Femslash February Update

I hope all of you had a happy Valentine’s Day. I celebrated by studying, playing “No Children” by the Mountain Goats (aka the ultimate anti-love song) on repeat, and writing this post, which is basically a collection of mini-reviews on the f/f books I’ve been reading.

So far, I haven’t actually had the chance to finish as many books as I wanted, partly because I was distracted by Brandon Sanderson for the first week and partly because school. But I think I’m getting in the swing of things now! So far, I’ve read three books, and about halfway through one more.

The first book I finished is The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie. I did a full review pretty recently, so I won’t say too much about it here, but I loved it! It’s about pirates and sea monsters and adventure, all the female characters are awesome and well-developed, and the romance is a lovely slow-burn.

Next I read If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, which was frustrating and heartbreaking and beautiful. The main character is a lesbian in Iran, where homosexual relationships are illegal. She is considering undergoing a transition (which is legal) to be with the woman she loves. Even though I understood that Sahar’s situation was desperate, there were points where I wanted to yell at her to just think things through, to at least talk to Nasrin about it, and at Nasrin for…a lot of things. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, because the characters were believable, and I loved reading about girls in love in a different culture, by an author of that culture. Sahar’s voice always feels true to life, and her story is painful but important. One thing I didn’t love was that the trans characters in the story were gendered according to how they appeared, not who they were (eg, trans male characters who were pre-transition were referred to as ‘she’). I also would have liked to see some secondary characters developed beyond what their role in the story was. In spite of its flaws, I did like this book, and I hope Sahar will be okay.

The most recent book I finished is Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. This one is about a set designer who finds a letter that leads her to a movie star’s granddaughter. She ends up helping the granddaughter learn about her past, and falling in love with her in the process. You know, up until recently I thought Hollywood YA was just not my thing, but if authors like Nina Lacour and Dahlia Adler keep writing cute f/f romance with Hollywood as a backdrop, I may change my mind. It’s just this lovely heartwarming romance. The last few chapters in particular are beautifully written and feature what is probably one of my favorite declarations of love of all time. I loved reading about Emi’s passion for set design–it’s an aspect of filmmaking that people don’t think about much, and it genuinely felt like a part of who she was. Other aspects I liked include Emi’s friendship with Charlotte and Emi being biracial. Ava is great too–I love how human she is, even with all the larger-than-life things going on around her (though if I have one criticism of this book, it’s how overly convenient it is that of course she turns out to be an amazing actor). Definite rec for the romance, the writing, and the characters’ love for their art.

Right now I’m roughly halfway through Wildthorn by Jane Eagland and Adaptation by Malinda Lo, and I just started the audiobook for Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. So far I’m liking all of them, but we’ll see my final thoughts next week!

Sondra

ARC Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Written by: Emily Skrutskie
Release Date: February 8, 2016
Pages: 288, hardcover
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1
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Thank you to Flux and NetGalley for the ARC!

BookFor Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

LetsTalk

I finished my first book for Femslash February, and it was an amazing way to start the month.

I’m not particularly surprised, because every detail I heard about this book sounded wonderful. I mean, sea monsters? Female pirates who kick ass? A progressively-getting-morally-greyer protagonist who also kicks ass? An f/f romance at the center of it all? YES. Everything about this book just sounded perfect.

I was right to be excited, because The Abyss Surrounds Us turned out to be excellent. The world is so unique and fascinating; I hung on to every detail we learned, and I can’t wait to explore it more in future books. The book’s vibe reminded me of Pacific Rim a little, which is great because I love Pacific Rim. I had more feelings about genetically engineered sea monsters than I ever anticipated having. I love the characters–the complicated dynamics aboard the ship and the way Emily Skrutskie handles everyone’s just-as-complicated morality. And of course, Cas and Swift’s relationship made me feel a lot of things.

The Abyss Surrounds Us is quick, fun, and intelligent, with a unique premise and a fantastic female-driven cast. It’s an adventure you’ll want to go on.

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