If the several 90+ degree days we had last week are any indication, summer has arrived! But before we completely close the door on spring, I’d thought I’d list into my favorite books for April, May and June. Just like my Best of Winter selections, these are not necessarily books that came out during those months, but books that I happened to read in said time period. The list isn’t quite as long as last season, because I found myself falling into MULTIPLE reading slumps, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t get to some really great books.
And here are the cream of the crop.
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Science Fiction)– I’ve been hearing good things about this once since it was just a kickstarter project. And now that I’ve read it, I can totally see where all the praise comes from. A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet tells the story of the ship Wayfarer, it’s crew, and the adventures they experience after a job sends them into deep space. What worked the best about this book was just how lovable and varied the cast of characters are. I especially love how Chambers is able to create individuals that are truly alien, yet incredibly sympathetic. I already have the second book downloaded to my kindle, and look forward to diving in.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Superheroes/Science Fiction/Young Adult)– I really liked Meyer’s sci-fi series, The Lunar Chronicles, but felt that my enjoyment dropped off a bit in the final volume as things got more epic, and less character focused. This is probably why I put off reading Renegades until now. And wile it may have taken me some time to get to it, I’m so glad that I did. By having Renegades take place in a post apocalyptic sci-fi world, Meyer ends up doing a wonderful job of putting her own unique spin on the superhero genre. The book is centered around a romance between a hero and a villain (a trope very close to my heart), and I felt like she did a good job exploring both of their perspectives. The book also plays some fun tricks with secret identities that goes beyond your typical superhero fare. It’s clear that I won’t be waiting quite as long to pick up the sequel (especially after that cliffhanger!), which is set to come out this November.
Secrets of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Urban Fantasy)– Remember how I mentioned multiple reading slump in my intro? This is the book that broke me out of the first one. Secrets of the Demon is the third book to focus on Kara Gillian, a homicide detective who moonlights as a demon summoner. I really enjoy urban fantasy books that mix crime and supernatural elements, and this book was no exception. The part I liked the most about Secrets was the romance, which is kind of surprising given that it hasn’t always been my favorite aspect of this series. There’s defiantly a love triangle going on here, where both sides of the triangle have their fair share secrets, including some that the series has yet to fully explore. I’m certainly planning on reading further.
Head on by John Scalzi (Science Fiction)– Head on is the sequel to Lock In, a near future novel where a portion of the population is infected with a condition called Haden’s Syndrome, that paralyzes them inside their own bodies. To allow them to interact with the world, their consciousness is transferred to a robotic body. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that their problems are over, as they frequently find themselves facing prejudice in their daily lives. What I really like about Head On (or any Scalzi book I’ve read) is how he’s able to take really interesting ethical/technological concepts and combine them with a total crowd pleaser of the story. The main character, Chris, is a detective, and Head On features them (Chris is never explicitly gendered) investigating a murder involving a bloodthirsty Hayden sport. Head on is an exciting page turner that was over too fast. I hope to see more books in this series soon.
My Brother’s Husband, vol 1 by Gengoroh Tagame (Contemporary)– You didn’t think I’d get through this list without a graphic novel or two, did you? My Brother’s Husband is a moving slice of life manga about Yaichi, a Japanese stay-at-home-father who’s twin brother, Ryoji, has died. When Ryoji’s husband comes to visit, Yaichi is forced to confront his own biases. My Brother’s Husband is incredibly charming, handing the topics of homophobia in Japan with a light touch. I found myself quickly getting attached to the cast of characters, especially Ryoji’s burly Canadian husband, Mike, and Yaichi’s sweet daughter, Kana. My Brother’s Husband is not only enjoyable to read, but also a really good selection for anyone who is struggling to come to terms with the reality that one of their loved ones happens to be gay. The series is set to conclude with a final volume, coming out this fall.
Paper Girls, vol 4 by Brian K Vaughan (Science Fiction)– Paper Girls is about a gaggle of 1980s paper deliver girls who come across an intergalactic, inter-generational war. If they are to survive, they will need to grow up fast, and come to terms with some tough truths about themselves. Oh! And there’s time travel! Volume four is where this time travel aspect worked the best for me, as it takes place around the Y2K scare, which I remember incredibly well. Only in Paper Girls the new millennium is actually worth being scared about. From what way things ended, I can’t help but feel as if this series is on the verge of wrapping up in the next volume or so. I am very curious to see how things end.
Honorable Mentions: Forever Fantasy Online by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach, Attack on Titan, vol 24 by Hajime Isayama, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, vol 7: I’ve Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You by Ryan North, My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon, We Are Legion (We are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor