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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Wild Robot
Peter Brown
Progress: 73/254 minutes
Mongrel
K.Z. Snow
Progress: 20/160 pages
Babbitt
Sinclair Lewis
Progress: 24/319 pages
The Sting of the Wild
Justin O. Schmidt
Progress: 12/230 pages
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes
Anna Dressed in Blood
Kendare Blake
Progress: 176/316 pages
Oh look, it's me.
Oh look, it's me.

(This panel reads from right to left.)

 

This is from volume 2 of Wotakoi, which I have yet to read, although I just finished the anime. Kou/Ko is the character I'm most like. I have a little more confidence than she does, thank goodness, but the second-guessing that goes into many of the "casual" in-person interactions I have with other people is exhausting.

 

My near-future manga reading plans include a volume of Land of the Lustrous which is due TODAY (oops), and then the two volumes of Wotakoi I own, because the anime was incredibly good and now the volumes are screaming at me to read them.

 

(I'm pretty sure there's a typo in the black box section of this panel. Either that, or the phrasing is awkward. Here's hoping this doesn't happen often in the volumes, or it'll drive me crazy.)

Nozomi Entertainment Kickstarter: English Dub of Season 1 of Emma: A Victorian Romance

In case someone other than me is interested in this, Nozomi Entertainment has a Kickstarter up to create an English dub of the first season of Emma: A Victorian Romance (the link goes to legally streaming English subtitled episodes). No, not Jane Austen's Emma. It's the anime version of Kaoru Mori's manga about the romance between William, the eldest son of a wealthy merchant middle class family, and Emma, a maid.

 

I'm hoping that the Kickstarter will not only get fully funded, but that it'll reach the Season 2 stretch goal, so that I can hear the English dub for this guy (Hans, the footman, aka the guy I still kind of wish Emma had ended up with):

 

 

If I had the money for those tiers, I'd love the Emma figure, Emma doll with amazingly detailed period clothing (seriously, the doll comes with instructions explaining how to tie her corset), and even the custom cosplay outfit, although I don't cosplay. Alas, I must settle for a tier that won't make my bank account scream in agony.

 

If you're at all interested in manga and haven't read this series before, I highly recommend it. No Kickstarter necessary for those, they're all already published and available. The series jumps off the rails a bit near the end, with action and melodrama, but Mori's gorgeous artwork helps make up for it. I do remember one cringe-y bit - an Indian prince character, Hakim, who comes across as a giant stereotype at the beginning of the series. Mori adds a bit of depth to him and his family later on, but I could still see the character being a problem for folks.

The Lemonade Crime (audiobook) by Jacqueline Davies, narrated by Stina Nielson

The Lemonade Crime: Lemonade Series, Book 2 (MP3 Book) - Jacqueline Davies, Suzy Jackson

Evan and his little sister Jessie are both in the fourth grade, not because they're twins, but rather because Jessie skipped a grade. Jessie is particularly good at math, very focused, feels strongly that things should be fair, and believes that rules are meant to be followed.

When one of their classmates, Scott, announces that he now owns a fancy new Xbox 2020, Evan sees red. He knows exactly where Scott got the money for it - Scott stole that money, over two hundred dollars, from Evan's shorts when they were swimming at a friend's house. Evan doesn't have any proof that Scott did it, but it's the only explanation. Then Jessie comes up with a plan: she's going to bring the truth to light in a court of law created by her and her classmates.

I checked this out from my library's Overdrive without realizing that the library owned the first book in audio as well, or I'd have started with the first book instead. It looks like I'll be listening to this series out of order.

And I do plan on listening to the first book. I enjoyed this second book in the series more than I expected to, considering that Middle Grade fiction usually reads too young for me (yes, I know that's the point - I'm not the intended audience for these books and I realize that). Jessie and Evan were great characters, both flawed in their own ways but still good kids.

Jessie didn't quite feel like she fit in. I sympathized with her trouble figuring out where to hang out during recess (or was it lunch? I can't remember). The way she really got into her courtroom plan reminded me a bit of myself. I could imagine her tossing and turning in bed, unable to stop thinking about all the things she still needed to do before the trial. She'd taken on the responsibility of both setting up as realistic a trial as possible and acting as Evan's lawyer.

Evan was really into basketball and had a bit of a crush on one of his classmates, Megan, who was also his sister's friend. I hated the way Evan acted in one particular scene, but the good thing was that he hated how he'd acted too, once it was all over, and took the time to try to do something about it.

This ended in a way that was more peaceful and friendly than I expected, and I liked the layers it added to the characters.

The peeks at Scott's home life hinted at his motives, even if Evan couldn't see them, and I'm looking forward to finding out character information I missed by skipping the first book.

(show spoiler)


One nice detail: each chapter began with a definition of a term or phrase relating to courtroom proceedings (for example, "perjury"). Usually it was something illustrated by a character's words or actions in that particular chapter.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

The Atrocities - Jeremy Shipp

The spooky house and governess heroine made me think this was a historical story at first, but it's actually contemporary-set. Danna has been hired to teach Mr. and Mrs. Evers' young daughter, Isabella. The Evers' home, Stockton House, is an odd place. It used to be a church, and in order to get to it, it's necessary to walk through a labyrinth populated by the Atrocities, statues depicting horrific violence and suffering. Stockton House's interior is no better - every wall and nook and cranny has something grotesque and unsettling on/in it.

Danna has her own horrors to deal with. At times, she slides into what she calls her "hospital dreams," vivid and twisted nightmares that feel terrifyingly real. She tries to focus on the job at hand, teaching Isabella, but it soon becomes clear that there's a lot the Evers didn't tell her about themselves and their daughter.

This had a feel to it that reminded me a lot of the game Fran Bow. Danna's "hospital dreams" were about as horrifying as Fran's visions when she took her pills, and The Atrocities and Fran Bow both had startlingly sudden endings that were open to interpretation.

However, whereas Fran Bow took its time, letting players gradually get to know Fran and the horrors she and others went through prior to the game's beginning, The Atrocities felt like it barely scratched the surface where Danna was concerned. Readers knew she'd once been married, that she had a son who'd died, and that she had a cousin who tried to keep her spirits up by texting her cute pictures on a daily basis. That's pretty much it. Danna's hospital dreams were never really addressed. Did anyone other than her know about them?

The novella's ambiguous ending frustrated me. Taken at face value, it was a "good" ending. Danna's sometimes shaky grasp on reality made me wonder, however, whether her experiences at the end were real, or just something she'd cobbled together to reassure herself. Readers who like this sort of ambiguity may enjoy this, but I wanted something a little more solid.

I loved the overall atmosphere, and the mystery of the Evers family intrigued me. Unfortunately, the ending was a disappointment.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Halloween Bingo 2018: Update 7

 

Spiral was the only book I finished that fit Relics and Curiosities, so I used it to mark that square. Halloween Bingo is working out well for me so far. I have several other possible books lined up for the squares Spiral could have filled if this one hadn't been called today, whereas I'd have had some difficulty thinking up something else for Relics and Curiosities. Also, I'm now only two squares away from a Bingo, and I'll be one away once I finish the book I'm reading for Creepy Carnivals.

 

I went for a brighter colored sticker this time around. That red panda is very nice.

 

 

Marked:

 

Killing Mr. Griffin - Lois Duncan Terrifying Women

 

Sunstruck - Polenth Blake Cryptozoologist

 

Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix Modern Masters of Horror

 

The Atrocities - Jeremy Shipp New Release

 

 

Spiral - Glynne Walley,Koji Suzuki Relics and Curiosities

 

Read but not yet marked:

 

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright Doomsday

 

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,David Warner Gothic, Terror in a Small Town, Supernatural, Ghost Stories, or Genre: Horror

 

Missing Abby - L.A. Weatherly Spellbound or Baker Street Irregulars

 

The Lemonade Crime: Lemonade Series, Book 2 (MP3 Book) - Jacqueline Davies,Suzy Jackson Baker Street Irregulars

Scavenger Hunt - Win a free LibraryThing lifetime membership

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, and to celebrate, LibraryThing is holding a scavenger hunt. If you solve five of the riddles and find their corresponding LibraryThing pages, you'll be upgraded to a free lifetime membership.

 

LibraryThing has a bit of a learning curve, but I like using it to back up my reviews (unlike Booklikes, you can export your catalog) and keep track of my book collection (both what I have and where it's located). At any rate, if you want to give it a go, this is a nice way to get a lifetime membership so there aren't any limitations on how many books you can add to your catalog. Basic free memberships are limited to only 200 books, or whatever else you choose to catalog.

I can mark this square! And once I finish my Creepy Carnivals read, I'll be one square away from a Bingo. So excited!

Bingo Call: 9/19/18

Reblogged from Moonlight Madness:

Spoke too soon

It turns out I'll be taking the day off, but not the way I hoped. Nausea sucks. I thought it'd pass and then almost couldn't finish brushing my teeth. Here's hoping the Pepto works and the day improves. -_-

Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 316 pages.

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

I would like nothing more than to take the day off and spend it finishing this book. Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do, so that isn't happening. Also, I have an appointment right after work. Ugh. I want to know how the spell goes, and why Anna isn't a normal ghost.

 

I have to chuckle a bit at some of the Anna/Cas stuff though. Anna has violet eyes (the mark of specialness!), Cas is the only living person she doesn't instantly get the urge to kill, and the way Cas has acted around her so far probably would have gotten him killed several times over with any other ghost but turns out just fine with Anna.

Reading progress update: I've listened 73 out of 254 minutes.

The Wild Robot - Peter Brown

Roz is now the accidental mother of a gosling, and it's giving me Horton Hatches the Egg vibes.

 

This started off as a robot trying to figure out how to survive in a realistic wilderness without human guidance. It has since morphed into a talking animal book, which disappoints me a little. I'm trying to adjust, but it's weird that a beaver is advising Roz on how to make her home more inviting to guests ("grow a garden!") and telling her she needs to find a way to heat her home before it gets colder.

Reading progress update: I've listened 27 out of 254 minutes.

The Wild Robot - Peter Brown

"The robot's programming stopped her from being violent, but nothing stopped her from being annoying."

 

Go, robot, go.

 

There's a sequel, or I would be much more worried about this being a tearjerker with a rusted, dead robot at the end. I don't think even 24 hours have passed since Roz was first booted up by curious otters, and she's already been caught in a mudslide and is currently being attacked by bears.

Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 160 pages.

Mongrel - K.Z. Snow

I forgot to bring Anna Dressed in Blood with me, so I read a little of this during lunch.

 

I'm not sure this is going to work very well for me. There's already some insta-lust, although thankfully neither character has acted on it yet. One of them appears to already have a regular lover (I have to check some earlier wording, because I recall him thinking something about not having had sex in ages, which doesn't fit with the way he and his lover acted later on).

 

Well, it's short and it'll get me the Creepy Carnivals square when I'm done.

Creepy Carnivals: I found other options!

It turns out that I have more than just Anita Blake books that for sure fit this category.

 

There's also:

 

Wild Ride - Jennifer Crusie,Bob Mayer  Mongrel - K.Z. Snow  

 

And also this, if a magical banquet counts as a party:

 

Magic Banquet - A.E. Marling 

 

I probably have more in my collection that'd work that hasn't even occurred to me yet. Focusing on the party/festival aspect opens things up a bit.

Must remember to update my card when I get home. I had one book I'd hoped to read for this square, the first in L.J. Smith's Forbidden Game trilogy, but it turns out my memory was faulty. I had thought it took place in an amusement park, but it's actually more of a Jumanji situation so I need to pick something else. Worst case scenario, I could reread Laurel K. Hamilton's Circus of the Damned. Or choose a wildcard author instead.

Bingo Call: 09/17/2018

Reblogged from Obsidian Black Plague:

 

 

Creepy Carnivals: horror/mystery/supernatural/suspense set in or concerning a carnival, amusement park, or other party/festival.

Halloween Bingo 2018: Update 6

 

No change to the card, just a new book added below.

 

I'm reaching the point where I really should start planning my reads better. My Free square is still available if I end up painting myself into a corner and can no longer use one of the books I've finished for any of my available squares, but once that's gone it's either read something I know will fit an available square or accept that it might not count for Halloween Bingo. Hmm.

 

Marked:

 

Killing Mr. Griffin - Lois Duncan Terrifying Women

 

Sunstruck - Polenth Blake Cryptozoologist

 

Horrorstor - Grady Hendrix Modern Masters of Horror

 

The Atrocities - Jeremy Shipp New Release

 

Read but not yet marked:

 

 

Spiral - Glynne Walley,Koji Suzuki Possible squares: Diverse Voices, Genre: Horror, Relics and Curiosities

 

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright Doomsday

 

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,David Warner Gothic, Terror in a Small Town, Supernatural, Ghost Stories, or Genre: Horror

 

Missing Abby - L.A. Weatherly Spellbound or Baker Street Irregulars

 

The Lemonade Crime: Lemonade Series, Book 2 (MP3 Book) - Jacqueline Davies,Suzy Jackson Baker Street Irregulars

Reading progress update: I've listened 152 out of 152 minutes.

The Lemonade Crime: Lemonade Series, Book 2 (MP3 Book) - Jacqueline Davies, Suzy Jackson

Sunday morning turns out to be an excellent time to go to the gym. I got a good hour of "I actually don't feel too awkward" exercise in and managed to finish this audiobook while I was at it.

 

This qualifies for the Baker Street Irregulars square, although it wasn't as much of a mystery story as I was expecting it to be when I checked it out. Evan and his sister believe they know what happened to Evan's $208, but they can't prove it. Jessie attempts to bring the truth to light in a court of law created by her and the other kids in her fourth grade class, but it ends up blowing up in her and Evan's faces. The ending was surprisingly peaceful and friendly.