Tag Archives: f/f

Review of Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Last year, Chronicle Books sent me a box of books for my Little Free Library. Gena/Finn (by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson) was one of those books. It’s come and gone and come again from the LFL, so I borrowed it back for a read.

Description from Goodreads:

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

Review:

When I opened this book and saw what format it is in (all emails and text exchanges and journal entries, etc) I almost shut it again. I did not expect to like it. And I admit that it took a little while to get into the rhythm of things. But eventually I did and I largely enjoyed it. I thought the book started out really strongly. I liked the characters and the conflict created by Finn’s conflicting feelings. However, I also thought there was a large leap from BFFs to maybe something more that wasn’t truly shown and felt jarring. 

Additionally, after the big drama I felt like the story telling became very thin. The reader completely loses one character’s perspective and I felt the lack. I love that Charlie accepted the changes in their lives and the tentative happy ending (or happy-to-be), but I feel like it was all just sketched out rather than told. 

All in all, For a quick read I found it more satisfying than not.

Review of The Abyss Surrounds Us, by Emily Skrutskie

I purchased a paperback copy of The Abyss Surrounds Us, by Emily Skrutskie.

Description from Goodreads:

For 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. 

Spoilerish Review:

Those in my book circle seem to love this book and I can see why. Perfectly readable writing, YA lesbian leads, a bad-ass female pirate captain, racial/identity/economic diversity, acknowlegement of power differences, dads and brothers who play domestic roles while women work, all things it’s nice to encounter, and even better when gender norms are perverted, not just swapped. The characters are natural in their role and the author doesn’t play it up for points. 

But the simple overall fact of the matter is that, despite liking aspects of the book, I didn’t enjoy the book. I felt that Cassandra’s sudden siding with her captors simply because she’d gotten to know some of them was beyond plebeian. Her sudden willingness to kill her own because she’d become attached to one person made me grit my teeth. It’s far too weak a motivation. 

And the ending? Well, I feel like the villain won. Nothing in the ending felt satisfying. I didn’t feel like Cassandra accomplished anything or grew. In fact, she put herself in the hands of her enemy. Nope. I was not happy with the ending.

Review of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2), by Mackenzi Lee

I borrowed an audio copy of Mackenzi Lee’s The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy from my local library. I reviewed the first book in the series, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, last year.

Description from Goodreads:

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

Review:

I really wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Hmmm, that’s not quite right. I actually did really quite like it. I liked the representation and diversity of the book. I liked the wit and writing in the book. I liked Moira Quirk’s narration. I liked Felicity. I liked what she wanted and demanded in life. I liked that she was smart and determined and uncompromising.

I liked her feminism! But even as a staunch feminist myself, this same feminism was my biggest problem with the book and kept me from truly loving it. I’m not sure exactly how to explain this. Because I agree with Felicity 100% that she deserved to be allowed to study. That women deserved not to be stifled and protected from their own ambitions. But this is just such a modern ideal. It’s not that there weren’t women who strived to be more than mothers and wives, but Felicity kept acting as if she could reasonably expect different reactions from the men of society. That they, not her were the abnormal ones. The same society she had been raised in, with the same underlying mores. Most of her internal musings sounded horridly anachronistic to the time period the book is set in. It clashed jarringly. Eventually it started to feel like didactic lecture on what should be, instead of an engagement of what was (and to an extent still is). And in the end, undermined my ability to suspend my disbelief enough to truly immerse myself in the story.