First reading round up post of the year! I usually get a nice amount of books read in January which is true for this year as well. Except towards the end when I lost my interest in reading. So far in February I haven’t finished anything which is quite rare for me. Hopefully my mojo will pick up and I guess we’ll find out if that happens next month but for now, January!
Paper Girls Volume 2 by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
So when it came to picking my top 5 graphic novels for last year I debated whether to chose Saga or Paper Girls (both by Brian K Vaughan) and chose Saga but Paper Girls was fantastic, I really liked it. I finally got a chance to read the second volume which I liked but didn’t love. I love the colours used but the plot just didn’t interest me as much as the first. I am looking forward to the next on though as it’s such fun. While I haven’t seen Stranger Things, I’ve heard a lot of people say that if you’re a fan of stranger things then you’ll enjoy this.
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
This is a YA novel that centres around teenager Mel, who is trying to cope with numerous things in her life along with trying to manage her bipolar disorder. I enjoyed this book, I have a full review that you can check out here. [NetGalley]
It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot
Ruby Elliot writes and draws about her own experiences with depression, eating disorder, self harm that has a perfect mix of seriousness and humour. Ruby is so open and honest about her experiences. I laughed out loud several times reading this. If you liked Hyperbole and a Half, then you'll enjoy this book [NetGalley]
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing is a beautiful but heart wrenching debut novel that I just absolutely loved. We are introduced to two half sisters in Ghana, one who marries a slave trader and another who is sold as a slave bound for the South of America. We follow their descendants for several generations and see how their lives unfold. It was a tough read at times as Gyasi doesn’t shy away from terrible issues like rape, slavery and drug addiction but it’s so rich and incredible. I have a full review which you can check out here. [NetGalley]
The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain
The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters centres around 4 sisters, the only Muslim family in a small English village. Each one is different and have their own struggles. Fatima is the oldest, almost 30 and still living at home. Working as a hand model, when's she's not trying for the umpteenth time to pass her driving test, she spends her time locked in her room, eating squeezy tube cheese and trying to figure out who she really is. Farah is happily married but desperately wants to be a mother. She barely talks to her twin sister Bubblee, who's living in London determined to make it as an artist. Mae is 16 and the youngest feels like her family don't listen to her. Which is fine, because she has thousands of followers on YouTube and social media who are happy to listen to her. They're all overshadowed by their only brother Jay, who is useless but their parents put him on a pedestal being the only son. When a tragedy strikes the family, we see all the secrets tumble out and everyone's relationships are tested. Will the family fall apart or will the sisters be able to pull together and put their differences aside?
I enjoyed reading this book, coming from a big family myself I like family sagas and seeing all the different dynamics between characters. I felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning but sometimes I don't mind this when it's a family saga as it gives you a chance to find out more about the characters. I do think it was a bit cliched at times but there are plenty of other books and genres I read and enjoy that rely on cliches and tropes. It didn't make me enjoy the book any less. What I particularly liked about the book is that it's giving you an insight to a family structure and culture that doesn’t really get a big spotlight in popular fiction. I was drawn to this book as I read Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik, about a young Muslim woman living in London, and I was interested in reading more books that feature Muslim characters (side note: I was happy to see Ayisha's name crop up at the beginning of this book as it states Nadiya wrote this book with the help of Ayisha). A light and easy read [NetGalley]
The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine
Another fun mystery from Sophie and friends in the Sinclair series! I enjoy this middle grade detective mystery series, it reminds me of reading Enid Blyton as a child. I think this is great for boys and girls aged 9-14, but older people will certainly enjoy it too [NetGalley]
Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel
So I first heard about this book from Leena Norms. I was intrigued but didn’t put it on my TBR straight away. However when I saw one of the categories for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge was to do with sport, this is the first book that came to mind. And I’m so glad I read it! Kessel tackles women and sport from so many different aspects, such as why girls tend to hate sports in school, sports and periods, sports and pregnancy and why watching sports is very much seen as a guy thing. I loved how in the first chapter people such as Serena Williams, the Gladiators from the 90s TV show and Sporty Spice were all mentioned, it helped pique my interest. The chapters on periods and pregnancy just opened my eyes to the sexism in the industry and how taboo it still is to mention these things. It reminded me of the Olympics last year when Chinese diver Fu Yuanhui mentioned how her performance had been hindered a bit as she was so tired because of her period and how shocked some people were that she mentioned it. This made me think about sports in a different way and inspired me to try and have a more genuine interest in women’s sports. I watched the first Women’s Six Nations game with Ireland against Scotland on Friday and loved it so hoping I can watch it more in the future. This book should be read by men and women. It’s a great non-fiction book as it’s so well researched, the author has passion which comes through but it’s not dense and heavy and it’s easy to read.
Goldie Vance Volume One by Hope Larson and Brittany Williams
I first saw this when Rincey from Rincey Reads mentiond it in a video. Goldie is a sassy smart 16 year old who lives in a Florida resort hotel with her father. She works part time as a valet but really she wants to be a detective and often sticks her oar in to help the in-hotel detective. This was super fun, it has a great Nancy Drew in the 50s/60s vibe, I loved the characters, drawing style and colour scheme. It’s good clean fun, the volume ends at the end of the story line arc so there’s no cliff hangers which is cool and I’m looking forward to continuing this series! [NetGalley]
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
On the island of Fennbirn, every generation a set of triplet girls are born and each one are equal heirs that possess different gifts. They are separated at a young age and raised by different families who possess the same gift as them, hoping to nuture and train them up in their gift so that when they turn 16, they’ll be skilled enough to fight against the other sisters and win the throne. The 3 sisters in this book are Katharine (poisoner who can ingest deadly poisons without harm), Mirabella (an elementalist, who can control the elements) and Arsinoe (naturalist, who can grow beautiful flowers and control animals). The stories starts a few months before they turn 16 and we see the POV of each sister as the chapters alternate between them. This book was a bit slow at the beginning, there’s a lot of characters to get your head around and concentrates on world building. But I quite liked this as sometimes book 2 is all about building up plots and I find it can ruin the momentum. At first I was a fan of Katharine and didn’t want the story to switch to the other sisters but I got hooked into their stories too and loved them all by the end. The action ramps up towards the last 30% of this book and I’m hoping it’ll keep going in book 2. Overall I really liked this and I can’t wait to pick up book two later this year.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
I mentioned this book in my book haul post, it’s about a trans girls and is written by a trans woman author. Amanda is 18 and has moved to live with her father and finish off her final year of school. She’s torn between keeping to herself to keep her secret (and self) safe and living her true life and allowing herself to have friends and fall for a boy. I read this book really quickly one weekend and it’s so important to have visibility for trans characters and trans writers. It’s a great contemporary YA read for covering trans issues from different angles.
Captain Marvel Volume One: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karl Kesel and Al Barrionuevo
With the Captain Marvel film due out next year I wanted to read some of her comics and chose this place to start from. I wasn’t bowled away by this, I only found it ok as I wasn’t a massive fan of the artwork and the storyline was confusing at first to me. I would continue the story though and give it a chance but alas it doesn’t seem to be in the library!
Number of Books Read- 11
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 9:2
Number of eBooks- 7 (A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, It’s All Absolutely Fine, Homegoing, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters, The Mystery of the Painted Dragon, Goldie Vance and If I Was Your Girl )
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Captain Marvel and Eat, Sweat, Play)
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 Checklist
Read a book about sport- Eat, Sweat, Play
Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles away from your location- A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Read a fantasy novel- Three Dark Crowns
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+ – If I Was Your Girl
Read a superhero comic with a female lead- Captain Marvel
Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of colour- Homegoing
6 out of 24 challenges down. I was going to mark off two more but decided against it. For the debut novel, I was going to have The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters but because it’s written with someone’s help, I decided against it. For the all ages comic I was going to pick Goldie Vance but I felt it might more be YA and when I looked at how other people had labelled it they went more YA than all ages.