The Rabbit Back Literature Society – Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. This is such an odd book. Magical realism meets books about books meets murder mystery meets strange and unusual happenings meets illuminating flashbacks meets what is going on?? When Ella is invited to join the elite Rabbit Back Literature Society, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. The head of the society goes missing, there seems to be a virus affecting the books at the town library, and she becomes embroiled in something known as ‘The Game’. Please, click on the link and read the blurb because this is a wonderful, twisty turny read that defies summation (seriously! I can’t condense what makes it so brilliant into a few sentences – I’ve been trying!).
The Women Who Shaped Politics: Empowering Stories of of Women Who Have Shifted the Political Landscape – Sophy Ridge. Or, more correctly ‘The Women Who Shaped British Politics’. Or, even more correctly, ‘The Women Who Shaped English Politics’. Ridge admits to her omissions and biases in the opening paragraphs of this book, but it’s still a bit hard to overlook the absence of non-English politicians at times. I also found it hard to swallow that after acknowledging Constance Markievicz as the first female MP in Britain (which then included Ireland), the book went on to state several times that Nancy Astor was the first female MP. Now, Markievicz didn’t take her seat but that doesn’t make her any less the first female MP which makes Nancy Astor the first female MP who actually took her seat. These things aside, I enjoyed The Women Who Shaped Politics immensely. It got across an awful lot of information without getting bogged down and it really is a good overview of some of the female figures who have played a prominent role in British political life. A good introduction for people looking to dip their toes in the complicated landscape of women in politics.
The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman. I’ve mentioned before how I’m right into Regency high jinks, right? The Dark Days Club takes Regency high jinks, supernatural shenanigans, and a forbidden romance, slams them all together and comes out the other side as a hell of a read. Lady Helen is a sympathetic main character, torn between duty to family and duty to the crown, and the book doesn’t sidestep the limitations placed on women during this time period like some others (*cough* I’m looking at you Lady Julia Grey *cough*). The only thing I struggled with was supernatural element which I never connected with, finding it forced and not terribly convincing. Luckily, the rest of the book more than made up for this weakness and if you’re looking for a fun Regency read, look no further.
The Other Typist – Suzanne Rindell. A story of the jazz age, The Other Typist follows Rose, an every-day sort of girl who meets Odalie, an extraordinary sort of girl who utterly transforms Rose’s life. But is everything quite as it seems? This was a random pick from the library which I ended up absolutely loving. From the start, it’s clear that Rose is an unreliable narrator and as her life starts to fracture she becomes more and more selective about what she chooses to see. And the ending! Read this tale of glamour and obsession, read it now and know that wherever you think this book is heading, you’re wrong.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Prelude – Will Corona Pilgrim et. al. A truly dismal collection of seemingly random Guardians of the Galaxy comics and not a prequel to the new movie at all. Nice false advertising there, Marvel.
Guardians of the Galaxy New Guard, Volume 3: Civil War II – Brian Michael Bendis et. al. For the life of me, I can’t find a finished version of this cover anywhere online so you’ll have to put up with one that says ‘Subtitle TBC’. Anyway, Captain Marvel calls the Guardians for help, only she doesn’t tell them what’s going on so they jump straight in and everyone looks like an arsehole. Seriously, that’s the best summary I can come up with for this random, largely pointless installation in the Civil War II saga (I get that it’s hard to work company-wide events into a single title but was Bendis even trying with this one?).
Guardians Team-Up, Volume 1: Guardians Assemble – Brian Michael Bendis et. al. Given that this is basically a random selection of issues where various members of the Guardians team up with other Marvel heroes, this has its ups and downs. A highlight is definitely the Gamora and She-Hulk crossover, and the Rocket Raccoon team up with the Pet Avengers was surprisingly witty but at the end of the day it’s a pretty transparent cash grab.
Avengers Standoff, Volume 2 – Nick Spencer et. al. Not as good as the first volume but still a surprisingly enjoyable read (well, for a non-Avengers reader at any rate).
Indelible – Adelia Saunders. Magdalena can see people’s secrets, Neil hasn’t quite figured out what’s really important, and Richard is searching for the mother he never knew. Three characters, three stories that slowly wend their way into one beautiful, aching whole. The magical realism element (Magdalena can see the history of a person written on their skin) is what drew me to this, and that aspect of the book is as thoughtful and wonderful as I’d hoped, but there’s so much more to the story than that. We move back in forth in time and location, learning just a little bit more each time until things finally start to click into place. A slow-burn of a read, definitely, but one worth your time.
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls – Hope Nicholson (ed). I didn’t realise this would be a straight up romance book. I thought, as did Kelly Sue DeConnick according to her introduction, that it would be more wide-ranging, so I struggled with this. Individually, the stories were fine (some were better than others, obviously), but they didn’t fit together. There was no thematic arrangement that I could see, instead they’re just presented at random which led to a jerky reading experience. They were also quite repetitive – ‘I was a geek and I didn’t fit in and then I found love and it either went great or terribly’. Here’s the thing, I was a geek but I fit in just fine, so reading story after story where being a geek seems to mean automatic exclusion was tiresome. There’s some really lovely, honest stuff in here but overall I was massively disappointed.
The Boy on the Bridge – M.R. Carey. GO READ THIS BOOK! Seriously. This takes place in the same universe as The Girl With All The Gifts, a book where M.R. Carey took zombie tropes and made them wonderful again, but it’s not a direct sequel. Technically, you could read this without reading The Girl With All The Gifts, but both books are so freaking good that it’s worth reading them in publication order. I read the second half of this sitting in my garden and cried so hard at the ending, in front of all my neighbours, and it was worth it.
Aliens: Life and Death – Dan Abnett & Moritat. This referenced a lot of events that I’m not familiar with, but it was a fun sci-fi horror romp with a dash of LGBT representation so I forgave it pretty quickly.