spindizzy: Sherlock Holmes as played by Jeremy Brett, laughing with a hand covering his face. (You do make me laugh)
[personal profile] spindizzy posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Fair warning: this week I lured myself into books through a lot of terrible romance novels (two regency, one suspense, and one fantasy), which means that there are some... Very Disappointed reactions here.

(I did find a flute(?) cover of Bad Romance that sounds like excellent video game music if you want to know what's keeping me awake right now.)

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, and Tony Fucile

  2. Gotham Academy Volume One by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl

  3. Full Metal Alchemist Volume Two by Hiromu Arakawa

  4. Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

  5. Rapture in Death by J. D. Robb

  6. The Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas

  7. Library Wars Volume Fifteen by Kiiro Yumi

  8. Nightshade by Shea Godfrey

Books, graphic novels, manga

Cover of Bink & Gollie Cover of Gotham Academy Volume One

1. Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, and Tony Fucile — I thought this was very cute and charming! It's an illustrated kids book about two best friends having adventures and misunderstandings about things like amazing rainbow socks and interrupting said adventures. I think my favourite thing was the art – I really liked the way it used colour and grayscale or empty backgrounds to draw attention – and the relationship between Bink and Gollie.

2. Gotham Academy Volume One by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl — OKAY, so my favourite Batman stories are always the ones where Batman is at best a peripheral figure (See also: Gotham Central), which means that Gotham Academy was always going to be relevant to my interests. It's also gorgeous with it (the art is so good and alternates between cute and creepy as it needs to!), and I loved the characters. I liked that all of the mysteries are folded in together, and how Olive is slowly revealed over the book, and I adored her accidentally putting a team together! Who complement each other's skills and have appropriately complicated relationships! Maps might be my favourite, because I so rarely get to see female tabletop geeks in media, even though my life is full of them.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I do know those books and stories exist! I just haven't got round to them yet!)

So, yes, I am intrigued and am really excited for my library to get the next volume in. Does anyone have recommendations for other places to go with Becky Cloonan?

Cover for Full Metal Alchemist Volume 2 Cover of Darling Beast

3. Full Metal Alchemist Volume Two by Hiromu Arakawa — I always forget how quickly the pace moves in Full Metal Alchemist! In my mind, all of the events here are much further on in the series, but I couldn't say why. But yes, everything to do with Tucker's lab is atmospheric and horrifying, and the fight scenes that show up later are really well drawn and choreographed? (Hawkeye casually destroying Mustang's confidence and being a badass: what I'm here for.) I enjoyed reading this volume again, it's just a strange experience to come back to it and realise how much was being set up and explained from the very beginning.

4. Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt — Oh there was some really weird, uncomfortable shit going on in this one and I was not sold at all. The story about Kitty and her family was telegraphed a mile off, Lily makes some really terrible ableist as fuck assumptions about Apollo (that doesn't stop her being like "I would bang that"), Apollo had scenes of being a terrible shitty romance hero, and the murder mystery theoretically at the heart of this wrapped up really quickly and without any actual investigation?

Cover of Rapture In Death Cover of The Devil In Winter

5. Rapture in Death by J. D. Robb — This book made me quite grumpy. I would mind less that the murderer is blatantly obvious from their very introduction if it wasn't for the fact that the book seemed to expect me to be surprised! I would mind less that a character was sexually assaulted if the reason she didn't fight back (when her established character is "fight everyone for everything at all times") is literally "feminine distress". I would mind less the "nature vs nurture" debate going on if it wasn't a bit late to be having this argument when your heroine's entire shtick is that she built herself from nothing so we know what side you're on. (Q: But Susan, isn't it interesting to examine this character's core belief and thus reconfirm by questioning it? A: ... No? Not really? Because the character advocating for "nurture" is the one that is usually right about things and the one advocating for "nature" is pretty blatantly [spoilers] from their introduction, so it felt less like a debate and more like page-filling.). I would mind less that the book made me grumpy if it wasn't for the fact that I'm blatantly going to read the next one anyway! Uggggh.

6. The Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas — Ugh, this book. It had some horrible racial stereotyping of a Roma character, a very indecisive plot (it keeps going "Look, they totally aren't in love with each other for... Reasons! Even though EVERYONE CAN SEE IT FROM SPACE!" and "Look, this is totally the plot, totally the plot, aaaaaaaaaaaand we resolved that in five pages so back to sexual frustration!"), and seemed to alternate between "look at all of these historical details!" and "yeah, but we are Modern People who have heard of diseases being spread by Tiny Animals In The Lungs!" It goes "the defining trait of this character is that she has a stammer so no one wants to talk to her!" and then gets rid of the stammer pretty much entirely three chapters in.

I am assuming that the establishment of the male lead as an irredeemable rake and asshole happened in a previous book, as did the characterisation that meant literally all it took was "This woman is good and kind" to make him fall in love with her and be a semi-decent human being, because as it was I was a bit thrown by how after the first scene the story essentially had him be a grumpily doting lover. ... Also I straight up couldn't follow some of these sex scenes, which is a travesty in a book revolving around sexual frustration.

In conclusion: sets up abusive families being rightfully ruined, dying family members, marriages of convenience and UST, intrigue and gambling fraud, deranged murderers, and the literal rebuilding of a business, and it does not deliver satisfyingly on any of these! Unless someone has a really strong recommendation for another title by this author, I don't think I'll be coming back to her for my regency romance cravings.

Cover of Library Wars Volume 15 Cover of Nightshade

7. Library Wars Volume Fifteen by Kiiro Yumi — IT'S OUT IT'S OUT OH GOD *INTENSE SCREAMING*


Sorry, needed to just – express some emotions there. I'm good. Serious reviewing face now.

This volume was a pretty solid conclusion to the series! While I did end up going "Do we really need the pages of 'by the way Iku is still Bad At Things'?" at the driving montages, Library Wars finally settled down to give me what I want: IKU BEING SMART AND GOOD AT HER JOB, AND OTHER PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT. Especially because it wasn't just Iku asking "What would Dojo do?", it was "What would my team do?" and drawing from all of her friends' strength! (Although yes, especially Dojo.) And it continued to have non-combatants step in to be excellent help and support!

The conversation about emotions was also what I wanted, and very in character for Iku and Dojo! It has grumpy affirmation of skills and miscommunications and oh god, oh god, my ship! There may have been tears. There may have been more tears at the reveal of how Iku's role in the Library Forces changed, and I am not ashamed.

(I'll tell you what made me sad though: there's a line where Iku is like "We made so many mistakes and we're embarrassed and sorry, so we don't talk about it anymore" and I'm there going noooo Ikuuuuu don't say that! ... Also Komaki/Marie still gets a side-eye from me.)

It's really odd, because I can't quite believe the main series is done? This series has been my companion through getting my degree in Librarianship and being a young professional, and now it's over. On the plus side, now I can finally read the novels and watch the movies and the anime? But I'm still really sad to see the manga go. ;__________;

8. Nightshade by Shea Godfrey — I legitimately started this review here, and it got too long for the goddamn post. Suffice it to say, I was not impressed by this book, to the point that I ended up spite-reading it and angrily tweeting. It has Dramatic Revelations that come out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly, tropes that I despise (Destined Lovers is a trope that makes me grumpy if it's not done well, and Homophobe Is Secretly Gay is actively makes me hiss.), and a big heaping chunk of unexamined background racism in the world building and homophobia in the characters! The lesbian romance was sweet enough, and I enjoyed most of the characters and their relationships, but that was not enough to save it.

Books in Progress

Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham (I quite like the Campion TV series, where the Fifth Doctor solves crime by announcing that he knows who the murderer is and seeing who tries to kill him! I bounced off the books once before though, so one of my friends picked this one out for me – so far I am enjoying the characters? But I have no sense of Campion yet, which makes me sad.)

Reading Goals

Books read so far: 45/150 (8 new this post)
New-to-me female creators: 22/100 (4 new this post)
#unofficialqueerasfuckbookclub count: 1 (*inarticulate frustration because again! A-fucking-gain!*

Date: 2016-04-22 04:18 am (UTC)
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Default)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk

Basically if she'd stuck with one thing, and run with it, fine, but she somehow had secretly gay and everyone is fine with it and homophobia and and and all at the same time?


But at the same time I quite liked the ridiculous tropey romance, it was just every single thing about the world building that I hated.

And the porn was terrible.

Date: 2016-04-22 11:13 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I need to reread FMA!

Homophobe Is Secretly Gay

Date: 2016-04-25 09:25 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I'd be down for that!

Date: 2016-04-25 10:47 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay

Date: 2016-04-24 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
Hmmm, I'm trying to remember now if I've read anything by Lisa Kleypas. I probably have? Right? Just because she's sort of a big-name historicals person? But I must not have liked it that much because she has not been bumped up to my read-them-at-once-when-they-come-out authors list. I'm sorry all your romances were bad! You should read Rose Lerner instead!

Date: 2016-04-25 11:41 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Gotham Academy :) Apparently the second volume is out now which I missed so I want to pile into that soon. I haven't read anything else by Becky Cloonan but this looks pretty interesting: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17911259-demeter


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