From my favorite to least…
- Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger. 5 stars. A stand-alone romance novella set in the Victorian steampunk world of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, Finishing School, and Custard Protocol series. I love this world so hard. This book follows Preshea, one of the mean girls from the Finishing School books, who after being widowed four times and years of indenture to Lord Akeldama and is now a free agent intelligencer/assassin. It was a real joy to see Carriger try her hand at a relatively straight-forward romance (except with, you know, ghosts and vampires and assassins), and I found Preshea to be delightfully prickly. Also, can we talk about the fabulousness of a hero whose, uh, preferences in bed sport are almost entirely about the giving of female pleasure? Now I want books for all of the others characters we haven’t followed from the Finishing School books, please.
- Shrill by Lindy West. 5 stars. The subtitle “Women Are Funny, It’s Okay to Be Fat, and Feminists Don’t Have to Be Nice” pretty much says it all. I listened to the audiobook, read by West herself, and it made me feel all the things. This book is angry and funny and raw and enraging and comforting and I wish it had been around when I was a teenager.
- Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. 5 stars. Apocalyptic fiction at its very best. I actually wrote a review of this one! Read it here.
- Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton. 3 stars. Again, the subtitle kind of says it all: “A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion.” Thought-provoking but ultimately frustrating. The only other review I wrote this month! Read it here.
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. 3 stars. A different kind of ghost story. Creepy and claustrophobic. Hard to read but ultimately worth it.
- Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole. 3 stars. Diverse apocalyptic romance! It’s a genre apparently. Though this book wasn’t for me (I like my romances quite a bit lighter), it wasn’t a bad read.
- The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle. 3 stars. The second Sherlock Holmes novel. Now with more problematic race crap! But we do get to see Watson fall in lerve…
- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. 2 stars. Magical realism + doomed love + food + Mexico = this book. Unfortunately, I only liked the last two ingredients.
- How to be Heroine by Samantha Ellis. 2 stars. Memoir via feminist revisiting of beloved childhood heroines. In theory this should have been straight up my alley, but… Samantha Ellis wanted to be Cathy Earnshaw. I think that pretty much says it all.
- Nine books in a month! I think that’s the best this year.
- Four Read Harder Challenge tasks crossed out! Radio Silence was the first book in a series by an author of color, Religion for Atheists is, well, a book about religion, Like Water for Chocolate is a book originally published in the decade I was born, and Parable of the Sower is a book about the apocalypse (and, interestingly, the first in a series by an author of color AND a book about religion – TRIPPLE THREAT)!
- I experimented with abandonning the TBR this month, and I don’t think it necessarily helped. I did a whole lot of “What should I read next” dithering and ended up reading quite a few uninspiring books. Back to the TBR for July!