Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet and the Secrets Behind Systems We Use Everyday by Dan Nott

This was an interesting nonfiction graphic novel. It was ambitious since it tried to explain some very big topics. It was good but my attention wavered with how complicated some things were. I was most engrossed with the water chapters. I admire that the author did years of research and I did learn a few things.

March 20-23, 2024.

Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner

This was a tough and great read. This is about the author’s experience with losing her mother to cancer and the grief afterwards. Throughout it, she looked back at her upbringing and identity as a biracial Korean-American. There was enticing references to Korean food. I listened to about one third of the book on audiobook. It was good narration but I wanted to finish on the copy that I had. It also made it less difficult since I did cry. While I did not lose my mother the same way, Zauner and I had similar experiences in grieving including the anger and the dreams that followed. It was affecting for me. For me, while this was a great read, I will not reread or keep it. I hope my copy finds its way to someone else who can appreciate it too.

Setting: USA and South Korea.

1.25x. March 20-25, 2024.

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot

Read by Nicolas Ralph. I adore these books so much. It feels like the last couple books have focussed more on dogs and cats than on larger livestock. I have two more to go and I am cherishing them. I don’t know what other cozy audio series I can start after this. Ralph is a fantastic narrator too.

Setting: England.

1.25x. March 17-28, 2024.

Rainbow Shopping by Qing Zhuang

A children’s picture about a Chinese girl and her mother shopping in NYC’s Chinatown. Very close to my heart so loved this. Lovely drawings and reminded me of my own upbringing.

Setting: NYC, USA.

March 29, 2024.

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

While the art was not my favourite, I really liked this graphic novel which captured the immigrant experience, cultural identity, and family. I empathized with the protagonist not knowing English, starting at school, ESL, immigrant parents working hard, and all that entails when you emigrate.

Setting: CA, USA.

March 13, 2024.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Performed by Nick Offerman. I acquired a physical couple of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I thought I’d try my first Twain book before reading Finn. I think both of these books benefit from audio narration since Twain wrote the dialogue phonetically. Offerman has a great voice, but I did not really feel engaged with this story. I did not relate to the characters or setting. It was amusing at times and I can see why Twain is liked. I do not think it holds up as well compared to other classics I’ve read from the time. I will read more Twain later.

Setting: Missouri, USA.

1.5x. March 9-16, 2024.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

A couple of my book friends really liked this and I had a used copy from somewhere. I started it on audiobook for the first chapter. The narrator was good but I had time and energy to finish it all by print on one Sunday. The writing was sometimes so-so. The protagonist started out quite unlikable especially to service people and the plot and the twists were a bit contrived at times. Having said that, there is pathos and a lot of character development. I enjoyed the platonic friendship at the core and all the genuine kindness that changed Eleanor by the end of the novel. I also thought the theme of modern loneliness was done well. This book is part of the “up lit” trend of the last few years. I am someone who wants more positivity and coziness when I read so this worked for me. It was a good, quick read.

Setting: Glasgow, Scotland.

March 17, 2024.

How to Say Goodbye: The Wisdom of Hospice Caregivers by Wendy MacNaughton

Very short little book with the author’s art at hospice facility. It was moving. It was a book that I could reread again even though there very little text. I did like the remember to “get uncomfortable with uncertainty”.

Setting: San Francisco, USA.

March 18, 2024.

The Fox Maidens by Robin Ha

Great retelling of the nine-tailed fox folklore. It had strong female characters and the right amount of history and horror. Recommended if you like East Asian mythology. The art was great. Before I started it, I realized that I had read Ha’s work already. I own her graphic Korean cookbook. I had to put her memoir on request.

March 19, 2024.

March has been a more stressful and crazier month so I have been less into the books as I wish.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Read by the author. This was delightful. White did not have the polish of a professional voice actor. Instead, it felt like a father or grandfather reading a story to his kids. Lovely. A good reread. I remember the last time I read this I was a kid as well.

Setting: Probably Maine, USA.

1.0x. March 1-6, 2024.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Wawaguchi

I read this in two sittings. I started it at a Silent Book Club event. It was the first time I’ve read that much prose in a loud bar. This was a nice little novel. It was lighthearted but had some emotional stakes. I did find myself a little interested in the characters, but I wish there was more character work in general. The prose would move between past and present, background and foreground, a lot. I think I prefer What You are Looking For in the Library more as it connected the stories a little better. There are three more sequels to this coffee series. I am not discounting reading the next one, but not anytime soon.

Setting: Tokyo, Japan.

March 4-9, 2024.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman. I liked The Flatshare and have a couple of other Beth O’Leary books from a little library. On a thread in the Reading Glasses Slack, others recommended The Switch as well. This novel focused on a grandmother (Eileen) and granddaughter (Leena) switching their homes for two months, one in rural Yorkshire and another in London. Leena’s story had grief and emotional stakes which seems to be a trademark of O’Leary’s protagonists. If it was just Leena in the standard hallmark plot of woman goes back to small town and meets local hunk who has a small child then I would not have finished this book at all. Thankfully Eileen and the actor Alison Steadman (who was Mrs Bennett in the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice”) made this better. I enjoyed reading about a 79 year old woman living in London for the first time and being a wholesome busybody. Unlike The Flatshare though, the romantic male leads for Leena and Eileen were not as developed. Something I liked about The Flatshare that set it apart from a lot of contemporary romances was that the male lead was developed and not a romantic novel trope. All in all, not a bad listen over the week.

Setting: England.

1.25x-1.5x. March 5-9, 2024.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

I thought this graphic novel would be cozier with baking on the cover. It was more of a fantasy coming of age adventure story with a strong inclusive romance. The art and one of the characters reminded me of an old friend of mine. Overall, I felt it lacked a little something by the end. Still cute though.

Setting: Fantasy.

March 10, 2024.

That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy

Cute and lighthearted graphic memoir.

Setting: USA.

March 1, 2024.

A Letter to the Luminous Deep by Sylvie Cathrall (ARC)

This book publishes April 23, 2024. Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit Books for the ebook Advanced Reader Copy (ARC).

This is an epistolary debut fantasy novel. It’s set in world centered on oceans. The novel was slow and it only picked up in the last third for me. What kept me reading was that the characters and their relationships. Everyone was likeable and there were developed romantic and platonic relationships. The book seemed to be a set up for a sequel or series. The ending did leave me intrigued but I am unsure if I will continue. As someone who likes epistolary novels and classics, this book’s prose and style was a lot. The floral and almost overwrought writing prose is not for everyone.

This was my first ARC and I am grateful for it but I do not plan on reading too many because my current TBR is too overwhelming.

Setting: Fantasy.

Read on Kindle. March 2, 2024.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez

Read by the author. This has been on my TBR for awhile. I think I started it back when it was published in 2019. A couple of my book club friends were reading it so I finally committed to listening to it at least. The beginning of the book felt like I was back at school because I have a background in public policy, development, and took gender classes as well. I had read some of the studies the author used. The author and I are both alumni of the same graduate school which made more sense to me. This sense of deja-vu cared through a lot of the book for me. I did not always align with her conclusions or how it was presented. It’s a lot of information which sometimes lacks cohesion since it covered so many subjects. I do think this book is very important and it was fitting that I finished it at the start of Women’s History Month.

1.25x. February 25-March 3, 2024.

Watership Down: The Graphic Novel by Richard Adams with Joe Sutphin (Illustrator) and James Sturm

I loved this. It reminded me that the novel is a masterpiece. It’s not a book I would like to reread because it had many dark elements. It is the perfect allegorical novel about the hero’s journey, change, environmentalism, and political corruption. Seeing it illustrated was even more visceral as the rabbits are hurt constantly in their quest to find a home and to be free. I liked the moments where they discussed their folk stories and the importance of it in all cultures. I even think the original novel is sometimes underrated when compared to other epic novels. I hope adaptations like this one can keep the story in the active in culture. The recent TV adaptation was unwatchable. I hope there is a better one in my time. I am now tempted to read the follow-up anthology.

Setting: England.

March 3, 2024.

Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kodano, Emily Balistrieri (Translator)

As a fan of Studio Ghibli, I was excited that this book had finally been translated into English. Originally published in Japan in 1985, this middle grade novel is quite similar to the movie especially at the start and has the essential characters. I really adored this lighthearted coming of age story which felt like a classic to me. In fact, it reminded me of E. B. White, Mary Norton, and other classic Western children and middle grade stories. Kiki and Jiji go on some low stakes adventures with mostly friendly folks along the way. It made me smile and laugh. It was very cozy to read on a Sunday morning. Recommended for young readers and for Ghiblli fans.

Setting: Alternate light fantasy / magical realism.

Feb 24-25, 2024.

All Creatures Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

Read by Nicolas Ralph. I really like these audiobooks. They are very lighthearted yet there are some sad and reflective stories too. They are funny. One of my favourite lines in the book was something like “Herriot may be limited in other ways but he sure knows how to wrap a cat!” The narration is fantastic. I am going to take small breaks between the books now due to other audiobooks, but I would like to keep going.

Setting: Yorkshire, UK.

1.25x. February 20-28, 2024.

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity with Christopher Baldwin (Illustrator)

I think this was recommended by the Storygraph based on the similar books I had read. Very cute young adult graphic novel about a girl who falls into another world which has elements of her favourite gothic novels. It’s fun, diverse, and subversive. It’s made all the better by the various literary references in it.

Setting: Fantasy.

February 29, 2024.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (Corfu Trilogy, #1)

Recommended from a book club friend after I mentioned the James Herriot books. I immediately
found the BBC Radio 4 Full Cast Dramatization on Libby. I love Libby. Most of my audiobooks are from there now. I did read the Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell many years ago and vaguely remember it as being boring. Unsurprisingly, I found Laurence “Larry” the most annoying character in this book. He was a condescending prig and most of the book was ruined by him. I did like Gerald and his obsession with animals. The dramatization was good. I do not think I will continue with this series though.

Setting: Corfu, Greece.

1.0x February 29, 2024.

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

I enjoyed Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January and when this became the Reading Glasses book club pick, I thought I would enjoy it. I wish I liked this book more. I didn’t dislike it and I read it quickly. This was well written and I did like the characters. I liked the illustrations and I think it’s objectively a good novel. I tried but I don’t like a lot of horror. It isn’t scary so much as I don’t enjoy creepy, dark tones in novels. It was not even darkly funny enough since Opal and her brother were realistically very poor. As someone who likes fantasy, magical realism, and a sentient house, the fantasy elements were alright but not enough to cover the dark tone. I almost rushed to finish it just so that I could be done with it. I don’t blame the book because I understand why it is good. It reminded me that I don’t really like haunted houses or dark horror. Still a good book if you enjoy horror and haunted houses.

Setting: Kentucky, USA.

Read on Kindle. Feb 17, 2024.

My Picture Diary by Fujiwara Maki

This is a visual diary manga from 1981 about a former actor who has become a housewife. It details her days with her toddler son and her depressed husband. It had many slice of life moments but it also had a lot of more bleak moments of poverty and marital problems. It ended on a lighter note at least. The style of it was interesting since Maki was able to really make do with very simple drawings and words. I wish she had written more before she passed in 1999.

Setting: Tokyo, Japan.

Feb 18, 2024.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

My first Claire Keegan. A sad yet satisfying Christmas novella. I went in not knowing it was about Christmas or the Magdalene laundries in Ireland. I remember how haunting the movie was and it angered me. Beautiful writing. Great character work. Can’t wait to read from Keegan.

Setting: Dublin, Ireland.

Feb 18, 2024.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Read by Nicolas Ralph. It seems like I am going through early twentieth century English memoirs. After the Diary of a Provincial Lady, I decided to stay in the same era. I have wanted to try this classic for years and the new narration is great. It was lighthearted and fun. There were some mildly annoying clients and characters, but the writing and beauty of the setting. It was 15 hours but I went through it quickly because I got addicted to listening to it. In the last month, I’ve switched to listening to more audiobooks than podcasts.

Setting: Yorkshire, UK.

1.25x. February 15-20, 2024.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Lovely, beautiful YA graphic novel about a boy and his mother sharing fairy tales. As usual, I’m a sucker for fantasy mixed with coming of age and East Asian emmigration stories. The ending left me verklempt.

Setting: USA.

Feb 24, 2024.

Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence by Gavin Francis

Read by the author. A very short audiobook meditating on modern ideas of convalescence and healing. I heard the author speak about his book on an NPR podcast. His Scottish accent made this a good and interesting listen. It was not as light hearted but reflective and useful as I am interested in health.

1.25x. Feb 19-23, 2024.

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang with LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

Read on the first day of the Lunar New Year for the Reading Glasses Challenge: Read a holiday book. The graphic novel is a YA love story with paranormal elements which were a bit spookier than I’d prefer. The book had some great art especially for all the lion dance scenes and the story had some complicated emotions about growing up.

Setting: Bay Area, California USA.

Read on iPad. Feb 9-11, 2024.

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

This was a really good follow up to Legends & Lattes. I think I liked it even more. There were delightful side characters and I was engaged with the mystery and action in this one. Also, it took place in a bookshop which I really liked. Listened to about 15% on audiobook because Baldree is a great narrator. I did score a copy from my library so I finished it in print in quick succession. I would not mind another trip into Viv’s world.

Setting: High Fantasy.

Feb 10-12, 2024.

The Provincial Lady in America by E.M. Delafield (The Provincial Lady #3)

Read by Georgina Sutton. This concludes my journey through the E.M. Delafield provincial lady, at least for now. This was a nice conclusion. I found it fascinating to listen to a travel diary from the early 1930s of places I’ve been to like Toronto, Niagara Falls, New York, and Boston. As usual done in Delafield’s breezy yet relatable style. It does remind one that boorish people exists through all ages.

Setting: America and briefly Canada.

1.0x. Feb 10-15, 2024.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

Read by Rebecca Lee. I had the hardcover from a Little Library in my neighbourhood. I debated about reading it in text but the nature and subject of the book was better for listening to. I listen to a lot of audiobooks when I wake up on the weekdays. There were some interesting moments and reflections about winter, cold, and how humanity and cultures cope or don’t cope with it. There were some other stories in the book that did not mesh as well. For example, the story about her friend’s financial problems and her singing. In any case, it was an alright listen.

Setting: England.

1.5x. Feb 12-15, 2024.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Read by Adepero Oduye. This was a short literary crime novel. It’s more of a character and family dynamic book than a typical thriller. It was sad, tense, and full of unlikable characters. The narrator and lead was sympathetic but by the end of it, the reader questions how much humanity she has left really for the sake of family. I enjoyed the character work and Oduye’s narration really developed the characters. The narration and Korre’s dialogue is in her American accent and she affected a Nigerian accent one for everyone else. This oddly worked to differentiate the protagonist from her surroundings. I think it’s a good book since it’s short yet packs a lot of character work. It was a bit frustrating with the ending and how unlikable most of the characters were. This i often the case with literary thrillers like this and Yellowface.

Setting: Lagos, Nigeria.

1.5x. Feb 15-16, 2024.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Read by the author. I had this book in hard cover. I got the audiobook via Libby to help me start it. It became so engrossing that I listened to it completely and flipped through the book for the photos. I like when a book is narrated by the author. I really liked this book because it balanced the story of a library’s awful fire with the people who worked there. It’s also a love story to libraries in general. Like the author, I have very fond memories of the library as a child. It had a good history of California and Los Angeles as well. I regret not going to the LA Central Library when I was there in 2018 which was the year this book was published. Wow, 2018 was six years ago. Great read and recommended to all library lovers.

Setting: Los Angeles, CA, USA.

1.25x. Feb 2-6, 2024.

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese by Deya Muniz

So cute. Diverse, funny, and lighthearted YA graphic novel. It had one of my favourite tropes: woman cross dressing as a man. I liked the manga style in colour. Really fun and quick. Now I have a big grilled cheese craving.

Setting: Alternate Europe.

Feb 6, 2024.

Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World by Gretchen Rubin

Read by the author. Another easy listening weekday audiobook. I generally like Ruben’s methods and ideas about improving one’s life. I liked her emphasis on routines and trying new things in this one. This audiobook comes with a PDF as well which I will peruse to see if I can incorporate any of the ideas. I preferred the style and ideas of this book over Rubin’s last one. Her books are easy listening.

Setting: New York City.

1.5x. Feb 6-8, 2024.

My Aunt Is a Monster by Reimena Yee

I adored Séance Tea Party last year. I do like the themes of found family and female relationships carried through both books. I found myself less engaged in the art and the story of this book though. There were actual villains and an antihero whom I was less interested in. The latter was less developed than I would have liked.

Setting: Alternate Earth.

Feb 8-9, 2024.

The Provincial Lady Goes Further by E. M. Delafield (The Provincial Lady #2)

Narrated by Georgina Sutton. I actually liked this one more than the last one. This series became bed time listening. It was low stakes, amusing diary entries with social history. I remember reading other diary books when I was younger like the Princess Diaries and Adrian Mole, but this was better written. The only annoying aspect of this book was the Pamela character. Other than that, I am liking this lighthearted series from the 1930s. I have already queued up the next one.

Setting: England.

1.0x. Feb 3-10, 2024.

How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis

Narrated by the author. I put this on my to read list last year when I was going through things mentally. I am glad to say that I am in a better headspace now but I still wanted to read this book. It’s a short book so mileage varies on how much you can get out of it. It’s more on changing perspective care tasks and yourself. I like that tasks should not be tagged with moral values and that not doing something does not mean I am a bad or lazy person. I think I could reread it in ebook or print to absorb certain ideas. Not sure I will use any of the tips but it was a good listen.

1.6x. January 30-Feb 2, 2024.

Monstress, Vol 8: Inferno by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda

This is such a crazy comic book series. This installment has more “What the hell is going on?” questions rather than the revelations of the last one. There is one big one in here. I continue to love the wildness of the story and the artwork though.

Setting: High fantasy sci-fi alternate universe.

January 31-Feb 2, 2024.

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

Miss Marple #7. Damn Christie is good. You think you get some of her twists but then she turns it on you once more. I only wish there was more Miss Marple in these stories. I love her more than I do Poirot as her methods are so cunning.

Setting: London, UK.

Feb 3, 2024.

What You Are Looking For is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama, translated by Alison Watts

I had this on ebook but I was able to score an Express copy via my library’s Bookmobile. How I love the library and that it has a bookmobile. The book has short, interconnected stories centred around a local library and the enigmatic librarian who helped the patrons. The stories were very Japanese as almost all of them deal with work, employment, or lackthereof and how the characters relate to it. I think most people would find some aspects of the book very cheesey almost saccharine. For me it worked because I like the wholesome and cozy messages about books, libraries, and how readers interpret and interact. It was a good companion to The Library Book which I also listened to during the same week.

Setting: Tokyo, Japan.

Feb 4-5, 2024.

Diary of Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

Narrated by Georgina Sutton. This was a short and often amusing autobiographical novel and diary from the 1920s. I needed something lighter after I finished the ACOSF and for my first work week back. It was nice to have in the evenings. I wouldn’t say it was the funniest book I’ve read but a couple of moments were very funny. I would keep going. Narration was good except the French was intentionally mangled.

Setting: Devonshire, UK, London, and a bit in South of France.

1.1x audiobook. Jan 22-24, 2024.

Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus

Narrated by the author. I’ve heard the author on podcasts and this was a Reading Glasses recommendation. While there were a couple interesting and amusing parts, I did not really like a lot of this book. I have discovered that raunchy humour often does not work for me. I’m indifferent to hot dogs most of the time and the author didn’t always make me interested. A lot of the book was also depressing as it exposed American jingoism and capitalist greed. I think I still like Jamie Loftus but did not love this book. It did give me a big craving for hot dogs which I will have to fill sometime soon. I do not regret it reading this book but I’d hesitate to recommend it.

Setting: Most of the continental USA.

1.5x audiobook. Jan 24-28, 2024.

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Motherlands by Heather Fawcett

Narrated by: Ell Potter, Michael Dodds. I listened to this book and read it on hard cover at the same time. That was a first time I’ve ever done that for a book completely. I love this series. The first book Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries gave me such a lovely book hangover. I remember vividly where I read it in Australia on a hot day contrasting it nicely to the setting. I love the heroine who is intelligent, prickly, head strong but has enough self-reflection when she is wrong. Her love and analysis of stories makes her so relatable to bookworms. I love that her romantic interest respects and admires her for her intelligence and tenacity. He is flawed and otherworldly. I love how this book walks the line of being a fairy folk tale but also a novel with real character development and reflection. I could go on on and on. I’m in love with this series and happy to have bought both hardcovers. Can’t wait for the third and final instalment.

Setting: Alternate universe Cambridge, UK and Austria. High Fantasy faery land.

2-2.5x. January 28, 2024.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Narrated by Eunice Wong. I listened to Dial M for Aunties which was narrated by a different narrator. I found the writing a bit over the top and was not eager to read Sutanto again. However, I thought the premise and the reviews sounded promising. I did like this book a bit better. I think the author is great with Asian American characters and relationships. I liked all the characters in this novel with a caveat. The story is told from many perspectives and the beginning feels a bit of a drag as each of them is wracked with guilt. All of them except Vera had self-esteem issues. I knew the twist and murderer early on. I liked Vera and the food descriptions. I am not sure if I want to continue. Wong’s narration is great though.

Setting: San Francisco, CA, USA.

1.5x. January 28-29, 2024.

If I was a Horse by Sophie Blackwell

Cute children’s picture book.

January 31, 2024.

Graphic Audio edition. Another honker in this series. I listened to about 75% of this on my long journey home. I finished ACFAS on my first flight and started this one. I did doze at couple hours here and there. It kept me company on 3 flights and I did appreciate it.

On the whole, I do think this is one of the better written in the series if not the best yet. Nesta and Elain are more interesting than Freyre at this point. She did nothing at all in this book except touch her belly. I missed her actually doing something. I did not miss Rhysand. At this point, I feel like his pedestal is too high.

This book was all Nesta and Cassian. It’s slow but the book did a decent job of Nesta’s character development including her self-hatred and depression. The story and plot dragged in parts. There were too many magical objects. They add about half a dozen more in this book. It’s repetitive at this point because these objects always call to the Acheron sisters. Also, I did not mind the romantic relationship but there was too much smut. I had to put those scenes on 2x+ speed.

The last two books have not been narrated by Feyre and the third person limited narration done by Colleen Delaney is great. She is a better narrator than the actor who plays Feyre. It added to the story for me.

The book does the female relationships well. I do wish it had explored the sisters’ relationships a bit more. They continue to be bad at communication.

I sorta hate how addictive this series is. Some aspects of it are really cringey and not well written, but I liked Nesta in this book. I read the bonus chapter on my ebook copy. I think I’ll like Elain’s book when that gets released too. SJM’s writing has gotten better.

Setting: High fantasy universe.

1.25x – 2x audiobook. January 19-21, 2024.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

Graphic Audio edition. I listened to 85% of this large audiobook on active transit: buses and planes. Oh boy. I still have the same issues. I think the writing can be too much and too cringey. Characters are sometimes written questionably or unrealistically. For a fantasy with mind readers, characters have a hard time with communication skills. To focus on the good parts I think the world building is nice. I like how many baths are included in this series not because I like baths personally but the author gives room to breathe in the world. The characters are mostly likeable. I end up liking Freyre by the end of each of these books even if I am indifferent or wary about her for most of the book. I continue to really like the Graphic Audio audiobooks. I hope I can start the Crescent series with it too. I will keep going on the wild SJM journey slowly. The fantasy is fun for the most part.

Setting: High Fantasy other world.

1.25x audiobook. November 28, 2023 – January 2, 2024.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

I started and listened to about one third of this on audiobook. I even read along with it in one of my favourite parks in Sydney for a little bit. I finished it on ebook because it was more convenient in the end. The audiobook is good because of Meryl Streep. The middle was a bit slow but the last few chapters were as good as usual from Patchett. The novel is sentimental almost maudlin but I like the slow yet consistent character development and story. Great relationships. I revisited a couple of the last chapters with Streep’s narration.

Setting: Michigan, USA.

Read on ebook on kindle. 1.5x audiobook. January 9-15, 2024.

A Court of Frost and Startlight by Sarah J. Maas

Graphic Audio edition. This was shorter and cozier. Not much happened but I liked it. I actually love the cozy world building moments in this series. I think I preferred the non Freyre and Rhys scenes a bit more. I do think Freyre’s story truly ends here in this novel but without getting into spoilers, I do think the couple is a bit stupid and annoying by the end of it. After reading so many books and chapters about Volaris, I almost want to go there.

Setting: High fantasy universe.

1.25-5x audiobook. January 6-19, 2024.

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