Adult Novels I read in July 2018 – Reading Wrap up

Last but not least my adult book wrap up! San Diego Comic Con always puts me in the mood for scifi & fantasy and the first couple books this month kind of put me in an eh mood on contemporary and non-fiction anyways. They weren’t BAD perse, but I was definitely disappointed. FYI this is another long wrap up, so buckle the heck up.

  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
    • Rating: 3/5
    • Thoughts: Boy I love having unpopular opinions about books that are beloved /s.
    • I think this falls into the same category The Sun is Also a Star for me -I just do not have patience for most romance novels, ESPECIALLY Heterosexual romance. I also usually find myself pretty much in this mindset: the woman in this is amazing and wonderful and the dude is a garbage fire. Points for this book that I don’t think that about this main dude at all, but this book STILL falls into the some really “blergh” tropes aka there are some weird dynamics between the dude and the woman that I am just 100% not a fan of. It’s like this: I did enjoy pretty much all the characters you’re supposed to like, but then when it was time for the actual romance it was a bit…. I don’t want to say forced. Contrived? I just couldn’t get into it.
    • What makes this the most standout is the main characters. I LOVE STELLA. I would take a bullet for her she was super interesting and compelling and way too good for everyone ever. Michael’s pretty chill too! It’s kind of refreshing seeing an Asian male protagonists as a romantic interests. Stilllll felt a little blech about some of their dynamic tho. It was just very…. cliche. Like they were cute??? But also kinda like. Ok yeah I can DEFINITELY tell this is trying to emulate some of that weird macho crap with the weird nicknames and the way the sex was written. Even if it is passably better.
    • Also there was like. The smut was okay????? I’ve read way better???? And OH BOY the sexy dialogue in this is just. It’s a lot. Its not great. Though there it is like. a lot of sex in this if you’re into that sort of thing LOL.
    • All in all I’ve read a worse romance novels? Like I definitely recommend this if romance novels are your thing, but if you’re like me and just really not into pure romance books, this is probably not going to change your mind.

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Rating: 3/5
    • Thoughts: While I’m not as big of fan of  Tyson as I used to be, I still really enjoyed his turn at the Cosmos TV show, so I was looking forward to picking up this audiobook. And while Tyson is an excellent narrator, unfortunately this book didn’t do a ton for me. While the subject matter is pretty interesting, this book reallllllyyy suffers writing wise. It’s just… not super well written most of the time. A lot of the jokes fell super flat, and I felt like the subjects ranged from easy physics to pretty complex ideas with no easy ramp up. While I did really enjoy the narration, It may have been a mistake to pick this up in audio because of that. The organization of this book was super funky too – I felt like it started off with its more complex ideas in the first chapters and then the middle lulled into some easier to grasp topics. Which just…. doesn’t make a lot of sense.
    • I do think if you are a newbie to the science world and want to start exploring the universe, this is a decent place to start. Personally, I think you should give Tyson’s Cosmos a watch first before listening/reading this book, but to each their own.
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
    • Rating: 3.5/5
    • Thoughts: I had a LOT of fun listening to this audiobook! The acting in this is pretty damn good, and the plot and pacing are top notch. It is just a pure action packed scifi thriller from start to finish that goes some pretty weird directions in how the story plays out.
    • But BOY OH BOY is this a flawed story. Notice how that little paragraph didn’t mention a ton about the characters? That’s because all except for maybe two they’re pretty overdramatic and boring. Like COMICALLY so. And for some reason, instead of focusing on the super cool scifi plot that was happening around it, the author was like “hey you know what people like hearing about? fucking love triangles and human angst lmao” which is honestly buck fucking wild to me. Who cares when there’s a GIANT ALIEN ROBOT THAT WE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT. There are also just. Some decisions in this book that are made that are just. Comically horrific. It’s like um???? really??? that’s the choice you choose to make??? doesn’t that seem a bit…. extreme????? Also there are some really fucked up shit that these characters go through that the characters really DON’T seem to freak out about as much as they should
    • And boy oh boy do some of the characters in this book have some weird things to say about both men and women. And aliens for that matter. And the US government as well – this shit all feels like it’s straight out of a bad 90s scifi flick
    • Though again, the whole thing is was so over the top and comical that I kind of just ended up going a long for the ride. It kind of reminds me of independence day – just some fun popcorn fiction. Definitely not something to take too seriously. I completely get both why some people love this book and why some people just kind of shake their head super confused.
    • I definitely recommend picking this up in audiobook by the way. Definitely helped with any of the cringe I did experience during the story.
    • Content warning for: Body Horror!!!! I am serious about this one!!!! things happen in this book that will legit make you queasy if you’ve got a weak stomach for that stuff.
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
    • Rating: 4.25/5
    • Thoughts: Boy oh boy this is a BOOK. 
    • I’m going to start this off with the content warnings because they’re a fucking DOOZY: racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual assault, police brutality, rape, murder, violence, ableism. Like this is a book rooted in challenging and discussing oppression and all of things are pretty heavily featured in this book.
    • This is…. a stunner of a scifi novel. Solomon is a master of  character building. It’s been a week or two since I’ve read this book, and I can still remember general descriptions of all the main characters and imagine their reactions to completely different situations in my mind. I loved every single one of them and I loved seeing their story grow throughout the novel. Solomon’s side characters, while not quite as vivid, still stick out in my mind pretty clearly as well. And the prose, the prose.  Solomon is really good at  finding the right times to be flowy and descriptive, and when just a brutally succinct sentence is all you need. Their words are just like continuous punches in the gut. Both of these really help you get through this book because again, you have to experience a LOT of just absolutely terrible shit. The story, while fucking merciless and hard, feels extremely neccessary. A LOT of bad shit goes down in this book, but Solomon does a good job of balancing the horror of it all with an actual point and message.
    • I have to say though, the plot was extremely hard to follow in this. I’d feel like I’d get to the end of a chapter, and by the next a whole five other steps would be missing when it started up again that I’d have to piece together super shakily. It seemed like the story was missing some important pieces and you were never given quite enough information to confidently infer what was going on. I guess I wish Solomon had just like…. slowed down a little? It’s such a shame, because I can imagine if it had, this would be a must recommend sci-fi pick. But as it stands…. I still really really loved this and think it’s a super important read, but I also think it will be hard to enjoy for some people because its plot construction is so weird.
    • GOD the ending though . That fucking ENDING. I will never fucking forget those last two chapters. Jesus Christ.
  • The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
    • Rating: 3.5/5
    • Thoughts: Like everyone else who spends at least a little bit of time around video games, I’d heard of the Witcher from an oh so famous video game adaption. I’ve heard
    • And I did enjoy a lot of this book! Geralt is surprisngly an interesting character to follow, and the world is just as bleak and unfailingly both medieval and magical. (And when I say medieval I mean literally. Sapkowski clearly LOVES that period piece shit). Its unsurprisingly dark, which is very much Not Really My Thing, but I think the short story formation as well as the addition of some of the more light-hearted characters (though I’m just going to come out and say it FUCK DANDELION) and a good balance between grim-dark short stories and more amusing stories helped the pace of this a ton.
    • What really stuck out to me is that… all of these short stories had some really curious things to say from both a world building perspective and a moral perspective. They weren’t all ground shaking ideas, sure, but they did make you think. Which was a lot more than I was expecting from this.
    • I did still have some problems with this however and it all mainly falls into one category – The Witcher Series and it’s weird treatment of women. It’s REALLY bizarre because I honestly have NO idea what Sapkowski is going for here. On one hand, we see a lot of complex female characters with agency and power in this story, who have interesting goals and ideas and flaws.
    • On the other….. The Last Wish exist. Which is honestly was just. it’s bad. It’s really bad. I have no idea WHY Sapkowski chose to make the choices he makes in the lore for on how sorceress’ work or how he chose to have the relationship between Yennifer and Geralt play out. It’s so fucking weird????? And really uncomfortable???? And once I’d read that story, I started to think back on some of the other ones in this books like…. yo my guy why are you so weird with women? You seemed to do fine like. 50 percent of the time. Did you just wake up and go ‘wait i gotta be more weirdly sexist and write rules about magic in this that are kind of horrifying if you actually think about it. I’m also going to end my book on the worst story”
    • Honestly, I think if I would have skipped the last story, I’d have given this a higher rating. And if you’re curious about the Witcher, I won’t say like. Don’t pick it up. Just be warned that. You know how the games are weird about women? Don’t worry that’s in the text too.
    • If you have to I’d just read the following stories from it and call it good: The Witcher, A Grain of Truth, A Question of Price, and The Edge of the World.
    • I know that’s skipping only like two stories but believe me those two are enough to be actually like huge detriments to how much you will like this book.
    • Content warning for: Gore, Murder, Assault, Body Horror.
  • The Long way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    • Rating: 5/5
    • Thoughts: Firefly’s no good anymore y’all pack your browncoats up because Chambers has done a WAY better job of creating an interesting scifi world with a beat up ship and a found family than Wh*don ever will.
    • I’m…. dead serious though this is such a rockstar of a novel. I loooooved this. I want this made into a TV series. It’s solid character-driven scifi with a really interesting universe and alien species all throughout it. Honestly like…. the world that Chambers creates feels way more real with its aliens that have different sex and gender presentations and differently constructed societies and anatomy and food consumption. I think it goes above and beyond a lot of other scifi I’ve read with how interesting its world gets. Even the factions of humanity are pretty interesting too! I loved learning about all of it.  This was SUCH a fun read.
    • All of the characters in this book are now pretty much all time favorites. It was such a JOY watching them interact with each other and just like. Grow as characters man. Their relationships feel natural and are hella endearing. Also uses them to have some really interesting commentary on like. Complex moral dilemmas, which I was really surprised about. There are some GREAT pull quotes from this. I want to own this book so I can tab all the shit I like.Which I never want to do.
    • This is what I call feel-good science fiction. Everything about it feels good. It’s such an emotional ride through and through. But a good emotional ride. You feel really full and satisfied when it’s all over.
    • I gotta say though, if slow paced character driven stuff isn’t for you… this won’t be your thing. That’s totally fine! But I think if you got any joy at all from stuff like Firefly and character missions from Mass Effect , you’ll love this a ton. Probably more than Firefly actually (mostly because i can’t in good conscience diss the characters in ME)
    • Also Kizzy is my beautiful wife who I love we’re getting married and there’s nothing you can do about it.

That’s the end of this months wrap ups! Hope you enjoyed hearing me bitch about Heterosexual Romance, Gender Roles and Joss Wh*d*n. Aka my favorite things to bitch about.

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