I’ve got five featured reads for you, plus a list of the nine other titles I finished in February 2023.
This month’s featured reads include a delightfully chaotic mad scientist in training; a romance set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away; a horror-adjacent tale of self-discovery, and a memoir in the medium of a comic strip!
“Harley Quinn: Reckoning”
- Author: Rachael Allen
- Author URL: https://rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com/p/books.html
- Related Works: This is book one of a Harley Quinn trilogy. It’s also part of the “DC Icons” collection of novels. This book is written so that you don’t need to know about the characters in the DC Comics universe; however, there are rewards tucked into the text for those that do.
- Review: We meet Miss Harleen Quinzel as a young woman who is doing her first work in a university science lab. She’s the brilliant and scattered person who will become both Doctor Harleen Quinzel and the villain/antihero Harley Quinn. There’s a lot to love in this book; Harleen’s inner life, the supporting cast and her relationships to them, and the touches of the wider DC world that’s hinted at (including a cameo by a character we expect to be pivotal to her future). While this is a world that includes comic book-style mad science, it’s also a book that’s grounded by Harleen’s experience as a woman in academia and STEM. I expect every woman who reads this will relate to her ordeals; from the micro-aggressions to the misogyny, to a frat boy attempting to assault her. While a male reader may find these parts of the book to be the over-the-top parts, I found them to be real and sadly familiar; they’re the most grounded part of the book, and I hope they start discussions between readers. While our heroine endures a lot (including a dark home life), this isn’t a book with a dark tone; Harleen is a cheerful, chaotic force of nature who takes action. I’m looking forward to the second volume in this trilogy, and to seeing how both the character of Harleen and her world evolve.
“Girl in the Walls”
- Author: Katy Michelle Quinn
- Author URL: https://www.clashbooks.com/new-products-2/katy-michelle-quinn-girl-in-the-walls
- Related Works: This is a stand-alone book.
- Review: This is the first book I’ve ever reviewed where I think it’s necessary to begin with a content warning; self harm, in the form of cutting, is part of the protagonist’s experience; so, I can’t recommend this book for children. Why am I reviewing this novella, then? Because it was a great read and I connected powerfully with it. The site for the book (URL above) says that, “Katy is a queer transwoman who writes strange and sentimental horror-adjacent fiction.” This quote captures the flavor of the book well; it’s both bittersweet and hopeful, with trauma in it. So, you have my most-conflicted review yet; I loved this book, but want to warn any who may read it about the darkness and self harm in it. (And I realize that I’ve talked around the book without actually talking about it. This is because it’s a tale that unfolds in layers, and I don’t want to spoil your journey of reading it. If you do want a bit of info, I suggest going to the URL above, which includes a blurb and review snippets.)
“Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel”
- Author: Beth Revis
- Author URL: https://linktr.ee/bethrevis
- Related Works: This book starts the night that “Return of the Jedi” ends. It would help if you’ve seen the classic Star Wars trilogy before reading this (episodes IV, V, & VI). There’s also small callbacks to the “Solo” movie and the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” TV series.
- Review: A joy of a book! We’re taken through Leia and Han’s marriage and honeymoon; events that have all the banter, kissing, and fireworks I expected. BR captures the essence of the characters, and gives us situations that delight; whether they’re small moments with one or both of our heroes, or big action sequences. While this is a romance novel, it’s still a Star Wars story, and we’re treated to our couple putting their skills as rogue and rebel to use. This is the Star Wars novel I’ve wanted since I first saw “Empire Strikes Back.”
“Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition” and “My Life in Transition: A Super Late Bloomer Collection”
- Author: Julia Kaye
- Author URL: https://www.juliakaye.com/
- Related Works: Together, these two books form volumes one and two of JK’s memoir in comic strip form.
- Review: Each page of these books reflects a day in the life of author and illustrator Julia Kaye. If you are a trans woman, you’ll likely resonate with much of what she shares; and if you aren’t a trans woman, then these books could give you an insight into our day-to-day lives. JK has a talent for balancing honesty with humor that makes these two volumes a quick, sympathetic, and amusing read.
- “Someone Else’s Life: A Thriller” by Lyn Liao Butler (Fiction)
- “Royal Date” (The Royals of Monterra Book 1) by Sariah Wilson (Fiction)
- “Because of Miss Bridgerton” (Bridgerton Prequels Book 1) by Julia Quinn (Fiction)
- “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” by J.M. Dillard (Fiction)
- “Highlander: Measure of a Man” by Nancy Holder (Fiction)
- “Short Stories of Bainbridge Island” (Second Edition) by Oyster Seed Salon (Short Fiction)
- “Whalefall” by Seanan McGuire (Short Fiction)
- “Supergirl: Being Super” by Mariko Tamaki (Author), Joëlle Jones (Illustrator) (Comic Book Collection)
- “WatchTime Magazine, February 2023” (Magazine)
That’s my Reading Roundup for February 2023.
I hope your bookish adventures are giving you all that you need.
And I’d love to hear about a recent fave story of yours.
Your Library Girl, Mina
Thank you for reading.