the Death Star interesting to read without visuals. I think that proved too much of a challenge.  Recommended for Shakespeare fans, Star Wars fans, and the combination of the two such as myself.

Usher’s Passing by Robert R. McCammon (My Rating: 5/5) Yes, that Usher. Of Edgar Allan Poe fame. McCammon takes the Usher family and their gothic setting and turns that dial right up to eleven. This was delightfully over-the-top. The twists and turns were so fun, reveals ripping the rug out from under you, and before you can get your footing, in comes another. As wild and weird as it was, all questions are answered by the end, and you’re left breathless with the tapestry McCammon wove. I don’t dare reveal a single trick, because the joy is in the discovery. But if you love dark fantasy, gothic settings, family drama, and thrills, you’ll love this. I surely did.

DNF

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. This one started so well. It had the trappings of whimsical fantasy with some very dark twists. I liked knowing right out of the gate that Williams would go to the worst places, this this wasn’t going to be a light affair. Then, like I felt about The Hazel Wood but worse, we get to the fantasy world and it all goes wrong. In this case, everything grinds to a halt for the sake of fantasy politics when it had started as a dark adventure. So the tone shifts, and I’m feeling bored. Not to mention that despite how seriously I’m supposed to take this, all the fae characters are absurd and cartoonish. It’s a very long book to commit the time to when I’m groaning for a hundred pages, so I won’t be finishing this.

 

Advertisements

April 2018 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (My Rating: 5/5) This short story collection was incredible. It pulled me right out of my reading slump, which is kind of a miracle. It’s heavily feminist with lots of LGBTQIA+ characters and themes. I was definitely a fan. In particular, I loved “Especially Heinous” for just what an insane trip it was. Also, “The Resident” for its Shirley-Jackson-esque elements. And “The Husband Stitch”, which took on urban legends from a feminist point of view.

Continue reading

Recently Read Wrap-Up

rwu

Since I’ve fallen off of doing regular wrap-ups, let’s go ahead and talk about what little I’ve read to catch up.

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix (My Rating: 5/5) This is a non-fiction book chronicling the horror paperback boom that began in the late 70s and went on until it imploded in on itself in the 90s. I’m a big fan of horror, as you all have probably been able to tell based on what I cover in my blog, so this exhaustive researching of forgotten paperbacks was right up my street. I adored this. There’s enough fact to make me feel like I’m learning a lot, but also a ton of humor that makes this a quick, fun read. Even if you’re not fascinated by this time in publishing history, this book is a blast. Please check it out.

Continue reading

November 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

Everything Is Teeth by Evie Wyld (My Rating: 3/5) This is a graphic novel (no surprise there, as I’ve been reading a ton of them lately) that serves as a memoir for part of Wyld’s childhood. She has an obsession with sharks that is born of a fearful respect for them. There are tidbits about her brother having some difficulties, about her relationship with her father, and so on. But it’s all so amorphous and flimsy with the focus being laser-sighted on sharks that it doesn’t come together like I’d hoped. I wanted the shark metaphor to feel stronger. It’s there, but it doesn’t make the story rise to the greatness I wanted of it. More it makes it stagnate. I can appreciate that the style was meant to be poetic, but it didn’t really work for me overall.

Continue reading

October 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

Where have I been? I know. I kind of disappeared when promising I wouldn’t. And I still don’t quite know what I want to do with this blog in the future. I do know that I love doing wrap-ups and sharing my thoughts about what I read through the month, so that at least will keep going. With that said, let’s get started.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (My Rating: 5/5) I did a separate review of this one, because my thoughts were too extensive to sum up in a couple paragraphs. Rest assured I loved it, but if you want to know why, check out that link.

Continue reading

September 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (My Rating: 5/5) What do you even say after you’ve gone on a journey like this one? It was a spectacular finale. It revealed a ton of backstory that illuminates the reason this world has become the way it has. It was sincere and emotional with its character arcs. The use of magic and action was stunning, and it makes me more excited to see how they’ll capture it in a possible television series. I have that numb feeling you get when something you’re obsessed with absolutely overloaded you with feelings and information. I know I’ll be thinking about this one for some time to come. Turning it over in my mind, considering new angles, and writing fan fiction in my head about the next steps for this world.

Continue reading

August 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja (My Rating: 4/5) I don’t read a lot of young adult contemporary, but Koja could convince me to read anything, whether it’s in my comfort zone or not. Her writing is beautiful and poetic. Her grasp on characterization is unique, and her characters always have a profound arc that plays throughout the story. I have yet to read a book by her that’s let me down. I prefer her horror novels from earlier in her career, but after reading this and Buddha Boy, I’m convinced that I need to keep reading her YA contributions. She writes about that feeling of being a teen wracked with emotion, when everything feels like the end of the world, with such incredible impact. It immediately takes me back to that time, conjuring my own memories in the process of reading.

Continue reading

Reading Wrap-Up: July 2017

rwu

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (My Rating: 5/5) I did not read this in July. I read it at the end of June. I failed to include it in my June wrap-up, which is especially awful since you can tell by my rating that I loved this. Better late than never though.

This book tells the sordid tale of an island that becomes besotted with selkies, women who come from the skins of seals. It gives the backstory of the woman with the power to bring these women forth. It goes through a few generations, and how this destroys things on the island.

Continue reading

June 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

rwu

Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler (My Rating: 4/5) This is the second book in the Xenogenesis Trilogy, also known as Lilith’s Brood. I preferred the first book, Dawn, and there’s one, major reason for that. I’m going to try to explain it as well as I can without spoiling or at least by being super vague. A character in this second book is kidnapped, and through the course of their being held, they come to sympathize with their kidnappers. This is not treated like Stockholm Syndrome or anything of the kind. It’s treated as legitimate. But there was never a point where I could see why they would feel this way. The shift to caring for these people didn’t make any sense to me. It becomes a major plot point, and I’m questioning why it’s happening at all. So, yes, worth losing a star over probably. But it’s still an incredible story that, aside from that bump, is very well-told.

Continue reading

Reading Wrap-Up: May 2017

rwu

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler (My Rating: 5/5) When you love a book on the level that I loved this, it’s hard to discuss. How do I impart to you that I’ve been waiting for a book like this for so long? Something suitably weird with great world-building and an incredibly strong and well-written lead character. This book covers all those needs. Butler even managed to write the exposition regarding the aliens and all their ins and outs without boring me for even a single second. I’m not sure how you do that. Info dumps are the worst, but every moment of hers are fascinating here. Then halfway through the book, it gets even better. The core of humanity’s deepest problems is explored with lots of conflict and a really surprising climax. This book is perfect. There’s no other word that will suffice. I can’t wait to get to the second one in the trilogy.

Continue reading