March/April Media

Collage of covers of books described in blog post

[Image shows clipped covers of books listed below]

I neglected to post at the end of March (I was a little distracted by my NEW BOOK DEAL) but here is some of the media I consumed in the past two months.

The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso (Adult Fantasy, trade paperback)
I actually read an earlier draft of this last year, but it just came out at the end of April and I know the final version is even better than what I read (which was, already full of adventure and magic and cool outfits and witchlords and friendship and my favorite new character) so I am including it here. I loved it so much I gave myself a TDH inspired manicure, pictured in the image above. Sadly my skills with freehand nail art as not as good as Melissa’s writing! But if you read the first in this series, do check out book 2. And if you haven’t read book 1, give that a go if you like fantasy adventure with a dollop of political intrigue,

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (Adult SFF Novella, ebook)
Last (that I know of) in a series of novellas full of wild and imaginative speculative elements, like space ships that are giant fish with lungs full of plants to create oxygen, and deadly jellyfish aliens, and a super cool protagonist whose journey has finally come full circle. Also math!

Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers (Adult Mystery, ebook)
I really like Harriet Vane and I was intrigued by the mystery (about a body that she finds along a deserted English shore, only to have it be washed out to see before anyone can properly investigate), but I was disappointed in the pervasive use of ethnic slurs. It is, perhaps, a product of its times (published in 1932) but that doesn’t make it more tolerable. I still may read the next in the series (Gaudy Nights) because I bought it already and I know it is a favorite of fans of the series, but right now I am not in a rush.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (Adult Romance, ebook)
An adorable and wonderful romance featuring a scientist main character who is romanced by an incognito African prince. I read this when I was in the mood for something fast and warm and sweet and funny and it was all those things and more.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (YA Fantasy, ebook)
Secondary world fantasy inspired by West African history/legend. I loved this and read it super-fast because I JUST HAD TO KNOW what would happen. I love the intense emotion, the visuals, the complicated character interactions, and the fascinating magic system. But augh, what a cliffhanger of an ending! Still, I highly recommend. This one definitely lives up to the hype for me. It’s also especially fun to read it knowing the author is an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan and see some of the echoes of that here.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (YA Fantasy, ebook)
Luscious and grotesque all at once, and rich with atmosphere. I found this a little challenging to get into but once I was in I sank deep. There is so much going on here, so many interesting questions here, and an interrogation of our society’s relationship with beauty and identity. I think this book may be both the most beautiful and the ugliest (in terms of what people do to each other and the twisted nature of the world portrayed) that I’ve read lately.

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman (YAish Graphic Novel)
A religious girl who also happens to be black and not straight (but also not out) goes to a Christian outdoors camp and grapples with her place there, her faith, and her identity. I was drawn to this mostly due to the sweet, engaging artwork, but the story inside kept me reading. I am still not entirely sure I understand the ending of this volume (there are more on the way, I think?) though!

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta (MG Fantasy, ebook)
A wonderfully funny and delightful middle grade fantasy featuring a contemporary girl from New Jersey discovering her connection to a fantastical realm inspired by Hindu mythology. I loved the main character Kiranmala! Such a great voice, and she felt really honest and true. I can imagine fans of Percy Jackson would love this.

I also read the drafts of two different fantasy novels for writer-friends that won’t be out until next year so I am not going to comment on them here, except to say I am lucky lucky lucky and have incredibly talented friends!

Pacific Rim Uprising
I enjoyed the spectacle and getting to see John Boyega do this thing as a Jaeger pilot, and the crop of new younger teen pilots in training, but I was sorely disappointed by how they handled Mako’s plotline. I am so curious whether it was because of limitations on the actresses’ time, or whether they seriously thought it was a good idea.

A Quiet Place
I loved this movie about a family surviving in the aftermath of what appears to be an alien invasion by monsters that are blind and hunt by sound. Amazing acting, incredible tension, gripping story. I did have to look away/cover my eyes a couple times because I couldn’t bear the suspense but it was worth it.

Avengers Infinity War
No spoilers: I enjoyed it quite a lot, particularly seeing the interactions between characters who had never met before. I was impressed by how they kept the story flowing even with that many different elements. Because of (spoilery) things that happened, though, I feel like until I see next years conclusion, I really can’t tell if I will ultimately love, hate, or something-in-between it. I suspect a certain thing will happen in next year’s movie, and if it does, I will be happy, but if it doesn’t (or is done in the wrong way) I may be very unhappy. That said, I am really excited to see Captain Marvel finally make her appearance in the universe!

No full games completed, lately! My brother and I are thisclose to finishing Borderlands in coop mode, but not quite… Otherwise I’m still just wallowing in my love of Dragon Age Inquisition by continuing my replay. I did do the Descent DLC for the first time. I loved some of the imagery and a few of the side quests (Nug King!!!!) and the lore you learn and questions that are raised regarding the titans. But otherwise it was mostly just running around in tunnels and fighting a lot, which isn’t my favorite. I’ve moved on to the Jaws of Hakkon DLC and trying to trigger the Adoribull romance, before I finish the final encounter of the main campaign and Trespasser. After that I will start something new! (Unless I start a Mass Effect 1-3 replay, oops).

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