In today’s video, I review my March reads, which were almost all library books!
Books mentioned and mini-reviews:
The Tyranny of Lost Things by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
Harmony is a university dropout on a quest to investigate her own obsession with a house she lived in as a child. She moves into a flat there starts trying to uncover memories, while keeping her connection to the building a secret from her flatmates. It’s fairly slow-going, with Harmony pulling at the threads of the mystery whenever she can, while living her early-twenties life. But the characters are interesting and memorable. If you liked The Confession by Jessie Burton, you might like this.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
This is a delicious unreliable-narrator murder mystery set in a rural community, like cottagecore with fangs. The narrator is an older woman who lives alone and is more than a little strange – obsessed with astrology and animals. When one of her neighbours asks her to help him with their other neighbour, who has just died, she finds herself in the middle of a police investigation, but the authorities won’t take her seriously. It’s slow to get started, and quite weird, but I couldn’t put it down.
The Story of My Tits by Jennifer Hayden
I’m sure when I read the blurb for this graphic memoir on the library website, it said that it was about the author’s experience having breast cancer in her early 40s. But it’s not really about that – it’s about her whole life, and her relationship with her breasts up until that point. Unfortunately, it was too long for me – I couldn’t keep track of who all the different people were over the course of the book and could have done with a cast list.
Four Sisters: Enid by Cati Baur and Malika Ferdjoukh
This is a lovely graphic novel, originally published in French and based on a popular series of novels, about five sisters who live together in a decrepit old mansion with their ghost parents, neglected by their legal guardian, an aunt who doesn’t pay them much mind. They argue, look after each other, and grow up a little over the course of the story. The art is delightfully unflattering – the girls all look like real girls, awkward and expressive – but beautiful all the same. I really want to read the rest of the series, but am having trouble tracking it down it down in English!
Strong Female Protagonist Book One by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
This a collected edition of a webcomic about an ex-superhero who’s now just trying to go to university and get on with her life but finds that you can’t ever really be an ex-superhero, especially when you’re the strongest person on earth and completely indestructible, and have been given a few snippets of information about a conspiracy. It’s a lot of fun, even as it explores ethical questions about the existence of superheroes. I would describe it as like a non-nihilistic version of The Boys – if you found the The Boys interesting but didn’t like how like grim, disgusting and bleak, give Strong Female Protagonist a go!
Buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
How to be Autistic by Charlotte Amelia Poe
This is a short memoir about the author’s experience growing up as an undiagnosed autistic person, that I found often sad and difficult to read as it was so relatable for me – I had a similar experience at school but far, far milder, so I had this very strong sensation of ‘there but for the grace of god go I’ while I was reading it. However, it ends on a hopeful note – they did eventually get the right diagnosis, and had the courage to enter an art competition, that they won and that landed them the book deal for How to be Autistic. I will definitely be following the author’s career with great interest!
To Sir Philip, With Love by Julia Quinn
This is the fifth Bridgerton book and the last I plan to read! Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this very much at all. Yet again it follows the same forced-marriage plotline that three out of the four previous books featured, and I found it very frustrating that the couple never really talked about their issues, everything was resolved by an outside event.
Buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
The Secret Loves of Geeks edited by Hope Nicholson
This is an anthology (a follow-up to The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, which my library doesn’t have but they did have this?!) featuring prose and short comics about the various secret loves of different geeky people, from other geeks, to characters, to passionately-held interests. It was a really fun read, and made me think about all my own ‘secret loves’!
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop.org (affiliate links)
The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams (review copy via NetGalley)
Another unconventional romance from Laura – this one follows a jilted bride who goes on her honeymoon with a childhood friend she re-met at the gym! Unlike her previous novels, this one is in first person, which I think really helps you get inside the heroine’s head as she has to figure out her new life. And the honeymoon chapters are absolutely perfect escapism, lots of luxurious hotel rooms, delicious meals, and wine-tasting adventures.
The Once and Future Queen, Vol. 1: Opening Moves by Adam P. Knave, D.J. Kirkbride, and Nickolas Brokenshire
This is a flipped-gender King Arthur retelling that just didn’t work for me – teenager Rani Arturus pulls Excalibur from a stone and then a spaceman-Merlin tells her that she has a destiny. Instantly a modern-day Guinevere and Lancelot know they too have destinies, and the fighting starts without any trepidation on anyone’s part…you can see why I didn’t get on with it! There’s not enough tension and interpersonal drama to keep me reading, and the dark fae villains are too straightforward to add any intriguing moral ambiguity.
Buy: Bookshop.org (affiliate link)
The Secret of Danger Point by Kim Dwinell
This was absolutely adorable – a paranormal mystery set in a seaside town in California. The heroines are best friends and surfer girls who investigate after one of them stumbles into a part of their town marked for redevelopment and discover it’s full of ghosts. The art is lovely, the whole mood like a holiday, I loved it and will have to figure out how to carry on reading the rest of the series!
Buy: Bookshop.org (affiliate link)
Orphan Black, Vol. 1 by John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Jody Houser, Szymon Kudranski, and Cat Staggs
You may enjoy this if you are a big fan of the TV show Orphan Black – but beware, it’s the first volume in a series that seems to have stopped after the second book. There’s a lot of set up here and no mysteries are explained, but it has some nice moments in the backstories of some of the clones.