Some Books I’m Looking Forward For Rest of 2017

In my quest to not do so many book reviews here is a tbr for future me. This TBR was  unintentionally science fiction and fantasy heavy.

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Miles Morales

August 1st

Genre(s)= science fiction, fantasy, ya

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

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Calling My Name

October 24th

Genre(s)= contemporary, ya,

Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

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Black Beauty

September 15th 2015

Genre(s)= fantasy

At Vista Apartment Complex, life drastically changes for few of its residents when they decide to do business with Crazy Jade—the supposed voodoo witch that can grant your wish, for a price.

Shemeya wants the confidence to stand up against the girls bullying her at school, but she soon has to choose between keeping her dreadlocs or living a normal life. After catching her boyfriend cheating, Latreece just wants to have the same curves as all the other girls. Ashley will do whatever she can to have “White Girl Flow”, but takes her pursuit too far when she steals from Crazy Jade.

Everyone who comes into contact with Crazy Jade soon learns the true price of her magic—and how horribly wrong it can go.

BLACK BEAUTY takes the reader on a journey through the point of view of five residents of Vista Apartment Complex, and how each of their horrors crash together in ways they could never have expected.

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An Excess Male

September 12th

Genre(s)= science fiction

From debut author Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male is the chilling dystopian tale of politics, inequality, marriage, love, and rebellion, set in a near-future China, that further explores the themes of the classic The Handmaid’s Tale and When She Woke.

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son.

Now 40 million of them can’t find wives. China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritatian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband—the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family—one harboring an illegal spouse—shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything—walls, streetlights, garbage cans—are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

In Maggie Shen King’s startling and beautiful debut, An Excess Male looks to explore the intersection of marriage, family, gender, and state in an all too plausible future.

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Valley of Terror

August 29th

Genre(s)= horror

A mysterious “fear disease” is scaring to death the citizens of Longzhou, China. Literally. Victims go insane or die frozen in terror, while survivors rant maniacally about demons infiltrating the city. But what’s really behind the sudden epidemic? To find the answer, Chief Inspector Luo Fei teams up with a controversial historian and a brilliant psychologist to track down the true source of the illness and halt the wave of horror that threatens the metropolis.

As the trio ventures to the primitive jungles and mountains of Yunnan, they’re haunted by tales of a seventeenth-century general whose demonic soul, said to have been sealed away in a vial of his blood, has been unleashed on the modern world. Now, trekking deep into the legendary Valley of Terror, they find themselves being stalked by someone—or something—daring them to uncover the truth. And as superstition, science, and history collide, their discovery could be as heart-stopping as fear itself.

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

October 10th

Genre(s)= fantasy

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

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Talon of God

July 25th (already out)

Genre(s)= fantasy, horror

The acclaimed actor makes his fiction debut with this enthralling urban fantasy in which a holy warrior must convince a doctor with no faith to help stop a powerful demon and his minions from succeeding in creating hell on earth—a thrilling adventure of science and faith, good and evil, damnation and salvation

Imagine that everyone you have ever known or loved was forced against their will into a state of demonic possession and spiritual slavery. Imagine an unholy cabal of the world’s richest and most powerful men directing this sinister plan in order to cement their unbridled control of the planet.

Imagine two heroes emerging from that darkness to do battle with the forces of evil.

Set in the mean streets of Chicago, Talon of God is the action-packed adventure centered around the Lauryn Jefferson, a beautiful young doctor who is dragged into a seemingly impossible battle against the invisible forces of Satan’s army and their human agents that are bent on enslaving humanity in a mission to establish the kingdom of hell on Earth.

But Lauryn is a skeptic, and it’s only as she sees a diabolical drug sweep her city and begins to train in the ways of a spirit warrior by the legendary man of God, Talon Hunter, that she discovers her true nature and inner strength. Facing dangerous trials and tests, it’s a true baptism by fire. And if they fail, millions could die. And rivers of blood would flow throughout the land.

Imagine such horror. Such pain. And imagine what it would take to fight against it. For only the strongest and most faithful will survive?

Get ready. Armageddon approaches quickly.

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The Tiger’s Daughter

October 3rd

Genre(s)= fantasy

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

 

Current Reading State: Embracing

Getting back into Fiction has caused a lot of issues and feelings to resurface:

A. Heavy reading slumps

B. Inconsistent/Sporadic liking of books

C. Fiction taking over my reading

D. Lack of diversity and variety in the publishing sometimes really depresses me

E. Feeling/ knowing that B and D means I have to work hard to find things to like

It is all so very exhausting. After a heavy reading slump it was too much.

Embracing

the unknown that is fiction

A. shifting reading trends

At the beginning of the year I enjoyed a mystery now I am enjoying adaptation novels

One of the mistakes I think I make with fiction is trying to control the tide that comes through. Not taking into account that a lot of books I’m reading are the exception to the entire genre.

B. capturing

the waves that do come

I hope to be able to keep up with this beautiful carefreeness  as I continue with fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

Netgalley DNFs #2

I got all of these books from netgalley for my honest review.

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The Takedown

Pub: 4/11/17

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you?

Why DNF? It reminded me of Before I Fall which I did not finish either because the main characters were not nice people. The thing is that I do like ambiguous/possibly mean/possibly villainous characters. What I do not like is that the main character meanness is just an average high mean girl meanness. The way that the main character built things up she was going to be more than that. I don’t know what is going on in terms of the story and what I see doesn’t catch me at all.

Questionable: There is a lot of mention of thinness in the first few chapters, conversation about how main character would rather girls who advance forward in life because of their brains (a woman can use her brains to use sexism to advance her forward)  I only read a few chapters so it may deal with these things later.

Liked: There is a relationship between two people of color, the embellishments in each chapter

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Girl Out of Water

Pub: 5/1/17

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Why DNF?  Girl Out of Water is not a bad book and that is the hard part about letting it go.  I just know that I could (and have) put it down and forget about it. It is in that middle area of its okay but I’m not engaged by it.

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Hollywood Homicide

Pub: 8/8/17

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

Why DNF? Once I got to later part of the first chapter when we reached the mystery that is when things went down for me. I didn’t find the mystery interesting.

Liked: I liked the first chapter a lot. The idea (and follow through) of the main character being a former child star was really entertaining.

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Rotten Stepbrother

Pub: 8/1/17

AGAIN, Holden?! First you broke Cinderella, now Beauty and the Beast? Your stepsister is ready to strangle you. Pointing out that the Beast kidnapped Beauty and only fell for her looks has somehow put the real Beast in jail! Now there’ll never be a happy ending. You need to go into the fairy tale world of rural France and– what do you mean you don’t speak French?!

Why DNF?  I did not realize that this book was part of a series (it’s the 2nd book). The first book comes out the same day as the second so I cannot review it. Also, what I read so far I was not into.

Liked: Cover (the beast and beauty are my favorite part of it)

Netgalley DNFs #1

I requested all of these books from netgalley for a review. It sucks to request a book then be picked just to DNF the book.

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Finding Mighty

Pub: 5/30/17

Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla’s necklace and the disappearance of Peter’s brother, Randall. Thrown into a world of parkour, graffiti, and diamond-smuggling, Myla and Peter encounter a band of thugs who are after the same thing as Randall. Can Myla and Peter find Randall before it’s too late, and their shared family secrets threaten to destroy them all? Drawing on urban art forms and local history, Finding Mighty is a mystery that explores the nature of art and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Why DNF?  Overall the bit that I did read was okay but I was not engaged into the story.

Liked: Has an Indian main character, mentions micro-aggressions that happens to Indians in a middle grade novel

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Judas Cypher

Pub: 3/23/17

In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all…

After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully.

Until now….

When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden—to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

Why DNF? Feels like average mystery P.I. story with sci-fi added to it (which is good if you are into that type of story), “synthetic racism” which gave me a bad taste of trying to equate racism with not liking synths, all in all it could be summed up with I just am not caught by the story

Liked: Sci-fi bend to a mystery story, the murder and mystery is actually interesting, also the cover

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I’ll Eat When I’m Dead

Pub: 5/2/17

When stylish Hillary Whitney dies alone in a locked, windowless conference room at the offices of high-concept magazine RAGE Fashion Book, her death is initially ruled an unfortunate side effect of the unrelenting pressure to be thin.

But two months later, a cryptic note in her handwriting ends up in the office of the NYPD and the case is reopened, leading Det. Mark Hutton straight into the glamorous life of hardworking RAGE editor Catherine Ono, who insists on joining the investigation. Surrounded by a supporting cast of party girls, Type A narcissists and half-dead socialites, Cat and her colleague Bess Bonner are determined to solve the case and achieve sartorial perfection. But their amateur detective work has disastrous results, and the two ingenues are caught in a web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that changes their lives forever.

Why DNF? The mystery from what I read so far was not grabbing me.

Liked: Cover it is very eye-catching

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Willow Born

Pub: 6/1/17

You’d think waking up fifty years after she died would be the least of Collette’s problems. 

Years ago, witch hunters came to Carolina and devoured the Willows. Sixteen-year-old Collette, a powerful empath, was one of them. A part of a long line of witches that stretches back as far as the slave auctions of Charleston, she was especially gifted.

Decades later, a series of strange kidnappings prompts a member of her secret coven to make a plea for help and Collette is chosen to answer the call.  But things have changed. Angels have come out of the divine closet and everyone is on the lookout for the supernatural.

Snatched from the Void, she has to choose between a normal life and following the warrior path of the Willows, a coven she didn’t know she belonged to. Soon, problems pile sky-high as she struggles to keep the boy who could blow her cover at arm’s length and her sanity as family secrets come to light in the midst of a serial killer.

In the end it all comes down to destiny, death  and the grey places between good and evil. But then again, when you’re Willow Born death can be just the beginning.

WILLOW BORN is a  stand alone Paranormal Fantasy. Fans of Natalie C. Parker’s Beware the Wild and  Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost will be delighted with the book’s mix of supernatural drama, romance and Southern fantasy.

Why DNF? Fatphobia (one of side characters is described as weak and fat) I did not read far enough to see if the label put on him is challenged. Of course on the opposite spectrum the love interest is muscular thus brave. The story overall needs to be polished more.

Liked: black love interest, main character is reborn (born? reincarnated? summoned?) knowing her past, I think overall the story is a good idea

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Pub: 3/1/17

1931. Bronzeville. Chicago. The mage, Frank “Half Dead” Johnson, is a marked man. Literally. A drunken decision fueled by tragedy has left him with half a soul, sorcerous powers, and two centuries to work off his debt to Scratch (aka The Devil) himself.
Watch as “Half Dead” attempts to save his own soul, pay his debt, and help as many people as he can along the way. It’s a hard-hitting Hoodoo Noir highball with just a splash of Southern Gothic. Smack-dab in the dark heart of the Windy City. Hold on tight! It’s going to be a bumpy ride down Hard Times Road.

Why DNF? I did not like the story just based on investment sake. I did not feel propelled to finish it.

(images are from goodreads and synopsis are from netgalley)

 

 

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 9-12

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Chapter 9

Q: Does new girl have a plot with lawyers and/or Kelly? Did Kelly do crimes on purpose?

I think she did it on purpose.

Questions Marys mental stability.

Interesting that Mary is friends with the white (innocent) girl. Again, thinks about the questionable race stuff in this book.

Chapter 10

I feel like the lawyer is exploiting Mary.

(We finally get the events of what happened with Alyssa according to Mary)

Q: So what was all this about Mary blacking out? The story and some of what we read do not match.

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Ted has a point! Remember he has no experience and a record of doing the horrible crime he has done. It is real that he would get involved into some shady stuff to have somewhere to stay.

Q: Did Ted low key say he is a pimp?

Chapter 11

Word of the day: Exploitation

Mary is not getting any money for anything that profited off of her. If Allegedly says anything it says something about the exploitation that happens on these murder cases.

I do not like Alyssa mom (I get it and all). Nonetheless, I do not like Alyssa mom. So she thought Mary did not do it but she still carried on letting Mary go to jail. She really made me mad.

Chapter 12

The reality is that even if she is found not guilty people could still not believe her. Mary could still deal with condemnation especially since she is a black girl.

All these people do not care about her. The only people she had in her life have left her in the cold. Her mom let her take fall for a crime she did not commit. Alyssa mom just let her take fall even though in her heart she felt she did no do it. It made me feel like so any black woman/girl would do.

Mary very much mythicizes Alyssa mom and white people in general- dad is white savior, Alyssa mom is greatest mom ever.

What I do not think we are going to get answers to:

  1. Who is Mary father?
  2. What did the other girls do?
  3. Does her father know about her?
  4. Does her mom even know who her father is?

What we have left to cover in book:

  • trial
  • all reveals/reactions of people

Q: Do you think the portrayal of mental illness is done well? A lot of books use it for short hand=criminal.

The story overall has been a mix of hopefulness with dose of  “realism”.

Try Chapter Tag: Reading Groove (Mostly Black Women Authored)

I did do Diverseathon but because of reasons as you will see I stopped midway through the readathon.

Diverseathon

These are just the non-comics/picture book books I read.

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Red Queen Dies

+it is very current in certain aspects about the political climate of future (it is set in 2019)

-the mystery is boring sounding, narration/voice is ugh

Overall the story does not make me want to continue it. This sentiment is very much prevalent in everything I read for diverseathon. No

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Ardency

1st poem: this may be too lyrical for me

further on: I don’t know if I like poetry books and upon further reading most of it feels like an inside joke that I don’t get. I’m not super familiar with the Amistad which is what the poems are about. Again, I just am not invested. No

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The Secret of Magic

+more back story into characters than Red Queen Dies (even though as a story Red Queen Dies is more interesting)

This is set during the civil right movement time period so it is kind of dark. The first chapter (spoiler!) ended pretty bad. I’m really at a place that I’m not into just doom and gloom.  I just did feel interested after first chapter. No

I really want to see a psychological thriller with a black woman as the main character from the publishing industry in the future.

I was not enjoying the books I picked up for Diverseathon so I hit a reading slump that I hope that I can get out of it in February.

Non-Diverseathon

I have read these in the last couple of months or so.

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Living Violet

-main character is kinda judgemental (I know many teens are judgemental but I think it is deeper than her being judgemental it is me finding her voice as an issue), average mean love interest

+It is interesting (it has been a while so I do not know what exactly past me thought was interesting)

No

It is basically a black girl main character filling the space of the average girl who is introduced to fantasy world. The problem comes when I already have an issue with the genre of teen paranormal romance girls. I have a problem with the voice of most y.a. characters in general so yeah.

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Bad Feminist

Jumps around in the first essay in a weird way. I think it is because of  the informalness with which she is writing. I want to like it more but it feels like a rehashing of things but not in a fun way.  No

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Randomly decided to read Allegedly even though I was super afraid I would not like it. It kinda reminds me of Fosters which is a good show.

+the main characters voice is way more fun to be around than a lot of others in y.a.

-fatphobia is present in here

I probably will not finish this book knowing me (my relationship with y.a. and fiction in general) but right now Yes

Questions (don’t actually answer/spoil it)

Did she do it? And why?

Did her mom do it? I think her mom left her alone with the baby and she as a nine year old made a mistake she has blocked out. Or her mom is a psychopath who did it but blamed her daughter. I like the second theory because it is devious and can have a dramatic reveal towards the end.

What is the difference between baby jail and juvie?

Is she related to the child that died? How does she know the child who died? I think the child who died is actually not related to her because I sort of read the back which makes it seem like it is just a baby someone left for her mom and her to babysit.

The true winner of this Try A Chapter Tag is Allegedly since it is the only book I half-way liked. So I am going to read that and hopefully finish a non-fiction book sometime this year.

Waiting To Exhale: Comics TBR (TP)

In 2017 my family plans to not go out as much (acquiring books) so that we can save money and finish books I own.

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  1. Black Panther

I got this for Christmas so I will be reading this soon.

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2. Saga vol. 2

I am so far behind in this series.

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3.Virgil

I heard it is about machismo thus masculinity and homosexuality.

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4. Nighthawk

It starts off already with the main character beating up racists in the first page which was very funny. I need to fully get into this so I can finish it.

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5. Cold Space

It is good to find some sci-fi so I can wean myself off of reading so much science fiction novels. I’m always in want of sci-fi and fantasy novels even though I do not like majority of them.

Goals

  • Read indie (some artsy)  comics
  • Own books~ read way more
  • Get up to date on series currently reading (making tbr for this soon)
  • Do one post at least a month about comics
  • Read more own voices and diversely