Recommended: Sure For a quick contemporary read, for a female-friendship story, for a look at alcoholism and falling into patterns even when they don’t make you happy and how to break out of it
Growing up, Gwen and Iris were the best of friends, even if they couldn’t have been more different. Now Gwen is living her hometown dream, or so she reminds herself while juggling endless parenting drama, an unemployed husband, and a neighborhood pyramid scheme. Never mind that at age thirty-nine, her social circle still resembles middle school. Her life is everything she ever wanted it to be, but nothing like she had planned.
Iris was never destined for the ordinary. When she moved to Manhattan, she shed her old life for a better one—but not without a cost. From a distance, Iris’s life couldn’t be more charmed, but no one knows about the cracks in the image she’s worked so hard to cultivate. No one knows the real Iris at all. Except for Gwen. But Iris and Gwen haven’t spoken for years. Until…
When Iris’s past catches up with her, she turns to the one person she could always count on—but she isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and as Gwen scrambles to preserve an illusion of domestic bliss, she finds herself wondering when they went from telling each other everything to sharing nothing. Now, a little wiser, and most certainly a little older, Gwen and Iris discover that the truest of friends accept you just as you are, and that loving yourself is sometimes the best way to find happiness.
I went for this book because I had been reading a lot of heavy topics and depressing novels, and I wanted a bit of a break. I more or less got it with this, but it did have more serious issues than I expected. One of the main characters is DEFINITELY an alcoholic, and it’s painful to watch the many terrible decisions she makes. And somehow never admits or recognizes. DAMN, GIRL. It’s really not a whole lot easier to watch the other MC live in her sad rut of a life without galvanizing to do anything about it.
Recommended: not really? Because the plot seemed to take unnecessary and unexplained turns, because the mood was far more grim than anticipated
Hematite is a young vampire who is trying to find her way. As a member of the illustrious Blackwood family, she faces pressure to conform to high society standards, but such grandstanding isn’t for her. And neither is drinking blood—she’d rather have vegetable soup!
So it is that she opts for the more diverse Wolven School, rather than joining the ranks of her fellow vampires at the Diaemus Academy. Being different can be hard, though, and doesn’t always help to make friends. Luckily for Hematite, she has her poetry, as well as Drunela—a draugr who won’t let their differences keep them apart—and Emile, a human boy fascinated by the occult who would just love to take a peek at the Blackwood’s private library. Unfortunately, bridging societal divides isn’t always easy, and can lead to terrible consequences…
You know, at first I was quite enjoying it. Learning about the powers each character has and how they all interact with each other in this world was fun and full of promise. Now that I’ve finished it, though, I’m left feeling confused about why I just read that.
Othello by Stacy King (adapted into manga format from Shakespeare with full original text) Verdict: AMAZING as always from Manga Classics!
Recommended: YES!! For fans of the original, for classes looking for an accessible yet faithful adaptation, for a really dope story and art that enhances it so much Expected Release Date:April 20, 2021
A brilliant general in the service of Venice, Othello is also the new husband of the adoring – and young – Desdemona, whose innocent hero worship has blossomed into love. But can a beautiful girl, so much younger than her husband, truly be faithful? Othello’s trusted ensign Iago seems to think not. Can Othello trust him? Can Othello trust anyone? Manga Classics presents Shakespeare’s classic story of love, hate, vengeance, and betrayal, in its full, original glory! (This volume features the complete, unabridged text from the Shakespeare Play.)
OH MAN. I have been so in love with the Manga Classics line since I started in on it, and when I heard Othello was happening, I was pumped. It absolutely did not disappoint! It’s the original full text, so none of the brilliance of the language is lost. Iago is always and forever my favorite villain, with his shameless, remorseless lying. He delights in it so frequently throughout the story, and so embraces his lawful evil selfishness.
Living With Mochi by Gemma Gene Recommended: sure! For comic lovers, for dog lovers, for pug lovers, for those kids who always wanted a dog and were never allowed to have one…. Expected Release: April 6, 2021
When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute webcomics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.
I’ve never had a life with a pug, but I have known several pugs and pug-people. And a lot of these ring true for what I’ve seen from them and from their stories. 🤣 Some of these comics are definitely pug-specific quirks, though a lot are also universal-dog-owner moments. Honestly I picked this up because I haven’t had a pet dog since I was a child and I am finally, FINALLY about to be able to have one again soon. I was hoping desperately for a reminder/primer/preview of what I can look forward to (and brace myself for). This definitely fulfills all those boxes
Recommended: always If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, if you’re looking for a lovely lighthearted story, if you’re interested in Japanese bakemono-animals, if you like to have a little laugh 🙂 Expected Release: March 23, 2021
Legends say that Senzou the Black Fox is one of the most vicious and powerful supernatural beasts to ever roam the land. At least, he used to be. Now, 300 years after he was imprisoned by the Sun Goddess for his bad behavior, Senzou is back — in the form of a small black fox with no powers! Tasked with protecting a young tanuki called Manpachi as he fulfills various tasks for the gods, Senzou must earn his powers back by learning how to be a good guardian to the energetic little pup. Though Senzou is a grumpy and reluctant companion at first, even a hard-hearted fox can be tamed by cuteness… and the little tanuki quickly learns there are some family ties that aren’t decided by blood.
In the third volume, Senzou, Manpachi, and the wolf clan are among humans and investigating a string of missing bakemono. The wolf Hagiri takes this chance to find a small cat spirit he has a bond with, but he can’t ask his clan for help looking for a cat! Hagiri and Senzou make an unlikely duo, but they collide in the search as they discover everything may be more connected than they realized.
This is a strong continuation of the series for sure. In the first installation, we met Manpachi and Senzou and saw their relationship develop. In the second, we learned more about some of the other bakemono they deal with, particularly the wolves. In this one, they’re out of the forest and stuck dealing with some problems around humans. Every book has had a unique plot or element to it, and I hope to see that continue as the world grows more robust.
Recommended: to people who know what they’re getting For a psychological study of a woman who lacks empathy, for race and class reflections on a life lived, for a strangely compelling view of someone constantly on the edge of self destruction, for a very slow-paced read that focuses on the inner workings on one woman’s mind
Verdict: I was expecting something different than a slow burn character study of a compulsive liar, but if you go in knowing that’s what you’ll get then this is a fantastic read.
Summary: Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates. Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate. Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.
Hey y’all! I got a very exciting email this morning, and wanted to spread the news for anyone else who would be pumped to hear it! Until 10/17/20 (EST) three series finale books are available to read immediately on NetGalley — no request needed! Wednesday Books is spreading the love for all us readers. 🥰
If you’re not familiar with NetGalley, it’s a site used by publishers to give advanced digital copies of books to readers of all kinds for early reviews and promotion. You can sign up for free at netgalley.com, and click on the links below to read the books once you’re all set up! The site is only available in some countries, and not all books are available in all places, so if any below are not available for you I’m terribly sorry for getting your hopes up, but you can still find other great reads on NetGalley! 😓😭
If you loved FABLE…
I know I personally saw this book cover ALL OVER for a few months before release, because dang is it stunning! This female-led pirate adventure that began with Fable is concluding in Spring of 2021 with Namesake by Adrienne Young, but you can read a digital copy early below!
I saw this on NetGalley and fell in love with the premise immediately. I mean, yes, I also loved it for the cover — that dark balance with the splashes of color was promptly intiruging — but the synopsis meant I just couldn’t resist it. And happily, I was approved for an advanced copy! So here’s your little sneak peek as well! 🙂
An ominous undertone: nothing particularly sinister has happened, but I feel like there’s a very big yet tacked on to the end of that statement. Ivy has a delightful dark side to her, tempered by a strange innocence as she is driven to be accepted by those around her
Anticipation is my word for this one so far, because the slow build of Ivy and the way life has pushed her along feels like the perfect setup for her to be teetering on a brink, hopefully soon. I can’t wait to see where she heads!!
Lines that linger
…it occurred to Ivy that paying for something in the open with money that wasn’t hers was even better than taking something for free in secret — a lesson not even Meifeng would have had the audacity to teach her.
Men always think they take the initiative but it’s women who make the first, often imperceptible move.
Recommended: sure For a continuation from part 1, for more exploration into side characters
Summary: A psychological suspense series about a girl who has given up her life as an idol after being assaulted by a fan. After that day, she stopped being a girl. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama, a former idol in the group Pure Club, shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school she keeps to herself, but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.
“This is exactly why she got herself stabbed by a fan.” Heartbroken Nina Kamiyama is a former idol. She’s decided to live her life by keeping her past identity a secret, but her situation intensifies when another discovers who she really is. Who can she trust?
Thoughts: This followup installment was more thoughtful than the first installment, with less action. This section of chapters focuses more on the people and investigating their motivation. As is expected from a second set, we get a look into the people around Kamiyama and dig deeper into her own emotions and motivation.
Recommended: yes!! For more heartwarming moments, for a volume looking at some of the other characters in depth, for an interesting addition in the world we see them all in
Summary: After 300 years, the gods that imprisoned Senzou the Fox Spirit for his arrogance finally set him free. There is only one condition — he can’t have any of his supernatural abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become one of their magical assistants. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!
Thoughts: Well, the cliffhanger from Volume 1 is no longer hanging over my head, thank goodness! I was so excited to come back to this story in Volume 2. As ever, the art perfectly complements the story style, in how it’s able to carry so many different kinds of meaning effortlessly. Everything from the funny moments, to the painful moments, to the crying-because-it’s-beautiful moments: the art style is adaptable to all of them.
And yes, no worries: this volume is just as hilarious and cute as the previous, despite it’s darker tones as well. What I loved most about this one was being able to learn more about the characters besides the Senzou and Manpachi. Though we do still have stories with them, we also get to see more about some of the wolves and even about our frenemy the badger. Personally I loved this, in part because the relationship between the wolves are so delightful in their contrasting personality that it was enlightening to see how they each got that way.
We also get to see them in their human forms a bit more, which was a shocker but also a fantastic addition. Their interactions in the human world were still perfectly in character and added a twist element to the plot moving forward. I expect we’ll see a bit more of this weaving between worlds in future volumes as well.
One extra bonus at the end that I loved was the inclusion of some short one-off comics with the characters that were translated into English. Some of these comics have been posted on the author’s social media pages in Japanese, so here I finally got the English versions! And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. It’s always hard to end one of these volumes because I adore the characters so much and want to see more, so it made it a little easier to accept. 😁 Can’t wait for the next volume!
Thanks to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!