living out my cottagecore dreams | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Queer book posts so far this pride month –

Others –

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • “Zero Sum Game”, “Null Set” and “Critical Point” all three books (yet) of the Cas Russel series by S. L. Huang
  • City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault (fantasy, all queer cast of characters)
  • Almost Home by Madisen Kuhn (poetry)
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power (queer girls, f/f relationship, horror)
  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan (fantasy, mythology)

Added to TBR:

  • Most of the new books I want to read is from this post from @coolcurrybooks on tumblr on anti-heroines in sci-fi and fantasy books! It’s also what made me pick up Zero Sum Game!
  • Shattered minds by Laura Lam (sci-fi, thriller, anti-heroine)
  • A ruin of shadows by L. D. Lewis /fantasy, anti-heroine, short!)
  • Ship of smoke and steel by Django Wexler (fantasy, anti-heroine, bi mc)
  • The library of the unwritten by A. J. Hackwith (fantasy, pan mc, about books, anti-heroine)
  • Of sorrow and such by Angela Slatter (fantasy, witch, anti-heroine)
  • God’s war by Kameron Hurley (sci-fi/fantasy)
  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer (fantasy, dragons): because I’ve never read any of Colfer’s adult work, just Artemis Fowl which I grew up with loving
  • Mask of shadows by Linsey Miller (fantasy, revenge-story, anti-hero/heroine bc genderfluid mc)

Three things on my mind:

  • I tried to participate in Pride Library 2020 and knew from the start it would porbably be more difficult to keep up throughout this month, but I got a couple posts out. I hope to continue to read more queer books throughout the summer and spread out more posts inspired by the good prompts that way.

  • Ten days I spent living out my cottagecore dreams, visiting my boyfriend and his parents, who have a very small farm. It was a blast; baking, making food from scratch with ingredients from their garden, seeing how they have this whole beer brewing system going on, their focus on being as ecofriendly as possible, bonfires so many days in a row, taking long walks with their husky dog, not to mention the happiness at seeing my bf after three months apart or something bc of covid-19. I never truly got to say goodbye to him because I had to instantly isolate as someone at high risk and then leave town as quickly as possible, and it truly bothered me more than I realized. Otherwise I’m also dealing with chronic illness symptoms and generally being tired to the bone, even if I was fortunate enough to get a break from it most of my time there.

  • Along that route, I’m already starting to plan out how to be most visibly bisexual as new physics students arrive for the fall semester, and I would love some input if you’ve got suggestions! There’s many reason why this is important to me; diversity and physics isn’t the most common combination yet and I want to participate the ways I can. But also I think many students, especially the nerdier ones like me, arrive at college/university with the wish of being the most themselves they can and I want to support and encourage that. I have an incredibly supportive bf (or I wouldn’t have dated him), but it makes it even more difficult to be out without making an effort. It also meant so much to me to see the older student welcoming us with rainbow socks, and I want to pay it forward. And look what I found that could be a great first step, made by ProudScience on etsy!!
Pins by ProudScience on etsy

Death, princesses, assassins | Short Reviews

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I really don’t see the so many impressed (4.36 average on goodsreads) reviewers side on this, because there’s an interesting premise behind this dystopian world, where Scythe’s have to choose who dies because everyone’s immortal. But it’s nothing … new? at the same time?
The ending was great and clever, I guess.
Everything up ’til that point were pretty expected, it all written with a certain coldness that fit the systematic view of death of the story, but also made it somewhat boring to read. And if you want to go philosophical – why not go deeply philosophical instead of just sometimes dropping questions on how this view of death changes this society? and then not going into any real debate?
Overall I’m not that impressed and found it quite boring, while certainly it being a well-composed book. Is this a side-effect of growing up reading Jostein Gaarder’s books? I’m truly curious about the fascination with this book.

The Selection (#1-3) by Kiera Cass

This YA royal series always sounded like something I didn’t want to read, from what I heard of a whiny main character in the competition to become the new princess. But then I was in the mood for something light-hearted and gave it a try. It’s so much more cut-throat than I expected. So fast-paced, but also well written and more and more feminist as it progresses, with the girls finally bonding together. I truly enjoyed seeing this actual reality TV series, much the Hunger Games vibes here, with its cute dresses turn into assassins attacking regularly and then our dear red-haired main character America getting her claws into power and turning the whole thing upside down. It’s any other revolution YA series packaged nicely so that younger girls would pick it up. It’s not perfect, this somewhat luke-warm romance is a huge part of it, but I enjoyed it.

Deadly Class Comics by Rick Remender vol. 1-9

I talked briefly about the TV series adaptation of Deadly Class in this post, and how it looks like dark academia teenage series with its boarding school, found-family trope and ‘assassins training’, then turns into an epic blood bath. Well, let me tell you – this comic series is so filled with blood and horror as it gets so much worse after where the one-season TV series cuts off. Definitely search up trigger warnings before getting into it. But it’s also so awesome. My thought-process reading this was something like;

Oh shit it’s so good!!! How the fuck do you kill people in that many different ways? Is it okay to like this? AHh I quickly sped through that part, I really don’t like seeing eye-balls outside of the body. I have to stop posting on tumblr about this now, people will think I’m crazy. Ok, I like it again now. You can’t really kill of all the characters and then expect us to care about the new ones you introduce with a brief backstory now, can you? Even if they’re interesting enough, fool me once, twice – you know how it goes.

Truly it became really boring around issue six, picked up again for a while and was truly boring when I came to the latest issue nine. But all credit to the creators, it was truly amazing work. Would suggest people to read the first few issues and then try the TV series, but you’re warned.

Anti-heroine & Action in the Cas Russell Series by S. L. Huang

The series so far (2020) consists of Zero Sum Game #1, Null Set #2, Critical Point #3

Pages: 336, 312 and 368

Genre: thriller/mystery type of book with some science fiction aspects, mostly in people with ‘superpowers’ (used for more bad than good)

It’s truly going into the pile (in my head) of favourite books.

Synopsis

For the first book as to not spoil anything;

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she’ll take any job for the right price.

As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower…until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she’s involved. There’s only one problem…
She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: five stars, four stars, four stars

I was looking for a character like Cas when I started this series, which I think is the clue to liking it. What you’re dealing with is mob/cartel level of action and bloodbath, where the side characters are everything from cops turned ‘personal investigators’ to trained assassins and sharpshooters. Not to mention the whole ‘evil organization’ thing going on, which turns out to actually have a whole epic scheme going on. The bad reviews I’ve seen has made me angry in that they’re mostly people who hate the cold calculated voice that Cas brings to this, but surely they’re warned that this isn’t some young adult book and that she’s grown up with this level of violence, even as the lack of knowledge of her background becomes a bigger and bigger plot point.

Cas is deadly, supernaturally so, with some question-marks at the end of that remark. The more science fiction and supervillains with powers parts comes through in the second and third book more, but I liked it. The math parts I expected to be bad from the synopsis, but they were an interesting part of her abilities, and plays a good role in the books. As the math lover I am, I would’ve wanted even more of it, but it’s like drizzled in there so that it can be ignored by those who would want to. It adds a bit of magic, almost.

The level of action, the mystery of Cas’ past, the level of gray area of morality (turning completely black at some points), the bad guys with a conscience – it all really made me love this series. The ‘superpowers’ are original, the writing funny in a dry way. It has everything I was looking for in a fast-paced, but exciting read. But then I do love the character of Rio as well, the emotionless being he seems to be. I mean who can’t be interested after a sentence like this –

“Ms. Russell,” said Dawna delicately, “I am not sure you are fully aware of Mr. Sonrio’s skills. His ability to be effective—it borders on the unrealistic. He has destroyed entire governments. Leveled armies. Found and obliterated terrorist cells the intelligence agencies of several continents were chasing their tails trying to pursue. He has altered the course of nations. A lone man.” Her voice was calm, factual, and very serious. Huh. So that was what Rio did in his spare time. I’d had no idea he was that impressive. I’m not going to lie: I was jealous.