Posted in Reviews

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For those curious about Indian matchmaking customs, for a quick cute-enough read

I find this quite a cute cover

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers, who are intensely excited to discover Simi accidentally sets up an excellent match in the family. But Simi is an artist, and she refuses to spend her life in the outdated family business… until her best friend Noah convinces her it’s the key to finding popularity. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course. When the top match sets up the new girl with the school’s star soccer player, Simi turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

I definitely enjoyed this book, and it was a pretty quick read for me. I’ve been looking forward to it for months and was really excited to finally get a copy! It was about what I expected: a lightweight feel-good read with a focus on characters over events.

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Posted in Chatty, Release Day!

It’s Here! It’s Here!!

So I posted recently in a Cover Roulette post about how I was waiting for the new illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and TODAY. IS. THE DAY.

The smoke around the tail! The bones underneath! The egg below it! The banners on the wall! The people in the stands! THE DRAGON ITSELF!
The front page – but trust me, it takes a dark turn on the next.

This was one of the longer books, so this version took TWO YEARS to complete, which I totally understand. And it’s also pretty dang heavy, so this is a couch-and-bed read for sure.

It’s completely gorgeous and please excuse me while I abandon all other responsibilities and books to re-read this stunning version of this amazing story. 😍

I am grateful for Jim Kay.

Posted in Reviews

Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan

Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Let me put it this way: I got a free digital copy for review, and it was so good that before I’d even finished it I had bought the print version to finish it on. 😍😍😍 Just brought so much depth to the story, even I caught some new details! Absolutely loved this adaptation!

Recommended: Yes!!
For teachers looking for ways to make Macbeth clearer for students while still using the original language, for those who love a badass graphic novel, for an interesting and faithful illustrated interpretation of Macbeth.

All good things come with this cover ♥

Welcome to the Manga Classics’ brilliant adaptation of Macbeth! In this dark tale by William Shakespeare, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. This manga adaptation brings a modern look to the classic language with the full original text alongside 300+ pages of stunning art.

As an avid reader and someone who majored in English and English Education in college, I’ve read Macbeth a good number of times. I even did a thesis on it and created a website around it at one point! I have some pretty solid theories around the 3rd murderer and Hecate’s role in everything. And yet, despite my familiarity, there were still details I had never fully understood before that the manga version of Macbeth revealed to me.

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Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: City of Bones

I did my first cover roulette post a little while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular series that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

Tonight’s featured book is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. When this series first came out, I was immediately sucked in. It’s one of the few series I ever started when it first came out and had to actually wait for the new books to come out! It’s also one of the first series that made me think, “Wow, that cover is so pretty I would buy it just to look at it on my shelves.”

The Cover I Know

The coloring! It’s so ominous and creepy, and the weird swirling tattoos on Dude’s body were intriguing. I knew magic would be involved for sure, and I’m always down for magic. The demons were just a bonus!

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Posted in Reviews

Tokyo Mindscapes: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by Misaki Matsui

Tokyo Mindscapes: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by Misaki Matsui – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a short guide with ideas for a trip to Tokyo, for seasonal ideas, and for photos to get you excited and choose which you want to prioritize. This probably won’t be the only guidebook you use, though

Traveling to Tokyo? Be sure to see some of the most iconic sites in Tokyo and nearby cities—from gorgeous skylines and jaw-dropping nature to hidden treasures. With this photo/guidebook, visitors can explore both the cutting-edge and traditional parts of the city like a local. Misaki Matsui, the photographer and author, introduces the beauty of the four seasons of Tokyo and surrounding cities that Japanese residents love. The collection showcases more than 100 beautiful images of Tokyo including Senso-ji, Roppongi Hills, Todoriki Valley, Mt. Takao, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and more. 

As a traveler, one of the most annoying things I face is what to do when heading somewhere in the off season. Usually this means winter, when it’s too cold to be outside all the time, which is what I usually want. Each place has it’s own issues with a season or two though, and it’s hard to decide what do when you hit a less-than-ideal day. This book is a great cure for that, as it addresses great options for things to do and places to explore for every season in Tokyo! I wish I had more guides that did this.

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Posted in Reviews

Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg

Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg – ⭐⭐⭐
It was fun to get the backstory / origin story of so many big people and events, but it was a lot more tell than show in terms of the style.

Recommended: Yes!
For fantasy/epic adventure fans, for those who have already played World of Warcraft games (or similar ones)

Standard old-looking epic fantasy art! Very D&D-esque

Doomhammer leads the Horde after killing most of the warlocks and the previous corrupt leader. After taking Stormwind, the Horde is moving to take the rest of the continent. Meanwhile, Stormwind’s champion, Lothar, is fleeing north to warn the other kingdoms and forge an alliance to stop the Horde. With each side gaining strength and using every trick they have, it’s a battle for Azeroth in the World of Warcraft. The Second War is coming, and it will reshape the future of Azeroth.

WELL. This was fun because I got a lot of origin stories that I hadn’t heard before. “What are death knights?” is something I’ve definitely asked my S.O. before, and he said he wouldn’t tell me because it would ruin some moments in the lore (which he knows I care very much about!). Plus, the origin of Paladins?! And Alleria, and Lothar, and Turalyon, and Proudmoores… and Gul’dan, my god, I swear this dude has died ten times and JUST KEEPS COMING BACK!

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Posted in Reviews

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: Sure
For those who can handle brutal heartbreak, for those who understand old-timey British phrases and slang (or have a convenient British friend to translate)

Emmy is doing her bit to help the community as a Fire Services operator during bombings in 1940 London. When she gets a chance at her real dream job of being a war correspondent, she can’t help but jump at it. Unfortunately a mix-up finds her as a women’s issues columnist, with strict orders not to answer anything Unpleasant. Emmy can’t hold herself back when reading the Real Issues that these women have and desperately need advice on, so in between bombings, she poses as Mrs. Bird and responds as she can. All the time, she’s trying to have a life between the threats of losing her job and being caught in a bombing raid by the Germans.

If the letter-writing aspect of this is what’s drawing you in, be aware that a lot of the story is focused on how they manage to live their lives under constant threat of war and danger and death. There’s love, and friendship, and insecurity, but there’s also near-deaths, and bombings, and hatred. You just have to be ready to take both, as they had to at the time.

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Posted in Reviews

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Wow. I did not anticipate this to be so… Chilling.

Recommended: Yes. But you need to be ready for it.
For a look into power, for a painful clever parallel with lots of tongue-in-cheek moments, for something that will challenge your perceptions about society and your own patterns of thinking, for an unflinching story of a world in the midst of change

You’re not ready for this.

In The Power the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

I wasn’t ready for this. I should have known better, but I went into this thinking “Oh, it’ll be a fun fantasy read about how crazy the world is after women develop the power to create and control lightning!” Looking back, I don’t know how I was so wrong, but I’m glad I was because this story blew me away when I least expected it.

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Posted in Reviews

Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin

Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Release Date: February 18, 2020

BLOW ME AWAY, MY GOD! And now I need to give Macbeth a re-read. Holy hell. I will 100% be using this with students, there are so many interesting ways to do it!!!

Recommended: YES
For those who are not faint of heart, for an incredible parallel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth that still retains it’s own integrity, for darkness and viciousness in many forms, for complexities of vengeance and fate and evil

Forgive the hideous cover. The inside is much better than this makes it look.

Elle Khanjara loses her untouchable power status as an LA girl the night the golden boys of St. Andrews choose Elle as their next target. She crashed the wrong party, trusted the wrong boy, drank the wrong drink, but they picked the wrong girl. Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

I’d been avoiding this book. Frankly, I was judging it by the cover, because tbh the bight bold colors and Chiller-esque font made it seem really unimpressive and childish to me. Then I finally read the description, which included a trigger warning that it dealt with rape and the emotional consequences. I didn’t realize it had such a dark side, and that’s actually what drew me in. I also didn’t realize it would actually be such a parallel to Macbeth until I was a chapter in and meeting our wide crew of characters.

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Posted in Reviews

Tales from Behind the Window by Edanur Kuntman

Tales from Behind the Window by Edanur Kuntman – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Recommended: YUP
To anyone curious about life elsewhere, to anyone who’s ever learned about their elder family member’s lives and thought ‘Who are you’ or ‘How did I never know about this,’ to anyone looking for a short read with a lot of beauty and value

Don’t let the cover that makes it look like a Miyazaki film fool you: this is dark and real

“Tales from behind the Window” is based on memories of an Anatolian grandmother and women she knew who suffered from male dominance over their lives. Writer and illustrator Edanur Kuntman seeks a unique way to express and give voice to women in her grandmother’s memories and in our reality who were not able to reconcile their inner emotional depth with their rural worlds in Northern Turkey. One long and two short stories included in this book revolve around terrifying emotional burdens such as forced marriages, being betrayed by patriarchs, and lost love, which have haunted and still haunt many in rural Anatolia.

Gorgeous illustrations to convey the story; they set the mood just right for what you’re reading. Great use of the space on the pages, too. It was key for me to remember that this was based on memories of the author’s grandmother, Sureyya, and not just a story that ends when you finish the book.

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