Tabs and Follow Me

September 20, 2018

I Read Crooked Kingdom

Wow, I got very far behind writing these up.  Mea culpa.  Hopefully by the end of the day, I'll have the next month queued up.

This week's novel is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.  This is the Sequel to Six of Crows, which I read a while back.

The team has to rescue Inej, who was captured at the end of the last book, and then they must take their revenge on Van Ek, get paid for the job they pulled in the last book, and help a bunch of Grisha get out of town before they're kidnapped by super soldiers created by the Shu.  Multiple complex heists ensue!

I was impressed by the ensemble cast and the complicated heist of the last book, and those certainly continued in the second half of this duology.  I got to know the characters enough to celebrate their growth and cheer for their moments of triumph.  (Jesper gets this moment...it's so good.  I'm still pumped about it.)

But there's an added layer to this second book, because as the characters grow to rely on and trust one another, a sadness and uncertainty is built into the story, because if the plans all go perfectly, the team members will go their separate ways and never see each other again.  When they hated each other, this wasn't a problem, but now they've been through a lot.  It reminds me a bit of the last few weeks of senior year in high school, when everyone was excited to leave and start their lives, but with that came the looming realization that friendships weren't going to be as strong and many wouldn't survive.  This was like that, only maybe they would die or be tortured, and also the city where they all cut their teeth is way more horrible than a high school.  And yet they were still a little sad to leave.

This book also had an added layer in that they each had to make something of themselves.  In the last book, they all thought that the money from the pay off would fix all their problems.  It would pay off their debts and get them out of indentured servitude and get them passage back to their various homelands.  In this one, the money would still do all that, but they also needed to step up emotionally.  Nina, the drug addicted Grisha, has to accept that her powers will never be the same and she'll never be the same.  Matthias has to get over his biases against Grisha, rather than the "love the sinner, hate the sin thing" he had going on at the end of the last book.  Jesper has to get out of debt to save the family farm, but he also has to accept that his gambling addiction got him in debt in the first place, and he needs to work on that. Wylan needs to get away from his abusive father, but he also needs to accept that his father was wrong and Wylan has worth.

***

Next week: Crazy Rich Asians, a rom-com set in obscene wealth in Singapore, by Kevin Kwan.

September 18, 2018

Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episode 10: Regina





The Twenty Percent True Podcast

Season 3: Chicago Center for Supernatural Support

Episode 10: Regina





September 11, 2018

Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episode 9: Trish

 



The Twenty Percent True Podcast

Season 3: Chicago Center for Supernatural Support

Episode 9: Trish





September 4, 2018

Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episode 8: Alice





The Twenty Percent True Podcast

Season 3: Chicago Center for Supernatural Support

Episode 8: Alice





August 28, 2018

Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episode 7: August





The Twenty Percent True Podcast

Season 3: Chicago Center for Supernatural Support

Episode 7: August





August 23, 2018

I read Listen to Your Heart

This week's novel is Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West.

Kate's whole goal in life is to take over her parents' marina on the lake.  She thinks of school as the time between lake trips, and she's not excited about how her best friend, Alana, has talked her into taking a podcasting class with her.  She's even less excited when she ends up the host of their podcast, and the topic for the year is "advice," and her co-host keeps calling her "Kat."  Alana is crushing on a guy named Diego, and Kate is helping her gather information and low level stalk him.  So when he starts calling into the podcast for advice about "a girl he likes" it seems like Diego and Alana are going to ride of into the sunset.  Highjinks ensue.

This is a cute book.  There are several points where I, the reader, said, "Oh no.  That's going to be misunderstood."  And sure enough.  But the cool thing was that even though the book is a series of misunderstandings, the characters all handle their disappointments and confusion really well.  You get the impression pretty early on that Diego might be into Kate, but he's friendly enough with Alana that it is kind of hard to tell.  He takes what he assumes is Kate turning him down like a champ and doesn't get openly upset about it. 

In general, I appreciate how friendly everyone is to each other in this book.  Alana and Kate and Diego and Other Guy all hang out and are friendly, even when maybe they all like each other.  There's no petty bickering over guys.  There's no hard feelings when who really likes who is revealed.  They're all friends first and kissy-friends second, and it felt more real to how I remember high school than anything I've read in a while.

Also, what kind of school has a podcasting class?  Is this a thing the kids are doing these days?  I feel like I missed out.  I also like how bad Kate was at podcasting at the beginning, and how she got better and how she took every bit of faint praise as a sign she was horrible.  That felt real too.

***

Next week: Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo.

August 21, 2018

Chicago Center for Supernatural Support, Episode 6: Jasmine





The Twenty Percent True Podcast

Season 3: Chicago Center for Supernatural Support

Episode 6: Jasmine