In Semptember I read 12 books:
- 8 new novels, of which 1 was a DNF; 5 of them were ARCs
- 1 new novella, which was an ARC
- 1 short story
- I reread a novel
- I reread a novella
It read most of these during the first weeks, because at the end of September I started university. I don’t know how much I will be able to read in the future, but probably not as much as I read in September.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson – ★★ DNF
When I know more about various female characters’ breasts than I do about what’s happening in the novel, we have a problem. There were some interesting ideas here – alien fungus and telepathy in future Nigeria! – but they were swimming in male gaze.
Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang – ★★
A short story I found mostly forgettable. It takes many elements from various fairytales like Red Riding Hood or Beauty and the Beast without being a retelling of any of them. The concept was interesting but I’ve read many similar things executed better.
Could Have Been Better
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig – ★★¾
This wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. Over-the-top, unrealistic, overdramatic – it became too much by the end. The atmosphere was interesting at times, but there were some remarkable examples of bad writing here. But, most of all, the characters weren’t strong enough to make me not care about how forced and unrealistic the plot was. The only thing I actually liked about this was the second chance m/m romance, the main characters’ dynamic was great.
If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker – ★★¾
An f/f Emma retelling set in Hanalei Bay (Hawaii). It was great as a distraction from the hospital waiting room I was in, but I can’t say I would recommend it for many other situations. The main character was kind of annoying but not in a way I’m used to, which was actually interesting; the side characters, on the other hand, weren’t.
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang – ★★★½
A sci-fi thriller whose main character I loved – I really wanted to read about a woman whose superpowers is mathematics – and with a great diverse cast (if you like reluctant friendships, this one is for you). However, I didn’t think the plot was that interesting and it took me a long time to finish this book.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera – ★★★¾
This was longer than it should have been and I would have toned down the pop culture references, but otherwise this was a really interesting story of a m/m summer romance set in New York. Loved the theme about second chances and the ending (which actually made me see the book in a whole new light and also like it so much more. If it had been a “traditional” ending, this would have been between 2.5 and 3 stars).
Undertow by Brooklyn Ray – ★★★★
This is the sequel to Darkling, a paranormal novella I read earlier this year. If witch-y paranormal m/m romance with really good atmosphere, marine horror and many sex scenes sounds like your thing, you need to read this.
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig – ★★★★
A solid first book in a fantasy trilogy set in a world inspired by Southeast Asia during French colonization. The plot wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped and the romance was forgettable, but I loved the worldbuilding (the magic system is about necromancy in shadow plays!), the mixed media format and many of the characters. Anyway, I’m here for queer mentally ill heroines of color in YA fantasy.
Darkling by Brooklyn Ray – ★★★★½
This was a reread, and it was just as good the second time around.
A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma – ★★★★½
A story about a bisexual Jewish girl trying to escape an abusive home situation. It’s weird and atmospheric (set in New York, but magical) and I loved everything about the writing and symbolism. The ending wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, but I really liked this anyway.
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard – ★★★★★
This was great and I don’t know whether to count it as a novel or a novella (it’s very short) but I loved everything about it. It’s a post-apocalyptic post-colonial f/f Beauty and the Beast retelling in which the beast is a dragon. Also, Vietnamese cast. The romance was wonderful and everything I had been looking for.
[I’m going to post my review on this blog soon.]
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz – ★★★★★
One of my favorite books of all times, maybe my favorite standalone ever. This was a reread, and it reminded me how much I love this atmospheric, magical story about artist’s block, perfectionism and teenage insecurities. Mercedes (who is bisexual and Puerto Rican) is one of my favorite main characters in contemporary-set YA.