I started compiling this post last week, but since I published a post of Kid Lit last week, I figured I’d save these discussions for later. Plus, I’m moving rather slowly through my current read and would have had no books to tell you about had I not procrastinated. Because I do almost all my reading digitally, I’m sometimes at a disadvantage, of sorts. I don’t immediately look up page counts so I’m often left wondering if my reading going slowly because I’m slogging through the book or if I inadvertently picked up a chunkster. A quick search tells me that in this particular instance, I have unwittingly picked up a book over 500 pages long, which would explain some things. My typical read is between 300-400 pages and I read a lot of romance which I tend to devour at a voracious pace. So I’m eyeball reading a long book and my kid barely ever naps so audio book sessions are few and far between. All that is to say: here’s a bunch of stuff I read last week. Or two weeks ago? TIME IS A CONSTRUCT.
Indexing by Seanan McGuire- Indexing is a wild ride. If you took The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford, and a CBS police procedural, then put them in a blender with a volume of the Brothers Grimm, you might get something close to Indexing. In this story, Fairy Tale cops try to keep fairy tales from taking over the reality we know. I mean, if Sleeping Beauty showed up one day and put everyone around her into a coma for 100 years, that wouldn’t be great. The ATI is tasked with neutralizing these threats, and the field team we’re introduced to includes a Snow White, a Wicked Stepsister, a would-be elf who can barely stop himself from constantly cobbling shoes, and one regular dude who happened upon the ATI when his brother was killed in a fairy tale incident. This motley crew not only tries to stop and neutralize the fairy tale narratives that pop up in the wild, but also have to battle against being sucked into their OWN fairy tales. I found the book wildly imaginative and a lot of fun. I’d say I want to live inside Seanan McGuire’s head, but it’s probably kind of scary in there. Nevertheless, I have the second installment waiting for me on my Kindle.
The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan- Who was up until 2 AM reading this? That would be me. I read Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series and while I liked it, none of the books kept me up past my bedtime. Enter The Duke Who Didn’t. It was PHENOMENAL. I’m obsessed with the quirky town of Wedgeford, with its population full of POC looking for a place to call home in England. Chloe lives in Wedgeford with her father. They’re Chinese immigrants, and arrived in Wedgeford after being taken advantage of by some nasty British opportunists. The pair are finally ready to go to market with an outrageously delicious new sauce and hope to introduce it at Wedgeford’s annual festival. Chloe has thought of little else but helping her father achieve his dream (and get his revenge) when Jeremy shows up. Jeremy hasn’t been seen in Wedgeford for years, but he spent his formative years coming to town each year to attend the festival. Jeremy has returned in order to win Chloe’s heart, but he has a secret. He is the Duke who owns most of Wedgeford. Jeremy has always cherished his time in Wedgeford because as a half-Chinese person, it is one of the few places he isn’t made to feel like an outsider. But, through a series of unfortunate events, he has inherited a Dukedom and all the British aristocratic trappings that come with it. Can he win Chloe back? Will she still love him once she learns the truth? Will the new and improved sauce topple the empire built by the sauce recipe the bad guys stole? You can probably guess, but you should read the book anyway. It’s funny and smart and endlessly charming.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo- I finally finished an audio book! I love Elizabeth Acevedo, and I highly recommend that you listen to her books as she narrates them herself. Her work is a unique poetry/prose hybrid, and listening to her delivery is exceptional. If you were moved by Amanda Gorman’s stellar Inaugural recitation? Tackle Acevedo via audio and thank me later. Clap When You Land actually incorporates a second narrator, so it’s not just Acevedo on this one, but she’s also excellent. A plane en route from NYC to the Dominican Republic crashes. There are no survivors. The narrative we’re presented with comes from the perspective of two different teenage girls who lost their fathers in the crash- one living in NYC, and one in DR. The two girls soon come to discover that their fathers were keeping secrets. Namely? Well. Their Papi is the same guy. He had two families separated by a stretch of ocean. This book is a complex mess of feelings. Camino and Yahaira begin by battling their own unique grief surrounding the loss of their beloved father. As the story progresses and more is revealed, each girl struggles with reconciling the man who kept so many secrets with the Papi they loved. It’s an emotionally draining read/listen, but so very worth it.
I hope you’re doing well, my lovely Bookworms. Stay healthy, stay safe, stay warm. (Here in IL we’re in the midst of a nasty cold snap. On top of, you know, staying home because of COVID, we’re now also stuck inside our house to avoid sub zero temperatures.) Hang in there, y’all.
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