Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

It was a lighter reading month, but I had a couple of really good ones!

Dog Man: Grime and Punishment by Dav Pilkey: I didn't like this one quite as much as the previous book. I appreciate that the author is trying to move the series beyond poop and fart jokes to something deep about grief and the destructive power of hate... it just felt like a major tone shift, and the other plot line with Dog Man wasn't entirely coherent.

The Polyamory Paradox: Finding Your Confidence in Consensual Non-Monogamy by Irene Morning: Morning provides concrete examples and exercises, along with her own personal story, to share a path forward for those who are drawn to non-monogamy but finding the practice of it to be wreaking havoc on their nervous system.

Ciel by Sophie Labelle: I enjoy Labelle's Assigned Male comics online, so I was disappointed that her talent doesn't really translate to book length. It seems this middle grade novella is intended to introduce cishet audiences (and more ignorant parts of the queer community) to the concept of non-binary identities, but beyond that it doesn't seem to have much of a plot.

I Am Ace: Advice on Living Your Best Asexual Life by Cody Daigle-Orians: I appreciate that this book is talking directly to aces (and those wondering if they may be ace), but because Daigle-Orians doesn't take for granted the knowledge anyone has coming in, it's also a great guide to asexuality for allosexuals. It's honest, encouraging, and affirming and covers everything from navigating relationships to dealing with microaggressions.

Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea by Dav Pilkey: This was fine as an action-packed plot, and my kid found the songs absolutely hilarious. I think the larger social message was a little heavyhanded and also not super clear in the context of the book by the end of the story, so I'm not really sure why it was included, unless as a direct message to the adults.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: This was overall a great read and I'm really glad it's received so much positive attention. Through Yadriel's attempts to prove himself as a brujo, we see the intertwining of gender, culture, and family, while the importance of found family is shown through Julian's tight-knit group of kids on the street. There's also a mystery and a romance, both of which were fairly well done.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Piranesi, Snapdragon, The Mysterious Mr. Quin, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: The Silver Chair
Ten years ago I was reading: Ivanhoe, Midnight's Children, and An Ordinary Man

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Best of the Bunch (April 2024)

Best of the Bunch header

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in April.

Of the eight books I read this month, I had two 5-star reads:

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

The Polyamory Paradox: Finding Your Confidence in Consensual Non-Monogamy by Irene Morning

However, I'm going to deviate from my usual approach and choose a non-5-star read as my favorite of the month! (I gave it 4.5 stars, so not that far off.)
The Breakup Lists was a cute queer romance from one of my favorite YA authors, even if a bit more predictable and trope-filled than his previous books. I especially enjoyed the well-researched deaf representation in this one. I am also a sucker for high school theater books, so that made it extra fun. Some aspects weren't 100% believable, but that's OK. I'd definitely recommend this one!

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Scythe, Snapdragon, Braiding Sweetgrass, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Storytelling with Data, and Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers
Ten years ago I was reading: War and Peace

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Monday, April 15, 2024

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

I have a lot of personal stuff going on at the moment so I've been trending toward YA, novellas, and graphic novels rather than anything super heavy or literary, but I'm content with what I've been able to get to, even if it's been mostly middle-of-the-road reads.

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee: Through the stories of 14 teenagers, Chee tells the story of the forced removal and detention of those of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast during World War II. The shifting perspectives allows for a broader range of stories to be told but makes it harder to connect emotionally with any character (or to keep them all straight).

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger: I appreciated the way that indigenous elements were woven into an urban fantasy setup, and Little Badger can paint a picture with words very well, which made many of the scenes feel cinematic and the creepy moments even creepier. There were some unexplained elements of the way magic worked in this world and I thought the author botched the depiction of Ellie's asexuality (which I think was actually aromanticism), but if you're looking for a plotty fantasy book with an indigenous twist, this is a good one to try.

Dead in the Garden by Dahlia Donovan: It turns out this advertised "trilogy" is actually one mystery novel sold as three separate parts, so I essentially read the first third of a book. I think Donovan was most interested in depicting the ways wrongful imprisonment would affect someone with autism, and the mystery itself didn't quite hang together and left me uninterested in purchasing the other two parts.

Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie: Christie's ancient Egyptian mystery was a chance of pace from her other works, albeit with an overly slow plot and characters that still felt a bit too British. I also figured out the culprit early on. That said, it wasn't badly plotted, and it was highly engaging on audio, so I enjoyed the listen, even if I wouldn't put this on my top Christie list.

The Breakup Lists by Adib Khorram: This was a cute queer romance from one of my favorite YA authors, even if a bit more predictable and trope-filled than his previous books. I especially enjoyed the well-researched deaf representation in this one. I am also a sucker for high school theater books, so that made it extra fun. Some aspects weren't 100% believable, but that's OK. I'd definitely recommend this one!

Dog Man: Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey: My kiddo and I read the first book in this series and then they blew through the next six at school, so this was the next one we read together. At this point the books seem to have more of a coherent plot, and while this one was still ridiculous, it wasn't cringy so much as it was mindlessly entertaining, like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon. I'm not necessarily going out of my way to recommend these, but I don't mind them, especially not the fact that my kid wants to read the entire book themself.

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, and Joy San: I really wanted to like this, and I love the representation of two Black women falling in love! The writing was just... not good. The dialogue doesn't sound like real people, the story beats are rushed, and there's no nuance to anyone's feelings or actions. I would love to see this same kind of story but more nuanced and fleshed out than this was.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast: This unflinching portrait of dealing with aging parents is softened somewhat by Chast's comedic style of cartoons, but her inclusion of photographs and hard financial figures mean you can't forget the reality of the situation she is describing. I appreciate Chast for sharing so openly about an incredibly challenging part of her life in a format that can be digested in just a few hours, and I recommend giving this a read.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Nobleman's Guide to Shipwrecks and Scandal, Carry On, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: Storytelling with Data, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families, and Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers
Ten years ago I was reading: Bring Up the Bodies, A Personal Matter, and War and Peace

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Best of the Bunch (March 2024)

Best of the Bunch header

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in March.

Of the six books I read this month, I had only one 5-star read, so that's my Best of the Bunch!
Polywise was an excellent follow-up to Polysecure. Fern strikes a great balance of grounding her writing in academic research while using a conversational style to share her points. In this book, she and co-author Dave Cooley go through the most common challenges that happen in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) when either a monogamous couple opens up or a previous CNM relationship structure changes in some major way. This is based in their own experiences working with people in CNM relationships as well as extensive interviews that Jessica did specifically for this book. I appreciated that each chapter included frameworks, realistic examples, and exercises to try. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in or practicing CNM, but I would especially encourage anyone who's thinking of opening up a previously monogamous relationship to read this first and complete the exercises. It will likely save you a lot of challenges in the long run.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Nobleman's Guide to Shipwrecks and Scandal, When Pigmen Fly, Out of My Mind, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: Ugly and Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers
Ten years ago I was reading: The Body & Society, The Given Day, and War and Peace

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Monday, March 18, 2024

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR


I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

It's time for a quarterly reading check-in! I read all the books on my Winter TBR except Elatsoe, which I'm now reading. Here's what I plan to read this spring!
1. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, and Joy San
After reading Snapdragon, my partner reminded me about this graphic novel with a similar love story that they'd recommended to me previously.
2. The Breakup Lists by Adib Khorram
I love everything Khorram writes, so I'm excited he has a new one coming out at the beginning of April!
3. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This has been on my TBR list forever, and I recently heard it recommended again, so I'm going to make it a priority to read it this spring.
4. Dead in the Garden by Dahlia Donovan
I've wanted to read this cozy mystery for ages but it wasn't at the library; I finally realized I'd saved up enough Amazon digital credits to get the Kindle version for free. Done!
5. Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
This is next in my quest to read Christie's complete works!
6. I Am Ace by Cody Daigle-Orians
I was a fan of Daigle-Orians' channel in the time that I was on TikTok, and I'm excited to read his book.
7. The Polyamory Paradox by Irene Morning
I wanted to read this one after hearing the author on the Multiamory podcast, but like Dead in the Garden it wasn't at the library, and I've now used my digital credits to get the Kindle version.
8. Setting Boundaries That Stick by Juliane Taylor Shore
I put this on my TBR list after hearing the author talk on several podcasts, and now my partner is reading it and encouraged me to actually put a library hold on it.
9. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This advice book has been on my TBR list forever, and I'm looking forward to finally getting to it.
10. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
As I'm anticipating some possible big changes in my life soon, it seems like a good time to read this book about making it through challenging times of life.

What do you plan to read this spring?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Fangirl, When Pigmen Fly, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: Becoming, Redwall, Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers and Mankiller
Ten years ago I was reading: The Body & Society, Wolf Hall, and War and Peace

Thursday, March 14, 2024

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

Not a lot of reading happened this month! Most of my reading time was listening to The Secret Keepers audiobook and then reading with my older kid in the evenings. Still happy with what I did read!

The Bad Guys in the Others?! by Aaron Blabey: My 9-year-old finally called it quits on the series after this 16th book. It had some funnier bits than some of the previous books, but the series had just gotten too repetitive at this point.

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart: This was my Best of the Bunch for February. It was an engaging middle grade read about a boy who discovers a magical object and suddenly finds himself embroiled in the most recent chapter of a generations-long battle for power. It was a little on the long side and the characters a bit too impossibly clever at times, but it was an enjoyable story to get lost in.

Polywise: A Deeper Dive Into Navigating Open Relationships by Jessica Fern with David Cooley: This was an excellent follow-up to Polysecure, and I encourage anyone who's thinking of opening up a previously monogamous relationship to read this first and complete the exercises.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey: This book is pretty ridiculous (like, the conceit is that it's written by two 1st graders, and it really feels like that), but my 3rd grader actually requested to get this book and read the entire thing themself, so I'm not complaining!

Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting by Janet Lansbury: Lansbury's writing summarizes many of the teachings of RIE pioneer Magna Gerber and matches a lot of the philosophies of my favorite parenting books. It's a self-published collection of blog posts so it's a little rough around the edges, but overall I think this is a really great summary of some key parenting ideas in a very readable, slim book.

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Sparkling Cyanide, Mooncakes, Fangirl, When Pigmen Fly, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: Becoming, Indian Horse, Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers and Mankiller
Ten years ago I was reading: The Body & Society, The Death of Bees, and War and Peace

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Best of the Bunch (February 2024)

Best of the Bunch header

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in February.

Of the six books I read this month, I had no 5-star reads and only one 4.5-star read, so that's my Best of the Bunch!
The Secret Keepers was an engaging middle grade read about a boy who discovers a magical object and suddenly finds himself embroiled in the most recent chapter of a generations-long battle for power. Stewart kept my attention by writing Reuben into impossible corners and then somehow finding a way out. I was literally gasping and yelling, "Oh no!" out loud at different points while listening. Overall, the book is a little on the long side and the characters a bit too impossibly clever at times, but it was an enjoyable story to get lost in.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Violin Conspiracy, Fat Luther, Slim Pickin's, When Pigmen Fly, and McDonald's
Five years ago I was reading: The Shadow of the Wind, I Capture the Castle, and No Bad Kids
Ten years ago I was reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma and War and Peace

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