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.)