Well, 1-7 March 2021 has certainly been a wild ride. My doctors started me on a new medication to raise my blood pressure because they think I may have vasovagal syncope. I told them I’m pretty darn sensitive to medication and to please start me off on a low dose … the 4th pill gave me an overdose. So basically, the 1st-2nd I had some really bad insomnia and read 4 books. I finally slept some on the 3rd and basically took the day off from the readathon to film my January reading wrap-up and spend some time editing. On the 4th I was starting to feel pretty funky since that was dose 2 and 3 of the new medication; I opted to finish The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson — which might be my favorite book of the month. On the 5th I almost had a stroke 2 hours after the 4th dose; my blood pressure shot up to 150/110 and stayed there which has NEVER happened to me before. I couldn’t see right and my headache was insane and yet not a migraine (which clued me in that something was really off since I never have those sorts of headaches). I’m used to hypotension, not hypertension. Given the choice between the two I’ll take Hypo over Hyper any day — at least I know how to raise my bp relatively quickly when that’s necessary. Hyper is a lot more difficult for me to deal with…I find it scarier. Which I know might be weird? At least with hypotension I can just lay down for a while, have some salt, and pass out for a while until my body reboots. With hypertension caused by a drug that specifically aims to raise your bp more while lying down, I had to put myself in a recliner so I wouldn’t pass out and fall forward out of a chair, shove a ton of fluids (but not too fast because too much water too quickly can also raise blood pressure), and wait two hours for my body to cope and start getting that drug out of my system. I slept for 12 hours between the 5th-6th (which almost never happens) and was rested enough to play D&D for 1.5 hours and then hop on the PJ Party Livestream from my recliner, but that used all my spoons. Thankfully I had enough concentration to finish the manga version of Sense and Sensibility? And the 7th has been another recovery day since I went to bed and woke with a migraine, so I still haven’t filmed anything because holding up a camera would just take too many spoons right now.
So let’s get into actually talking about the books I’ve read so far?
Read #1, the Manga Classics adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, I technically started on February 28th in my time zone (but it was March 1st in Spain). The art style matches that which is depicted on the cover though most of the book is in black and white (as is normal for manga). Personally, I don’t care to read a whole lot of Abrahamic religion content anymore – which this book features quite a bit of. So did I like it? Well, it was just ok I guess. It’s definitely not my cup of tea, so I won’t be picking up the source material. That being said, I’m glad I’ve read a classics adaptation. This book counts towards Classic, Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back.
Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.– Goodreads Book Blurb
But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
The 2nd book I’ve read is This Is My America by Kim Johnson. If you’ve read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas and are looking for something along those lines, you definitely need to pick this book up. Also you need to go check out Ashley from BookishRealm’s review because own-voices. My only gripe (that is very minor and did not greatly impact my enjoyment of the story) was how often “the big project” (which is very obviously going to be the story driver) was mentioned before anybody actually did anything related to it. It’s used realistically, many people talk a lot about things before they go acting on things, but I’m just generally not really one for that sort of thing. This book counts towards Fem Positive, BIPOC Rep, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back.
Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
Fans of Nic Stone and Jason Reynolds won’t want to miss this provocative and gripping debut.
The 3rd book I read was The Hidden Witch by Molly Ostertag, which is the second book in The Witch Boy series. I am absolutely loving this graphic novel series. The Witch Boy covers masculine and feminine magic and why it shouldn’t be restricted to gender. The Hidden Witch covers what happens when we let anger fester and what it means to make good friends. The art style on the cover is indicative of what to expect in the rest of the book, and the whole thing is in color. This counts towards Fem Positive, BIPOC Rep, Platonic Fem Relationship, and LGBTQIA+.
Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn’t a shapeshifter. He’s taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family.– Goodreads Book Blurb
Meanwhile, Aster’s friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her own — a curse has tried to attach itself to her. She runs to Aster and escapes it, but now the friends must find the source of the curse before more people — normal and magical alike — get hurt.
The 4th book I read was Living with Mochi by Gemma Gené. This is a graphic novel I received an e-copy ARC of for review from NetGalley. I believe it’s slated for sale starting 6 April 2021. Unless the publisher fixes some of the spread issues I sent to them in the e-copy on the final release, I’d recommend picking up the physical copy as some of the spreads make more sense when in a side by side layout. The cover is indicative of what to expect in the book linework wise – some of the spreads are colored and some are in black and white. If you’re interested in a graphic novel about a pug, this would be great to add to your collection. You can check out my full thoughts on it in this video. This book counts in Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, and Wildcard.
Gemma Gene’s adorable comics celebrate fur-parenthood and the extreme love you experience when you look into your dog’s eyes. If you are never alone when you go to the bathroom, are forced to share your food, and find your life ruled by a sassy fur ball, Living With Mochi is the perfect book for you.– Goodreads Book Blurb
When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute webcomics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.
The 5th book I read was Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab. I absolutely adore the Cassidy Blake trilogy, so I was ecstatic when book 3 showed up on my doorstep on launch day. In this series, Cassidy’s parents are filming a TV show based on their book “The Inspecters” (haaaaa puns) where her dad provides the historical background and her mother provides the believer/spooky background. One year before this series started Cassidy fell in a river and almost drowned, but as she was about to die she got tangled up with a ghost and somehow managed to make it to shore. Now as her parents travel the world to film their show, Cassidy gets into all sorts of shenanigans by “crossing the veil” in these spooky places. Think of it like Ghost Whisperer, but make it middle grade. This book counts in Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back.
Where there are ghosts, Cassidy Blake follows … unless it’s the other way around?– Goodreads Book Blurb
Cass thinks she might have this ghost-hunting thing down. After all, she and her ghost best friend, Jacob, have survived two haunted cities while travelling for her parents’ TV show.
But nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colourful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.
Cass takes on her most dangerous challenge yet…
The 6th book I read was The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson. This is by far one of my favorite reads ever. I loved the way the main storyline and short stories/folk tales were woven together in a way I’ve never seen before to cover issues like finding yourself, strength in community, and the bravery in asking for help. This book counts in Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back.
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.– Goodreads Book Blurb
The 7th Book I read was the Manga Classics adaptation of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I have actually read the source material for this one once in high school, and I can wholeheartedly say I greatly prefer this adaptation to the original. The original is already rather melodramatic since it’s realistically based in Puritan New England in the 17th century. It was perhaps forward for its time and place in 19th century America when it was written, but comparing this flavor of women’s rights writing to today’s women’s rights … we’ve come a LONG way. I love how this manga adaptation basically turned into a dramatic anime in my head as I was reading it. I still hate the ending, but that’s not the manga’s fault – they really stuck to the source material. I lowkey love this story until the ending, and I kinda need a modern retelling. This counts in Classic, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back … I don’t find it particularly Fem Positive, but I could see an argument for it to a small degree.
Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and will not reveal her lover’s identity. The scarlet letter A (for adultery) she has to wear on her clothes, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy. She struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.– Goodreads Book Blurb
The 8th book I read was the Manga Classics adaptation of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I think I’ve finally found a classic that I like and have officially ordered a used World Cloud Classics Flexibound edition. While I enjoyed the brevity that is the manga version, I actually wanted to know more. The shortened dialogue works just fine, but I kinda want to see the whole thing unfold. I honestly have a hard time choosing between Elinor and Marianne, though if I were there at the time I definitely would have been closer to a Marianne. This counts in Classic, Fem Positive, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, and Fem Fights Back.
‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’– Goodreads Book Blurb
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
The 9th book I read was the 11th Volume of the Lumberjanes. This is a young middle grade graphic novel/comic series about a group of hard-core lady types at a somewhat magical summer camp. This issue covers a time-shenanigans arc (which leaves off on a cliffhanger of who actually caused it in the first place that isn’t answered in Volume 12 – because I accidently read them in the wrong order). You will definitely need to read the other books in the series to grasp what’s going on in this one. This series counts in Fem Positive, BIPOC Rep, Platonic Fem Relationship, Wildcard, LGBTQIA+, and Fem Fights Back.
Time is freezing at camp, and it’s up to Roanoke Cabin to stop the nefarious and mysterious forces behind it.– Goodreads Book Blurb
When Molly makes a deal with a mysterious Voice in the woods surrounding Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types to slow down time, she isn’t hoping for an endless summer! All she wants is more time to spend with her friends at camp, hiking and doing crafts, and playing music and having fun. What she doesn’t bargain for is time starting to skip, and freeze, and make campers’ ages jump forward and back… It’s up to Roanoke Cabin to to set time right again, and save camp!
I can’t say this is all that I’ve read on March 1-7, but it will be close. Now if you’ll excuse me I think my library copy of When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole is calling my name.