Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday #12: Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

by Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship. 

I am SO excited for this companion novel to Furthermore! I absolutely adored Furthermore, and I have been waiting to read Whichwood for what feels like forever. I really love middle grade stories, and I can't wait to get lost in Tahereh Mafi's beautiful writing again. I'm looking forward to going on another adventure with her characters. I'm going to devour this book the second I get my hands on it!




Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Wishful Endings.
This meme is based on Waiting-on Wednesday, which went inactive last year.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Anything But Books Tag

I saw this tag over at Read All The Things and immediately knew I had to do it! I don't often get to talk about non-bookish things so hopefully this is as much fun to read as it was to write!


CARTOON(S) YOU LOVE?

My favorite cartoons that I currently watch are Family Guy, South Park, and American Dad. Who's shocked? My favorites from childhood that I love rewatching are Rugrats, Doug, and Spongebob.



YOUR FAVORITE SONG RIGHT NOW?

I have something super shocking to share - I really don't listen to music. Like, ever. If I do it's probably a Disney movie soundtrack, so I guess my favorite right now is Evermore from the new Beauty and the Beast movie.



WHAT COULD YOU DO FOR HOURS (THAT ISN’T READING)?

Binge watching movies or shows, lurking on Reddit, walking around Barnes & Noble.



SOMETHING YOU LOVE THAT YOUR FOLLOWERS WOULD BE SURPRISED BY?

Trash reality TV - don't judge me. I love Survivor and The Challenge and, yes, even The Bachelor(ette).



YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO LEARN ABOUT?

Serial killers from (way) back in the day, Walt Disney, urban legends, religions, ancient history.



SOMETHING UNUSUAL YOU KNOW HOW TO DO?

Assist an ophthalmologist with cataract surgery. It's surprisingly quick and easy once you get the hang of it!



SOMETHING YOU’VE MADE IN THE LAST YEAR?

A lot of candles, which I actually really like doing, thankfully! Sadly there are always more ideas than money to go around :/



YOUR MOST RECENT PERSONAL PROJECT?

Choosing paint colors and attempting to decorate my house. I watch a lot of HGTV and try to act like I know what I'm doing but the truth is I don't have a creative bone in my body.



SOMETHING YOU THINK ABOUT OFTEN?

Climate change, how the world will end, whether my dogs are really that dumb or if they're just acting that way, what's for dessert.



YOUR ODDLY SPECIFIC FAVORITES?

Reading by a window on the second floor of Columbia Harbor House in the Magic Kingdom, weather just cold enough to wear a sweatshirt but not cold enough to actually be cold, vinegar on turkey.



THE FIRST THING THAT POPS INTO YOUR HEAD?

Bob (I don't know anyone named Bob but okay, brain.)




If you enjoyed this post, I tag you! 
Monday, September 18, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Fresh Romance, Vol. 1

Title: Fresh Romance, Vol. 1
Authors & Illustrators: Sarah Kuhn, Kate Leth, Sarah Vaughn, Marguerite Bennet, Kieron Gillen, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sally Jane Thompson, Trungles, Christine Norrie
Publication Date: August 3, 2016
Publisher: Oni Press
Pages: 224

Add to Goodreads

The critically-acclaimed anthology FRESH ROMANCE is finally available in print! Have you been wondering what the fuss is all about? FRESH ROMANCE is an exciting collection of romance comics from some of comics most talented creators, including Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sarah Kuhn, Marguerite Bennett, and Trungles. From unhappy historical marriages to covert teenage romances, there's something for everyone in FRESH ROMANCE. 

I picked up Fresh Romance in early 2016 and had every intention of reading it. Instead it sat on my shelf for over a year and I am just now getting around to picking it up. I didn't realize when I brought this home that it was an anthology of short graphic novels ranging in genre from paranormal to historical fiction. My main takeaway from this anthology is that the stories are entirely too short. I was interested in most of them, but they were SO short that it was really hard to feel like I'd enjoyed them fully. Something I really did appreciate though was how diverse most of them were. Here are my thoughts on each of the four (five?) stories included:

SCHOOL SPIRIT
This story was cute once I got my bearings. I felt a bit thrown into things, but as I understood what was really going on I really enjoyed the romance and the paranormal elements I totally wasn't expecting. School Spirit is the most diverse out of all of these stories and, while it was hard reading about the reactions to Justine and Malie's relationship, I loved them together! Sadly, this story really had no resolution. School Spirit feels like there SHOULD be something more to it - more volumes - but I can't find them. Overall a sweet story but annoyingly unresolved. (3 stars)

RUINED
Completely switching gears, Ruined is about a woman named Catherine, her mysterious backstory with an unknown lover (I'm assuming this is where she was "ruined"? *cringes*), and her arranged marriage to a man named Andrew. I actually really enjoyed this story a lot, but I wish I could find the rest of it! Ruined ends with "to be continued..." and is titled "Volume One," but it seems like there haven't been any additional volumes published and the author has fallen off the map. (4 stars)

THE RUBY EQUATION
This story was a little too weird and fast for me. It's about a girl named Ruby who is from some other unspecified world and her mission is to make people fall in love in a coffee shop for reasons. This one just really wasn't for me. Ruby was okay, but the speed with which she changed her outlook and the lack of explanation given for anything really just didn't do it. (2 stars)

BEAUTIES
Beauties was another really, really weird story. It's apparently a Beauty and the Beast retelling in which Beauty's father is a prince with two other daughters. The Beast is made the family pet and Beauty falls in love with him for (again) reasons. This story was incredibly short and definitely could have stood to be a bit longer to fill in some (any) details. (2 stars)

FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS
Honestly, I don't even know what this is. I tried really hard to understand the point. I mean... at least the art was pretty. (1 star)

While I didn't love every story, this anthology had SO much potential! Unfortunately it seems like it has been abandoned and the one story that ended with "to be continued" will go unresolved. After reading I checked out the website advertised in the back of the book ("Can't wait for more Fresh Romance? Head over to rosypress.com...") only to find that there's absolutely nothing there except a link to an old Kickstarter. Keep in mind, this anthology was published in 2016. I feel fortunate to have gotten a copy for free. If I'd paid for it I would've been pretty irritated.

My rating for Fresh Romance was originally 2.5 stars, but I'm taking off a star because the story that ended on a cliffhanger (the only one I really, really enjoyed) has no next volume and the rest of the stories are so unresolved. I've read quite a few graphic novels over the years and I've never felt quite this irritated over the distinct lack of endings. I definitely can't recommend seeking this one out.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekly Recap: 9/10 - 9/16


TRACY'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Happy weekend, everyone! I've spent the week between Dublin, London, and Paris and it has been an adventure! I've seen Dublin Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Versailles. Each one was progressively more impressive! In hindsight I probably should've planned less countries to visit because we haven't had much time to see things, but we've done a few highlights that we were excited about. Luckily our house made it through the hurricane just fine, although we still don't have power. Hopefully it's back by the time we're home. Thanks for sticking with me while I've been a horrible commenter! I promise I'll be back soon!



NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

Nothing new this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

Nothing this week!



MC'S HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Alright guys, I've got another boring recap for you. This one is going to be short and sweet because I literally did nothing but work this whole week. When I wasn't actually at work, I was at home, working on a huge project. By the time Friday night arrived, I was exhausted and didn't want to do anything. I haven't picked up a book in a while, and I probably won't for at least another week. But this weekend I'm off to a wedding in a library! I'm so excited. It's going to be a blast and I can't wait to help my friends celebrate! Fingers crossed that next week I will actually have something interesting to share with you!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

No new books this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

Nothing this week!



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Monday audiobook review of The Sandcastle Empire
The topic was throwback books for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured Winter Glass for Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday DNF audiobook review of Soundless


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, September 14, 2017

DNF Audiobook Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Title: Soundless
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 266
Add to Goodreads


In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people. 

Fei lives in a dangerous world. Everyone in her village is deaf, and living on a rocky mountainside prevents them from getting supplies. They rely on a zipline to bring them food and supplies from a nearby village. But when the villagers also begin to lose their sight, they fear they will no longer be able to produce goods to trade for the food they need to survive. One day, Fei is awoken by a sound. Suddenly she is able to hear, and she may now be the only one who can save her village.

Ugh. This book could have been so amazing, but it fell so, so flat. Before its release, Soundless was hailed as a unique standalone novel steeped in Asian culture and mythology. Add in the fact that it is about an entire village of people who have lost the ability to hear (and later see), and you have a novel that sounds absolutely fantastic and inclusive. Well, that is unfortunately not the case. I only listened to about one third of Soundless, but from other reviews I have seen, I feel that my analysis of this book is still accurate.

First of all, with the exception of the character names, there is absolutely no indication of Asian culture in this book. (I believe it is supposed to occur in China, but I am not positive.) Replace the names and this story could have occurred anywhere in the world. This was such a disservice to Asian mythology and culture, which is vibrant, unique, and so interesting. This was a lost opportunity to explore a culture that is not displayed nearly enough in our current young adult literature.

Another disappointment in Soundless was the way that hearing and sight impairment were handled. Firstly, there was no description of how the villagers learned to alter their daily lives to adjust for their hearing and sight. Typically, those with one sense impaired learn to rely more heavily on the other senses, but there was no description of this in the book. The most disheartening thing was that Fei regained her hearing and was therefore able to save the village. Why did she have to get "fixed" to be our heroine? Again, a huge opportunity for inclusivity was lost with this plot line.

In addition to these huge slights, the writing was also poor and the world was undeveloped. The society is divided into three groups - artists, suppliers, and miners. What type of society could possibly survive with only those jobs? There was no explanation of why these social groups were created or how they managed to keep the village running. Also, how did this village get so separated from society? When they started losing their hearing, why didn't they travel down the mountain while it was still safe to get help? Why don't the people at the bottom of the mountain help them? There were so many unanswered questions and so many plot points that didn't make sense.

Typically when an audiobook is short enough, I will listen to the entire book instead of giving up. Soundless was very short, but I just could not continue reading. There were too many problems with this book and it was too boring to push forward. After my experience with this book, it may be a while before I try Richelle Mead again.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday #11: Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer

Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

by Lexa Hillyer
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
A curse comes undone. A kingdom shatters. But some bonds can’t be broken.

Princess Aurora, torn from the dream world, plots to assassinate the faerie queen Malfleur, only to confront temptations she never expected. Isabelle, meanwhile, opens her heart to Prince William as they attempt to unite their kingdoms and wage war against Malfleur’s army. But when the appearance of an unbreakable glass slipper prompts Isabelle to discover more about her lineage, her true identity begins to take shape and her legacy becomes as clear as ice.

Devoted half-sisters Isabelle and Aurora will grapple with their understanding of love and loyalty as they face a threat even greater than that of the evil queen—the threat of losing each other forever. 

Last year I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Spindle Fire and fell in love with it! Unfortunately, this means I have to wait for literally ever to read book two and now I'm dying because LOOK AT THIS COVER! I'm so excited to see how this story continues!




Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Wishful Endings.
This meme is based on Waiting-on Wednesday, which went inactive last year.