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The Killing Moon

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The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I REALLY liked this book. I picked it up because I saw it recommended on an "if you liked Tolkein" bookstagram post. And while it's not very like Tolkein, it is a terrific, well-written fantasy based on a unique mythology.

A couple things I particularly enjoyed was the practice of narcomancy, or dream magic, and how that factored into everything the society does: living, dying, healing, even some forms of fighting all rely on different unique humors of the dream magic. And two of our main trio are practicers of this narcomancy, while the third is a foreign diplomat. When Ehiru and his newly appointed apprentice Njirii are sent to gather Sunandi, she reveals the corruption of the system, setting in motion a chain of events that has them fighting to restore balance.

Jemison is a masterful writer and world builder, so the city and society of Gujaareh are so fully fleshed out and understood that you can feel them form…

The Lost Queen

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The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by someone last year, and sadly I don't remember who, but it was someone I trusted enough to add it to my 'books to find' list, and I'm quite happy that I finally got around to doing just that!

The Lost Queen is an Arthurian legend, specifically the story of a lost queen of Scotland named Langoureth and her twin brother Lailoken. I definitely have a soft spot for medieval legends, and it'd been a while since I read one, so this book was a welcome addition to this month's TBR stack. We begin with Langoureth & Lailoken as children just after the death of their mother, and around a time when there is a lot of unrest and upheaval in the surrounding kingdoms. Christianity is gaining some headway in Scotland, and at the same time there are still many who practice the Old Ways, causing some pockets of tension. A man named Emrys Pendragon is gaining notoriety in some of the contest…

The Light Fantastic

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The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, it's official, I'm hooked on the Discworld. After reading Color of Magic last year, and watching The Hogfather miniseries over the holidays, I decided to pick up reading the books with The Light Fantastic, which is the second in the series and continues the story of Rincewind the wizard, Twoflower the tourist & his Luggage. I'm not entirely sure what to share without giving away major plot points, so suffice it to say that I really enjoy all the whimsy, satire, and magic of the Discworld thus far. In this book we get to meet some Discworld druids and trolls for the first time, as well as a couple more heros, and several more wizards.

Death is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters, and I had some legit laugh out loud moments in this book surrounding him, particularly when he is summoned by a group of wizards for a Very Serious Question, and is unprepared for said summoning.

I was curious about…

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love

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Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went into this book expecting it to be amazing and bubbly and positive, and there were definitely moments of that. But there was also a lot of really tough stuff. Jonathan is incredibly candid about his journey so far, and the bumps along the way, that have brought him where he is now.

As far as writing goes, the book is not 100% linear, and instead chooses important bits in a certain order to help frame something of a narrative and connect important, formative moments from his life together. It is also written in JVN's storytelling voice, to the point where I had to reread a couple passages in his voice in order to really understand them because my internal reading voice was not cutting it. (I imagine the audio book would be terrific for this reason.)

As far as insight, this book provided a clear perspective into what it can be like to grow up gay in a small midwestern town, as well as the fa…

Come Tumbling Down

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Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Small Spoiler Alert - no major plot points, but I do talk about some of what's in the book. If you're planning to read it and want all surprises, maybe read this review later.

I'd say this one was closer to 4.5 stars, it was really good, but didn't capture me quite as completely as a couple of the previous Wayward Children books did. It felt a little . . . fragmented? And not just because that's what Jack was experiencing, but because when the whole troupe goes on the quest to help one of their own, there are suddenly a lot of different interests and perspectives that we're supposed to care about (and we do! we really do!), but when I care in too many directions that pulls me away from the main thread of the book. Ensemble books have always been problematic for me for this reason, so within this series the even numbered books tend to be my favorite because they are the portal fantasies . . . Anyways, …

Educated

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Educated by Tara Westover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trigger warnings for this book: Domestic Violence, Gaslighting, Religious Extremism


Impossible to put down, but very difficult to read, I read the majority of this book in one sitting. The first half in particular I was unable to stop reading, and had to keep pushing through to see Tara get out of the incredibly toxic family situation she grew up in. It felt like putting the book down would have trapped her there longer than necessary.

Tara writes candidly and beautifully about her experiences growing up as the youngest in a fundamentalist Mormon family, with a father (and at least one brother) with severe, untreated mental illness that makes them erratic, violent, paranoid & deluded. While the memories she shares are shocking & troubling, as the book progresses who she becomes shines through, and you see her begin to grow out of the shell constructed for her by her family and their beliefs.

An excellent read that doesn’t shy…

2019 Favorite Reads & Hopes for 2020

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It's been a minute since I've posted any reviews. Looks like my last review was in April of 2019. 😱 Life just got busy (good busy!) and as reading & blogging are hobbies, I don't force myself to do keep up when I'm not able to. And I like it that way. Books are my safe place to land. My escape from certain kinds of everyday cares. Recording & sharing my thoughts about them is something I enjoy doing, and not something to feel guilty about not reaching a goal or a deadline. At the same time, reading also provide avenues for growth & learning, for expanding perspective and reaching out to new possibilities, so I'm excited to get back to it again!

As we wrap up this year, and get ready to head into the next, I'm looking back over my favorite reads, setting some new reading goals for 2020, looking ahead to some exciting new releases coming this year, and taking the opportunity to re-establish some of my beloved routines (like book reviews) that fell t…