Comic Review: Colder, Volume 1 by Paul Tobin

FAIR WARNING: THE ARTWORK IN THIS COMIC IS A LITTLE DISTURBING SO SOME OF YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO LOOK – I’VE INCLUDED THE COVER AND SOME IMAGES FROM THE ACTUAL COMIC.

ColderAuthor: Paul Tobin

Illustrator: Juan Ferreyra

Publisher: Dark Horse

Publication Date: October 22, 2013

152 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

LOOK AT THAT COVER. YES YES YES. Volume 1 starts off in an insane asylum 50 or so years ago where Declan Thomas (who has this seriously cool ability to walk into someone’s personal madness – and he can even sometimes cure or worsen it) resides. A demonic predator visits him and tells him he’s about to start getting colder, which he does. He doesn’t talk or get sick or feel pain. He’s a ward of the state and lives with a lonely nurse who cares for him as best she can, until one day Nimble Jack shows back up to claim him.

The artwork in this is freaky and scary and wonderful and bizarre, and I love it. The story is unique and creepy and really easy to read. It took no time at all but I was completely absorbed in the story. Nimble Jack is downright frightening – both in his actions and in the artwork.

Colder 1SOURCE

Colder 2SOURCE

The bottom line: That artwork though. So good. So so good. I’m a little obsessed. Plus the story is freaking cool and dark and absolutely captivating. Loved this one.

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Great American WhateverPublisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Author: Tim Federle

Release date: March 29, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of Better Nate Than Ever comes a laugh-out-loud sad YA debut that’s a wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories—one unscripted moment at a time.

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Why I’m excited: I’m excited because I want to join Quinn on this journey – a journey from being in a shell to being himself. I feel like it’s going to be an emotional, funny (if it’s anything like his MG books), silly, wonderful journey. Also, I’m kind of assuming we’re actually going to get parts of Quinn’s imaginary screenplay because you guys know how much I love alternate storytelling methods! It’ll be interesting to see Federle’s first foray into YA as well. Also, love that title!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2015 Releases I BOUGHT but Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t

I’m changing this up to Top Ten 2015 Releases I BOUGHT but Haven’t Read – because I suck. And I have problems with impulse control. And I have a problem with buying books I’m excited about but then don’t have time to read. Hopefully this list will help hold me accountable to reading them this year. Most of them are on my Rock My TBR Challenge to-read piles. (Titles linked to Goodreads)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saaed
Challenger Deep by Neal Schusterman (actually bought for me by Becky Albertalli so it’s even worse that I haven’t read it)

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (bought for me by my current #otspsecretsister)
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (ditto above)

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (won in a giveaway from the author)
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie

Are there any 2015 releases you meant to get to or bought that you didn’t read?

ARC Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Bookishly Ever AfterAuthor: Isabel Bandeira
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2015
350 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Spencer Hill Press for letting me read this!

A young adult book about a girl who loves young adult books and is a complete book nerd? Yes, please! I was so excited to read Bookishly Ever After because, I mean, it’s a book about ALL OF US. Phoebe is in love with all of her book boyfriends and loves to dress up as her favorite character; she even learned archery because her favorite heroine is an archer. That’s pretty cool, right?

Overall, the book was cute and I appreciated what it was trying to do, but I had some problems. I think my main problem was the romance. As much as I liked Dev (the love interest) as a character, I 1. Didn’t really understand why the two liked each other, and 2. Got really irritated with the back and forth nature of their “relationship”. They would flirt, then nothing, then flirt, then nothing. For practically the entire book. It got seriously exasperating by the end. There are also several instances when we jump a few hours or even half a day into the future and skip scenes that could’ve shortened the story a bit had they been included.

However, the bookish parts of the story – Phoebe standing in line for her favorite author; Phoebe inspiring Dev to start reading more; her “journal” in which she analyzed characters’ flirtatious ways to better flirt in real life – were all really cute and relatable (though that last one is probably a bit more suited for younger girls).

The bottom line: Cute, bookish story that had a few problems – mostly in terms of the romance – but was still quite enjoyable. On the younger, lighter side of young adult romance. I definitely want to flip through a finished copy though, because the eARC format was HORRIBLE. I’d still recommend this one for any looking for a cute romance about a book nerd.

Rating: 6 – Good, but not great

Graphic Novel Review: Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

Username EvieAuthor: Joe Sugg / Matt Whyman

Illustrator:  Amrit Birdi

Publisher: Running Press

Publication Date: September 22, 2015

192 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I feel like I should’ve known better, but I think that Joe Sugg is super funny (check out his YouTube channel ThatcherJoe) so I wanted to check it out and I wanted to like it so much. Plus the art on the cover looked pretty cool, but it was A LIE. I was more disappointed than I should have been – again, I should have known better.

Why this is bad:

  • The story is ridiculously fast-paced. There is zero time to actually get to know and therefore care about any of the characters. It rushed through everything that happened and led to a very confusing and muddled plotline.
  • The characters are flat in more ways than one.
    • The artwork has no movement whatsoever and all of the characters are 2D because of it.
    • But their personalities are also super flat and boring. There’s no explanation for why Mallory – Evie’s cousin – hates her so much; the science isn’t explained – although the idea of a virtual world that is influenced by a person’s thoughts/actions is pretty cool; I just didn’t care about anyone.
  • The art. JFC. It’s just bad. Sometimes the characters aren’t proportional; sometimes Evie and Mallory look like the same person which is confusing. The art is flat and emotionless and bland, despite the vibrant colors.
  • The writing. I’ll say that the idea is pretty cool, but the writing is not. The characters – mostly Evie – feel the need to constantly explain what they are doing or why something won’t work or that they are currently running. Okay, not the last one, but that’s what it felt like. Instead of showing the reader what was happening through the art or through dialogue, we are flat out told in long explanatory thought boxes. It was exhausting and unnecessary and annoying.

The bottom line: I was NOT a fan of this graphic novel. From flat art and characters to unnecessary explanations, Username: Evie is just not a good book.

Rating: 3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?

Guest Post | Nicole Castroman: 8 Reasons Why I Wrote BLACKHEARTS

I am so very excited to have Nicole Castroman, author of the debut novel BLACKHEARTS (February 9), on the blog today! Nicole is telling us the 8 reasons why she decided to write BLACKHEARTS, which is all about Edward “Teach” Drummond, the man who would eventually become the pirate Blackbeard. Check out Nicole’s reasons then learn more about BLACKHEARTS and Nicole and add the book to your Goodreads TBR or pre-order it!

ABOUT THE BOOK
Blackhearts by Nicole CastromanPublisher: Simon Pulse // February 9, 2016

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books-a-Million | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The Book Depository
[FYI: None of these are affiliate links]

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8 Reasons Why I Wrote BLACKHEARTS

  • Only the last two years of Blackbeard’s life are documented (1716-1718), although I just now came across a new bit of information that said in 1706 or 1707, he was the Governor of a league of pirates in the Bahamas. How cool is that? Otherwise, his young life is a mystery. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and so I decided to write an origin story.

Blackhearts fact 1

  • When I wrote BLACKHEARTS, I didn’t want to simply write a story with a teenage boy on a ship and have him “act like a pirate.” There wouldn’t have been much character development if I’d done that. I hope people don’t go into this expecting Pirates of the Caribbean. I wanted to delve deeper into Blackbeard’s past and write about what might have led him to leave his home behind and become one of the most notorious swashbucklers to sail the seas.
  • It was believed Blackbeard was educated, because he could read and write. Only wealthy people were educated in those days, so Edward Teach had to come from a prosperous family.
  • It’s believed that Edward Teach wasn’t Blackbeard’s true name, but that he’d changed it to protect his relatives at home. Most pirates did this.

Blackhearts Fact 2

  • There are lots of rumors about Blackbeard’s cruelty, but there are also reports of him being quite amiable and almost forgiving and generous to those that cooperated with him. I’m not implying that he was a good guy, but he wasn’t as barbaric and demented as other pirates who tortured their victims for fun.

Blackhearts Fact 3

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ABOUT NICOLE
Author photo of Nicole CastromanNicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend…she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Waiting on Wednesday: Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Where Futures EndPublisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Author: Parker Peevyhouse

Release date: February 9, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Five teens.
Five futures.
Two worlds.
One ending.

One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world.

Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors’ colony.

Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes “High Concept.”

Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard.

And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all.

Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior–unless it’s too late.

Why I’m excited: Multiple timelines. Virtual worlds. “A sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world” – YES. And five characters that are decades apart and yet inexplicably linked. This book sounds absolutely fascinating, and I’m really excited to see how these characters are connected. AND the author describes it as “Donnie Darko + Cloud Atlas” on her Twitter AND I NEED IT RIGHT NOW. Plus that cover is so freaking cool. It’s been shelved as both sci-fi AND fantasy on Goodreads, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this book is both.

Bout of Books Challenge: Would You Rather

The wonderful Lori over at Writing My Own Fairytale is hosting the Would You Rather challenge for Bout of Books, and I thought it looked like a lot of fun. Let me know what you would choose in the comments!

WOULD YOU RATHER…

Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?
WHY WHY WHY WHY? I’d rather not do either, but if I HAD to choose, I’d go with the dog-earer. At least those can be somewhat folded back flat. Cheeto stains though? Never coming out.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?
Again, super tough choice here. But I’ve been lucky enough to meet a ton of my favorite authors, so I’m going to go with a character of my choice – the question is…would I want to meet Mim (from Mosquitoland), Ronan Lynch (from The Raven Cycle), or Simon Spier (from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – because we’d totally be BFFs). CHOICES.

hard_GIF

WOULD YOU RATHER…

Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?
Dude. I work in a library but I mean, book storesss. Unless it was freaking Belle’s library we’re talking about, I’d have to go with never being allowed in a library again.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?
Favorite couple, for sure. Because I’d have to break up Cricket and Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door (I’m sorry) and finally be with my favorite book boyfriend. Lolololol.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?
The Scarlet Letter.

What would you choose?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten bookish resolutions for 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Resolutions We Have For 2016 (can be bookish, personal resolutions, “I resolve to finally read these 10 books, series I resolve to finish in 2015, etc.)

In 2016, I want to…

  • Read at least 12 books I already own but haven’t read (TBR pile on my Rock My TBR Challenge sign up)
  • Read more backlist titles and therefore
  • Focus less on ARCs and more on me
  • Review books as I finish them – I tend to read a book but then wait until closer to when I will post the review to actually write the review. This is dumb and makes it harder to write the review, especially if I’ve read a few books in between
  • Schedule more posts – this leaves time for commenting and lessens my personal stress level when I don’t feel the need to write a post RIGHT NOW
  • Care less if I don’t/can’t/don’t want to post every day – I’ve started this already but I just want to remember that this blog is for me and if I don’t want to write a post on a particular day, I DON’T HAVE TO
  • Comment more – I know that I LOVE when I get comments and I want to support other bloggers. I want to read more blogs and tell them what I think. I want to blog hop at least twice a week, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
  • DNF books I want to DNF – I got a lot better at this in 2015 and I want to continue this. It’s silly to continue reading a book I have no desire to keep reading and all it does it make me miserable. It’s okay to DNF.
  • Moderate another panel at the Decatur Book Festival – I’ve already been invited back, so this one is halfway to happening, but I had so much fun last year that I HAVE to go back!
  • Weed my personal book collection – I have A LOT of books, some that are packed up and some that are actually on my shelves. They need a good weeding to see which books I actually want to keep on my shelves and which can be passed on (either to friends or the library).

I have a few more goals for the year, but I’ll stop here. What are your bookish goals for 2016?

ARC Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan DennardAuthor: Susan Dennard
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
416 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Shout out to the wonderful Clara at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS who let me borrow her ARC. Definitely check them out if you’re ever in the area – everyone who works there is lovely!

Curse the hype monster, man. I went into this one with some – unfairly – HIGH expectations because it seems like everyone and their mother loved Truthwitch. And in the end, I did like it and I enjoyed several things about it. But I also had some issues.

What I loved:

  • The magic – The idea of different “witcheries” was SO cool. People can have different powers – air, water, essentially a lie detector (this is what Safi is – a Truthwitch), or the ability to see people’s “Threads” (their emotions) – which were all really fascinating. I think I was most intrigued by Iseult’s “Threadwitchery”. I also liked the idea of Threadfamilies. You become connected to someone by saving them, etc.
  • Aeduan – The “villain”. I don’t know if you’re really meant to love him as much as I did, but I just loved I always go for the misunderstood villain. All of my favorite scenes had Aeduan in them. He just kicked up the pace a bit. And my heartbeat. Looking forward to learning more about him in the next one.
  • The dialogue – snarky, witty, intelligent, and just fun. Especially the dialogue between Safi/Iseult and Safi/Merick – so. much. sarcasm.

What I didn’t like:

  • Four POVs – A little farther down I talk about Safi and Iseult, which really explains this issue, but I’ll just say that there were times when I struggled to figure out whose POV it was.
  • “The Big Reveal” – I guessed this WAY early on in the book. The narrative surrounding the reveal was way too easy to figure out and not at all subtle. At least for me.
  • Some of the middle section – I feel like the middle section dragged a bit. It’s possibly because I already figured out the reveal and I was just bored while everyone in the story got there. But the last 1/4 of the book really made up for it.

What I was iffy on:

  • Safi & Iseult: Okay, I really LOVED both of them. I liked Safi’s sarcasm and Iseult’s spunk. I loved their friendship and their passion. But sometimes, they seemed like the same character. Their voices aren’t as distinct in the beginning as I’d like, especially when there were scenes of them together. Made for difficult reading.
  • The world: This book starts off rather confusing because you are thrust right into the middle of the world and the middle of some action and you (at least I) felt like you’re scrabbling to gain purchase in the world. The first 1/4 of the book or so is like this. But, on the other hand, the world is absolutely fascinating, and I felt like I was standing in the middle of it gazing around with my mouth open because the world was so vast and just cool. So…confusing AND intriguing.

The bottom line: In the end I still really liked Truthwitch, and I definitely want to read the next one, especially because the world should be more settled by then. There won’t need to be so much time spent on establishing the world. I would still recommend this one to fantasy lovers, but would caution people – it takes a little while to get into the book and understand the world.

Rating: 6 – Good, but not great