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[personal profile] renay
cover for Warchild


Warchild by Karin Lowachee is full of a muted homoerotic undertones, which is a good description of my entire love life as a teenager, so it's not surprising that I loved this book. But that's not the only selling point of the novel! It also has spies, alien martial arts, slow burn friendships, revenge, double crosses, and a critique of all the terrifying ways child abuse can fuck someone up, in and out of war.

I expected space battles, Obligatory Female Love Interest, and a testosterone fueled climax where the Good Guy Protag gets verbally fellated by everyone around him. Plus, medals, because for some reason in my head all military space opera ends like A New Hope. Instead I was treated to a personal account of one boy surviving every horrible thing the universe could throw at him, because who needs a happy childhood to turn into a well-adjusted and happy adult? Ha ha ha, let's make this kid suffer as he grows up, lose everything, fall in love with someone unattainable, and betray people he cares for multiple times for the person he loves even though he can't figure out if that person actually cares for him or is just using him. If you want some angst, my friends, allow me to introduce you to Jos Musey. Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
The first quarter of the year has come and gone and it's time for the second quarter, where book releases start picking up speed as we approach the event horizon of book release season in September, from which there is no return once you start down the path of adding books to your reading list (practice safe book adding, pals). I'm always running a bit behind because I do most of my reading from the library (ilu library!) but even though I may have to wait for some of these, I am excited for these books! Read more... )


Those are (some of) the books I'm excited for in the second quarter of 2017. Some are already out, like The House of Binding Thorns! What do you have on your anticipated list for the next few months?
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Winter releases this time around felt a little subdued. I don't know if that's because of politics or whether it's saying something about the books coming out. In February there were some hyped releases, like The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley (which I had to tap out of) and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (I still need to read the second book), but otherwise I didn't feel the same energetic push for other titles that I'm used to. Of course, I'm behind on the brand spanking new because what is time management (I don't know, even having read a time management self-help book). Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Revenger had all the things that sounded directly up my alley:
  • sisters leaving home to have adventures
  • ladies learning cool new things about the world
  • heists at dangerous locales
  • pirates!
  • ominous tales of a ruthless captain
  • bloody revenge
  • team ups
Friends, it is true that this book contains all of those things and they were wonderful. Not only did I get those, Alastair Reynolds read my mind and gave me the following:
  • robot pals
  • grudging partnerships
  • ladies being brutal in order to save people they love and themselves
  • cool gadgets
  • mysterious worldbuilding
Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I'm still halfway in 2016 mode with books because I couldn't time travel in order to read all the books I wanted. But 2017 is here and with it, new books, new lists of upcoming books, and my renewed lack of self-control. Here's some books I have my eye on in the next few months. Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Another reading year has come and gone. I succeeded in both my (revised) reading challenges, learned the value of setting attainable goals, and met Kate Elliott (SCREAMING) so I'm calling it a win.

Downsides: haven't quite managed my goal of reading enough nonfiction to have a dedicated favorites section. But I'm going to keep working at it.Read more... )

I hope everyone had a great reading year!
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I decided to read 100 unique women writers in 2016. Back when I had this brilliant idea in late 2015 the assumption was that I would also read a lot of short fiction. When that didn't happen, the challenge became...overwhelming. Luckily, Jenny the Wise taught me a lot of good lessons about reassessing goals when you get new information! I cut my goal in half. It was still a challenge, but I'm happy to say I did it. \o/ It turned out to be the very best reading challenge I've ever done.

Women write about everything. We're half the world's population, and we write about the world in a million different ways. We're fiction writers and nonfiction writers and artists and teachers and scientists and historians and linguists and journalists and lawyers and fans and curious students of the world and each other. We're everywhere. The push in various parts of publishing, as well as culture, to silence us, erase our contributions, and to devalue our writing and our work is just another tired tool that's never going to be able to truly hold back the tide of our ideas, our work, or our voices.

As Kate Elliott likes to say, "We are mighty."

If you're looking for a new reading challenge for 2017, I highly suggest this one (but be more realistic than I was).

Here are the items I read:

challenge list )
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[personal profile] renay
There are a few books I meant to read this year that I simply didn't manage to get through due to the fact I over-extended myself with challenges (be careful with these, they're addictive and dangerous). When I saw Elizabeth's Top 5 Wednesday video for books she was going to finally read in 2017, I went, "I can definitely do that and guilt myself into responsibility. Maybe." Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Recently I asked Ana what books she wanted to revisit from years past. She also turned my question around on me, which I think we can all agree is against at least five international treaties of question-asking, but it made me start thinking.

I visited my reading history to sheets to see what I could find. But what I discovered is: there's a lot of books I would like to re-read and it's been a long time I allowed myself indulgent re-reads in prose work (I've re-read One Piece to various points multiple times because I love crying over inanimate objects and tragic, bittersweet backstories). Maybe 2017 would be a good time to ~reminisce~ book wise.Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I have a nerdy book tag I want to do in lieu of writing about Daughter of Mystery and Runtime, which were the books I finished recently. I'm still considering them in my head. I want people to read Daughter of Mystery because a) ladies in love, wooo, b) to tell me if the book is hard or if I'm just dumb as a sack of rocks. Also, Runtime is a packed novella full of a personal journey set in a cyborg terrain race, so if that sounds like your thing, run don't walk.

My to be read list keeps getting bigger as I discard the shackles of shame that kept me from adding any book I thought looked interesting to my to be read list (sorry not sorry, Goodreads friends), so this is perfect for me: the intimidating TBR tag.Read more... )
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[personal profile] renay
Earlier this week I looked at my challenge goal which predictably fell apart in April, after my ~whirlwind~ summer began. As pals have told me, my 100 unique women writers project was...optimistic...and 36/100 is pretty darn good. Then I realized I've read 36 new women authors and/or artists (because I count artists and colorists who are integral parts of the emotional of a narrative since I do what I want). That's great! And because I've read those authors now recommendation algorithms spit out drastically different suggestions. It's been excellent; highly recommended project. Maybe set a lower goal, though. LEARN FROM MY ERRORS. Because it turns out the more authors you read the more favorite authors you discover. Back lists are great, but time-consuming!

I haven't quite managed to get back on track everywhere. In fact, I'm going to be surprised if I make it to the end of this column! I have less to review than I otherwise would because I can write reviews of comics and graphic novels but I can't quite bring myself to post them due to Extreme Fear and Anxiety re: the comics community/being yelled at. However, it's not like you're missing much with the absence of my Hot Takes on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF, Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening, or The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man. I'll just say: give them a try because all are good, one is excellent, and the other made me throttle the universe for not giving me the next issue yet.

Recent Reading


book adventures! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I've been sick for two full months and am halfway into a third. I'm finally pulling myself out of the pool of lack of productivity. \o/ The less said about my reading goals (heck, all my goals, from exercise to promised favors for friends to OTW work to sorting out socks with holes from my drawers) the better. Doreen's gone on a small vacation, but she'll be back soon.

(Also, I am bad at resting and not working which probably did not help me recover. DON'T BE ME.)

I'm still boggling over our recent addition as a Hugo finalist, too. I keep stopping to check the website, going "Is this real?" I guess it's hard for me to believe because I struggle constantly with the idea that any writing I do or any editorial influence I have is only passable (especially because I am a loudmouth critic who is still learning). And the Hugo is a small award, but it's very important to the people who give it their time, money, and energy, so I can't really sit and go, "Well, they're gonna figure out I'm faking eventually and I'm not that great." because that's insulting. My therapist and I have talked a lot about not robbing people of their feelings to force my own insecurities and anxieties on them. Let people have their opinions, Anxiety Brain! You aren't the boss of them!

So, to the people who nominated Lady Business, even if nothing I did influenced your decision (I mean, I do have great co-editors who are super rad)...

Thanks. :)

Recent Reading

Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Hello, friends! April was super busy: my partner and I took a trip to Portland, Oregon, to scope it out as a possible option for moving to so he can make more money as a programmer. Or, in other words, how scary would I find the city? How scary is driving there? How terrifying is it to ride trains and be around a lot of strangers? He'll survive just fine, but will my anxiety be cranked into overdrive? Turns out these are all not a problem. In fact, driving on highways there is like the traffic control people went, "How can we help people with driving anxiety? HOW ABOUT TRAFFIC LIGHTS FOR ON RAMPS?" It was magical. I'm still in awe. Plus, the trains are cool! Everything is labeled! There are helpful announcements! You can buy tickets without interacting with anyone!

Plus, there are bookstores and comic shops and I can get to them WITHOUT A CAR.

I'M SOLD.Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Hello, friends! I took last week off to catch up with paid work and to recover from getting socked in the sinuses by allergies. But I've been making excellent headway on reading and getting awesome books in the mail. >D

cover for Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott


CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

You know that feeling when you realize you've undertaken a massive reading project and were over-confident, but are now too stubborn to give up? I am that feeling, made sentient, with no one around me strong enough to take me aside and say, "Renay, NO." :D

Books for Week 12 and 13: Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey and Act of God by Jill Ciment.

Doreen is back! )

I've never read Anne McCaffrey, in yet another stunning display of Established Canon Failure due to lack of robust a library system. I have Act of God out from the library already so yay! Meanwhile, I finished some books!

Reading Adventures! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I have a cold. I'm blaming climate change and El Niño for screwing up winter; Arkansas practically had no winter at all and there were mosquitos out in January and I'm considering bug spray for my walks in the morning already. I've had a sore throat since March 3, I'm grumpy because of the time change, and I'm behind on everything it's possible to be behind on (especially laundry).

Last week I felt like sludge scooped out of the gutter, microwaved, stirred into some sawdust, and then poured into a human skin. But it turns out I'm not contagious and I don't have an infection; my allergies are making me feel like a sentient, oozing blob which is unreal because at one point last week I couldn't swallow without feeling like I had tilted a barrel of radioactive acid down my throat. I'm behind. I'm going to stay behind for awhile. Learn to live with the disappointments of your super organic and fallible meat suit, Renay!

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers )

I finished Illuminae and then got over-excited when I hit the library to pick up Legend:

I couldn't resist, but my allergies may get the last word on finishing this glut of books this considering I have the mental fortitude of an anesthetized toad. I remain glad I wrote up most of my comic book commentary before I got ill.



Recent reading! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I'm starting to discover I may have gotten a little over-excited when making my reading challenge this year given all the other projects I have in the fire.

No, saying "in the fire" alone is not a good metaphor because that suggests a controlled fire, in a nice circle of rocks that you could roast marshmallows in. In fact, I do not have a fire like that. The number of projects I have right now is like a continental forest fire which you can see with the naked eye from space.

Well, if I have nothing else, at least I have ambition.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 7: now I am reading Downbelow Station and Radiant at the same time, so it's safe to say I'm behind. BUT I'M GONNA MAKE A COMEBACK.

As if the universe recognized my need for a break, for Week 8, the next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa. Manga. Thank you, universe, for finding me worthy of this reprieve so I can catch up.

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa


My reading was book light. There are no books. It was comics city as I played catch up with the stack of comics sitting on my shelf.



Reading for last week! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
Real talk: my book indecision plague has reached new heights. The stack of books at my fingertips is alarming and I'm about to make my partner choose something from it at random out of panicked desperation.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 6: still pushing away at Downbelow Station. I'm on page 223 and my plan to take it slowly with two or three chapters a day has taken the pressure off and let me spend time with the details. Things are starting to pick up, even if the politics are a bit confusing. And I kinda slash Josh and Damon...predictably.

My book last week was Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall, and it was great! It's reviewed below.

For Week 7, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith!

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith


My free choices right now: Lightless by C.A. Higgins, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (everyone wants me to read this, like, everyone), and City of Pearl by Karen Traviss. I have Cold Iron by Stina Leicht but I should probably wait on that one since it's massive, and I want to read The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer first epic fantasy-wise. JUST MAKE A CHOICE, SELF. Be a reader! Read something. Read anyone that's new to you.



Reading for last week! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
The Book Indecision bug is still hanging around and I went back to therapy this week which was a guarantee I wasn't going to get much reading done. "Fine," I thought. "I'll focus on my last Jar Selection!" Except it turns out C.J. Cherryh was not messing around when she sat down to write her some science fiction and this book is dense. On the plus side, there's been no animals (not counting humans) harmed so far so it does have that going for it. Can't say the same for the other stuff I've been reading.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 5: slight hiccup. I'm going to have to spend some time with Downbelow Station, but will plug away at it until I finish! For Week 6, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall


I also didn't read anything else for free choice because I couldn't make up my mind and the time I did read I worked on Downbelow Station. It only took me a month to get behind! I'll make it up later, though. :D



Reading for last week! )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
It was a slow week because I was sick several days (ugh, bodies) and also have entered every book blogger’s dreaded state: New Year Book Indecision. I am surrounded by so many great books and I can’t decide what to choose. I want to jam everything new in my eyes and also want to reread a bunch of things. Everyone’s so prolific. So I have kind of flopped around uselessly and fallen behind on my reading goal.

CHALLENGE: 100 Unique Women Writers

Week 4: almost complete! I’m finishing the last story in Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due today (current assessment: I still don’t like prose horror much as I am an Anxious Person and Worry Too Much About The Dark, Serial Killers, and Slime Monsters). For Week 5, my next title selected from The Jar and presented by Doreen, is Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh:

Green dinosaur holding orange slip of paper reading Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh


My free choice book last week was Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. Not sure what my next free choice will be. Planetfall? Illuminae? Maybe I should give Barrayar another shot? I also have some nonfiction by a few new to me authors on my shelf...too many things!

Since January is over, I looked back to see what my month looked like for authors that were new to me. Per my rules, I did well! 9/100! :D
  • Marguerite Bennett (A-Force Volume 0: Warzones)
  • Rosemary Kirstein (The Steerswoman)
  • Sarah Knight (The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck)
  • Nnedi Okorafor (Binti)
  • Carolyn Ives Gilman (Dark Orbit)
  • Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky)
  • bell hooks (Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood)
  • Shonda Rhimes (Year of Yes)
  • Tananarive Due (Ghost Summer: Stories) — counting here since I only have one story left

Onward to my reading for the week!



Read more... )

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