Saturday, December 30, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (289)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi there! So, this past year has been weird for me. I am sorry about the lack of posts this month, especially since I said I'd try and post something, but then I was sick with a bad cold for the last week and I'm finally feeling better. What a way to end the year.

Going forward, I'll hopefully be sticking to the schedule more, trying to come up with different kinds of posts besides reviews and the weekly weekend ramble and Waiting on Wednesday posts. There might be a bit of a skew towards books beyond YA, some more comics and graphic novels and manga. Maybe some more posts on webcomics.

And as always, you're welcome to suggest books I haven't covered yet.

Here's to next year! :)

Reviews going up this week will feature The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Tuesday) and Before I Let You Go by Marieke Nijkamp (Friday). :)
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (received at Christmas)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (288)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

UPDATE! Sorry all, but there won't be any posts going up this week. I'm having a pretty bad headache week right now.

Hello! Sorry this is going up so late, it's been a busy weekend.

I'm not sure if there will be any reviews going up this week, but I'll try to get something up on Friday, maybe a bunch of little reviews of things I've read. I've been going through a much of comics over the last couple of weeks. :)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (ARC from Raincoast Books)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Me on A Poison Dark and Drowning

Title: A Poison Dark and Drowning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

Henrietta doesn't need a prophecy to know that she's in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one. Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook's system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients' past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

A Poison Dark and Drowning is like a dark ruin, full of shadows and secrets and death. So many secrets, so much time spent searching and hiding. But the truth will always be revealed, and in situations like the ones Henrietta finds herself in, the truth often leads to destruction.

Henrietta isn't the chosen one destined to save England from the Ancients, terrible monsters pulled from another plane of existence, but that don't mean she isn't still a sorcerer. The first female sorcerer in ages. That doesn't mean she still doesn't have a job: to protect England and to fight back. She will do whatever it takes to defeat the Ancients, whatever it takes to save Rook. Her search leads her deeper into magician-magic, into someone who first explored its powers, and towards what she hopes will be a new tool of the sorcerers. But in a world like this, there are still hidden truths out there. Secret motives, plots, and plans. And the truth becomes something Henrietta doesn't want to face. But she has to, because she's one of those people who hates feeling useless.

This second book of the trilogy was one thing going wrong after another after another. So much is thrown at Henrietta, be it Rook's sickness or the Ancients coming or the men around her trying to curtail her. Even though she had their powers, they still saw her as less than them. Considering how this book ended and where certain characters ended up, the last book's plot is sure to be interesting.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (359)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

This sounds absolutely amazing. Dark and full of magic. Dangerous. Complicated.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Me on Warcross

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn't just a game—it's a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Convinced she's going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game's creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year's tournament in order to uncover a security problem... and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika's whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she's only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Warcross is a fast-paced race towards a finish line. Towards money and fame in a world of virtual reality, a world where anything can happen. And anything will happen.

Emika is resourceful, smart and crafty. She knows how to code, how to spot things, how to get in an out of sticky situations. Except for the fact that she's behind on her rent and is about to get kicked out of her apartment. Her struggles are realistic and honest, highlighted by the virtual world that almost everyone is obsessed with. In a time where you can play Warcross, where you can create a world where anything is possible, Emika spends her time thinking about her deceased father, her struggles to make money, and her side job of hunting down cheaters. She, mostly, knows how to problem solve. Until her hacks take her too far. Until the game's creator contacts her with an unbelievable deal, pulling her straight into the cutthroat world of competitive Warcross.

Once Emika is on her way to Tokyo, once she's tossed straight into the Warcross games, this becomes a rather fast-paced, high-octane book. It's all about survival, both in the game and in real life for Emika. Surviving in order to win the stages, surviving in order to keep living. Something, someone, is hacking their way into Warcross, into the matches and the seedy underground scene, and Emika's on the case. But then everything is revealed, leading to the biggest explosion of all. I found the technological aspect, the Warcross virtual world layered over reality while also allowing for total immersion, to be somewhat plausible, considering the current state of VR and video games. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book to see where Emika goes next.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (287)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi all. Sorry about the last few weeks of juggling reviews around and not a lot of weekend chat. The rainy weather was wearing on me, but hopefully I'll feel better after a few days of sun.

I've been speeding through a bunch of comics the last week or so. Now that a bunch of series that I wanted to check out have multiple volumes out and available at my local library, I've been making a lot of holds.

Reviews going up this week will feature Warcross by Marie Lu (Tuesday) and A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (Friday). :)
Kim Reaper Volume 1 by Sarah Graley
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Ms. Marvel Vol 6 & 7
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 2 & 3
Spider-Gwen Vols 0 & 1
Thor: The Goddess of Thunder Vol 1

Friday, December 8, 2017

Me on Horimiya Volume 4

Title: Horimiya Volume 4
Original story: HERO
Artist: Daisuke Hagiwara
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Yen Press

When Miyamura murmurs an "I like you" to Hori, who's laid up in bed with a fever, is he talking to himself? Or is he actually confessing to having feelings for her?! Hori is conflicted, but their secret-filled relationship is unmistakably changing little by little...

Horimiya Volume 4 is, again, the continuing tale of Hori and Miyamura, their friendship and their relationship, their friends and their high school days. But now it's gotten a little more serious.

Miyamura's finally said something, said he likes Hori (in a romantic way). But now there's some distance between the two of them. Now they're both avoiding each other, avoiding having to talk about how their relationship has changed. But it couldn't stay how it used to, right? Someone had to say something. And Miyamura finally said something. And he's going to continue to say something to Hori about it. If only Hori's incredibly nosy dad didn't just show up out of nowhere. On the other side of things at school, Ishikawa's still dealing with knowing that Hori and Miyamura are getting closer while sort of having a crush on Hori.

The whole series nails the odd feelings and contradictions that comes with high school, that comes with being a teen having feelings for someone who's around you almost every day. You're not sure what to say, you're not sure how the other person feels. When you do say something it's either the wrong thing or something completely out of left field in order to hide what you were thinking about. Anyone interested in YA, in complicated personal relationships, in stories full of honest awkwardness and humour should check out this manga.

(I own a copy of this title.)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (358)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Olivia Twist
Author: Lorie Langdon
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Blink (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past... or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

How interesting, an Oliver Twist retelling. But I do wonder how much has been changed, beyond turning Oliver into Olivia. I imagine there'll be a Fagin-type character, someone who got the orphans into crime and in no way cares about their well-being.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Me on Starfish

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she's thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn't quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin. But then Kiko doesn't get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

Starfish is honest and raw, a look at a young woman struggling to find herself, find her place in the world, while it feels like nothing will work out.

Kiko is bright and creative, caring. But she's been beaten down after years of passive-aggressive comments and racist put-downs by her white mother, a woman who cares far more about herself and how others see her than her own children. She rarely says what she's thinking, instead retreating and hiding in her art. Art school will be Kiko's escape, her chance to be free. But then comes the rejection letter. Then comes the news that her uncle, a man who assaulted her when she was younger, is moving in with them, and there goes all of Kiko's hopes and dreams.

I found it so hard, emotionally, to read this. It was easy for me to feel for Kiko, to want the horrible people in her life to be better, to want her to leave them sooner to spare her any more emotional pain. But I couldn't. She had to learn, learn what her limit was, learn that it was okay to leave. Learn that some people will never change, no matter how many times they actually say the right things, because they will always go back to saying the wrong things. With a book this harsh and emotional, there were bound to be parts I didn't enjoy (like Kiko's mother), but without those people and those events, it wouldn't be the same book. It wouldn't be the same blisteringly honest book. I would definitely recommend this to readers looking for honest books, books that so accurately portray the struggle with anxiety and self-doubt.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (286)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Reviews going up this week will feature The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey (Tuesday) and Warcross by Marie Lu (Friday). :)

Ms. Marvel Vols 2-5
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1

Friday, December 1, 2017

Me on Foolish Hearts

Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan imprint)

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

Foolish Hearts is all kinds of sweetness and kindness. It's the story of a girl who never expected to be involved in anything, who figured she'd continue to spend high school flying under the radar, until she overheard something she wasn't supposed to.

Claudia is okay with just being. She's fine with not being popular, with just being average. She's got a supportive family, a great best friend in Zoe. She's happy with who she is, with her place in the world. Until she overhears a rather personal break-up and is threatened by half of the former couple, demanding she keep quiet. What then follows is a string of unexpected and tense events, leading up to the two being forced to assist with the school's theatre production. It's there, in the auditorium and the costume room, and later on various houses and locations, that Claudia starts to branch out. Make new friends. But is she ready?

This felt like a kind book. There were moments of laughter, of fun, of making connections with people when you never thought you'd get along with, but there were also some serious moments. Some hard, honest moments. Moments about connecting with people, about dealing with people who don't have the best personalities. Moments about feeling unskilled and useless. Moments about feeling comfortable. I haven't read any of the author's previous books, but I rather enjoyed this combination of awkwardness, friendship, and Shakespeare.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (357)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Lost Crow Conspiracy
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year old Anna Arden was once just the magically barren girl from an elite Luminate family. Now she has broken the Binding—and Praetheria, the creatures held captive by the spell, wreak havoc across Europe. Lower-class citizens have access to magic for the first time, while other Luminates lose theirs forever. Austria and Hungary are at odds once more.

Anna Arden did not know breaking the Binding would break the world.

Anna thought the Praetheria were on her side, content and grateful to be free from the Binding. She thought her cousin Matyas's blood sacrifice to the disarm the spell would bring peace, equality, justice. She thought her future looked like a society that would let her love a Romani boy, Gabor.

But with the Monarchy breathing down her neck and the Praetheria intimidating her at every turn, it seems the conspiracies have only just begun.

As threat of war sweeps the region, Anna quickly discovers she can't solve everything on her own. Now there's only one other person who might be able to save the country before war breaks out. The one person Anna was sure she'd never see again. A bandit. A fellow outlaw. A man known as the King of Crows. Matyas.

I rather enjoyed the first book Blood Rose Rebellion, even though it wasn't quite what I'd expected. In a good way. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Me on The Speaker

Title: The Speaker
Author: Traci Chee
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive. With Sefia's help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer's fate to her parents' betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard's plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

The Speaker is continuing an epic tale of danger, magic, and an attempt at changing destiny. This is a story about fate, about the ways we try to run from it and the ways it surrounds us, making sure we never escape. Because the story's already been written.

Sefia is continuing her journey. A journey towards the truth, towards what the Book shows her. A journey towards penance, towards an attempt at making things right, because the Book has shown her some troubling things. Like early stories of her parents, of their betrayal to the Guard and their thievery. Of their plans, their creations and searches for a boy with a scar. This is her chance to right their wrongs, save the lives of those taken and forced into painful situations. But will it be enough?

Archer is free from the impressors, on the run with Sefia, but the horrors he was forced to do still plague him. Haunt his dreams. So much damage was done to him, him and so many other young boys taken by the impressors, trained to fight to the death for a chance for glory. Along with Sefia and the Book, they can find the impressors. Take them down. Free the other boys. But there are some fights where the bloodlust takes hold and Archer finds it harder and harder to not be who he once was.

As with the first book, I was in awe of this second offering. How it takes books and words and gives them such power, how it makes them such wondrous things with the ability to create and destroy on such an immense scale. Words have power, yes. We see this in our daily lives. But what if we could use words like magic, make the impossible possible? And what if, in order to keep the world from destroying itself, we had to destroy books? Eliminate all words? The tension is building, forces are moving. Searching. Sefia and Archer's story has already been written, it's all somewhere in the Book. It's destiny. But that doesn't mean they can't try everything in order to change it. I can't wait for the next book, to see how it will all turn out.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (285)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi all! Sorry these posts aren't longer. It's hard to think of things when it's rainy and dreary and the lack of sun brings me down.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Speaker by Traci Chee (Tuesday) and Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (Friday). :)
The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey (borrowed from the library)
Across the Indigo by Elsie Chapman (e-galley from Amulet Books through NetGalley)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Me on Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books (Macmillan imprint)

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she'd always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king's heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she'll have to become a stepmother. Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen's image, at her father's order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she's ever known… or else defeat her once and for all.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is full of sorrow and strength, full of searching. Searching for love, for a place to call one's own.

Lynet is inquisitive and compassionate. Curious about the people that visit the castle, because she's never left the wintry world that surrounds Whitespring. She's a sheltered princess looking for something that's hers, something that can only be hers. Something that means she can come out from her deceased mother's shadow that so many people keep her under. People like her father. Her stepmother Mina is the only one who understands, the only one who sees her as herself. But when Lynet discovers the truth about herself, that she was crafted from snow and blood, she wonders what else was kept from her. If she will ever be able to be her own person.

Mina is lonely, unloved and uncared for. Her father only raises her because she owes him her life, that without him crafting her a heart of glass she would've surely died as a child. But what about love? Mina craves a place that's hers, a love that's hers. Isn't she worthy of being loved, even if she has no heartbeat? And when she finally has something that's hers, what will she do when it's taken from her?

I found the premise of this to be rather intriguing, a Snow White-esque retelling all about the princess and her stepmother, the circumstances of their situations and the evolution of their characters. It's so interesting, how they were each crafted of something both fragile and strong. The way glass shatters, the way snow melts, but the way glass reflects and reveals, the way snow can compact and protect. This was surprising, it's all about these young women discovering who they truly are, discovering what makes them strong, and the compassion that runs through them. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for unique fairy tale retellings.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (356)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Leah of the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

I'm so exited for this! I love Becky's books, they're honest and hard but in such a supportive way. I can't wait to read this.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Me on Not Now, Not Ever

Title: Not Now, Not Ever
Author: Lily Anderson
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Macmillan imprint)

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards. What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family's expectations. Because why do what's expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you're sure your family will consider a complete waste of time? This summer's going to be great.

Not Now, Not Ever is clever and fun, the story of a teenager trying to escape to and find her place in before time runs out. But events never happen as they're planned out.

Elliot's looking for a place to escape to. A place where she doesn't have to worry about what other people want from her, what they expect her to do in the future. What about what she wants to do? Sure, the Air Force is in her family, but she's not exactly sure if she wants to enlist. So she takes a chance when she gets it, heading off to a somewhat stress-filled academic competition in order to win a scholarship to a college she'd love to attend. Not just because it's not the air force or pre-law, but because it could mean studying science fiction. But the camp is far more tense and competitive than she thought it would be, and her campmates are far weirder than she'd expected.

This book is fun, it had moments of genius teen snark and attitude, nerdy pop culture references, and teenage romance. I'd never read Wilde, so while I did look up the plot of the play beforehand, I imagine there were a few The Importance of Being Earnest references that I missed. It was nice to read another Lily Anderson book, to read about characters having abstract or geeky interests and acting like real people with flaws, dreams, and heaps of confusion. While I didn't necessarily like this one as much as the first book, this was still enjoyable.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Wednesday Books through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (355)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

From Goodreads:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

I've heard a bunch of good things about this book so I'm curious as to how it will go. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Me on The Fallen Kingdom

Title: The Fallen Kingdom
Author: Elizabeth May
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything. Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever. Aileana's only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty. To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.

The Fallen Kingdom is the conclusion to a series steeped in fae magic and blood, danger and destruction. It's the end of Aileana Kameron's story, her journey of hunting and searching, of anger and sadness, and unless she finds what she's looking for, it'll be the end of the world.

Aileana has returned. Somehow. Because she has to save the world from what it has become, and from what it may become. A battlefield, with Kiaran leading one side and Aithinne leading the other, siblings destined to kill each other to keep all the words from collapsing into nothing. With strange and powerful fae magic running through her, Aileana and those she holds close are racing against time, racing to find a book that can turn back curses. But darkness lingers and enemies are everywhere. Enemies ready and waiting to have their own way. But Aileana will not stop. Even if it means her own death. As long as those she cares about are safe.

As always, when a series ends, I find myself looking back on it as a whole. This is a trilogy of magic, of impossibility. Of life and death. Of compassion, redemption, and vengeance. Of the strength we find in ourselves when we are at our most vulnerable. It's lush with hope and sorrow, with connections to those we call friends and family in those darkest hours. I've found it to be an amazing series to read and I couldn't be happier with how it ended.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (284)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! So much rain. *floats on down the street*

Reviews going up this week will feature The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (Tuesday) and Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (Friday). :)
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston (bought)
Warcross by Marie Lu (e-book borrowed from the library)
The Speaker by Traci Chee (e-book borrowed from the library)
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (e-book borrowed from the library)
Seeker by Veronica Rossi (e-book borrowed from the library)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (e-book borrowed from the library)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Renegades

Hi there! Welcome to one of today's stops on the blog tour for Marissa Meyer's newest book, Renegades!
It's all about superheroes, about good and evil and the spaces in between. About what pushes us to help or to hinder. About what makes a hero, what makes a villain. To celebrate Renegades, enjoy this post that has both my review and a question answered by the wonderful Marissa Meyer herself. :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (354)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Defiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada (US publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Random House)

From Goodreads:

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.

Considering the first, the battles and the harsh reality of Fallon's situation and the manipulation, this will probably be just as brutal.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Me on Retribution Rails

Title: Retribution Rails
Author: Erin Bowman
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece's path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

Retribution Rails is all about investigation and redemption, a story about two people willing to use each other to get free of terrible situations and the truths they discover along the way.

Reece was once lost but now part of a group. Which at least means safety, even if they are a gang of bandits and thieves. Murderers. Robbing trains and carriages, stealing. Taking in order to survive. Not the Reece necessarily wants to be there, but he has no choice. Not until he finds the man who gave him a strange gold coin. Then he'll be free. Then he'll be able to forget about all the things he's done, all the people he's hurt. But you can't run from the past.

Charlotte is intelligent and persistent. She'll stop at nothing to uncover the truth, to tell the story as it is. The truth is absolute, no matter who it'll hurt. Who she'll manipulate in order to get her story. Especially if she wants to survive a train robbery and an accidental kidnapping. Even if she stumbles across the best story she's ever heard. But there's the truth as it happened and the truth people want to believe, and sometimes the latter needs to be told instead of the former.

This definitely holds up as a companion to Vengeance Road, but I think you can read this without reading the first. Reading the first certainly provides some backstory to some somewhat important characters but not the main ones of Reece and Charlotte. They're like oil and water when they come together, ready to use each other in order to stay free or alive. The western setting is harsh and unforgiving, cold and painful, where consequences often lead to being on the wrong end of a gun barrel. This is very much a story about two people willing to do anything they can to be free f their circumstances, and the harsh reality that their actions have real consequences for both them and others they never meant to hurt. For readers who enjoyed the first book and readers looking for more western-set YA, I would suggest this.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (283)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! It snowed! Which was terrible. But not that much. But still. It doesn't give me hope that the winter won't be as cold and snowy as it was last year. It's not supposed to be that cold and snowy here in the winter. Curse you, climate change. *shakes fist*

Reviews going up this week will feature Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (Tuesday) and a blog tour featuring Renegadess by Marissa Meyer (Thursday). :)
A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Me on Last Star Burning

Title: Last Star Burning
Author: Caitlin Sangster
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That's the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation. Now her mother's body is displayed above Traitor's Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she's more valuable alive than dead. When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev's only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman's son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can't help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother's crimes—than he lets on. But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev's life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Last Star Burning is a layered story, a story of fear and sickness and rebellion. A story about a girl wanting to prove she's more than her traitor mother and the places she's forced to go in order to stay alive.

Sev knows her place in the City, even as she hates it. Hates what her mother did years ago. Hates that no one can look past her name, her scar that marks her as a traitor, her face that looks so much like her mother's. But she's hoping that one day, maybe, she'll prove her place as someone useful. But then there's an attack and Sev's on the run to stay alive, afraid the City will finally punish her like they did her mother. But then she meets Howl, who knows more about her and her mother than she expects, and discovers so many things she thought she knew were lies.

This was interesting to read. I could see where the author drew inspiration from Chinese history and culture, but it's very much set in a slightly ruined futuristic fantasy dystopian setting. I kept waiting for something different to happen, something to happen to Sev because of her illness and her delusions. It's a story that seems to be all about the people in it, their decisions, their plots and plans. Some twists were predictable, but some weren't. There were times when I felt it dragged, where it was slow. It was something a little different than past dystopian books, and I was interested in some parts, but it was a bit too slow for my tastes.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (353)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Robots vs. Fairies
Editors: Navah Wolfe & Dominik Parisien
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Saga Press

From Goodreads:

Get ready for the ultimate deathmatch between the mechanical and the magical.

Travel with us to distant stars, step sideways into worlds under the hill, journey across ruined landscapes at the end of the world, solve riddles in the Old West, and follow that strange music to the dive bar down the road. The robots and fairies are waiting for you there, they are waiting for you everywhere. And now the time has come to choose a side. Old stories will be upgraded, worlds will collide, science will give way to magic and magic will become science.

Join 18 bestselling, award-winning and up and coming authors as they pick a side and take a stand to answer the question on everyone’s mind: when the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in the epic battle between the artificial and the (super)natural?

I WANT. That is all. ;)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Me on Taproot

Title: Taproot
Author: Keezy Young
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Lion Forge

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He's in love with his best friend. He's also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart's content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal's strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means... leaving him.

Taproot is a sweet and sad story about two people, one a ghost caught in-between life and death and one a friendly gardener. Both have secrets, but only one could spell disaster.

Blue is a ghost, which makes things a little hard, but it's all good for the most part. He can still wander around through town, and there are other ghosts he can talk to and hang out with. There's lots of opportunities for people watching. And there's Hamal, who strangely enough can see ghosts. So it's not too lonely. But it's not the same. Because he can't touch anything. And there are rumours going around about a creepy dead forest pulling some of the local ghosts to it. Hamal works in a flower shop. He's a helpful and friendly guy, maybe a little shy at times, and he loves his job. And he can see ghosts, which is something he's been able to do since he was a kid so they don't scare him. They can actually be rather friendly. Like Blue. He likes spending time with Blue, but sometimes things can get awkward. As close as they are, Blue's still dead. Maybe it's time for Hamal to make more friends. Alive friends.

I rather enjoy Young's art style here. The different buildings that make up the city. The different characters, the wide range of skin colours and body types. The colours fit well with the story, lots of greens and blues, and then the lack of colour in the strange forest, just black and grey and white. I also liked their facial expressions, Hamal's curious face and Blue's big smile.

I remember reading this as a webcomic, so I'm happy to see it published and expanded at the end (from what I remember). It's a sweet story about friendship and death, about secrets and how we want to both keep them to ourselves and say them out loud before we burst. Because sometimes we wait too long before saying something important to someone we care about. I would recommend this to readers looking for more standalone graphic novels with older protagonists, those in their teens or 20's and later.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Lion Forge through NetGalley.)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (282)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi all! It'm crossing my fingers that the brisk fall weather will hold out, that the rain will stay away for longer.

Sorry about the lack of rambling and pics this week. Maybe net week! :)

Reviews going up this week will feature Taproot by Keezy Young (Tuesday) and Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster (Friday). :)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (e-galley)
The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (borrowed from the library)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Me on The Tea Dragon Society

Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author/artist: Katie O'Neill
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Publisher: Oni Press

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

The Tea Dragon Society is all kinds of sweetness and whimsy. It's a kind, gentle story about a young girl discovering an almost lost art and the new friends it brings her while also wondering about her own future.

Greta is a sweet and friendly girl, following her mother's footsteps and training under her to become a blacksmith. But are those skills really useful anymore? Adventurers and magicians are becoming things of the past, and Greta's feeling unsure. While she is interested, while she wants to continue, she wonders if it's okay to keep blacksmithing if so few have any use of what she could create. But then one day she discovers a bullied and scared tea dragon in town.

The artwork is wonderful, a little similar to O'Neill's previous graphic novel Princess Princess but different enough that it holds its own. The mixture of bright and pastel colours, the near-constant appearance of vines and flowers in the backgrounds. The big smile of Greta's, along with that charming little fang. The waterfall-like flow of Minette's hair, as dreamy as her own expression when she struggles to remember. The different body types of the tea dragons, from long and slim Jasmine to plump and drowsy Chamomile. And the different body types of the characters, from Greta's mom being so tall and sort of muscular to Erik, battered and scarred from years of adventuring, moving around in a wheelchair.

An overall message or theme here is that, with Greta's blacksmithing apprenticeship and the art of making tea from tea dragons, history and knowledge is something to be cherished, to be continued as the world becomes more modern. There is still something to learn by heating metal in fire, by striking it with a hammer. Something to learn in taking it slow, in memories good and bad. There's still magic in old things, in slowly creating and nurturing. And there's so much diversity in this book, different races and body types and sexuality. This feels very much like the beginning of something, and I so hope that there will be more from O'Neill set in this enchanting fantasy world of tea dragons. It's definitely something I would recommend to all ages, especially kids looking for something kind and magical.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Oni Press through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Timekeeper

Hello there! Welcome to today's tour stop for the paperback release of Tara Sim's wonderful Timekeeper!

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Tara Sim
Release Date: October 31, 2017 (paperback copy)
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Canadian distributor: Thomas Allen & Son

Two o'clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It's a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny's new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower's clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield's time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he's fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he'll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

Get Your Copy Today! Indigo - -

As this is a tour for Timekeeper's paperback release, it's a good chance to remember some of the nice things I said last year when the hardcover came out. For those interested, the full review can be found here.
Timekeeper is intriguing, enthralling, mysterious, and more than a little somber. It's a story about lonely souls and missing hours, of hope and love and selfishness... I was intrigued by the world-building here, by the need for advancement in clock mechanisms because of the changes to time. Because of time being something slightly tangible, something that can be reined in and controlled... I also liked how the author altered other parts of history, like this world's views of homosexuality. Danny isn't ridiculed or hated, but it's the default of most he comes across that, when they ask if he's seeing anyone, they assume he'd date a girl... As I read this I was struck by a sweet, melancholy tone that carried me along, rising and falling as Danny worked on the clock tower in Enfield and uncovered more and more behind the bombings and the Stopped towns. At times I chuckled and at times I wanted to cry. There were some interesting pokes and prods at a deeper mystery going on, one Danny brushes up against near the end, so I'm curious as to where the second book will go and what will be revealed.
To celebrate Timekeeper's paperback release, here's an excerpt from the eagerly anticipated (and not just by me!) sequel, Chainbreaker!
Daphne remained silent. She was painfully aware of standing between these two men—two sides of a war, two sides of her birth. There was a strangeness to her skin just then, as if it weren’t actually hers. She wanted to scratch at it, see if it would flake off and reveal something truer. Something in-between, something like a mark, that would determine what to say, what to think, what she was.
Also to celebrate, Thomas Allen & Son is holding a giveaway, the prize being a paperback copy of Timekeeper! Quick note that this giveaway is Canada only and ends on October 31. The full rules can be found in the widget.

Click here to enter!

Tara Sim can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area in California. When she’s not
chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Timekeeper is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website for fun Timekeeper extras!

Tara's website - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Goodreads

Thanks so so much to Thomas Allen & Son for arranging the blog tour and the giveaway. And thank you so much to Tara Sim for the sweetness that is Danny and Colton and Timekeeper. :)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (352)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Radical Element
Editor: Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press

From Goodreads:

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.

I rather liked the first of Jessica Spotswood's anthologies, A Tyranny of Petticoats, and so I'm curious about this one.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (281)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello all! Not much to talk about this week. It's been dreary and rainy and so fall-like here. Maybe next week I'll have something to talk about.

Reviews going up this week will feature a blog tour stop for the paperback release of Tara Sim's Timekeeper (Wednesday) and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill (Friday). :)

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Me on Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!

Title: Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!
Author: Mariko Tamaki
Illustrator: Brooke A. Allen
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams imprint)

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen... and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella's, where the woods contain endless mysteries. Today is no exception. When challenge-loving April leads the girls on a hike up the TALLEST mountain they've ever seen, things don't go quite as planned. For one, they didn't expect to trespass into the lands of the ancient Cloud People, and did anyone happen to read those ominous signs some unknown person posted at the bottom of the mountain? Also, unicorns.

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! is an adventure of epic proportions, because when can you have more fun if not at camp with your best friends wandering through the woods, investigating mysteries, and finding supernatural creatures grazing in fields?

This book is about everyone of cabin Roanoke. Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley. Even Jen and her near-constant worrying if the girls are really paying attention to what she wants them to do. But in little ways it's a bit more about April. It's April who often leads them on adventures, plotting and planning beforehand. It's April who doesn't stop, won't stop, and keeps moving. And it's April who leads them here, first looking for different types of plants and then up a mountain. It's all well and good to lead, to plot and plan, but sometimes you have to stop and think. You have to stop and ask your friends if they're all okay with climbing up a strange mountain.

Having read some of the comics, I think this is a great companion for young readers. It's quick and fun and messy like their comic adventures with a little more character insight and background than you'll get from a character's conflicted expression. Here in book form, the girls' thoughts and feelings are more accessible. And I fell in love with new character Barney, the genderqueer/non-binary camper who's new to the Lumberjanes. The illustrations by Brooke A. Allen were great, a wonderful reminder of the comic art and a great break in the prose. I would certainly recommend this to middle grade readers of the Lumberjanes comics.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Amulet Books through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (351)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Obsidio
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Yesssssssss. I've been vocal in how much I love this series. It's different and weird and complicated and epic and deadly and I want to know how it all ends while having it not end. Because it's so good.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Me on Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom

Title: Cucumber Quest Volume 1: The Doughnut Kingdom
Author: Gigi D.G.
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: First Second (Macmillan imprint)

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction? World domination, obviously. The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they'll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia's Nightmare Knight. Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour? Sure, why not?

Cucumber Quest Volume 1: The Doughnut Kingdom is the beginning of a fun but dangerous adventure to save the seven kingdoms of the world from an evil plot.

Cucumber is kind and quiet, ready to head off to school to learn as much as he can. But then he gets dragged into a plan to save the land from an evil queen. Why? Just because he's a boy? Why can't his sister Almond, who's desperate to become a knight righting wrongs and defeating evil, do it? Because she's a girl? Unfortunately, they're surrounded by adults who don't listen, and so both of them end up on a mission to save the world from an evil queen and her dreams of destruction.

The artwork is rather cute and fun, lots of bright colours. And lots of food puns with everyone's colouring and clothing being related to the food that makes up their name. Cucumber in green, Almond in brown, Sir Carrot in orange, and so forth. With everyone being some kind of bunny person, it makes it all rather fun and sweet to look at.

This certainly feels like the beginning of a journey for Cucumber and Almond, the start of a standard epic quest. And there are also jabs made at standard epic quests, like Cucumber being told to 'be a man' and him questioning why and Almond being told she has to be protected because she's the little sister, to show how those standard epic quests were often sexist and utterly ridiculous. It takes those clichés and flips them, tosses them aside. Little sisters can be knights. Knights can be afraid and run when they're desperately needed. It asks questions about why things are done in certain ways, why it has to be older brothers that protect, and goes about in different directions. But it feels very much like a beginning. There's a lot of establishing going on. I would definitely recommend this to middle grade readers, to kids looking for a new epic quest graphic novel with fun characters and without a lot of violence.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from First Second Books through NetGalley.)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (280)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! The cold I had last week is still lingering, it's been a while since I've been so sick and it stuck around for a couple of weeks. I'll be resting a bit more and hopefully catching up on my reading over the weekend.

Reviews going up this week will feature Cucumber Quest Volume 1: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G. (Tuesday) and Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki & Brooke Allen (Friday). :)
Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (e-book borrowed from the library)
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Me on All the Crooked Saints

Title: All the Crooked Saints
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars. At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo. They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

All the Crooked Saints is a heavy book, full of the weight of all the characters and what makes them up. Their wants and their fears. Their secrets. The important things left unspoken.

It's hard to describe this book, like it is whenever I read a Maggie Stiefvater book. This seems so much like a book about people and their interpersonal relationships as opposed to a magical realism story about people and their interpersonal relationships. The magical realism is still there, the priest with a coyote's head and the twins tied together by a large snake, but to me it felt weighted down by the characters and their decisions. After The Raven Cycle, a series I found to be full of magic coursing through winds and whispers and trees, this felt far different. Slow. Heavy with shadow. Unfortunately for me, for my reading tastes, I didn't enjoy it as much as her previous books, but I imagine others might feel different.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Scholastic Canada.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (350)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Blood Water Paint
Author: Joy McCullough
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

A stunning debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough's bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia's heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia's most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman's timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

This definitely seems like one of those will absolutely wreck you books. It'll leave me a blubbering mess, but I want to read it. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Me on This Darkness Mine

Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She's worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved. But suddenly there's a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she's never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she's avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he's near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn't know him at all? Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another's: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn't explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she's willing to do—and who she's willing to hurt—to take it back.

This Darkness Mine is dark, eerie, and twisted. It's an exploration of character, a look at what makes us us, how the pieces that make us up form us. But what if something inside our bodies wasn't ours to begin with?

Sasha is intelligent and gifted, she's methodical. A little cold, a little manipulative and calculating, but she knows what she wants. Friends who accept her as she is. A boyfriend who won't pressure her too much but knows what to do and what to say. A straight path to Oberlin and being a star clarinet player. Her future is ahead of her, bright and waiting. Until Issac Harver's name appears in her phone, in her text messages. Until he starts bringing up some rather personal details about her that no one should know. Until her heart stops beating, revealing a dark secret. Leaving Sasha with the knowledge that her heart might not actually be hers.

This felt very much like a psychological thriller kind of horror story. There's a lot to wonder about Sasha, her heart, and her lost twin. Were the messages and the moments with Issac really with her twin? Or was it all Sasha, looking for an escape after years of forcing herself to be prim and proper and hopefully successful? There's a lot about Sasha's mental state that I wondered about. The story as a whole didn't necessarily unfold the way I thought it would, but I would recommend this to those interested in creepy psychological thrillers.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (279)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi there! It's been a cool-ish but sunny fall so far, but it looks like there'll be a bit of rain coming.

I'm so sorry that there wasn't a review up on Friday. I was laid up with a pretty bad head cold this week, all stuffed up and drowsy and useless, so I couldn't get though any books read or get any posts written. But I'm getting better and reviews will be back up starting on Tuesday.

Reviews going up this week will feature This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis (Tuesday) and All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (Friday). :)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster (e-galley from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Me on Berserker

Title: Berserker
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit. No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice. Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Berserker is a fast-paced journey towards hope and away from sorrow. It's a story of rage and death and fear, a story about a girl afraid to embrace the dangerous power that lives inside her. But to save her family, she'll have to harness that power.

Hanne is quiet, stoic. Strong. Protective of her family. She's also the holder of an ancient gift passed down from the god-king Odin through families, like her father and brothers are. Hanne is a Berserker, destined to fly into an unstoppable rage if any she cares about are threatened and will stop at nothing until those who wish harm are dead. But all she sees is a murderer, a monster. She wishes she'd never been given this gift. Until some drunk men appear, threatening her father, and Hanne's gift takes over once again. Now she and her siblings are on the run, tagging onto her brother Stieg's plan to leave Norway for America. But the gifts of families like Hanne's are desired by others, those who would seek to use them for their own purposes, and all siblings must be cautious for many reasons.

This is a bit of a short book but it does pack a punch. There's Hanne's inner struggles, her strained relationship with her sister Sissel, the culture shock and discoveries they make once the 4 siblings make land in America, and the inclusion of guide and cowboy Owen Bennett, a young man with a secret in his past and hope for the future. If he can only make a little money. I would certainly recommend this to readers looking for more standalone stories, those wanting something a little different in the late 1800's American West. Those wanting a contained story about a young woman who struggles so hard with what lurks inside of her, a young woman whose mind is at war with her instincts.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)