A Week of Reading #7 [February 12th – February 18th] // Weekly 2020 Book Reviews

As mentioned in A Week of Reading #1, this series is a weekly wrap-up series of the books I’m reading and finishing each week. Each post will pick up where the last one left off, in terms of the number book I’m on for the year.

Book Twenty-Six: Say Here Name by Zetta Elliott (4/5 stars)

Solid book of poetry that deals about the experience of being a black girl or woman in our modern society and the baggage that comes along with that identity, but also the joy and pride. It’s inspired by the #SayHerName movement, which aims to center the brutalization and death of black women, girls, and femmes at the hands of the police since the #BlackLivesMatter movement has a tendency to only focus and center cisgender black men.

Book Twenty-Seven: Sunstone, Vol. 1 by Stjepan Šejíc

Sunstone is about Lisa and Ally, two women who are into BDSM but have never have the true freedom to express these desires. After they meet online, they decide to meet and give it a go. You know from the beginning of the story that this is very much their love story, as it is told from the perspective of Lisa, a writer, as she recounts what happened five years later. This was definitely super steamy, and there’s a lot of character work that goes into it! Great artwork, and I love the characters; they are so cute with one another and with their inner thoughts. At first, I was a bit hesitant with how much on-page text there is for a comic collection, but it reads a lot like a romance novel. Plus, all the text makes sense in the context of Lisa being a writer and retelling her love story with Ally.

Book Twenty-Eight: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 2: Cosmic Cooties by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder (4/5 stars)

After Lunella is enveloped by the Terrigen mist, she wakes up with the ability to switch consciousness with Devil Dinosaur…but without her control. Add on the fact that a young alien boy is on his way to come arrest her from crimes uncommitted, and Lunella’s got a lot on her plate in this issue. This was fun, quick, and hilarious, and I’m looking forward to continuing on in Vol. 3.

Book Twenty-Nine: Bingo Love by Tee Franklin (2.5/5 stars)

In Bingo Love, we follow two queer black women who fell in love at the wrong time in history. Torn apart by their families and circumstances, they both go on to live unfulfilled lives. Decades later, they reconnect, but have to make the difficult choice of being together or keeping their families together. I wanted to enjoy this more, but I felt like the pacing was VERY quick (in a bad way) and the writing was a bit cheesy. The overall message, however, about love and acceptance and reclaiming your happiness is solid, but it left me wanting more.

Book Thirty: Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia (5/5 stars)

When we meet Tristan Strong, he’s grieving the death of his best friend and has just lost his first boxing match. Distraught and angry, Tristan is sent to live with his grandparents in the South. When Tristan’s best friend’s journal is stolen by a talking, sassy doll, Tristan hops up and tries to redeem the journal. Suddenly, Tristan has landed in another world and is responsible for the huge hole in the sky. Wanting to get back home with his best friend’s journal but also knowing he must help the people of Alke and MidPass, Tristan embarks on a journey to free the people of this world from the Maafa and Uncle C. I truly don’t even know where to begin. Not only is this book incredibly written and hilarious, but the world-building, storytelling, and symbolism is top tier. There is so much about this book that is right, that I don’t truly know where to begin. This essential reading for anyone, but especially for black kids who feel like we don’t have our own mythology, lore, or legends and who want to see a regular kid just like them battle his demons with his brains, his heart, and his fists. Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky tackles the ever-present rift between Continental Black Africans and Black Americans, highlights and celebrates the folklore and heroes of past Black generations that were created during slavery and the time of Reconstruction, and breathes new life into the tales and myths of certain African cultures. I am incredibly excited for the next book, and I plan on writing a full review!

Book Thirty-One: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling (4.5/5 stars)

Harry Potter is back at Hogwarts, and now a convicted murderer and the one who betrayed his parents is loose and out to get him! Once again, a solid continuation of the Harry Potter series. As someone who read the series first over a decade ago and has seen the movies, it’s so fascinating seeing how intricately Rowling places details that begin to build upon one another as the series goes on. There’s a definite maturity in Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and it’s nice to see how Harry interacts with his two best friends differently. I’m looking forward to seeing how Hermione begins to change as the series continues, as well as Ron, as it is obvious that they both play such a crucial part in solving the mysteries, even if Harry is always the one to star in the final fight of the book.

Book Thirty-Two: Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis (4/5 stars)

Moonstruck features a world where supernatural and mythical creatures exist alongside human beings. We follow Julie, who is a teen werewolf who simply wants to be a normal, human teenager. Her bestie is a nonbinary centaur named Chet who also works at the cute coffee shop she works at, and when we meet Julie, she is fresh into a relationship with another teen werewolf named Selena. When Selena and Julie take Chet to a seemingly harmless magic show, chaos and mayhem ensue, and it’s up to Julie, Selena, and their band of friends to put a stop to the nonsense. This had super cute artwork and storytelling, and the storyline was definitely engaging and makes you want to keep reading. The romance is also super cute, and Chet is probably my favorite character. Plus, there’s queer, fat, and POC rep. I’ve already got Volume 2 on my shelves, and I’m excited to dive in!

Book Thirty-Three: Sunstone, Vol. 2 by Stjepan Šejíc (2.5/5 stars)

THIS WAS SO DAMN WORDY. The first volume was wordy, as well, but at least there was some plot development. We get so much damn backstory about Ally that honestly could have been spread out throughout more volumes. The art style is great and I’m kind of still interested in the plot, but I’m unsure as to whether or not I’ll continue on with the series at this point.

That’s it for this Week of Reading! Look out for my next one, which will be posted sometime next week! Let me know in the comments what books you read in the seventh week of 2020!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @bookswithahtiya, Instagram @bookinitwithahtiya, and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/bookinitwithahtiya.

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