What I Read in June
|July 29, 2014||Posted by Jess under Books|
(Yes, I’m behind. I may have spent a lot of this month rereading a bunch of Redwall books. Shhh.)
Week Twenty-Two (June 1-7): Princeless: Volume 1 by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin. When Princess Adrienne’s parents lock her up in a tower guarded by a dragon in order to ensure that only the bravest suitor will win her, the fed-up princess befriends the dragon, escapes, and sets off to rescue her sisters from similar fates. I’ve been hearing about how great Princeless is for ages, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Adrienne is a delight, all pluck and sarcasm, and the book doesn’t just turn cliches on their heads, it’s genuinely funny. And, just. I mean. This book is an all-ages comic aimed at girls about a kickass black heroine that talks frankly about sexism and agency. WHAT MORE COULD I POSSIBLY WANT???
Week Twenty-Three (June 8-14): Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase. The third in the Dressmakers series, this focuses on Leonie, the youngest of the cunning Noirot sisters, and her attempts to keep the family dress shop afloat and not fall for the handsome Lord Lisbourne. I always love Chase’s sparkling prose and delightful characters, and Leonie and Lisbourne were perfectly charming, but there simply wasn’t enough conflict for this book to make much of an impression on me. I would’ve preferred to see more of Lisbourne’s sentimental cousin Swanton and acid-tongued cousin-on-the-other-side Gladys falling for one another; they were adorable. However, this means that the next book is Lady Clara’s and she’s my favorite, so: :D!
Week Twenty-Four (June 15-21): A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival by John Tully. I bought this because I’m trying to bone up on my South and Southeast Asian history, and I knew basically nothing about Cambodia. Man, what a fascinating and depressing history. It’s too short a book to really delve into, say, the Pol Pot years in great depth, but I’d definitely recommend it as a starting point.
Week Twenty-Five (June 22-28): Creeping with the Enemy (Langdon Prep #2) by Kimberly Reid. I found teen detective Chanti Evans super charming in the first book in this series, and she continues to be charming here, as she tries to figure out why hot-but-sketchy older guy Cole is sniffing around her friend Bethanie’s heels. Like with the first book, there were places where Chanti didn’t make obvious connections for basically no reason other than drawing out the mystery, but it was still fairly convoluted and engrossing, and I like how protective Chanti is of her friends, and how the characters continue to be flawed but likeable. I’m definitely sticking with this series.
Week Twenty-Six (June 29-July 5): Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones. A year ago, Dinah foiled a Vegas casino robbery; now, the would-be robber’s vengeful ghost is after Dinah, and only her most magical buddy Zatanna can help. This book is basically everything I want comics to be: smart, funny ladies teaming up to kick ass, and full of post-Crisis DCU cameos and history while remaining accessible to new or casual readers. Seriously, it’s like getting a love letter from the post-Crisis DCU long after I’d given that universe up for dead and boarded up the mailbox. Characters with history! (In this version, the girls first meet when Zatanna is 12 and Dinah is 16.) Terrible old costumes! (Sweatsuit for Dinah, caterpillar-headpiece for Zatanna.) Ollie showing up to banter and have sex with Dinah, then wandering off because he’s not needed! (Ollie should be supporting cast for Dinah more often, since she’s so frequently stuck doing it for him.) RALPH DIBNY CAMEO. Plus, gorgeous art from Quinones, who is careful to give each of the many women in this book her own face, like actual women have. (Dinah looks a lot like Katchoo from Strangers in Paradise, actually.) Seriously, this is a book where the protagonists run around in fishnets the whole time and Dinah goes undercover as a showgirl, and I never once found it anything but charming and funny – never offensive or exploitative. I will say that the actual stakes were a little low – I never really felt like Dinah was in danger or terrible emotionally affected by the action – but that’s honestly a tradeoff I’m willing to make for a superheroic frolic through a universe I miss like a phantom limb. Absolutely fantastic.