Dear Readers, November was a good month for reading catching up on my TBR, I ended up being bed ridden for two and a half weeks due to an emergency appendectomy. This month was a weird one for ratings , the books I thought would be instant 5 stars didn’t make it there but the smaller books with a little bit of buzz did. I read 12 books this month. I read 4 graphic novel, 5 books in a series, 3 dark mysteries, 1 classic, 1 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley) and 3 books nominated for Goodreads choice awards in 2020. I only started 1 new series. I read every book on my TBR and added 4. I did hit my yearly reading goal of 75 books this this year my current total is 94.
Five Star Reviews:
His & Hers by Alice Feeney This book has the intriguing tag line: “There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.” His & Hers is a great mystery with layers upon layers. This who done it, will have you constantly changing who you think is the killer. His & Hers reminded me of the best parts of The Girl in the Train, the unreliable narrators. Both main characters lie with in the first passage already showing you the reader mistrust. I really like the way it is told you have the perspective of him, a detective for a small town, and then you have her, a BBC news correspondent. But there is also another voice the killer’s voice, the clever thing this novel does is make you find out who the third voice belongs to is it Him, Her, or is it some one else.
Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is a fantastic, clever, new take on a witch locking a princess in the tower story. Tamsyn Muir is the best selling author of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth both books in The Locked Tomb trilogy those books are dark, and clever about a lesbian necromancer, I was really excited to read something lighter by her, and Princess Floralinda was a little lighter with some truly brutal scenes. The one thing that is clear is Tamsyn Muir is a clever writer and thinks out side of the box. Her writing so far is all about female empowerment with this novel taking it to another level, Princess Floralinda does not need a man to save her, she’ll do it herself. A special thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for allowing me to read it early. It wias be published on November 30, 2020.
Harleen by Stjepan Sejic was a fantastic Harley Quinn origin story. The approach was a romance novel gone wrong, and it works really well. Harleen managed to balance all four drama, action, romance, and comedy very evenly. The character of Harley generally wants to do good and help people, the Joker manipulates her feelings, but did she really change the Joker and make him care for him? Is the question, Batman and Alfred actually discuss it at the end. Harley does have layers to her character, and they are explored here. Harleen is written and drawn by Stjepan Sejic, with both done beautifully. The Joker and Harley have never loved better, the Joker is a little bit EMO which did take a second to get used to. Harleen is up for best graphic novel in Goodreads choice awards, and after reading it, it has my vote.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy is a hard look at what it takes to be a hero, and Batman himself asking if he help contribute to crime. This is the sequel to the excellent Batman: White Knight where the Joker went sane and went after Batman as if he were the victim. The Joker is back to being the joker, but the things he called out were too good and could ruin crime sprees. The Joker has one more joke to pull that could blow up the Wayne legacy. The Curse of the White Knight continues its streak of being one of the best Batman stories. The story had a lot of twist and turns as it explores the birth of the Wayne dynasty and a current threat with an old score to settle. The writing will make you both laugh and almost cry.
Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom, Part Two by Jeff Lemire was fantastic a perfect ending to the series. I was a little shocked that it ended I know of two other volumes to the series, but upon further research, one is short stories told in the world, and the other is a prequel. This is such a weird series that embraced the weird and did not shy away from it, but through all that weird it told a story of a dysfunctional super hero family, and the ending really nailed that aspect. This is easily one of my top series enders for a graphic novel. Characters were able to grow and the story has a nice arc that went full circle back to the beginning.
Four Star Reviews:
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one part gothic tale like Rebecca and one part like Jordan Peele’s film Get Out. The novel dip from gothic to horror easily. The novel analyses race, heredity, and class warfare making it a deep part of the story. This novel has been in the horror category, the first half I was like this is stretch to fit in this category, but the second half earned its spot in the category. The story is totally off the rails I could not have predicted where it went which was part of the fun. This book is one of the most hyped books of this year, receiving rants and raves all over the blogosphere.
One of Us is Next by Karen McManus is the sequel to the best selling One of Us is Lying. In this one the story is more complex, and the novel pulls double duty introducing us to new characters, while catching us up with the old characters from the first book. The book for the most part does a good job of blending the new characters with the old, I did feel at beginning it was too much of the new characters. The mystery is way more complex, it reminded me of the newest Veronica Mars storyline. Instead of 4 characters perspectives, we get 3 which was okay but it took away the rapid paced smaller chapters of the first one. The finale was really fun and exciting. There was a late twist almost at the end that I was not excepting.
Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind is an epic tale of stopping the beings from the Underworld from escaping and bring hell upon the world. This is book two in the Sword of Truth series. This book waste no time to get going, action starts on page five and goes on for a good while. The story takes places a mere two days after the last one ended, with a lot of the unresolved issues getting addressed early on. The action scenes are great and unrelenting. There is a war scene that was so smart and detailed it was easily in my top ten of battle scenes I have read, where I didn’t get lost in the action and every move made sense. The finale felt a little rushed
Three Star Reviews:
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline is the sequel to the geektastic Ready Player One. Ready Player Two is like the Matrix meets Tron: Legacy, it ups the action, and the quests (seven instead of three) . This book focuses more on overall pop culture during the 80’s while the first one was a little more about gaming, which is sure to turn some readers off. The magic is still alive in the series, the world building is expanded. The worlds explored are John Hughes, Prince, PBS, Florian (Princess Bride) and Middle Earth. John Hughes land was my absolute favorite, the whole book could have happened there and I would have been fine. I enjoyed Ready Player One more but this sequel has it’s charm and had some really cool highlights.
Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a satire written in 1854 but about the Hard Times of a mill town in 1840’s. This story is tragic as it looks at the differences of the have and the have not’s of society. It is a little crazy how some of the issues are still relevant especially about workers rights on safety. Hard Times is a satire and Dickens will find little ways to add humor, he has a lot of fun with names such as Gradgrind, Slackbridge, and M’Coakumchild to name a few. The story is told as an ensemble there is no main character, the story bounces to people mostly associated with the Gradgrind and Bounderby familes/workers.
The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly is Jurassic Park with dragons. The novel is self aware and there is references to Jurassic Park throughout. Where the novel separates it self from Jurassic Park is 300 pages of white knuckle action that does not let up until the end. Reilly does not put too much science in his science fiction unlike Michael Crichton does, leaving the story not as believable as Jurassic Park. What Reilly does really well is have detailed maps, that constantly reminds the reader where they are in relationship to others. Reilly who is known for his action delivers a pulse pounding narrative that seems to never let up.
Two Star reviews:
Suicide Squad Volume 1: Trial By Fire by John Ostrander and Kim Yale is 80’s action Suicide Squad more influenced by the 80’s TV show the A-Team then anything else. I wanted to read this in anticipation for the movie coming out that will have lots of obscure characters from the series, and I thought the 80’s Suicide Squad would be a good place to look. I got to learn a lot of the history of the squad originally called Suicide Squadron during World War II. I found out that The Penguin was briefly a member. The main members are Deadshot, Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, and lead by Randall Flagg commanded by Amanda Waller.