Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Poe Dameron (Comics) by Charles Soule, Phil Noto & Angel Unzueta

Um, I don’t know if you know this or not, readers, but I really am fond of the character Poe Dameron.

That might be an understatement…

What’s the word for a character who’s life story you’ve dived into, who you’ve written tons of secret fanfiction about, who you’ve spend hundreds of dollars to create cosplay for, and who’s actor you’ve decided you must watch his entire filmography?

OH! Is the word, obsessed? Yes, I think that’s the word.

Never forget the tagline of this blog is “Saving The World One Obsession At A Time!”

And while my obsessions wax and wane and sometimes go away entirely. (I no longer feel the need to purchase every Billy Joel album, for example! And I never even got The Nylon Curtain or Cold Spring Harbor.) But ever since that night watching The Force Awakens five years ago, Poe Dameron and by extension Oscar Isaac’s have been pretty steady.

Poe Dameron the Comic series was written by Charles Soule who is very good at writing comics. (READ SHE-HULK! He made her comic into a David E. Kelley show and it was great and perfect) He was also very nice to me once at ACBC, so you know, there’s that.

Poe Dameron covers the time before and between movies. First we get the lead up to The Force Awakens where he is trying to find Lor San Tekka (Remember how Kylo Ren killed Max Von Sydow? That guy) because Leia said so.

Seriously, one of the best things about Poe, which is preserved here is that when Leia says jump, his answer is, “How high? Also can I do a barrel roll?” Anyway, our self proclaimed best pilot in the galaxy is not alone, he’s got a great group of friends in his Black Squadron. Snap Wexley (there’s a moment where Snap’s childhood droid friend, Mr. Bones from Aftermath makes a comeback and I said, “Oooh YAY!”),  Jessika Pava, Kare Kun and Suralinda Jones. They’re a good team, and also Snap and Kare are in love and great and now I am even more sad about how Snap died. (This is not even getting into the great tragedy of him being shot down right before his step dad Wedge Antilles showed up on Exagol. My friend Jess warned me of this, but it is ROUGH y’all.) There’s also a bunch of stuff about C-3P0’s spy network, which is BADASS, and BB-8 rolling around being the best.

The art is good. There’s something a little off putting about photo realistic art of characters who’s actors I know well, but the likenesses are quite good, and once I was used to it it got easier.

But mostly it’s a lot of piloting and character building which is cool. It makes Poe’s disposition in The Rise Of Skywalker make a lot more sense. He’s given up everything for this fight, he’s lost friends and he’s kind of done.

Anyway, I’m glad to have picked up this one. Our next visit to a galaxy far far away will be the novel Bloodline. First I’m going to be hanging out where no one has gone before…because y’all Picard starts tomorrow! New Clone Wars not far behind btw. Lot going on at the moment.


The Series Series: The Chronicles Of Prydain By Lloyd Alexander

Hail and Well Met Friends! We’re back to The Series Series, this time picking up The Chronicles of Prydain, which I’d missed as a kid (I don’t know how? Gendered bullshit maybe? How no teacher or librarian didn’t see me devouring The Hobbit and Tamora Pierce’s books and didn’t hand me these, I’ll never know) but saw people buzzing about online a bit lately, due to talk about a Disney+ adaptation (Disney made The Black Cauldron largely considered to be a terrible adaptation and movie) and Kristi mentioned reading them aloud to her newborn son, and I love talking about stuff with her, so I decided to give these a shot.

I am so glad I did.

The Books 

The Book Of Three

The Black Cauldron

The Castle of Llyr

Taran Wanderer

The High King


Lloyd Alexander was born in Philadelphia, and served in World War II, the experience shaped him and he spent some time Wales, and fell in love with their language and mythology, which is why he decided to write his own version. He passed away in 2007.

Series Structure

This is a series of five books each telling it’s own standalone story  but with the same cast of characters. The story revolves mainly around Taran, an orphaned Assistant Pig Keeper to an ancient enchanter named Dalben. (The pig in question tells the future. Her name is Hen-Wen) Taran accidentally begins adventuring with the great hero Prince Gwydion, befriends a mysterious and kindly beast creature called Gurgi, a bard who is actually a king Flewdeur Flwam, and the fiery and magical princess Eilonwy.

Taran becomes a hero himself, after many trials and obviously marries Eilonwy. (Look it’s an old series and there’s only two people around the same age. They were either gettin’ hitched or secretly siblings) 


Alexander largely based the series in Welsh mythology, which is cool. I don’t know Welsh myths, like at all, but it shares DNA with the Arthur stories I love, and the Celtic myths I know the broad strokes of, and so this shares those Campbellian cycles that I love so much. Calls to adventure, mysterious caves, confounding conversations with goddesses that become clear with time, chosen ones who’s choices are more important than being chosen. All that jazz.

They’re executed well, almost perfectly. Taran is a really good hero, you guys, I don’t know how else to say it. I love him. (I’ve mentioned I love a protagonist in over their head, right? God, I love it so much.)

Favorite Book

Taran Wanderer is a marvel of a book. It’s so stunningly written and the themes (searching is more important than finding also your birth matters less than your character) are well laid out without hitting over the head with them. Taran himself really matures here, though he also uses a lot of the well worn wisdom of The Castle Of Llyr before choosing his long journey to find himself, and to make himself worthy of the girl he loves.

This also lets me talk a little bit about Eilonwy. I adore her, though she’s a bit underwritten, her determination and personality actually remind me quite a bit of my beloved Annabeth Chase.

Least Favorite Book

I suppose The Book Of Three although I loved the entire series. I think I was just shocked by the way the books just start, there’s not a lot of wind up, you’re just there in Prydain, with Taran, it’s cool.

Favorite Character

Taran, hands down. I like everyone here, even Gurgi, who is probably the most “kids bookish” thing and even though to the end Eilonwy has a bit of a “not like other girls” thing going on, (which is why she’s not my pick, I just can’t abide that anymore) His growth is wonderful, his conscience is great, I like him, a lot, I want to spend more time with him and I’m sure he’s a great king in the future we don’t get to see.

Reread Possibilities

Oh I’ll be rereading these. Maybe not soon. But I’ll return to Prydain, probably as often as I return to Hogwarts and Middle Earth, so every five years or so. It won’t be like my yearly pilgrimage to Camp Half Blood, but I’ll be back. I’m sure there’s things I missed in these stories that I’ll get the second time, or even third time I read them.

Our next series (though we have some Star Wars Comics and non fiction in between) will be the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, I started Sabriel once and dropped it. I don’t remember why. Frankly I remember very little about it, there was a wall? And a missing father? And boarding school? Anyway, it’s five books and they’re relatively thick so it might be a minute before we check back in.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy by Chuck Wendig

This is my first dive into the Star Wars extended universe. (OK, I read a few comics) and I figured this direct sequel to Return Of The Jedi which is meant to bridge that time with the new era of The Force Awakens and beyond seemed like a good enough place to begin.

Also Chuck Wendig is fun on twitter. So there’s that.

The Aftermath trilogy tells the story of Norra Wexley (mother of Greg Grunberg’s Snap! He’s in the books too!) a pilot with the Rebellion, now the New Republic and the waning months of the Galactic Civil War against the Empire. Norra finds herself in the general orbit of Princess Leia and Han Solo, as they prepare for the birth of their son. (Watch out for onion ninjas when all conversations around Ben ensue. But also RED FLAGS all over the damn place regarding the kind of parents Leia and Han turned out to be) She also puts together a rag tag crew of a bounty hunter, an ex imperial torture officer, a clone descended rebel soldier (COOL) and her kid. Her kid Temmin Wexley, who is nicknamed by the one and only Wedge Antilles (who Norra falls in love with) Snap.

On the Imperial side there are various people vying for power though we follow, mainly Grand Admira Rae Sloane. Sloane’s a pretty great villain and I like that we’ve got women as our main antagonist and protagonist.

The book took some getting used to. The use of third person present tense is a lot for someone who does as much reading as I do. I understand this is a hallmark of the EU and does create a sort of propulsive immediacy, but it’s also, a lot. First person present tense is tough enough to take, but third person…oof.

Anyway, the books were fun, from a Star Wars perspective, seeing how the hold the Rebellion had on the Galaxy was shaky from the start, as well as the political differences between Leia and Mon Mothma, really does help solidify the shaky ground that is the New Republic and Resistance schism. They work in concert, but they’re not the same. It makes some sense. Or more sense. It’s still not great.

Also, Sloane ends her journey travelling on The Emperor’s ship towards the unkown reaches. So we know what that’s all about now. Again, kind of.

Overall, I think this was a good place to start. If only for sweet little Temmin, who I continually pictured as Greg Grunberg but small. Not young. (Was Grunberg ever young? He came off middle aged even on Felicity!) Just small. Shrunk down. This was an extremely amusing visual and if you decide to read these books you are welcome to it. He also has a droid friend named Mr. Bones who is also great. Seriously, Disney Era, kicking it out of the park with the droids. from BB-8 on they’ve each been all time.

The rest of the team didn’t quite do it for me. I like Sinjin, the ex imperial, but his narrative of finding his conscience was interesting if a little slow compared to everything else. Wendig writes a damn good Han and a not as good Leia. The visions that Leia gets during her pregnancy are incredible, (including her own birth, though she doesn’t realize it’s that) as well as her connection to Ben in utero and beyond. I liked that.

Up next we’re reading Charles Soule’s Poe Dameron comics series, I mean, not right next, a few things in between, but next for this feature.

In The Shadow Of Adaptation: Little Women

I’ve been joking around about how every angry nerd bro was about to get their revenge from me, as Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was announcing. If this movie wasn’t good, I was going to scream and yell and throw things. I was going to CREATE A YOUTUBE channel just to make videos dismantling the movie. I was going to every single time any cast member came up change the subject to how Little Women was crappy.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is my favorite book ever. I read it every few years, most recently, two weeks ago, and I find something special and new in it each time I read it. I’ve built my personality around The March sisters. I love it so much. I’d heard it was good, I’d heard the ending was “controversial.” (It shouldn’t be, Gerwig figured out how to fix the ending of Little Women to have her cake and eat it too, and it’s genius. I sat down in the theater and crossed my arms, saying, “OK, show me.”

I was shown. The choices that Gerwig made are clear and concise, choosing to move between the timelines of the parts of the story really worked for me. So many adaptations of Little Women are top heavy, leaning on the childhood portions and leaving the grown up portions bereft (Beth’s death is the exception.) But here, begining with Jo’s return to Concord when Beth’s sickness develops and Amy and Laurie’s reconnection in France, and moving through their memories from there let’s each story breathe. Meg still gets short shrift, which is a shame. I hope someone delves into her dreams of a happy married life and the way she struggles a bit more some day. This did more with it than the 1994 version, so we’re getting somewhere, but still.

I’m in love with this movie. It’s a wonderful adaptation, I love the cast. I am obsessed with Florence Pugh, but mostly I just love that it felt right. As teenagers, the characters felt like teenagers. Their emotions felt true, the barely contained chaos of the March house felt like home.

Let’s talk about the ending, if you’re new to Little Women, because of this movie, welcome, come inside. I’ve made some blanc mange but I swear I used sugar not salt! Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women as a lightly fictionalized (very lightly) version of her childhood. Famously, she only married Joe to Freidrich Bhaer at her editor’s insistence, Alcott herself never married, and she didn’t want Jo to. Gerwig takes this fact and makes Jo’s actual fate ambiguous. We see her argue the ending with her editor writing, “Under The Umbrella” where Jo and Bhaer agree to marry, in real time. But we also see Jo’s school at Plumfield, and Friedrich is there, so which is it? The choose your own aspect is wonderful. 

I have a lot of feelings about this movie, about Little Women in general, and about how to adapt older work, about feminism in this story, about female characters, and I’m very happy to point to this movie forever and say, “Look at Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, just DO THAT!”

I think I’m going to continue this sporadic feature. I don’t know if any books that I love a lot are getting high profile adaptations this year off the top of my head, but I’m sure there’ll be at least a few. It was really rewarding rereading Watchmen, His Dark Materials and Little Women. (I still have to finish HBO’s His Dark Materials, which…probably speaks to how I feel about that adaptation) we shall see.

60 Books In 2019 #60: Merrick By Anne Rice

I don’t often get scared while reading, it’s why I’ve always been able to read horror when watching it was out of the question.

Anne Rice’s novels are the exception, at least the best ones, and I think that Merrick is on of the best ones. There’s always at least one chapter in the ones I love that terrifies me, my heartrate up and sends shivers down my spine. (Obviously, the sillier ones, Memnoch, Lasher and Taltos didn’t do that.) In Merrick, it’s the scene where Merrick Mayfair, from a cut off slave raped branched of the Mayfair family uses voodoo, Santeria and other unknown magics to raise the spirit of Claudia for Louis and David Talbot.

The ghosts tortured conversation with Louis is scary on an existential level, but the scene of the raising, through David’s disbelieving and terrified eyes is perfect.

The novel around that scene is good too. David recounts his relationship with Merrick, who he and Aaron Lightner adopted into the Talamasca at 10, became his lover many years later and then who he and Louis seek out in New Orleans many years later to put Claudia to rest.

Lestat is in his Memnoch and God induced coma at this point. He wakes up at the end though and is perfectly exasperated with both his boyfriends, don’t you worry.

There are paralells a plenty between Merrick and Claudia, and David and Aaron and Louis and Lestat, which I think is an interesting choice on Rice’s part. While I’m deeply over her whole “erotic beautiful child” thing. (I’ve been since Lasher) I do think the fact that all of her characters are so deeply obsessed with one another is an interesting facet of her work that deserves a deeper look than I can give it right now.

But this finishes my reading goal for 2019! HOORAY! And transitions right into my next project, which is all, fantasy and sci-fi series based. I’m putting together a list, but we’re starting off a few weeks early, with finishing out The Vampire Chronicles and The Tales Of The New Vampires. (So, I’ve got, Blood And Gold, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, Prince Lestat, Prince Lestat And The Realms Of Atlantis and Blood Communion left, plus Pandor and Vittorio: The Vampire.) My Goodreads goal is going to be lower (maybe 40?) and I’m not going to be reporting it, as I’m going to read straight through the series.

But first I’m rereading Little Women for In The Shadow Of Adaptation. I won’t write it up until I see Greta Gerwig’s new film. (Mary and I have plans to see it together if at all possible, so it could be a while.) And The Lord Of The Rings because I rewatched the Extended Editions this weekend and I miss Middle Earth.

The other aspect of the project is going to be non fiction. I’m going to read one non fiction book (memoir or otherwise) for each fantasy series I finish. The first of those is going to be The Race To Save The Romanovs by Helen Rappaport which I borrowed from my mom maybe 6 months ago?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this project. Hope you all will enjoy it too, deeper dives will be fun, I think, and committing to finishing series that I start will also feel good.

60 Books in 2019 #59: The Memoir Club By Laura Kalpakian

I’m no good at contemporary literary fiction. Not writing it, I’ve never tried, God help me, I once got reamed out by a professor in a fiction writing class for being to fanciful and frivolous. (He was not interested in my coming of age story about two preppy teen sisters wandering NYC on the day of their grandmother’s death or my Gothic story of a teen girl who when visiting relatives for a summer fell in love with a ghost. What a loser!) But even reading it, I never learned properly.

This is partially by circumstance, there just wasn’t much opportunity at Scranton for serious contemporary lit. It’s also partly preference, what little there was was taught by professors I disliked. I liked the Romantics and Renaissance and Victorian and Non Fiction professors, so my serious work stayed with them. (I can explicate on a Victorian Novel for days even a shitty one I don’t like very much. Same with Romantic Poetry, or Memoir)

As I try to self teach reading contemporary literary fiction I find myself alienated by fluid story structures and unlikable narrators and prosaic detached characters who refuse to speak to one another like human beings. The Memoir Club is like that, except that it also has a bunch of hallmarks of shitty contemporary fiction, like nonsensical plot twists and serendipity and a character who might have been a ghost or an angel or something.

I don’t mind those kinds of things, I really like them in fact, but when they’re in a book by an author with all kinds of fancy grants in her bio and blurbs from The New Yorker  on the back cover, I have to roll my eyes at the overwrought-ness of it all.

The Memoir Club is about a group of women who join a memoir writing class and when the class ends decide to continue meeting. Nell and Caryn are long time friends who are now doctors together at a women’s clinic. Nell has given her life to Caryn who lost her ex husband and children in a plane crash five years earlier. Francine is an older wife to a celebrated academic tyring to find life after her died. Jill is a thirty three year old who wants to start a business with her partner (I think?), Sarah Jane actually wants to be a writer, to fulfill a promise to her father and Rusty is a divorcee who is processing a traumatic adolescence. Their teacher and leader is Penny. (Spoiler Penny’s the one who might have been a ghost.)

Kalapakian’s women don’t feel real. They feel like bundles of neurosis and secrets and traumas, who smash into one another but don’t connect. As their secrets are exhumed they scream and shout and alienate and reconnect to love ones, but none of it seems to mean anything to any of them. They don’t talk like people, they don’t react like people.

I didn’t like this book. Luckily it was brief but it also wasn’t good.

Up next, we finish where we began. Merrick by Anne Rice. I’ve missed my witches and vampires and silliness. This book in particular reminded me why I like them in the first place.

60 Books in 2019 #58: Soysauce For Beginners by Kirsten Chen

Reading about Asian families and food have both become pet topics for me in the past few years, so obviously Soy Sauce For Beginners was a no brainer.

It’s a fun book, which my love for Crazy Rich Asians primed me for. Gretchen Lin grew up in her family’s soy sauce factory in Singapore but followed her mother’s plan to move to move to the States and pursue academia instead. This lead to a marriage that has recently fallen apart, and a feeling of disconnection and frustration.

So Gretchen comes home and starts to work for the family bussiness. She brings a college friend in too, she forms a rivalry with a cousin, she has a bad for her no strings attached relationship, she meditates on her parents’ marriage, it’s happiness and unhappiness, she revitalizes the business.

It’s a good book, quick, easy to read and lovely. Not much to analyze, it’s straightforward fun and breezy. I’d read more about this world if Chen wrote more, or another world she felt like inventing.

Up next is The Memoir Club by Laura Kalpakian, because that’s the kind of reading club I’d want to be in.

60 Books In 2019 #57: The Book Of Dust: La Belle Sauvage By Phillip Pullman

Last week, we discussed how my reread of His Dark Materials inspired by the HBO/BBC adaptations resparked my interest in this world, and how I was looking forward to The Book Of Dust.

La Belle Sauvage takes place during the first year of Lyra Belaqua’s life, and while she’s important, (chosen one) the people who become important on her journey later only flit around the edges here. (I squealed when Farder Coram showed up!)  The story is mainly about a boy from Oxford named Malcolm who spends time at the convent where she was first surrendered by her parents, and develops a brotherly protective feeling for the baby girl.

Of course, as he gets caught up with Lyra, Malcolm finds himself in danger of The Magesterium, who are even scarier here than they are is His Dark Materials. The sinister child army of The Order Of St. Alexander really freaked me out. But Malcolm and his friend Alice also battle a terrifying Magistereum opperative with a hyena daemon, who has lost a front leg.

Which leads to my favorite part of this book, which is the use of daemons. You really see them as a manifestation of the character’s souls here, and the way we grow and the mystery of them. Malcolm fascination with how baby Lyra and Pantalaimon interact was shared by me! What a fun detail that babies in this world chatter to their daemon who chatters back! That daemons can’t talk until their humans can. That baby daemons are even more flighty and changing than child daemons!

The book was delightful, a bit thicker and deeper than it’s predecessors, so I’m going to hold off on The Secret Commonwealth for a bit, because there’s a lot digest here.

Up next is Soy Sauce For Beginners by Kirsten Chen.

60 Books in 2019 #56: Underworld: An Abandon Novel By Meg Cabot

I blame this one on the completely brilliant Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. If you’re not reading Lore Olympus get on it, it’s completely brilliant and lovely, retelling the story of Persephone and Hades in a hilarious romantic and beautifully illustrated way. (Psyche and Eros are also there.) Anyway, while I was searching for books to finish out the year, I remembered that hey! Didn’t Meg Cabot take on Persephone and Hades too? I love Meg Cabot!

I’d read the first book a while back, and I think it’s important to note that while I really like Abandon, I was disappointed in Cabot and her publisher’s choice to extend the story and the similarly timed Airhead over Jinx. All three books came out within around a year and were clearly cashing in on the new pop culture environment where genre stories about teen girls were a hot commodity. Of the three Jinx (about the most powerful witch born to a line in 100 years) was my favorite, I didn’t care for Airhead at all and while I like Abandon, I just never picked up the sequels.

I mention the moment it came out because it’s very hard to remove Abandon and thus Underworld from the behemoth shadow it came out under. I’m talking of course about Twilight. Like Twilight, the Abandon series features a teenage girl clearly destined to a great love in a supernatural context. The male half is vaguely stalkery but totally sexy in a broody Byronian mode. Cabot, of course, can write circles around Stephanie Meyer, and Pierce Oliviera is way more active than Bella Swann, but the paralells are hard to ignore.

At the end of Abandon Pierce finds herself transported by sexy underworld demi-god John Hayden (who she is very in love with and who has been watching over her since she was a child. See, kinda weird.) Pierce is none too thrilled about this, but John insists it’s for her own good. They have breakfast and they realize that means Pierce has repeated Persophone’s mistake. She can never leave the Underworld now. Of course they leave anyway, when they need to save Pierce’s cousin Alex from himself.

Underworld is a middle chapter and so I guess I’m just going to have pick up Awaken soon and see how this all shakes out. It’s a fun take on the myth and I’ve always loved Cabot’s voice. Up next is The Book Of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman. I’m excited to return to Lyra’s world and see her grown up. (Which I think is the deal here?? Dunno, we’ll see.)

In The Shadow Of Adaptation: His Dark Materials

I didn’t read His Dark Materials as a kid or teenager. It’s not likely because it wasn’t allowed, as a lot of people have assumed, when the movie came along my mom was warned about it and when parents asked her she shrugged and said, “if your kids and their faith can’t accept some philosophical challenge brought on by some fantasy fiction I’m not doing my job right.”

I’ve mentioned my specific and peculiar theological education before, stemming from my mother’s faith, my family’s legacy of Jesuit instruction and philosophical bent, my progressive all girl’s Catholic high school and reading constantly. So that’s the background that I brought to His Darks Materials when I read it in my 20’s. I loved the books, diving headlong into Lyra’s world like I did with most fantasy fiction.

At the time I was much more devout so the heresy felt more shocking and I’m sure in my even more devout than that I would have dismissed the whole thing outright. Reading the books again now, where I use Catholicism still as my main barometer of the divine, that is, it’s the way I know how to interpret God, The Universe or Whatever, so it’s the tool set that I use, I find the books a beautiful exploration of another way.

Philip Pullman would hate that of course, he’s a strident outspoken atheist of the “anyone who believes in the divine in a ninkompoop” stripe, but you know, that’s fine. If I weren’t a Catholic, Secular Humanism would be the philosophy that makes the most sense to me. To articulate it as Joss Whedon did, “If nothing we do matters, the only thing that matters is what we do.”

Anyway, the books are amazing and I’m glad I revisited them. HBO & The BBC’s joint venture on adapting them has yet to fully win me over. I get what they’re doing and like the approach. Rather than the pretty glittering world of the reasonably awful film The Golden Compass (an impeccably cast but misguided movie) His Dark Materials feels lived in and old, a little dreary in some ways, but mysterious and beautiful in others. I like the cast, Ruth Wilson is appropriately terrifying and mesmerizing as Mrs. Coulter, and Daphne Keene was pretty much born to play Lyra. (My favorite aspects of the story, world hopping and angels don’t enter the proceedings until book 2 which means I’m a year out from the things I like best in the series, including Will Parry, my favorite character.) Note: I wrote this before I watched last night’s episode. Obviously, we now have Will. HOORAY!

I’m looking forward to seeing how the show moves forward. We’ve finally met Iorek Byninson and Lee Scorcesby. (LIN MANUEL MIRANDA!) That really gets the story moving a bit more. There is a lot of world building in this series that has to get out of the way but it felt endlesss.

My difficulties with a lot of atheist material is certainty. Again, Jesuits, we don’t like certainty. Life is questions, unending questions, meant to be answered through study, meditation, prayer, discussion and debate. What I love about His Dark Materials is that Pullman is championing those very things, he reached different conclusions than I have in my life. And that’s deeply worthwhile.

I’ll probably do one more “In The Shadow Of Adaptation” this year. I bet you can guess what is. But for the moment, I’m finishing up the last five books in my Goodreads Challenge. Love you all!