Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:
The Witch and the Beast Vol. 6 by Kousuke Satake
Ashaf: a soft-spoken man with delicate features, a coffin strapped to his back, and an entourage of black crows. Guideau: a feral, violent girl with long fangs and the eyes of a beast. This ominous pair appear one day in a town in thrall to a witch — a ruler with magic coursing through her tattooed body, who has convinced the townsfolk she’s their hero. But Ashaf and Guideau know better. They live by one creed: Wherever a witch goes, only curses and disasters follow. They have scores to settle, and they won’t hesitate to remove anyone in their way, be it angry mob or army garrison.
A dark fairytale set in a steampunk world of magic and monsters, The Witch and the Beast will entice and entrap manga readers looking for their next fantasy action fix. (Credit: Kodansha Comics)
One of my favorite fantasy manga series, it’s always action-packed and exciting with every volume that I picked up.
Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her. After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks. (Credit: Minotaur)
They told you that you need to be thin and beautiful.
They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night, and move in groups–never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels.
They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to reveal too much.
They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place.
They told you “that’s not for girls”–“take it as a compliment”–“don’t rock the boat”–“that’ll go straight to your hips.”
They told you “beauty is on the inside,” but you knew they didn’t really mean it.
Well, screw that. Laura Bates is here to tell you something else.
Hilarious, bold, and unapologetic, Girl Up exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, the false representations in media, the complexities of sex and relationships, the trials of social media, and all the other lies society has told us.
Laura Bates always kicks ass with her writing and this blunt and straightforward manual really highlights to myths behind body images, uncovers false representations in media and just gives girls and women an opportunity to just be themselves, despite society telling them otherwise.
The Blazing World and Other Writings by Maragret Cavendish
Flamboyant, theatrical and ambitious, Margaret Cavendish was one of the seventeenth century’s most striking figures: a woman who ventured into the male spheres of politics, science, philosophy and literature. The Blazing World is a highly original work: part Utopian fiction, part feminist text, it tells of a lady shipwrecked on the Blazing World where she is made Empress and uses her power to ensure that it is free of war, religious division and unfair sexual discrimination. This volume also includes The Contract, a romance in which love and law work harmoniously together, and Assaulted and Pursued Chastity, which explores the power and freedom a woman can achieve in the disguise of a man. (Credit: Penguin Classics)
What I Plan to Read Next:
Only On The Weekends by Dean Atta
Mack. Karim. Finlay. Mack never thought he’d find love, let alone with two people. Will he make the right choice? And can love last for ever? A must-read queer love story for fans of Sex Education, written in verse by Dean Atta.
Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic – he blames the films he’s grown up watching. He has liked Karim for as long as he can remember, and is ecstatic when Karim becomes his boyfriend – it feels like love.
But when Mack’s dad gets a job on a film in Scotland, Mack has to move, and soon hediscovers how painful love can be. It’s horrible being so far away from Karim, but the worst part is that Karim doesn’t make the effort to visit. Love shouldn’t be only on the weekends.
Then, when Mack meets actor Finlay on a film set, he experiences something powerful, a feeling like love at first sight. How long until he tells Karim – and when will his old life and new life collide? (Credit: Balzer + Bray)
Ask Iwata: Words of Wisdom from Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s Legendary CEO by Hobonichi with Sam Bett (Translator)
In this motivational collection, Satoru Iwata addresses diverse subjects such as locating bottlenecks, how success breeds resistance to change, and why programmers should never say no. Drawn from the Iwata Asks series of interviews with key contributors to Nintendo games and hardware, and featuring conversations with renowned Mario franchise creator Shigeru Miyamoto and creator of EarthBound Shigesato Itoi, Ask Iwata offers game fans and business leaders an insight into the leadership, development and design philosophies of one of the most beloved figures in gaming history. (Credit: Viz Media)
Wrecked by Louisa Reid
Joe and Imogen seem like the perfect couple – they’ve been in a relationship for years and are the envy of their friends at school. But after accidentally becoming involved a tragic fatal accident, they become embroiled in a situation out of their control, and Joe and Imogen’s relationship becomes slowly unravelled until the truth is out there for all to see … Structured around a dramatic and tense court case, the reader becomes both judge and jury in a stunning and page-turning novel of uncovering secrets and lies – who can be believed? (Credit: Guppy Books)
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
In this powerful book about why black hair matters, Emma Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Power and on to today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond. We look at everything from hair capitalists like Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the rise of Shea Moisture today, from women’s solidarity and friendship to ‘black people time’, forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.
The scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don’t Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation. (Credit: Allen Lane)
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex-best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.
Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find–even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism. (Credit: Walker Books)