Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (393)

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

Title: Comics Will Break Your Heart
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

A sweet, funny contemporary teen romance for the inner geek in all of us from graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks. 

Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960's for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

As someone who's a fan of Faith Erin Hicks' comics and graphic novels, I'm really interested in seeing where this will go. It's sounds like a rom-com mixed with social commentary mixed with classic comics mixed with regrets and mistakes and the pain and joy that only come from comics. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Me on On a Sunbeam

Title: On a Sunbeam
Author/artist: Tillie Walden
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: First Second Books

Throughout the deepest reaches of space, a crew rebuilds beautiful and broken-down structures, painstakingly putting the past together. As Mia, the newest member, gets to know her team, the story flashes back to her pivotal year in boarding school, where she fell in love with a mysterious new student. When Mia grows close to her new friends, she reveals her true purpose for joining their ship—to track down her long-lost love.

On a Sunbeam is an epic and expansive tale of discovery and regret, of exploration and impossibility, of love. Of hope and everything the future can, does, and will hold.

Mia is the newest member of a crew that travels through space repairing old structures, slowly and methodically rebuilding parts of the past. She's quiet, more than a little lost as she gets used to the work and the different personalities of the crew. Hard as nails Alma and intelligent Char. Bold and bright Jules. Mysterious and thoughtful Elliot. But it always comes back around to Mia. She has the look of someone looking for something. Through the flashback chapters, we see who she's looking for. When Mia was in school, she met a girl named Grace. Made friends with and argued with Grace. Fell in love with Grace. But then Grace left and Mia was left wondering. Where she went, if she'd ever see Grace again. The flashback chapters reveal who Mia was and is, while the chapters set in the present reveal the secrets and wonders of the universe, and what Mia must go through in order to, hopefully, find Grace again.

The art style is wonderful and expressive, full of detail. The different expressions, Mia's frowns and Jules' smiles, Elliot's surprise and seriousness. The buildings on the repair jobs, half-crumbled and lost to time, ready to be repaired. The school, all structure and learning and adolescence. The spaceship, a curious space of family and laughter and acceptance inside something that looks like a fish. The Staircase. And the colours, the accents that change depending on when and where the story goes. The black and white that joins with the purple of the ship, the blue of the past, the pink and yellow and orange that follow events in motion. All of it is gorgeous.

There's a wonderful, powerful moment a little more than halfway through the book that I think is so relevant right now. It has to do with respecting people who aren't like you and only acknowledging certain parts of someone (referring to the moment in which Elliot who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns is misgendered). If you want someone to respect you, respect all of you, then you have to give them just as much respect. You don't get to pick and choose which parts, you don't get to decide what's important for someone else. Especially when it comes to how that person defines themselves, their name, their pronouns or their gender. Instead, you stop and listen. You give that person as much respect as you expect to be given, because if you give them none, you'll get none in return.

I find it hard to describe this book because, when you peel back the layers, there's so much here. There's adventure, there's determination, there's regret, there's making mistakes and righting wrongs. There's consequences that carry, that affect so much more that we ever through possible. There's love and hope, there's persistence. There's finding a family, finding a group of people who accept you, flaws and all, while you accept theirs because of the support and care they give you and you give them. There's impossibility and wonder, there's exploration. There's so much here, in each character, on each page and in each panel, in each location. And I'm sure there's more I've missed. This is an epic tale that deserves to be read.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from First Second through NetGalley and later purchased a finished copy.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (310)

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. ;)


So it was a slow week this week, with me not picking up any new books and being under the weather and the actual weather turning towards days and days of rain. Maybe next week will be better.

Reviews going up this week will hopefully feature On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (Tuesday). :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (392)

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

Title: Once & Future
Authors: Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

From Goodreads:

I've been chased my whole life. An illegal immigrant in Mercer-controlled territory, I've always had to hide who I am. Until now.

When Ari crash lands on Old Earth, and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she becomes the forty-second reincarnation of King Arthur. Merlin awakes to find that having aged backward over the last forty-one Arthurs, he is now-wretchedly-a teenager. Ari may be Merlin's final chance to complete the steps of the cycle: 1) Train Arthur 2) Defeat the greatest evil in the universe. 3) Unite all of mankind. No pressure. 

I don't know about prophecies or kings, but I do know this: Mercer is evil. They've imprisoned my parents, enslaved worlds, and now they're after my friends. I'm done hiding. 

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

A sci-fi genderswapped Arthur and Merlin retelling?! Why yes, I am interested. This sounds really interesting. And it's the start of a duology, which means it's nice that there'll be more and also nice in that the wait might not be as long as others. And the cover is gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Me on Blanca & Roja

Title: Blanca & Roja
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they're also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan. But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans' spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them.

Blanca & Roja is a magical, mysterious tale of sisters and swans, of secrets, of devotion and plans and good intentions. It's fear and sweetness and wonder all at the same time.

Blanca and Roja have always knows that, one day, the swans will come to take one of them. Because that's what's always happened to sisters in their family. That one day two will become one, when only one sister remains while the other becomes a swan, joins all the past del Cisne girls who were taken to become swans. They figure they know what will happen, that the sweet Blanca will be left behind while the swans take Roja with all her sharp edges, but that doesn't stop them from trying to save each other. Then a bear wanders through the woods, then the girls find a cignet, and two locals are drawn in, intrigued by the girls and running from their own lives. Hiding from hard truths.

This is yet another Anna-Marie McLemore book that explores young women and queerness and family and love through a Latinx fairy tale retelling. It's a book about complicated family dynamics and figuring out who you are and hope and pain and confrontation and, in the end, hopefully living freely. It's a book about girls with sharp edges and dreams of the future, about boys with gentle hearts looking for places to belong. It's magic and reality all rolled into one, unable to see the separation between the two. If you're a fan of Anna-Marie McLemore's books, you'll continue to be a fan after this one.

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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (309)

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. :)

So I was all ready to have fun on Saturday talking about books with people at a meet-up and hear about new books coming out next spring, but then there were loads of transit delays and my mood tanked. Then I went out with my sister today hoping to have fun hanging out, then there were traffic problems and our moods tanked even more. Now I'm just going to pout and eat brownies.

Reviews going up this week will hopefully feature Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore. :)

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (bought)
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (from Thomas Allen & Son)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Me on Aquicorn Cove

Title: Aquicorn Cove
Author/artist: Katie O'Neill
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Oni Press

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness.

Aquicorn Cove is sweet and magical and realistic, a tale of happiness and sadness, of discovery and wonder, and of the start of making things right again.

Lana is a little lonely, a little sad after the passing of her mother and her and her father's subsequent move to the city, but she's happy to be back in her little hometown by the sea. Even if they're there to help clean up after a bad storm. But she's back, back in a place that makes her happy. When she discovers a mysterious little sea creature, battered from the storm, in a tide pool, she takes it in, cares for it. And soon Lana discovers there's more to the sea that just waves and the fish her aunt and her grandmother and her grandmother before her have fished from the ocean. There's something far more serious going on.

Katie O'Neill's art style is one of my favourites. The variety of body shapes in all the characters, the little smiles during happy moments. The realistic cabins, farms, and boats against the pastel colours of the undersea palace and the Aquicorns. The wonderful juxtaposition in the first few pages of little Lana struggling to carry her little suitcase from the car to the house while her big, buff Auntie Mae just casually lifts two duffle bags onto her shoulders moments after the two have the biggest, sweetest hug. There's just a wonderful combination of realism and fantasy here.

This is a book that mixes sweetness and hope with sorrow and reality and the impact that people and industry have on the environment. It's about moving on after a loved one has passed away, continuing to live while doing things that remind you of them. It's about change and technology, understanding that making things easier doesn't always make them better for everyone. It's about the little things, young children and small creatures, and why it's so important to listen to them, to help them and care for them. A must-read for fans of Katie O'Neill's gentle fantasy stories.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (308)

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. Busy weekend again, so this is going up a little late.

I've been looking through my to read pile and I was wondering, do you care that much if a review goes up a few weeks after the release date? Like, there's always a push to have reviews out before the release date, but odds are, if I have those books to read, other people have been posting their reviews for weeks already. And considering where my brain is/how many books come out late September & early October, I can't shove so many reviews into one week. I'm just wondering if you all are okay with me posting a little late with some books.

Reviews going up this week will feature Aquicorn Cove by Katie O'Neill (Wednesday) and Blanca & Roja by AnnaMarie McLemore (Friday). :)

No books this week! I'm going to a meet-up on Saturday so I'll be picking up some then. :)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Me on Muse of Nightmares

Title: Muse of Nightmares
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep. Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of. As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Muse of Nightmares is an ending revealed through despair and fury, mystery and magic, desperation and hope. Truths and secrets are being revealed above the city of Weep, but not all of them, because of what else might be found when they are. But when their own lives are at stake, what choices will the godspawn make? Whose minds will they change?

Lazlo is now one of them, one of the godspawn. Like Sarai and Minya, like Ruby and Sparrow and Feral. But he can't thinking about anything but Sarai, now a ghost held by Minya's power after her death. Now he and Sarai are pawns in Minya's game, a game in which she demands revenge against those who hated them, feared them. Killed the other children a number of years ago. But now that doors can be opened, the past can be set free. And someone is keeping a secret they don't want to think about.

There's something haunting and magical about this, but also something rather realistic and honest. A fair amount of the book is Lazlo and Sarai taking part in a battle of wills against Minya. Neither side willing to compromise, both sides blinded by emotion and anger. Minds must be chosen in order to save lives, yes, but how far can revenge burrow inside someone? How powerful does it become? It's easy to tell someone to stop, to take a step back and look at things from all sides, but when emotions are involved, when loved ones are involved, it's impossible to stop. To consider that perhaps another way is the option. Minya demands her revenge. Lazlo refuses to give up on Sarai. And so the impasse begins. I do think that fans of the previous book will be satisfied with this ending. It's a Laini Taylor book, it's emotional and expansive, it's harsh and sweet and complicated, and the story continues beyond the last page, left to the reader to imagine and wonder.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (391)

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

Title: The Afterward
Author: E.K. Johnston
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

It has been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium’s king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. The heroes who brought the gem home are renowned in story and song, but for two fellows on the quest, peace and prosperity do not come easily. 

Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart wasn't meant for heroism this early in life, and while she has no intention of giving up the notoriety she has earned, her reputation does not pay her bills. With time running out, Kalanthe may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves.

Olsa Rhetsdaughter was never meant for heroism at all. Beggar, pick pocket, thief, she lived hand to mouth on the city streets until fortune--or fate--pulled her into Kalanthe's orbit. And now she's quite reluctant to leave it. Even more alarmingly, her fame has made her recognizable, which makes her profession difficult, and a choice between poverty and the noose isn't much of a choice at all.

Both girls think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn't quite done with them and that new golden age isn’t a sure thing yet. 

In a tale both sweepingly epic and intensely personal, Kalanthe and Olsa fight to maintain their newfound independence and to find their way back to each other.

I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this book or not, but it's a new E.K. Johnston book so of course I'm excited and desperate to read it. What an idea! After the epic quest ended and the heroes are trying to live normal lives. I can't wait to read this.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Me on This Week's Book Week (307)

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 this is going up Monday morning. It's been a busy weekend with the holiday up here.

Hopefully everyone's been having a good beginning of fall, or spring if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. It's been getting harder to head out for a walk every day because of the rain and me trying to figure out how I can still listen to music on solo walks with my headphones dying and me figuring out Spotify on my phone. (I feel like an Old who's behind the times.)

What are you all reading these days? What would you recommend I check out? I feel like I've missed out on some good books lately.

Reviews going up this week will feature Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Friday, because of the holiday and my lack of time to read). :)

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (e-galley from S&S Canada)
The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale (e-galley from S&S Canada)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Me on Damsel

Title: Damsel
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court. However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

Damsel starts like a new chapter in a book where the plot never changes. The prince heads off to defeat a dragon, returns with a damsel he rescued from the tower, marries her, becomes king, has a son, and when the son is old enough, he heads off to defeat a dragon. This is how it is, again and again. Now, it's Emory's turn to defeat the dragon. And so he returns with his damsel, Ama, who remembers nothing of her life before. This is a dark feminist tale, an exploration of rape culture. It's harsh and occasionally graphic, bound to be disturbing and triggering to some. It's the story of a young woman who had something taken from her, whose inner fire is slowly burning out, and how she brings it to life once more. This is all about the pain and fear that so many young women are subjected to by men, both those they know and complete strangers. The fear that they will be beaten or raped if they don't listen, if they don't do what men want, if they don't just stay quiet and sit in an empty room. It's also about the fire inside those young women, the power they hide and the power they set free. This is one of those hard, discussion-starting books that not everyone will want to read because of the abuse and rape scenes.

In terms of whether or not I enjoyed it, not really, but how can you like a book about abuse and rape and young women perpetually forced into situations without their consent? I found the twist to be rather obvious, but I figured what it was after reading the summary. I was curious as to how it would all play out.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Me on The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science. But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity's way, so long as she's allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl's true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is another race across Europe in search of adventure, intrigue, and some unexpected personal growth along with some thievery and piracy. Because what else do you do on a trip across Europe with a Montague sibling?

Felicity is back, practical and head-strong as ever, still waiting for the men who control every teaching hospital and medical school she applies to to actually listen to her when she says she wants to be a doctor. She's intelligent, she's calm, and she's widely read on the subject. But reading books only gets her so far. She has no practical experience, which is what she would get learning medicine from other doctors. But all other doctors are male and are too stupid to realize, according to Felicity, that admitting her would actually teach them something about women's health and women in general. That they don't all faint at the sight of blood or a man's private parts. When Felicity hears of a chance to possibly meet a doctor who don't flinch at the thought of working with a woman, when she starts hoping of a chance to one day be taken seriously as a doctor, she's off.

I knew what to expect this time around, having read the first, but I didn't expect how it would all unfold. Considering Felicity is the calm and the practical to Monty's hedonism and hilarity, I knew there would be a lot of sense and reason. And there is. But there's also a lot of Felicity learning how to be herself without being sharp and dismissive. She knows that she's not one of those girls interested in frippery and frivolity, in dresses and jewels and weddings, but that doesn't mean that the girls that are are clueless and foolish. It's okay for Felicity to want to be a doctor, just as it's okay for other girls to want to get married and throw parties. This book speaks to the determination and the strength of girls and women, how they continue to push back against gender stereotypes, how they carve out places for themselves to learn and teach and exist in a world that would have them stand back in the shadows. I enjoyed this book more than the first, which I imagine says something about me and how often I agreed with Felicity over the course of reading this book, but if you enjoyed the first you're sure to love this return to the Montagues and their inability to live quiet, boring lives.

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