What I Read | MARCH 2017

Recommended books are italicized!

674749The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

What a cute book!  I want to give this to all little kids to read as an antidote to classic fairy tales.  That is, after all, it’s entire point.  What if a princess wasn’t perfect?  Could she find love, acceptance, and joy anyway?  Of course!  This is a charming and funny book that teaches us to love ourselves as we are and wait for someone who loves all our imperfections and ordinariness.

9780141357058Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I’m a big fan of the YA trend of delving deep into minority issues, and in this book, Niven deals with two.  In alternating chapters, we get to live in the shoes of the former fattest teenager in America as well as a young man with undiagnosed prosopagnosia.  Don’t know what that is?  I didn’t either, but reading about how he coped with the inability to recognize faces was both heartbreaking and fascinating.  I also really liked how the story juxtaposed external vs. internal “problems” and how that affects the way people react to them.

28217831Buffering by Hannah Hart

I expected this YouTuber memoir to be fairly lighthearted.  Instead, Hart actually gives her fans a glimpse into her life, even though that means covering topics like schizophrenia, foster homes, and trauma flashbacks.  That is exactly its strength, because it is uplifting and powerful to know her story: where she comes from and what she struggles with despite the outward trappings of fame and success.

Robin_Hobb_-_Assassin's_Quest_CoverAssassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

This final book in the Assassin’s trilogy was so hard to get into, but when it all clicked…I couldn’t put it down!  Fitz’s world expands as he travels inland and into the mountains, and we get to meet more Witted folk (more of this, please!), minstrels, and DRAGONS.  The story really soared when Fitz stopped traveling solo and reunited with his friends and/or monarchs.  I need to take a tiny break from this world (they take a lot of time to read!), but I’m definitely going to return to it in Hobb’s other trilogies.

51niH6CC-pL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

I listened to the audiobook, which is quite good, but I would NEVER recommend doing so unless you have already read Stevenson’s graphic novel.  It is, after all, a story designed to be express through pictures, and a lot is lost when it’s only audible.  Through any format, it is a beautiful story of a monstrous girl who remains a monster…but finds love and community anyway.

51FJbzqwMYL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Anyone who is a workaholic, or who simply puts a lot of their self-worth in performance, will benefit greatly from Niequist’s vulnerability.  Through a series of lovely vignettes and essays, she constantly reminds her readers (and herself):  “Your worth doesn’t come from activity.  Slow down.  Focus on relationships.  Ground yourself.”  Exactly what I needed to hear during this phase of my life.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Inimona_final‘ve long been a fan of Gingerhaze (Noelle Stevenson’s online persona), but I didn’t read Nimona when it was a webcomic.  I hate waiting for new updates (which is also why I watch Netflix more than TV).  But now it’s out in book form, and IT IS SO GOOD.

Nimona is clever, gorgeously drawn in a deceptively simplistic animation, and incredibly touching while also being laugh-out-loud funny on multiple occasions.  In the words of Stevenson herself:

Nimona is about a supervillain mad scientist knight and his shapeshifting, trigger-happy girl sidekick, the titular Nimona. Ballister is actually a pretty nice guy, but Nimona just wants to blow stuff up. They go up against Sir Goldenloin, the codpiece-wearing swishy-haired hero, and the duplicitous institution he represents. It all takes place in a medieval-futuristic world.

It’s dedicated “to all the monster girls” and I am in love with the raw emotion behind Nimona’s story.  She’s a shapeshifter, dangerous and angry.  She joins Ballister Blackheart in supervillainy in one of the coolest settings I’ve seen:  there are kings and knights alongside science labs and touch screens.  Teaming up against Goldenloin (who has a secret past with Blackheart) and the good (evil?) Institute, Nimona and Blackheart become good friends…until Nimona’s monstrous side gets out of hand.


Nimona is every girl who has felt Too Much, who feels used and abused, who knows trusting people is the first step toward being betrayed.  This comic gets deep, y’all.  The fact that she makes jokes about “I’m a shark!” is just icing on top of a really emotional story about beauty and the beast – but genderswapped!  I’m SUCH a fan.

You can read the first three comics on Stevenson’s website HERE.  Though be forewarned, the drawing style matures throughout the story (it was written over the course of a couple years).  It gets SO GOOD.  Now I’m off to dive back into the Internet world of Gingerhaze.

Book Jacket

Nimona is an impulsive shapeshifter with a knack for villainy.  Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta.

As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc.  Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

Explosions will be involved.  Science and sharks will be too.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past.  And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Nemeses!  Dragons!  Science!  Symbolism!

All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson, based on her award-winning web comic.

Release Date: May 2015