Hello, happy Sunday, hope you’re doing okay, what sort of Pokemon have you caught, etc. I’m in a teeny reading slump at the moment, but I’ve just loaded a bunch of Hollis Shiloh books onto my Kindle so I’m hoping they’ll help me get through the bleh.
Meanwhile, here’s what I read this week:
I reread Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan (first read back in March), mainly because I’ve been trying to indulge in my rereading whims this year. I have reread a LOT more books in 2016 than I have in previous years, I think. Current reread count: 16! Previous years: 5, maybe? Anyway. I basically still feel the same way about Carry the Ocean as the first time I read it, which is handy.
Did I mention I have a Kindle Unlimited trial subscription going on? I’ve found several good books so far, including a few by new-to-me-authors AND from already-familiar-to-me-authors who’ve been self-publishing some stuff.1 Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter by R. Cooper ★★★★ is one such book, and despite its truly unfortunate cover it is a wonderful story. Scott, he of the title, is a super hot fireman with a major crush on an older, widowed, slightly effeminate man (this would be Mr. “Cole” Porter). There’s a lot of problems with assumptions and shyness and self-confidence issues and misunderstandings and it’s a very gentle story, despite the (somewhat bizarrely) mean townspeople. IT’S SO LOVELY IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM. Scott is adorable and sweet and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND COLE IS SARCASTIC AND WONDERFUL AND THEY ARE SO CUTE TOGETHER.
Then I read a chunkster2: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell ★★★½. I haven’t read Fangirl, though I have heard many good things about it (and RR’s other books), and I don’t think I missed anything super important by just going straight through to Carry On. Maybe some background plot things that might’ve been talked about in Fangirl? Although they also might’ve been covered in Carry On, since there was a lot of “back in 2nd year when we defeated the Thing” kind of narration3.
Anyway! Carry On is about a chosen hero who has PTSD and very manipulative parental stand-ins and a fantastic best friend and also a rival who he is forced to room with because of Reasons. And there’s an Big Evil! And very little school happening, despite it being set in a school. Also, ghosts. It’s got a lot of POVs (perhaps too many), some action, some adventure, some ROMANCE(!), and multiple heartbreaking plot points.
I found myself almost completely unable to divorce Carry On from its Harry Potter-ish influences, possibly because I was also reading a lot of HP fanfic this week. As a HP pastiche, it’s pretty great. If I try to divorce it from my nostalgic HP feels, it’s…less great. I mean, I did like it! But it wasn’t as “wow” as I was expecting, which is unfortunate because I really wanted it to be WOW.
On the other hand, I DID stay up ’til almost 2am to finish reading it, so maybe it is a little bit wow after all.
I do have a book recommendation for those of you who liked Carry On AND for those who, perhaps, didn’t: A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne is something along the same lines of a loving homage/pastiche of Harry Potter-style fantasy books, with gay characters AND more characters of color and also snark and humorous shenanigans and I very much liked it when I read it back in 2014.4 It has a lot less POV switches, even more sarcasm, and though it uses a lot of the same tropes as in the HP books I feel like it uses them in a fresher way than what I found in CO. (Maybe because they’re out of school in AHatEotW? No terrible guardian/Dumbledore stand-in?)
Around this point I started getting into the reading dumps, so I tried out three Megan Derr short story set called the Trilogy of Knights, which you can read for free here. They’ve got dragons and princes and romance, which is basically everything I want always. They’re early MD, so they’re not perfect, but they ARE pretty fun.
And then I finished up the week with many HP fanfics, including a massive 500 page one that was not worth all the time I spent on it, unfortunately.
What’d you read this week?