[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction Post!

Sep. 19th, 2010 07:27 am
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Hi there! I'm Sophia, and this is my journal. If you want to know more about me and about what you can find here, this is the place! )
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This is a romance novel starring the prince of an African country that is an obvious stand-in for Lesotho, and his long-lost betrothed who has grown up a foster child in the USA.

I had heard that the romance part of this romance novel wasn't everything one might hope for, buuuuuut it's a novel about Lesotho (sorry, "Thesolo") so in the end I just couldn't resist.

It was super weird reading a novel in which a version of a country that I have some personal familiarity with (I lived in Lesotho for several years as a small child) is turned into something of an idealized version of itself. Especially in a context where everything else about this world is the same as our world except Thesolo replacing Lesotho.

But I am a white person and so my opinions about this are not the most important ones. So I will refrain from discussing it, and move on to talking about the characters and plot and romance instead.

Which, yeah, as warned I don't love the romance. Naledi, the female lead? I love her, she's great, I absolutely believe in her as a person and I want good things for her and I'm so happy to see her over the course of the novel learning that she can open up to other people, and let other people help her.

But Thabiso, the male lead, sigh, no thanks. It's very nice for him that he's willing and able to try to learn to be a better person, but he starts the novel an entitled asshole and his entire storyline is Naledi teaching him how to be that better person. Which like. I am so over romances about how an asshole can be redeemed through the love of a good woman.

Read more... )

Overall: I admire what this book is trying to do, and there is lots that I do like about it, but ultimately it doesn't quite work for me.
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This is the first ever time I've read a historical "crossdressing" book wherein the AFAB person who dresses in read-as-male clothing turns out to actually explicitly have gender feelings and I for one was PUMPED to finally find one! I didn't have to read against the text at all to see the main character as genderqueer!!!!

Honestly this is the biggest selling point of the book imo so if that sounds appealing to you, go for it. Everything else about the novel was...perfectly fine. Nothing spectacular, imo, but solidly enjoyable.

Okay so this is a Regency romance novel in which a foundling, upon whom has been bestowed the unfortunate name Charity Church, pretends to be a man named Robert Selby in order to help the dead Robert's sister find an advantageous match. Charity-as-Robert ends up spending a bunch of time with an overly-duty-focused Marquess, Alistair, who at first wants nothing to do with the Selbys or with anyone or anything else that might be seen as anything other than perfectly respectable.

Read more... )
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The sequel to The Collapsing Empire. Like that book, this one is interesting, readable, lightweight, and I don't particularly care about any of the characters at all. Not my favourite kind of book but a perfectly reasonable way to pass the time. I do very much want to know what's going to happen next though, so I guess I'll be reading the next one too.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I had heard from reliable sources that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a good movie, but I hadn't seen any in-depth reaction posts about it, so I wasn't quite sure of the specifics of the ways in which it was good. Still, it sounded worth seeing, so I read the wikipedia plot outline for spoilers and then went to see it last night.

And hey! It was super good! What particularly blew me away, though, was the ART STYLE and the VISUAL STORYTELLING. It just looked so incredible, and I was absolutely not expecting that to be a stand-out feature of the film. In animated films I've seen before, the art has been good but not, like, irreplaceable; I would have enjoyed the film equally well had the creators decided to make it live-action instead. Into the Spider-Verse, on the other hand, would absolutely be a totally different (and worse) movie if it weren't animated. I have had my mind newly opened to the potentials of animation as a valuable artistic choice!

I don't want to take away from the other great stuff the film has going for it. I absolutely enjoyed the characters, and the writing, and the acting, and all that other good stuff. But those parts weren't a surprise in a movie I'd been told was good. The visuals were.
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It's time for my final listing of all the books I read in the last year! Only a week and a half late this year, which is doing GREAT for me!

The list (with links to my reviews) )

The stats )

My fave reread of the year...hmm. Although I reread some really well-loved books this year, I think I'm gonna have to nominate The Beacon at Alexandria, because its quality was such a pleasant surprise. All my other top rereads I knew going in exactly how much I was going to enjoy them, but this one I was really not sure if it would live up to my positive memories. And then it did!

My fave new-to-me fiction book of the year is True Pretenses by Rose Lerner. Or possibly A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Or just the whole series of Birchbark House books by Louise Erdrich. Or.....just about any of my five-star reviews?? Look, favourites are hard, I read a lot of good books this year!

My fave nonfiction book of the year is The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, by David Damrosch. Engagingly written and about an inherently fascinating topic, this was an easy pick! (It helps that I read so much less nonfiction than fiction....)

My least favourite book of the year is apparently Don't Care High, which honestly if that's the worst book I read this year then I'm doing GREAT at curating my reading choices, as it was merely not-for-me rather than actively bad!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Wooohooo I finally got my hands on the latest book in the Rivers of London series! I've been seeing conversations about the book going down in the fandom so I'm glad to have finally been able to read it myself.

Unfortunately pre-reading so much in the way of other people's discussions of the book leaves me feeling like there's not a lot to say in my own review, whoops. It was a really good book, an excellent addition to the series! I had a lot of feelings about a lot of things! I'm sorry I can't figure out how to be more explicit/descriptive in what I thought!
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All of a sudden I had the inexplicable desperate need to reread this duology. I haven't read these books since....probably since I was a teenager I think so it's been a while. But they are pretty much exactly what I remember them being and I enjoyed the experience of rereading them exactly as much as I expected.

Which is not to say that they're perfect books, because they're not, they're just very much the kind of thing they are.

The setting: a version of Regency England where magic is a thing. The plot: mostly capers with a low-key romance.

The main character, Kim, is a petty criminal who at the beginning of the first book has been hired to snoop into the belongings of a passing stage magician. The stage magician, Mairelon, turns out to be also a real magician in disguise who is on a somewhat foolish quest to find a set of magical objects that people mistakenly believe he stole. Hijinks ensue.

In the second book, Kim is introduced to Society and begins the process of learning to be a magician, while also helping Mairelon with uncovering a magical plot. Hijinks that are slightly easier to follow (and also slightly more serious) than the first book's hijinks ensue.

The first book is hampered by the sheer quantity of involved characters and trying to keep track of who's who, who's wanting to do what, who's related to whom, and who knows what about what other people are doing. But if you just decide that keeping close track of the plot doesn't really matter, then it's a fun time to just read through and enjoy the doings of Kim and Mairelon, and the general shape of the silly plot.

The second book, the plot is easier to follow and also the Problem That Needs Fixing seems to have actual stakes rather than just being for the sake of Mairelon's pride, so it is an improvement on the first one, much as I do enjoy the low-stress fun of the first one too.

As well as of course enjoying the two main characters, I really like the various secondary female characters in these books. I love Renee and want to see more of her friendship with Kim and Mairelon! And Mairelon's mother is of course great. But even Mairelon's Aunt Agatha who is a regular thorn in Kim's side has her moments of not actually being an antagonist. (Also Kim's extremely practical abigail who doesn't blink at anything Kim does is great too.)

cut for minor thematic spoiler )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
These two books are really the first and second half of the same story so I’ll review them together. This is a darker story that takes place in the same world as Swordheart, though a little bit earlier in the timeline. (The aftereffects of what happens in these two books are clear in Swordheart!)

A rag-tag group of mostly-criminals is sent off on what’s probably a suicide mission to stop a war by finding out the source of the horrifying enormous destructive living automatons sent out by the opposing side of the war.

The two main viewpoint characters are a woman who mainly works as a forger, and an ex-paladin wracked with guilt who was once possessed by a demon and killed a bunch of nuns while possessed. (He’s no longer possessed, but the dead demon still lurks in the back corners of his mind.)

Also on the mission are an amoral assassin and a 19 year old misogynistic scholar-monk. Eventually they get a gnole too.

I didn’t love this book as much as some of Ursula Vernon’s writings, but I still really enjoyed it - even a book that’s not really my thing is a good time when it’s Vernon writing it. (The kind of book that has an assassin as a major character is just really unlikely to ever do it for me. Also I don't have paladin feelings, and this book was written in direct response to Vernon's frustrations with how paladins are usually portrayed, so.)

But the book does have fascinating worldbuilding, interesting characters, the usual Ursula Vernon delights. I was particularly interested in gnole culture, and in Learned Edmund’s character development!

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance aspect of this duology, idk. It just didn’t quite work for me. Probably because I lack the aforementioned paladin feelings. But it wasn’t as major an element as in Swordheart so it was fine.

Overall a worthwhile read.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
A romance novel by Ursula Vernon! I am extremely charmed and delighted. I mean, obviously I was going to be, it is impossible not to enjoy the things she writes.

This is a romance novel about a middle aged woman and an immortal dead guy trapped in a sword. Which like. I AM THERE FOR THE PREMISE but then the execution absolutely backs it up too.

Halla’s been her great-uncle’s housekeeper for years, and when he finally kicks the bucket he leaves her estate to her. Which would be fine and dandy except....the rest of the family does not agree with this outcome of his will. So Halla’s locked in her room to Think About What She’s Done in order to make her marry her cousin so that her aunt can have control over the estate.

And then she discovers that if she draws an old sword decorating the wall in her room she’ll get a strange man showing up in swirl of blue lights! Who says she’s his bearer and he’ll protect her!

Obviously they then run away together in order to find a lawyer to back up the reading of the will. As you do, because Ursula Vernon’s characters tend to be sensible about things.

Road trip time!

And then even more road trip time once they pick up the lawyer, who’s a delightful nonbinary religious person who becomes a major secondary character.

I...I don’t know how best to describe the appeal of Vernon’s writing, but just something about how she approaches writing - the characters, the plot, the descriptions, the sense of humour, etc - just really really works for me. I wish I could explain better why this book is so good and you should read it!

(One of the details though that I really loved about this book was Sarkis’s belated realization of Halla’s protective strategy of acting like a stupid woman not worth anyone's time when she's faced with dangerous men, and how when he first met Halla she was doing exactly that to him. Amazing. I love Halla so much.)
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A while back [tumblr.com profile] postmodernismruinedme and her partner recommended the movie "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" to me and I am happy to report that it lives up to everything I was promised.

In this movie, four teenagers (the jock, the nerd boy, the bluestocking, the popular girl) accidentally get pulled into the world of a video game! To escape the game our group of main characters, none of whom really like each other to begin with, must win the game's objectives through the power of teamwork!!

To make things more complicated, each character ends up in the body of an in-game avatar that is very different from their real life self. The jock ends up in the body of the sidekick zoologist, the nerd ends up in the body of the heroic and muscular team lead, the bluestocking ends up in the body of the sexy fighter girl, and the popular girl ends up in the body of a pudgy middle aged male cartographer. They are all varyingly uncomfortable with this, and the cross-gender avatar of the popular girl is handled remarkably well for a mainstream movie. (Jack Black truly IS Bethany and I was duly impressed.)

This movie is funny and charming and about TEAMWORK and FRIENDSHIP and LEARNING TO RECOGNIZE YOUR STRENGTHS.

The two female characters have a really frank conversation early in the movie about why they don't like each other, and then after that they're just....friends who support each other and accept each other! They end up having the least fraught relationship of any of the characters! I was so pleased with this.

I was also really intrigued by the relationships of each of the characters with the bodies they ended up in. It's differently challenging for all of them, and Bethany (the image-obsessed popular girl who's put in a male avatar) honestly handles it the best of all of them. She's just unapologetically herself and for the most part doesn't let herself get awkwarded out by how she would be perceived in this other body.

Meanwhile Fridge (the jock) clearly feels emasculated by the very-non-jock body he ends up in. And Spencer (the nerd boy) seems to enjoy being in the body of Dwayne The Rock Johnson but also feels disconnected from the body: he knows it's not him, and admires it in a way that's clearly seeing the body from the outside rather than truly inhabiting it. And Martha (the bluestocking) has no clue how to handle the sexy persona she's been put into and hates how naked she feels in her costume.

So it was all a really interesting exploration of embodiment and what it means to feel at home in your body and how much is your body really you versus just being the vessel you're housed in. While still being a fun ridiculous actiony movie!

When I finished the movie, I of course immediately went to AO3 and was pleasantly surprised that there's actually more than just a couple extant fics in the fandom. So I was able to find a number of fics I enjoyed! HOWEVER, what I ended the movie wanting most of all was something that I only found a very tiny amount of in one short fic.

cut for spoilers as I describe the plot point in the movie that leads to what I want from fic )
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I’m extremely grateful to skygiants’ effusive review of this book because otherwise I probably would never have bothered picking it up. But it’s so good!!!!!

This is a novella about queer families and magic and being outside the cultural/religious norms of December's Christmas celebration season.

Layla and Nat are both polyamorous queer people, and they have a partner in common - they are both dating a magician named Meraud. After Meraud disappears because of magic reasons, they have to work together to get him back, and in the process come to understand and appreciate each other more.

I love how different Layla and Nat are from each other, and how understandable it is that they would dislike each other at first despite me very much liking both of them. Layla has a wife and kids and and is doing her best to be generally respectable. Nat is genderqueer, blue-haired, has important emotional connections with other also very-obviously-queer people, and is living his best queerest life that he can.

Read more... )
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My top ten yuletide fics this year!!

Every Sundown - Imperial Radch, gen, Breq & Seivarden. AU fic in which Seivarden is the ship and Breq the human captain, does really great things in reimagining their story through this framework

Drawing Water - Spinning Silver, gen, Rebekah bat Flek. An incredible fic about the Staryk girl who Miryem names, with wonderful details about what names mean to the Staryk and about how relationships between the Staryk and the humans are changing because of Miryem's arrival.

Piracy Is Our Only Option - Sense & Sensibility, gen, Margaret. A delightful brief epistolary fic about Margaret running off to sea!

Traces Through Time - Lord Peter Wimsey, het, Peter/Harriet & Miss Climpson. An AU in which Peter and Harriet are historical figures from the medieval period whom an academic named Katherine Climpson studies in the 1990's. I love the use of primary source documents to build a picture of this AU.

Nat Geo - The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, het, Doreen/Kraven. A hilarious and delightful and perfectly-in-tone-with-canon fic about Doreen being Kraven's plus one to a National Geographic event.

How It Was Then - Persuasion, het, Anne/Frederick & Sophia Croft. Sophia's perspective on her brother around the time when Frederick first had his heart broken by Anne. I love Sophia's pov and characterization.

Each Word Made True And Good - Little Men/Jo's Boys, femslash, Josie/ofc. An all-female production of Hamlet in which Josie plays Horatio. The way Josie throws herself so deeply into loving theatre and acting is so true to character, and watching her interact with her love interest was great.

the husband in the tower - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, het, Arabella/Jonathan. Post-canon, Arabella decides to rescue her husband from his situation, which like, YES.

Learning To See A Future - Damar, gen, Harry & Corlath's daughter. Harry and Corlath's teenage daughter goes to live in Istan for a year, and her complicated relationship with the various sorts of people in Istan, and her homesickness but also her determination to see things through that need doing, are just so great.

Every Touch Until - The Blue Castle, het, Barney/Valancy. Does a marvelous job of Barney's POV over the course of Barney and Valancy's first year of marriage.
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This is a nonfiction book consisting of the letters home of a white lady who travelled to New Zealand in the 1860’s to take up sheep farming with her husband and stayed for three years. Lady Barker is a charming correspondent who knows how to tell a story, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening* to her various adventures, opinions, descriptions of life, and occasional real hardships. It’s, you know, a colonial book about colonialism, but you know what you’re getting into in a book like this and it was still very much a good example of the kinds of things I like about 19th century women’s travelogues so I feel well satisfied with my experience.

*I experienced this book as a free librivox audiobook to entertain me while walking places. The volunteer reader was very good!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So I have been watching Hank Green be a person on the internet for......a lot of years. I started watching the Vlogbrothers channel (which he does along with his brother John) in January 2009 which is, dear lord, very nearly 10 years ago at this point.

This is Hank Green’s first book. At first I wasn’t planning on reading it because it didn’t really sound like my kind of thing, but then Hank did a video of himself reading the first chapter aloud and I found myself interested. So I got the book from the library and read it!

This is a book set in the modern world (modern USA no less) about internet fame and alien communication. Which, of those three points of data about the book, only one is actually calculated to appeal to me (ALIENS). But Hank Green is nonetheless good at being fairly consistently compelling, so I enjoyed the book anyway.

One of the things that struck me is that it very much reads like a thing Hank Green wrote. Which, as may be evidenced by how many hours of my life I’ve spent listening to him talk on youtube, is not a bad thing to my mind. But it does read as kind of all being one voice, which means that the dialogue does not quite come across as believable conversations.

When I was about a third of the way into the book I went onto wikipedia to spoil myself for where the book was going because I like spoilers, and then found myself rather annoyed at one of the directions the book ends up going in. I almost gave up reading the book at that point, but I stuck it out and just skimmed past the plot point I disliked, and in the end I’m glad I did.

The thing I don’t like....okay so this requires a little background. Read more... )
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This is the second book in James Alan Gardner’s new series of modern-day superheroes in southern Ontario. Still don’t care about superpowered fight scenes and vampires and train heists and stuff, still have FIVE MILLION FEELS ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS AAAAAA.

The first book, All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault, was the origin story about four roommates who become superheroes. This one takes place ten days later, as they’re all working to get used to what it means to be superpowered. Each book is from a different one of their POV’s, and I believe the author intends to write one book for each character.

K, who was the POV character of the first book, is very self-analytical and interested in ideas on the nature of constructed identity. Also ze is genderqueer and I love zir very much.

Jools, who’s the POV character of this book, is…..a lot less self-analytical and a lot more of a hot mess. BUT I LOVE HER TOOOOOO!

Um. Yeah okay no I have nothing else to say about this book. I love the characters to a ridiculous degree, I want to keep hanging out with all of them, I can’t wait till the next book comes out (hopefully we do get a next book!), the end.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The person who’s been the artist for all of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl up to this point left after the last volume, and someone new started here. I miss Erica’s art so much! The new person is good too, much better than I was fearing when I heard there’d be a replacement artist, but nobody can live up to Erica Henderson.

But that aside, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl continues to be a TOTAL DELIGHT. God I love this comic. In this volume: escape rooms! the nature of personal growth and redemption! friendship! the best ever sense of humour! LOVE IT.

(Also a brief mention of Squirrel Girl’s childhood friendship with Ana Sofia* which I am SUPER PUMPED ABOUT and I just want Doreen and Ana Sofia to STILL BE FRIENDS AND PART OF EACH OTHER’S LIVES, one small mention merely WHETS MY APPETITE FOR MORE)

*Ana Sofia is Doreen’s best friend from the middle-grade novels about Squirrel Girl by Shannon and Dean Hale.
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OH BOY dreamwidth is more active of late than I'm used to and it's weird! Also I've got a Lot going on right now irl so I've been just like....ignoring the things that have been going on with online fandom. But I have some new subscribers (welcome!) and I have in fact been reading books so should be posting new book thoughts soon hopefully maybe. I'm just, like, assuming that's the reason people follow me since it's basically all I post anymore. Maybe someday I'll post other things again too. We'll see!

In the meantime this has been a mostly useless post GOODBYE
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I am approximately the last person in the world to read the Lord of the Rings. But it's finally happening!

I mean, I'm about 95% sure that I read the The Fellowship of the Ring once before when I was a preteen, and there’s maybe a 10% chance that I read The Two Towers at that time as well. But I'm absolutely confident I've never read The Return of the King! Look, it's hard to be sure of anything from when I was a preteen, that was so long ago and I have such a bad memory and I don't think that reading 1 or possibly 2 of these books at that time quite counts.

ANYWAY. It feels weird trying to write a book review of something that basically every person who might have the slightest interest in this kind of thing has already read and had opinions about. But here's my preliminary thoughts! (please ignore the way my tenses are all over the place below: I wrote my thoughts down kind of as I went and then at the end couldn't figure out how to straighten everything out tidily)


So after reading The Fellowship of the Ring, I was mainly struck by how very infodumpy this book is. Like. I knew that Tolkien's main interest was creating a language and thus building the world that went with the languages he created, but I don't think I'd ever been aware of how....how obvious that fact is on the page. But the undue degrees of focus on telling you things about the world's history actually ends up doing something interesting which I don't see often in fantasy books, which is to very effectively evoke a specific feeling: a pervading feeling of melancholy with a sense of things that are gone and going. This was really cool and not what I was expecting at all, from what I'd gleaned from all the high fantasy tolkien-esque pastiches I have read over the years.

For Tolkien, the world is the most important character, not any of the people in it, and you can tell from the degree to which he attempts to create interesting characterization and a character arc. The world gets all of it; the people inhabiting that world are pretty one-note.

The most interesting characterization-of-a-person moment in the book was the short scene where Galadriel reacts to Frodo offering her the One Ring. I really liked that scene and found it made me far more interested in Galadriel than any other scenes had successfully made me interested in other characters.

(other than Sam, who I care deeply about throughout and also am very mad about how thoroughly he fulfills the classist stereotype of Faithful Servant, ugh, TOLKIEN.)

Anyway maybe the characterization of people gets better of the course of the trilogy, this is still the introduction and Tolkien's very wordy so maybe he's just taking his time. We shall see!


Early into The Two Towers I expressed to a couple people that I was finding myself simultaneously bored and riveted by Lord of the Rings, which is quite an impressive trick for Tolkien to manage both at once. I was assured that this is an extremely normal response to the books.

But the further I went into The Two Towers the more I was just riveted and less bored. Though I never became so compelled that I was tempted to stay up late reading it or anything, so you know, still at least a little boring.

I can’t tell if by this book Tolkien had levelled up in his character writing, or if I’ve just gotten used to how he does things, or if it just took me this long of hanging out with the characters to feel like I connect with them -- but at any rate Tolkien’s characters are working far better for me in this book! Like I care about them a Lot.

Tolkien also seems to have backed off from the Doom And Decay theme a little here. I mean it’s still present? But it doesn’t feel nearly so all-pervasive as it did in the first book. Perhaps because this book involves more Actually Doing Things on the part of the characters!

I was also surprised by how little of the book Frodo actually appears in, given that I had been under the impression he’s the main character and all. Like the first two thirds of the book don’t have Frodo appear on-page once!

At any rate: a good book, I enjoyed myself, I’m interested to see what-all is gonna happen in the last book. Other than all the spoilers I’m already well aware of because of information I have gleaned from popular culture, ofc.


The Return of the King was back to tedious-but-interesting again: pieces of compelling content mixed into pieces of boringness. SIGH. It didn’t help that the first half of this book is particularly focused on war. But even beyond that it was a bit of a slog.

I don’t know why I didn’t enjoy this trilogy more - it does the thing I’ve always said I particularly value in novels, which is really immersive worldbuilding, and yet...the worldbuilding doesn’t particularly compel me here? Like, the world is fine, but I don’t super care about it. You don’t see me rushing off to read the 100+ pages of appendices at the end of Return of the King to sate myself in extra worldbuilding details! I skipped those without a single qualm.

I do care a lot about the characters in this trilogy, BUT AT WHAT COST? (on that note: SAMWISE GAMGEE IS THE ACTUALFAX BEST FOREVER, but also I’m still very mad about the Faithful Servant stereotype ngl) (Mount Doom is the best chapter in all of LotR btw, I was totally captivated for that entire chapter)

Well, I’m glad in the end to have made the effort to get through this Very Culturally Important Fantasy Series. Overall it was a satisfying read; and I do care about it and see its value, but it’s never going to be one of my top favourites.
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A nice solid enjoyable romance novel. Doesn't reach the heights of delight of some romance novels I've read have in the past (such as Rose Lerner's True Pretenses) but I also have no major complaints which honestly is doing great.

Nev is a titled young man who's never applied himself to anything serious in his life but suddenly has to apply himself because his father died and he has inherited a massive pile of debt and and a failing estate, and needs to turn things around. Penny is practical, smart, and a very rich heiress to a manufacturing fortune, and finds herself charmed by Nev even though she has no reason to trust he'd be a good match. They marry for practical reasons and then have to a) figure out their feelings for each other, b) deal with poverty and resulting violent unrest among the labourers on their estate, c) thwart the other local landowner who is a total asshole, d) fix Nev's friendships. Among other things.

There was...a lot going on. It all more or less tied in to each other so it all worked together, but it was still a lot!

Read more... )
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Karen Armstrong wrote of her years as a nun in another memoir, Through the Narrow Gate. She joined the convent at age 17 and left after 7 difficult years, realizing that the best thing for her would be to leave, hard as that choice also was. This book then details the years after she leaves, as she tries to find her place in the world.

It's a wonderful book, Armstrong is a very strong writer and has clearly done a bunch of work figuring out her internal journey. I don't know that I have a lot to say about this book, but: it's definitely worth the read. (And I don't think you need to have read Through The Narrow Gate first, this one stands on its own, but both are equally worth reading.)

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