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Review: World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume 1 by Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume 1 by Blizzard Entertainment

Recommended: yesssss
For fans of WoW, for a look at the incredible world building from a game, for incredible illustrations, for all the lore you could wish for

Summary

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 is a journey through an age of myth and legend, a time long before the Horde and the Alliance came to be. This definitive tome of Warcraft history reveals untold stories about the birth of the cosmos, the rise of ancient empires, and the forces that shaped the world of Azeroth and its people.


This beautiful hardcover features twenty-five full-page paintings by World of Warcraft artist Peter Lee, as well as a cosmology chart, half a dozen maps charting changes through time, and other line art illustrations by Joseph Lacroix, and marks the first in a multipart series exploring the Warcraft universe; from the distant past to the modern era.

Thoughts:

My favorite part about video games, and especially World of Warcraft, has always been the story. The game has plenty of that, but forces me to run around and kill things in order to get more story, which sometimes I don’t want to bother with! Here, finally, I have my hands on a condensed version of the whole story (for the first 10,000 years or so, anyway).

Honestly, the world is incredible. I always think about how hard writing a book series is, to have all the details and the richly envisioned customs and minutiae. A video game of this scale is very similar. This first volume captures the earliest lore of creation and dang did I learn a lot! Sargeras was a GOOD GUY? Vindication that the haughty night elves are no better than trolls, since they evolved from trolls after all!! And I finally understand the idea of a titan world soul (mostly…). BFA was killing me with the whole Heart of Azeroth thing.

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ARC Review: Punderworld, Volume 1 by Linda Šejić (Aug 31)

Punderworld, Volume 1 by Linda Šejić

Recommended: YES!!!
For absolutely stunning art, for clever details that bring so much extra life to the characters, for characters you fall in love with and cheer for and laugh at, for a really wonderful take on a classic story
Expected Release: August 31, 2021

Summary

The classic tale of Greek mythology, but 100% more awkwardly relatable. Hades is the officious, antisocial ruler of the Underworld; Persephone, daughter of Demeter, is an earth goddess of growth and renewal – they’ve been crushing on each other for the past two centuries. But when a festival (and a little liquid courage) present an opportunity to put an end to their Olympian will-they-won’t-they, a meddlesome pantheon and several titanic mis-assumptions threaten to give every god in the sky the wrong impression… and leave their romance dead before it can bloom.

Thoughts:

I started reading Punderworld through it’s publication as a comic series on WebToon, and I am so excited to have a print copy of it! Because you’d better believe that I already have my pre-order in to have a copy of my own.

I’ll be honest: I know just the bare basics of the classic story of Persephone and Hades that this is based on. And frankly, I don’t care, because the way Linda Sejic tells the story is the story I want to read, regardless of authenticity or accuracy to the original. She’s made it a funny, fledgling love story.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Complete List of Jericho by Chris Jericho

The Complete List of Jericho by Chris Jericho

Recommended: yes!
For folks who are interested in wrestling, for stories from Jericho in his usual genuine, funny style, for interesting insights into other wrestlers Jericho has gotten to know over his years

Summary

The Complete List of Jericho is a one-of-a-kind pro wrestling book, compiled in a way that has never been done before and will never be done again.
Throughout his illustrious 30-year career, Chris Jericho has documented EVERY ONE of his 2,722 matches from around the world in a handwritten journal.
That artifact provides the backbone of this unique book, which also includes dozens of never-before-seen photos from Chris’s personal collection, infographics, and a collection of top-ten lists compiled by some of the biggest names in pro wrestling history AND Le Champion himself! Want to discover his best and worst matches (there were plenty), his favorite tag partners, or his favorite ring music? All these answers – and more – are in this book!
If you think you know everything about Chris Jericho from reading his four previous New York Times best-selling books, think again. The Complete List of Jericho is the definitive chronicle of the career of one of the greatest, most charismatic wrestlers of all time.

Thoughts:

First of all: it is like 70% a giant list, living up to the name of the book. Based on Jericho’s personal notebook recording and rating all of his matches ever, that content makes up the bulk of this. If you’re interested in data and patterns, like myself, then that can be pretty interesting. How much money did he make on his Japan stints compared to Mexico? What did he rate that iconic match with Kenny Omega?

Besides that though, there are some matches he gives commentary for, and sometimes other wrestlers will provide their own notes on their match with Jericho. Jericho himself has lists of tops and favorites and worsts and mosts. Plenty of other names I recognized pitched in as well with lists of their own about Jericho, matches, locations, and everything else related to wrestling.

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Pre-Publication Review: 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard (8/17)

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Release Date: August 17, 2021

Recommended: yes!!
For an actually mysterious mystery, for fascinating characters who grow a lot as you learn more about them, for whiplash-inducing twists that still make sense, for Covid as a setting but not a plot point (ie no illnesses)

Summary

No one knew they’d moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him. She sees a unique opportunity for a new relationship to flourish without the pressure of scrutiny of family and friends. He sees it as an opportunity to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Will they be able to determine what really happened, or has lockdown provided someone with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime?

Thoughts:

WOW y’all, maybe it’s because I admittedly had low expectations for this, but DANG did it blow me away! I was iffy on all the Book of the Month Club options, but chose this because it was by my fav publisher, Blackstone. And I should have known to trust that. ^.^ They held up, as always!

First off: a lot of people side-eye this book because it’s set in 2020 in the real sense that it’s the start of COVID-19 and discusses lockdown and other protocols enacted as it spread across the world. The whole premise is that two almost-strangers shack up because otherwise they won’t have ANY contact for who knows how long. It’s all or nothing, and they change it going all-in. But that’s it — there’s not a lot of play with COVID beyond working from home and the unease going out in public. If anything, it was weird how often the characters say “well no one else was wearing a mask so I took mine off.” Anyway, point being, the scope of COVID in this book is probably fairly light all things considered.

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Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Verdict: UGH, glad it’s over 😫

Recommended: no
If you speak and think like the character then you’ll get past that barrier, but you’ll still have to deal with how subpar the story overall is

Summary

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izumi travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izumi soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairy tale, happily ever after?

Thoughts:
My two main issues with this book were the character herself and the fact that nothing new was brought to the table with this story. The second issue is self explanatory, but the first is more specific to me.

Izumi speaks like people 15-25 sound on social media. The kind of writing I usually cringe at despite being around that age myself. It’s full of the overly dramatic writing style of Instagram and Twitter and tumblr. I hated it, which made me dislike her, which made me not enjoy the book. I also called the “twist” right from the introduction of a character. Meh.

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6 Books I reviewed in 2018 that are still accurate

Hey y’all,

Here are some really short and sweet reviews I wrote back in 2018. I wanted to share these because they’re books I enjoyed and want to have featured somewhere on this blog. Here’s their chance for some shining glory and recognition. 😊

Omg so cute! The wiring was so cute and realistic (albeit about ghosts) and I love the cute humor in addressing questions about ghosts. Unexpectedly love the illustrations, too. Very nicely done all around.

Not what I expected. My kind of humor, too, just simple and sweet and a bit tongue in cheek. Amusing to see how they wove in the “behind the scenes” stories from history, and the characters, even the ones who are only alive for a few pages, are all hilarious and wonderful and surprisingly memorable.

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ARC Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
Expected Release Date: July 6, 2021

Recommended: yep
For a delve into Arthurian legend from the side of Elaine the seer, for a form-shifting read that excels at mirroring the readers’ experience with the characters’, for a dark yet hopeful spin

Summary

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Thoughts

The first thing I’ll say is that I have NO IDEA who Elaine is outside of this story. I have no other context to compare her to, so I really can’t speak to that aspect of the experience. If you’re familiar with the lore already from other media, I have no idea how this might align with the way it’s been told elsewhere. That said, I think the way it was told here was quite compelling.

My absolute favorite aspect of this book (besides the plot itself) is the way my experience reading it mirrored Elaine’s experience as a seer so well. Past, present, and future all blend together with timeline and perspective shifting often, and not always with clear delineations. If this might drive you crazy, then be forewarned, but I promise it enhanced the book, not detracted. Elaine’s glimpses of the future bleed in to every action of the present and affect her memories of the past. How can you act on love when you literally KNOW it will lead to heartbreak of the most dire kind?

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Review: The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae

The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae (sequel to The Kinder Poison)

Recommended: sure
For continuing the series, for a lot of character development

Summary

SPOILERS FOR THE KINDER POISON!

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Thoughts

This got points for being a really interesting character line, which I couldn’t predict at all (in a really good way!). This lost points for having objectively very little actually happen for most of the book. I didn’t really notice while reading it, but looking back I’m realizing how the plot was pretty sparse. Especially in comparison to the first which was obviously pretty packed with action, the sequel is a lot more focused on the characters and the way they’re growing and changing.

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Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Verdict: uhmmmmm… don’t bother. Severely lacking in all aspects

Recommended: no
because of a lack of compelling plot, uninteresting characters, a distinct lack of promised magic, a book that’s ultimately just pretty dry and boring. Maybe it’s a good plane book to read then ditch or donate.

Summary

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago.

Thoughts

To turn a common phrase on its head, this book was entirely putdownable. Which I did, many times, and only picked up again out of a general sense of obligation to see it through.

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Review: Anna K Away by Jenny Lee

Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee

Recommended: sure
For a followup to the first one, for an easier read than the first one, for a short story following each character

Summary

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy–except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?

Thoughts:

I was excited to see the characters again, and particularly interested in seeing what Jenny Lee invented as a followup story since this one is not based on other material, as the first one was. The plot moves much more steadily in this than the first book, and generally each character we follow is interesting. I think people who were a bit bored in the first book but liked the characters may enjoy this one more.

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