Books read in December 2020

I might have been a little distracted at the start of the year and forgot to post this final 2020 reading update. I did meet my reading goal…after dropping it down to 50 from 100. But in the end, I had 52 books on my list! Here were the last bunch of reads:

Cottons: The White Carrot by Jim Pascoe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a 270 page graphic novel technically written for kids, book 2 of the Cottons trilogy has a rich story with so much world building, you find yourself wanting more. I almost wish this was a actual novel, with more text so I could learn more about the Cottons and the Foxes and their societies and histories.

My only nitpick is still that I have a hard time telling some of the rabbits apart…that or there is a rabbit that has multiple names, which might be why I was confused. This is what happens when you read before bedtime I guess!

If you like rich fantasy worlds, this is a series to pick up.

Race in American Science Fiction by Isiah Lavender III

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this on loan from outside my library system and ran out of time to finish it. It is good but it is DENSE and it also made me realize that I have not read a lot of science fiction. But most of the issues with SciFi books that are discussed in this are also problems in shows and films.

I picked this up because ‘Pop Culture Detective’ referred to it for their research on how Droids are treated in Star Wars.

Hopefully I will pick this up again another time when my brain is able to focus a bit more on the lofty thoughts and language.

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t bother finishing this one. It wasn’t engaging me and I was kind of over it. It’s just ok, not bad but not great.

The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not familiar with the story of the Daughters of Ys, a retelling of a Celtic folktale about two sisters and their relationship to the city left to them by their father and mother and the legacy of that familial line.

This was fantastic dark fantasy, with beautiful artwork and images that stayed with me. Like with all good stories, the choices the sisters make are not as simple as they seem and as the story unfolds, you can see the flaws in both of their approaches to the kingdom.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hughes acknowledges Octavia Butler as an inspiration for this fictionalized story about traveling back in time and living through the Japanese American internment camps of the 1940s. Unfortunately, as Hughes also laments in her notes, she didn’t have a lot of first hand accounts from her grandmother’s experiences, so it wasn’t as powerful as They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, whose first-hand account of the years in the camps as a child revealed the poor treatment of the Japanese-Americans.

I really enjoyed the last couple chapters of this book, when Kiki returns home and talks with her mother about the camps and together they begin to research the history of what it did to Japanese-Americans, how it is still happening today to other peoples in America and how they used their knowledge of history to try to fix the present. That story was far more powerful and I wish that Hughes had focused more on that real journey because you could feel the passion.

I would recommend this for younger teens who might not be aware of the Internment camps, who will be just as innocent as Kiki was about the history.

The Witch’s Hand by Nathan Page

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There seems to be a trend in YA stories right now with small towns that were founded olden times and the founders had to run the witches out of town and/or killed them. And the witches come back for revenge and reveal that they did nothing wrong and the town was founded on a lie.

It’s like everyone went to the same writing workshop in Salem.

ANYWAY, despite all that, this was a fun story with interesting characters. I like how it just drops the reader into the story, rather than starting from ” the beginning” of the Montague Twins lives. There is a lot of story to tell here, along with a town full of mysteries to solve, plus some magic thrown in. I’m looking forward to the next book to see if the story is more original and if the characters continue to grow with each new entry.

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