Posted in Reviews

Review: Court of Bitter Thorn by Kay L Moody

Court of Bitter Thorn by Kay L Moody – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a faery tale that is pretty much exactly what you would expect, for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses, for a story that’s more about the character and the plot than any romance

Summary:
Faerie wasn’t supposed to be real. Tricked by a fae prince, Elora is stuck in the Faerie realm far from her young sisters who depend on her for survival. Under the terms of her bargain, she can’t go home to the mortal world until Prince Brannick becomes the next High King. Or until he’s taken out of the running… Sabotaging Brannick’s chance at the crown will be much faster than helping him win. The fae prince may be charming, powerful, and wickedly handsome, but that won’t stop Elora from selling his secrets to the highest bidder. By day, she uses her master sword skills to train the prince, while ignoring her growing attraction to him. By night, she conspires with a rival king in a nearby court whose plans could destroy half of Faerie. If she gets caught, Brannick will kill her. But what’s life without a little bit of danger?

Thoughts:
I was delighted by how much I enjoyed Kay L Moody’s other series, The Elements of the Crown, so when I saw that she had published the first in a new series, I was ready to jump in. From the description, I expected it to be a fun read but probably not anything that would blow me away with originality, and that’s about what I got. The world of fae and strong human females who get pulled into the world is a very popular theme, so it’s hard to do anything new, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be done well — and Moody certainly did!

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: yes!
For a tale of morality and control in the face of darkness and hatred, for a superhero/antihero combo that’s exciting and thought provoking

Summary:
Nnamdi’s father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers? Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.

Thoughts:
A perfect example of having greatness thrust upon him, Nnamdi fights between what is vengeance and what is justice with his newfound powers. I love having a main character who is flawed and conflicted, but whom you like nonetheless because you can see him doing his best to make sense of the world he lives in. Coming-of-age is a lot more complicated when you’re granted otherworldly powers and a conscience for justice.

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Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: Vampiric Memories & Jellyfish Aliens

Words have always carried more weight with me than images – give me a book over its movie any day – but I do love to see the beautiful images other people create when they’re in love with a book. That’s not my strength, but I can certainly appreciate it in others! So here’s a few of my faves based on what I’ve been reading recently.

To Sleep In A Sea Of Stars

I’ve been ranting about how excited I was to get this ARC for a while now, and I don’t expect to stop for a while on yet! Christopher Paolini’s book outside of the Inheritance world is just as epic, but in space this time. Science is the magic TSIASOS (that is a rough acronym. Will keep working on a way to abbreviate this title. Stay tuned.).

This one is mine, because the second I got this ARC in the mail I danced around the kitchen squealing and clutching it to my chest, and then went outside to read and take some gorgeous photos of this gorgeous book on a gorgeous day. Check out my insta for a few more — because this book is so pretty and startlingly gigantic.

You really just can’t go wrong with the simple and gorgeous display of book + flowers. Especially when the cover is this stunning on it’s own. I know. I’m not going to shut up about it. *swoon*

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Posted in Reviews

Short Story Review: Killian’s Dead by Josie Jaffrey

Killian’s Dead by Josie Jaffrey -⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure, if you enjoyed the full novel May Day and want a little more explanation

Summary:
Jack doesn’t care about anything except music. All she wants to do is find a decent gig, stand by the speakers and let the bass roll through her. It’s the only reason she gets out of bed. Until she meets Winta. In the space of a second, everything is different. Winta knows what she wants and for one night, what she wants is Jack. It feels like the start of forever.
Then Winta disappears and Jack faces a choice: should she go back to her life, or track down the only girl who can change it beyond recognition?
One things’ certain: Jack has no idea what she’s getting herself into.

Thoughts:
This is a short story, only about 50 pages. Enough gets worked into this small amount to fill in some of the details hinted at in the main story, May Day. This is more about fact-based elements than building much up since it doesn’t have much room to work with, but if you’re curious about all the vague references to Winta in the main book, then this will satisfy your curiosity. Jack’s personality was still there for sure, though there were a few things I found slightly inconsistent. For example, does Jack have notably bad hearing in the main story, as was called out here? Or was that just no longer a problem given her becoming a Silver? I’m not sure. Either way, it’s nothing terribly distracting, just a little thing that stuck in my head when reading it.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with MAY DAY

May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Progress: page 243/312 (78%)

I’m flying through this book even though I only started it yesterday. I took a chance outside my usual, and I am being rewarded for it! Thank you Josie Jaffrey for the delight of May Day!

Why did I start reading it?

This book actually just published today! I received an ARC from the author, and although it’s not my typical genre, I was intrigued. And I am so glad I gave it a shot, because I’m loving it! It’s a sexy vampire detective on a murder mystery, and it is so much more than that little description makes it sound. 😍

Where have I gone?

(British English) Words I’ve Learned:

Lines that linger

I’d never have thought that laughing in bed was a good thing, but here she is in my arms, and I’m so happy that I can feel the joy bubbling up into my throat, so happy that the force of my kisses is shaped by my smile.

He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.

He’s an imposing man, over six-feet tall with dark skin and darker eyes. We don’t ask about his past, but I’m pretty sure it’s dark too.

Posted in Reviews

Review: I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER

I’m the Grim Reaper, Season 1 by GRAVEWEAVER – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Brilliant art style with minimal but impactful colors and a story to keep you coming back for more.

Recommended: YEEESSSS
For a fantastic representation of how a little goes a long way, for a dark story that also makes me laugh out loud, for characters who are a lot broken but you still like them anyway

Summary:
On earth there are bad people, and then there are REALLY BAD people. If you’re one of the latter, you don’t just get sent to Hell, you get sent to Hell and get assigned a job collecting the souls of some of the worst people on Earth. Such is the career path of a young woman named Scarlet, who dies and is delivered down to the fiery underworld only to find herself in an entry level position as…The Grim Reaper!

Thoughts:
I stumbled upon this comic recently and I am so glad I did! ‘Scarlet’ is the worst kind of sinner, and delays her eternity of damnation by becoming a grim reaper. But she’s got a quota to fill — one sinner killed per day. Things get hairy quick, though, when a rogue detective happens to find her immediately after she slices up her first kill. Mutual suspicion is had.

I absolutely adore the art style. It’s almost entirely in black, gray, and red, and it’s stunning. It fits the story so well, and you might be surprised by how much drama the scheme adds to it. Plus when we get a surprise pop of brights or pastels, it’s a dramatic punch in the face that lets you know something is seriously different. Beyond that, it’s just raw and gritty and scary in that unsettling way. Multitudes of eyeballs usually are. And you know what? A story about the grim reaper and killing sinners really should be a bit unsettling.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: RWBY The Official Manga 1 by Bunta Kinami

RWBY THE OFFICIAL MANGA 1 by Bunta Kinami – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Great to read, but some visuals that were difficult to parse out into elements and movement.
Expected Release: July 21, 2020

Recommended: yes!
For those who like the supernatural-hunter kind of manga, for very clearly defined character personalities, for some intriguing lore and monsters, and of course for anyone who’s seen the Rooster Teeth production it’s based on

Summary:
In the world of Remnant, monsters known as Grimm wreak havoc. They’re kept in check by Huntsmen and Huntresses, highly skilled warriors experienced in monster extermination who utilize their special abilities on the field of battle. Ruby is a ferociously talented young girl who comes to Beacon Academy to hone her skills and serve as a Huntress herself. Alongside her sister Yang Xiao Long, rival Weiss Schnee and newfound friend Blake Belladonna, Ruby leads Team RWBY, the coolest new group at Beacon! Ruby takes her first step on the road to becoming a Huntress by enrolling at Beacon Academy, eager to take on the battery of tests, challenges and difficulties that follow. Ruby knows her talents will take her to her goal, but is she ready to clash with Weiss Schnee, haughty scion of the Schnee Dust Company?

Thoughts:
I’m in an unusual position I think, as I have been aware of this series since it started with Rooster Teeth. However at that time I didn’t enjoy the animation style they used, and wasn’t able to watch more than a few episodes before being turned off despite what seemed like a promising plot. So when I heard there was a manga version of it… WELL. That sounded perfect – I could finally get the story without the animation!

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson

Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Loved it! It was so fun to get the detailed story that you play through when starting as a worgen in WoW. There are parallels through each, but details in this one that add so much to the story. And Genn is such an inspiring badass.

Recommended: yes!
If you’ve played a worgen this will be familiar but give more detail and background, for fans of the series who want gorgeous art on a dark, dramatic, and intense storyline, for a darkly illustrated story about werewolves and a city on the brink of desctruction

Summary:
The world’s most popular massively multiplayer online videogame continues its exodus into comics with this new graphic novel. The best-selling WORLD OF WARCRAFT comic series returns in time for a worldwide cataclysm! A series of grisly, animalistic murders have rocked the walled town of Gilneas. A famous detective sets out to discover the perpetrators and finds far more than he bargained for. To find the truth, he must delve through years of twisted history – both the history of his family and Gilneas itself. 

Thoughts:
My first character in World of Warcraft was a worgen, so the starting area quests for that are really stuck up in my head. Seeing those quests and moments drawn and woven into the comic was like a return to an old friend. Even without that background coming into this, the story is undeniably dramatic – how could an infestation of werewolves and undead at the gates not be? Betrayal, self-discovery, old enemies, new friends… it sounds cliche, but it’s actually fantastic.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Sons of Fire by Tracy Auerbach

Sons of Fire by Tracy Auerbach – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For the standard fun of watching a non-human have to adjust to becoming human, for a new imagining of Hell (and Lucifer, who takes an unusual personality)

POWER. This is Aidan, for sure!

Summary:
Keegan has always been the unfortunate by-product of his brother’s creation. Their father, the Demon King of Fire, grooms Keegan’s brother Aidan as his heir while merely tolerating Keegan and his shameful emotions. But when his father tries a power grab in Hell, it ends with Keegan and Aidan being cast to Earth with a challenge of humanity. If they fail, they will both be cast into the abyss. Forced to work together with their roles reveresed, Keegan struggles with newfound demonic power while Aidan is blasted with human emotion. Navigating this new world while trying to save themselves is hard enough, but they begin to uncover secrets that leave them asking: what is their father truly planning with this challenge?

Thoughts:
This was both exactly what I expected, and not what I expected, which ended up evening out into an okay read. When our two protags get to Earth and find out how their roles have been reversed, I was drooling a bit like “Oh yeah, this is what I’ve been waiting for!” But then for a while it felt like any other standard teen story where the main characters struggle with fitting in and having a crush.

For demons from Hell, this change felt weirdly simplistic; it was hard for me to accept the abrupt switch with so few ramifications of their original natures. Granted, this is addressed and it got easier to accept throughout, but I had been anticipating some more dire situations given powerful demon Princes of Fire were walking Earth….

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Sons of Fire Update

Pretty dope cover, though

Currently reading Sons of Fire by Tracy Auerbach (thanks Netgalley) and it’s both what I expected and not at the same time. I think I was imagining something a little more grandiose, with larger stakes for the world. I mean, you’ve got two Princes of Fire running loose on Earth, and that seems like a significant issue when their primary energy force is human souls.

It’s smaller scale than that, but it does have the fun “learning-to-be-human” aspect of it. I’m grateful that’s present, as it’s always entertaining. I just want there to be more to it, more depth to hold my interest.

These are demons; I don’t want this to end up feeling like a typical high school crush novel. That said… this quote made me absolutely crack up. 😂

I would set all the world’s lands ablaze or boil the seas if you asked me to. I have the power, you know. I’m a Prince. A Fire prince.

Sons of Fire by Tracy Auerbach; Aidan, attempting pick-up lines while smashed

PS – this is releasing tomorrow, for anyone interested in a copy!