Saturday, March 31, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (302)

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. Apologies for the lack of Friday review. My weird headaches keep popping up, leaving me unable to read or focus on much of anything beyond the quiet of a dark room. Here's hoping that things will get better as the weather gets better.

Reviews going up this week will feature Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray (Monday), Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Wednesday), and Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Friday). :)

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn March (borrowed from the library)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Me on Some Favourite Things (5)

Hi there! It's been a while since I did one of these posts, but I was in need of a filler because of health reasons, so here we go! It'll mostly be a big post on recommending webcomics this time around. ;)

First up, let's just start with all the ones I always recommend. Gunnerkrigg Court, Check, Please!, Monster Pulse, Les Normaux. They're all a little different and most have a fantasy element to them.

First, there's Gourmet Hound by Leehama (who also does the currently on hiatus Flowerpot). It's the story of Lucy, a super friendly and helpful young woman looking to recapture something from when she was a child, visiting a favourite restaurant with her grandmother before she passed away. The staff at Dimanche has changed, that familiar taste and feel is gone, and Lucy's wondering if she can find that "perfect taste" again. Luckily, because of her uncanny sense of smell and bizarre sudden strength, she happens up on a café run by two former Dimance chefs. This comic is a fun slice of life story with complicated characters and bright artwork. Everyone's a little quirky, everyone's got their secrets, and you can't help but cheer Lucy on as she embarks on this seemingly impossible mission.

Next is Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, author of Solitaire and Radio Silence. This is the story of Nick and Charlie, two teen boys at an all-boys British school and their growing friendship and romance. It's sweet and sad, all about love and acceptance and mental illness and figuring out who you are and who you want to be. There's something so wonderfully charming about this comic, both from the story of Nick and Charlie and from Alice's art style. It'll make you laugh and cry and feel loads of warm feelings.

And last is Postcards in Braille by Constanza Yovaniniz. This is all about Sigma and his friends, little moments in their lives and their friendships as they navigate being newly graduated from college and working (Sigma) and being themselves (so much Rho). Along for the journey is Sigma's girlfriend Xi, Sigma's former roommate and best friend Rho, and after a little while Rho's coworker Aleph and Xi's work partner Omicron. What's awesome is Sigma and his being blind, how it's treated with such respect and seen as something so normal and commonplace. And the little bits on what he does to keep track of things in his apartment and the tech that helping his with his programming at work. There's even a comic page all about Sigma's cane and spreading awareness so seeing people can actually be supportive if they ever come across someone with visual impairment. I love how a lot of this comic is about friends who don't necessarily like the same things (looking at you, Dog and Fries) but still get along and are super supportive. Like Coni says on a page's description, friendship works in weird ways. There's something so meaningful in every page, and now that it's complete, it's definitely a comic I find myself going back to every so often.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this new list of webcomics to check out. There's something I love so much about webcomics as a way of telling stories, the visual medium plus the compelling story plus the page by page reveal. And the little side stories and Q&A posts that some artists do are always fun, little peeks behind the curtain that readers appreciate. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (372)

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

Title: For a Muse of Fire
Author: Heidi Heilig
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from the acclaimed Heidi Heilig blends traditional storytelling with ephemera for a lush, page-turning tale of escape and rebellion. For a Muse of Fire will captivate fans of Sabaa Tahir, Leigh Bardugo, and Renée Ahdieh.

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a vivid, rich world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. Her characters are equally complex and nuanced, including the bipolar heroine. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts and ephemera such as telegrams and letters, For a Muse of Fire is an engrossing journey that weaves magic, simmering romance, and the deep bonds of family with the high stakes of epic adventure.

This sounds so layered, so dark and magical and dangerous. Knowing the author's previous books, I know this is going to be full of culture, custom, colonialism, and flawed characters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Me on The Queens of Innis Lear

Title: The Queens of Innis Lear
Author: Tessa Gratton
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Tor Books

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes. The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Regan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted. Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

The Queens of Innis Lear is an epic tale of daughters, of kings and stars, of an island crying out for peace. It's a battle between choice and destiny, between the choices we make and the paths set out before us.

They are not the only narrators, the only characters with plots and visions of the future, but the three daughters of Lear are the most important. Gaela, power-hungry and determined. Focused. Harsh and hard, trained as a warrior. She is ready to rule the island of Innis Lear after her father, ready to stand as king. Regan, manipulative and thoughtful. Plotting and planning. Full of passion and love for her husband. Most of her goals align with Gaela, and she is ready to stand alongside her sister as queen, her children as their legacy. Elia the youngest, sweet and kind. Blessed by the stars, devoted to their aging father. Content to just be Elia, but sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes princesses must act and move forward, take steps toward a destiny they never expected.

This is layers upon layers upon layers of motivation, chance, fate, and determination written in magical, lyrical prose. This is an island of people who want what they want. People who follow the stars and people who work hard to carve out places for themselves. There are so many different plots and plans afoot, so many hoping that they will be the one to win, to rule, to love. To survive. This is an epic retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear with haunting magic, realistic and flawed characters, and women going after what they want. I would definitely recommend this to epic fantasy fans searching for something new but also familiar.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (301)

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! We've reached that part of spring that's half sunny and half raining, which means good moods come and go a fair amount.

I think I'm going to start posting more essay/discussion type posts, just because there are some weeks where I'm scrambling to get a review up either because I fell out with the book I was reading or an e-galley expired when I wasn't paying attention or because a migraine suddenly showed up. Sometimes there are things I want to talk about, or lists of books that I think more people would like. So keep an eye out for some variety.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (Tuesday) and Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray (Friday). :)
Wires and Nerve: Going Rogue by Marissa Meyer & Stephen Gilpin (Borrowed from the library)
A-Force Vol 1 & 2 (borrowed from the library)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Me on Obsidio

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

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.

Obsidio is the end of a journey both epic and seemingly impossible. It's the conclusion, the race back to where it all began. Back to Kerenza IV and a chance at getting back home, a chance at saving so many lives. A chance to show the universe the consequences of corporate greed, the number of lives lost, and the strength six people found in order to keep moving forward.

Kady and Ezra are alive, Hanna and Nik are back together, Nik's cousin Ella is somehow hanging on, and both groups have come together to make some tough decisions. The jump station is gone, resources are limited, and everyone is desperate to make it back home, make it out of the sector. So the decision is made: head back to Kerenza IV, hopefully survive long enough against BeiTech, and use their jump platform. What they don't know is that Kerenza IV isn't a smouldering crater, that some of the colony survived the initial attack, keeping quiet and compliant in order to survive. What they don't know is that a resistance is slowly acting, waiting for a chance to break free. What Kady doesn't know is that her cousin Asha is alive.

There was something about this third book that made it especially harsh, especially brutal. There's a glimpse into what it means to sign up for service, military or otherwise, and not have it turn out how you thought it would. What it means to be part of an occupation from both sides, the despair and the weariness of being a civilian under control, and the grating of horrific actions against conscience for a soldier. The sleepless nights and the days of numbness that follow. There was definitely a lump in the back of my throat during some of those sections.

As a whole, this trilogy is expansive and epic, packed with stories of humanity and resilience, of survival, of hope and fear. Of the evils that exist and those who hope to stand tall against them, reveal their secrets to the eyes and ears of the unsuspecting. Against all odds they have survived again and again, hoping that everything they do will count in the end. That their actions will make a difference. That BeiTech will pay for every single death they caused. The way this series is told, through found footage and e-mails, audio files and classified reports and posters, makes it all the more powerful. And AIDEN, of course, was AIDEN. Fans of the previous books will definitely enjoy this conclusion, this end to a journey full of danger and hope.

(I purchased a copy of this title.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (371)

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

Title: My Plain Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen

From Goodreads:

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

After reading the first, after finding the first outrageous and entertaining in its retelling of history, I'm curious about this. Retellings and reimaginings are often interesting, seeing where the authors go, what they take and where they divert, but including both Jane and her author Charlotte Brontë? How curious.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Me on Opal

Title: Opal
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic

An enchanting story from Maggie Stiefvater featuring Opal, Ronan, and Adam from her bestselling Raven Cycle, taking place after the events of The Raven King.

Opal is a brief return to Henrietta, a return to a dreamer and a creature pulled from dreams. It's the story of a summer through inquisitive and thoughtful eyes.

After Cabeswater, after Gansey and Blue left, Ronan stayed at the Barns. Because of course he would. And he wouldn't be alone. He'd have Adam, when Adam wasn't away at school. And he'd have Chainsaw, who wasn't the best at conversation. And he'd have Opal, the young girl with furry legs and hooves where human legs and feet would be, because he'd pulled her from his dreams.

This is the story of Opal, of life at the Barns seen through her eyes and thought about in her mind. It's a story of curiosity, Opal ever interested in anything and everything she comes across. It's a story of magic, Opal wary of the dreamstuff Ronan keeps off in the long barn, afraid of it but still drawn to it because she's also dreamstuff. It's a story of fear, Opal unsure of what the future holds, the idea of undefined periods of time without Adam around upsetting her. This is a glimpse in time, a moment tethered to the page by the way Opal's mind works, her thoughts and feelings driving it through the house and across fields of sleeping and not sleeping cows. It's seeing that life continued on in Henrietta, some of it good and some not, some of it happy and some full of questions and arguments. It's seeing that, for some, the story didn't end, and instead continues down another road.

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

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (300)

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! The weather's been nice, which means I've been feeling better. I've definitely noticed that on cloudy, rainy, dreary days my mood sucks.

I stopped at the library this week to pick up a bunch of comic holds (after going to the dentist, boooo). There are often comic series that get announced that I'm interested in, but interest only goes so far. Same with books or TV shows or movies, which is the reason why at most I see 1 movie a year in the theatre and why I'll go to my LCS to only pick up single issues of Saga. My city's library isn't completely up to date when it comes to trade volumes of comics, but they're getting there.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (Tuesday) and Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Friday). :)

Batgirl Vol 2 & 3 (borrowed from the library)
Batgirl Vol 1 & 2 (borrowed from the library)
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol 1 & 2 (borrowed from the library)
Gamora: Memento Mori (borrowed from the library)
Gwenpool Vol 1 (borrowed from the library)
Ms. Marvel Vol 8 (borrowed from the library)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Me on Horimiya Volume 5

Title: Horimiya Volume 5
Original story: HERO
Artist: Daisuke Hagiwara
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Yen Press

Hori and Miyamura are now officially a couple, and everyone knows it. But not everything's coming up roses for Miyamura, who's worried that people are talking about Hori behind her back. When his anxiety about being Hori's boyfriend reaches fever pitch, Miyamura drastically changes his look, which changes everyone's opinion of him all at once...

Horimiya Volume 5 is more of the same, more of Hori and Miyamura and their high school days. Their figuring out each other and themselves.

Things are different now! Hori and Miyamura are an actual couple instead of just dancing around each other with awkward feelings and unspoken thoughts. Miyamura's cut his hair, surprising everyone, in a childish move after overhearing people say that he and Hori didn't look believable as a couple. So now comes their days as a couple, which are pretty much like their days before. Going over to Hori's house for dinner, hanging out at school. Maybe some things are different, like this weird girl following Miyamura around school, or Hori wondering if Miyamura's ever going to try something with her, or the two of them being a little more vocal about their feelings.

This volume felt a little stilted, still the same overall story but the chapters didn't always connect they way they did previously. Now that they're open about being a couple, now that they're more and more honest about their feelings, about missing each other when they're apart, I do wonder how far their romance will go. I imagine the story will continue, moments of levity mixed in with teenage awkwardness and hard decisions, but maybe with a little more romantic feelings.

(I purchased a copy of this title.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (370)

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

Title: Hullmetal Girls
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.

Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.

In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintain unity.

With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

Umm... WANT. SO MUCH. I loved Emily's previous books, awesome sci-fi plus morality plus motives plus flawed characters. This sounds awesome and dark and so complicated, the implications of cyborgs and Key not remembering why she's there and Aisha's own reasons for being there and a coming war and the reasons behind it. I can't wait to read this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Me on Kim Reaper Volume 1

Title: Kim Reaper Volume 1: Grim Beginnings
Author/artist: Sarah Graley
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Oni Press

Like most university students, Kim works a part-time job to make ends meet. Unlike most university students, Kim's job is pretty cool: she's a grim reaper, tasked with guiding souls into the afterlife. Like most university students, Becka has a super intense crush. Unlike most university students, Becka's crush is on a beautiful gothic angel that frequents the underworld. Of course, she doesn't know that. Unaware of the ghoulish drama she's about to step into, Becka finally gathers up the courage to ask Kim on a date! But when she falls into a ghostly portal and interrupts Kim at her job, she sets off a chain of events that will pit the two of them against angry cat-dads, vengeful zombies, and perhaps even the underworld itself. But if they work together, they just might make it... and maybe even get a smooch in the bargain.

Kim Reaper Volume 1: Grim Beginnings is cute and complicated, a story about two college girls, one bubbly and hopeful and the other a grim reaper. And so, like college girls, they have to deal with a lot of things, like crushes and ghosts and dorm parties and zombie hordes, but they'll make it out in the end. Right?

Becka is cute and boisterous, spending her time in class staring at the back of current crush Kim's head. Dreaming of dates and hand-holding and maybe actually talking to her. But what Becka doesn't know, until she falls into a massive portal and follows her, is that Kim in a grim reaper-in-training, guiding souls to the afterlife in order to pay her rent and school fees. Becka gets it, she works part-time at a bakery, but a grim reaper? With all the death and possible danger? With the ghosts and the zombies? That might be too much for Becka. But there's still something about Kim. I liked their dynamic, their relationship. It was rocky at first, because of course it was. Both young women are opinionated and set in terms of what they like and what they don't, so I liked that it wasn't always easy-going.

The art is lots of bubbly fun with a hint of creepy, which comes from the ghosts and skulls and dead things Kim deals with. I like the differences between Becka and Kim, how it's obvious in their expressions and gestures and colour palette that Becka is the cute and fun one that's also not prepared to deal with any drama while Kim is the more serious one, determined to do her job because she actually likes it. I like the look of this comic, it makes me think of Saturday morning cartoons. With dead cats and zombies.

I do think this is the start of something fun, a cute story about two college girls and one's weird but well-paying part-time job. Who knows what will come next? More weird ghosts and hauntings? Kim and Becka going on another date? I found this fun, at times sweet and at times serious, and I'll be keeping an eye out for more.

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

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (299)

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. I'm sorry that these posts keep going up later and later in the weekend. Most weeks now I'm not really sure what to talk about here. Maybe I should bring in more discussion ideas or just ramble on about something I read during the week.

Reviews going up this week will feature Kim Reaper Vol. 1 by Sarah Graley (Tuesday) & Horimiya Vol. 5 (Friday). :)

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (e-galley from Tor Books through NetGalley)
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (borrowed from the library)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Me on The Wicked Deep

Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow... where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters' return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters. But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

The Wicked Deep is haunting, a story of sorrow and revenge, of secrets and sisters and deadly summers. Of local legends and lonely girls and soft hearts.

Penny isn't so sure where she fits in in the small town of Sparrow. She's there, living just off the coast on a little island with her mother, but she's not sure about her future. Will she leave when high school's over? Will she stay, alone, like her mother? Now that summer's come, Penny thinks about other things. Like the return of the Swan sisters, young women long ago accused of witchcraft and left to die in the harbour waters by the town that feared them. Each summer they return as ghosts, luring young men to their deaths. This summer seems to be no different. Until someone new comes to town, looking to stay, unaware of what's about to come out of the water.

This was rather interesting. A gentle but spooky small town mystery involving a local girl and a new-to-town boy with secrets of his own. I was intrigued to see where it would go, if I was able to spot any twists before everything was revealed, and I liked the little flashbacks to the days of the Swan sisters in Sparrow. They provided context and layers to the sisters and their unfortunate fate. I would recommend this if you like ghostly small town mysteries, a little like Sea Change but with more death and vengeful ghosts.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (369)

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

Title: Ruin of Stars
Author: Linsey Miller
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

From Goodreads:

As Opal, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and most importantly the ability to hunt the lords who killed their family. But Sal has to figure out who the culprits are before putting them down. Which means trying to ignore the fact that Elise is being kept a virtual prisoner, and that the queen may have ulterior motives.

And the tales coming out of north are baffling. Talk of dark spirits, missing children, and magic abound. As Sal heads north toward their ruined homeland and the lords who destroyed everything, they learn secrets and truths that can't be ignored.

Yessssss. I really enjoyed the first book. It was layered and complicated and there weren't many good characters, there was a lot of moral ambiguity and layers of doing what was necessary to survive and move ahead and win. Yay to more of Sal being awesome and complicated, and yay to investigating the weird shadow-y possibly magicky stuff from the first book.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Me on Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

Title: Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen's house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm--and what's worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing. Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World is a kind, sweet, much-needed book about a young girl's world turned upside-down and all kinds of twisted about and the questions she had. Questions about where she fits in with her growing family. Questions about where she fits in when so many girls her age are thinking about boys when she's not. Questions about if it's okay, as a girl, to have those feelings for other girls.

Ivy is a caring and creative girl, a notebook in one hand and a pencil in the other, ready to draw the world around her. Or at least how she sees in. Right now, her world is a little messy and scattered, but that's what happens when a tornado goes through town and smashes Ivy's house to bits. Especially when her family is already off-kilter with new babies to navigate around and an older teen sister she's not so sure about right now. Ivy has questions, questions about a bunch of things, but everyone around seems too busy or tired or angry. Then Ivy's notebook goes missing, the one with her drawing of two girls holding hands, and she starts wondering where it is. Who's seen it. Who's guessed Ivy's latest and most confusing secret: that she's got a crush on another girl.

There's a distinct lack of LGBTQ representation in middle grade, which is so unfortunate considering there are kids that young who are starting to wonder about why they feel certain ways. Why they don't have crushes on the same celebrities or classmates that their friends do. Why they don't have crushes at all. It makes me happy knowing that this book exists, that this book will be found by kids who have similar questions and feelings to Ivy's. That they'll read about Ivy and her family and know that that there's no right or wrong way to be but themselves, that there's always someone out there ready to support them and love them, and that they don't have to have everything all figured out right away. I would recommend this to so many people, to ten, eleven, and twelve-year-old kids, to teachers and librarians and parents who interact with kids every day, because there are bound to be kids like Ivy out there searching for themselves in the pages of a book.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (298)

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. Quiet week here.

Reviews going up this week will feature Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (Tuesday) and The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Friday). :)

Furyborn by Claire Legrand (e-galley from Sourcebooks through netGalley)
Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey (ARC from Raincoast Books)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Me on Inkmistress

Title: Inkmistress
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves. But Asra's peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina's village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she'll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina's family. Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself. Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

Inkmistress is a journey through fire, a journey surrounded by danger and blood. A journey towards possible death. A journey of a young woman left heartbroken and lost, trying to save someone she loves, and what happens when motives and missions change over time.

Asra is knowledgable, able to craft and concoct various healing tinctures and other cures. Living high up a mountain, she keeps to herself, helping the nearby village as a healer. Spending her days collecting herbs and mixing medicines. Spending the previous summer months with her lover Ina. Hiding a powerful secret, that she can change the future when writing in her own blood. With the snow thawing, Asra's looking forward to spending more time with Ina. But then news comes of bandits and Asra does what she swore she'd never do: use her powerful but costly blood magic to help Ina's future. But then everything goes wrong, the village is lost and Ina makes a dangerous choice, and Asra is left chasing her love. Hoping to stop what could be a bloodbath against the king. But as Asra travels she learns more about the kingdom, about the secrets and plots that run alongside her search for Ina, and learns the truth about her own past.

This was an interesting read. Knowing the companion book, that this takes place about 200 years beforehand, it was interesting to see the origin of certain country's magic and faith. That the different kingdoms weren't the same. That change had come before and change would continue to happen far into the future. It was more world-building for a land that holds kingdoms that both accept and hate magic. It was interesting to see a piece of the past of this land, to read about Asra and how she changed history. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the sequel to Of Fire and Stars.

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