- James and the Giant Peach (audiobook narrated by Julian Rhind-tutt) by Roald Dahl: Another Dahl children’s book crossed off my list! I haven’t read this one before, so I didn’t have any expectations beyond hoping for the usual fantastical Dahl story. Part of the Dahl magic for me, and I think for younger readers, is the sense that all of his stories could be possible. There’s just enough of the familiar to help younger readers build the world, and enough of the magical elements that their imagination gets a workout. This story is about a boy’s journey in a giant peach, accompanied by a group of magical insects and I enjoyed the time spent listening to the audiobook (P.S. the audiobook also has sound effects!). However, I’m starting to notice Dahl’s habit of making adults mostly horrible and/or absent; this book features horrible aunts. Which leads me to wonder if he is doing it as part of the plot – to explain how children can go on these adventures without parents or police getting involved – or if Dahl is trying to say something about adulthood. I hear that he has short stories for the adult audience, so perhaps I will check those out in 2017.
- Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu with art by Sana Takeda (artist) and Rus Wooton (letterer, designer): I loved the art. Just absolutely loved it. The art is dark and gothic and delicious with the amount of details on the elaborate costumes of some of the characters. The story and the world are also fantastic and I’m already invested in the story with just this single volume. However, as Grasy will happily attest, I’m a big coward when it comes to blood and gore. So for a lot of the panels, I was cringing at the body parts being torn apart, blood gushing out, etc. But I think it says a lot about the strength of the story and art that while I cringed my way through the book, I still can’t wait for the second volume.
- Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1) by Margaret Atwood: Here’s something you should know about me: I’m an Atwood fancat. I will happily devour all of her books and then go back and start again (P.S. This means I’m very sad I don’t get to read her contribution to the Future Library project). This book did take me longer to get into; I think it was because I didn’t like the POV character. Because this book is focused equally on the unraveling of the world and the growth of the narrator, the fact that I did not like the POV character for a lot of the book made it really hard for me to get through sections. But once I became invested in the characters, the book flew by and I will definitely be picking up the second volume in the trilogy.
- Giant Days, Vol. 3 (Giant Days, #3) by John Allison with art by Max Sarin, Whitney Cogar, Jim Campbell: Giant Days is my happy non-superhero comic and this volume was no exception. In this volume, we exchange the overly dramatic, laugh-out-loud moments for some serious character development and I loved the story for fleshing out the characters more. There was enough drama to keep me entertained, and now I’m also getting to explore other facets of the trio of female protagonists. And honestly, it’s just nice to have a story about a group of females who support and cheer each other on instead of, you know, fighting over the hot guy.
- Rump by Liesl Shurtliff: A middle grade book inspired by Rumpelstiltskin that I thoroughly enjoyed. Shurtliff writes directly and simply, but don’t let the simple writing style fool you into thinking this is a simple or easy book. There is so much to reflect on in this book that I think I’ll go back and revisit the story for sure. Rump, born in a world where your name determines your fate, has always been made fun of because of his name. And one day, he discovers that he has a gift, but with the gift comes consequences. And this story is about exploring what it means to have a gift and whether your fate is truly predetermined.
- In the Labryinth of Drakes (Memoirs of Lady Trent, #4) by Marie Brennan: Now I’m officially caught up on this series! I liked this installment better than volume 3 partially because we have Isabella taking charge again. In the previous volume The Voyage of the Basilisk, Isabella was largely reliant on forces outside of her control, and so she lost some of the independent-woman-goes-on-adventure sparkle for me. She does make the best of things, but she’s back in control in this book and so we get a lot of her snarking on people for underestimating her because she’s a woman. Oh yes, we’re back to the Isabella I love! And plus, there’s a bit of romance in this story that’s cute and so typical jump-first-and-ask-questions-later Isabella. Now I have to wait until April 2017 for the next one in the series. Someone invent a Time Machine already.
- Wild Goose Chase (A Quilting Mystery, #1) by Terri Thayer: This is a cozy mystery where the heroine is a reluctant heiress to a fairly well known quilting business. She’d rather be doing stuff on the computer than discussing quilting pattern, but has to run the shop and battle a sister-in-law that I keep picturing as a simpering Barbie doll. And then at a quilting vendor convention, the very unlikeable godmother of the quilting industry is found dead. And that’s about as far as I’ve gotten because neither the plot nor the characters are drawing me in.
- Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburne, #3) by Mark Hodder: Starting in December, I’m trying to make a point of finishing/catching up on series that I’ve started in the past. I did a rough count of series that I’m working on, and let’s say the number is the double digits. So this is my attempt at catching up with the snarky adventurers in an altered Victorian England (well, Victorian England without Victoria because she’s been assassinated). Right now the titular sleuthing duo are on the hunt for a killer and will have to eventually make their way to Egypt to find the source of the Nile and recover a diamond.
- Smokejumper by Jason A. Ramos (audiobook narrated by Julian Smith): An interesting listen to the fascinating world of elite firefighters. These are the guys who jump out of helicopters into forest fires and try to put them out. The book does a good job of blending personal reflection with some history of the job. All in all, something that I am happy I picked up.
- Eva’s Eye (Inspector Kondrad Sejer, #1) by Karin Fossum: I honestly think I started this book because it was cold outside and I was feeling angry and stressed, so I wanted something dark and twisted to tell myself that my life wasn’t that bad. What I got was a murder mystery where the focus is on dissecting the motivations behind the murder, but it did the job of frightening me out of my stress, so yay? I’m about 90% of the way through and so far, the victim and the perpetrator have had more page time than the titular detective, which is kind of strange to me but I’m rolling with it.
- The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1) by Daniel O’Malley: I realized the audiobook of this was 17 hours long, so I decided to switch to the print book instead. I listened to maybe 5% of the book on audiobook, and enjoyed it very much. The narrator, Susan Duerden, has a very posh and proper British accent and suits the atmosphere of the book spectacularly, but I just couldn’t focus enough on the audiobook to pick up on all the details. I just got the print book in my hands this week, so I haven’t picked it back up, but I am invested in the world and particularly enjoy the protagonist-with-amnesia trope since that allows us to learn about the world slowly through her eyes.
- Unwind (Unwind, #1) by Neal Shusterman: I’m starting to turn into Grasy with a mile long currently reading list. I’m going to give this book another week before deciding to DNF it. I do agree that it’s fast paced in the sense that things just keep happening, but if you take away the action sequence, nothing else remains to draw me in. I think I’ve reached my yearly YA dystopia quota with this one…