ARC: The Revolution of Jack Frost by K.M. Robinson

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goodreads-synopsis

No one inside the snow globe knows that Morozoko Industries is controlling their weather, testing them to form a stronger race that can survive the fall out from the bombs being dropped in the outside world—all they know is that they must survive the harsh Winter that lasts a month and use the few days of Spring, Summer, and Fall to gather enough supplies to survive.

When the seasons start shifting, Genesis and her boyfriend, Jack, know something is going on. As their team begins to find technology that they don’t have access to inside their snow globe of a world, it begins to look more and more like one of their own is working against them.

Genesis soon discovers Morozoko Industries is to blame, but when a foreign enemy tries to destroy their weather program to make sure their destructive life-altering bombs succeed in destroying the outside world, their only chance is to shut down the machine that is spinning out of control and save the lives of everyone inside the bunker–at any cost.

commentary

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

Thank you Netgalley for an arc of The Revolution of Jack Frost for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

Initially, I was going to wait to review the book closer to the publishing date, BUT, The Revolution of Jack Frost proved to be cliched af! I’m disappointed in it. Here’s why:

I made predictions about the story and its progression as I began the book…I DID NOT THINK THAT MY PREDICTIONS WOULD COME TRUE…

damn

♦️ Dystopian World ✔️

♦️ Lack of World Building  ✔️

♦️ One dimensional protagonist  ✔️

♦️ No buildup to a romantic relationship  ✔️

♦️ Government Facilities  ✔️

♦️ Test Subjects  ✔️

♦️ Too many random characters  ✔️

*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚* *✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚**✭˚・゚✧*・゚*✭˚・゚✧*・゚*

The Revolution of Jack Frost proved to be the MOST cliched book that I read in 2018. I didn’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but this book can be avoided. I was hoping this arc was going to be a Jack Frost retelling, but not this…because this book is extremely predictable. The reading process was not fun, and it was quite dreadful to continue the book. I almost dnfed it, but I managed to finish it…(╬ಠ益ಠ)

The concept was interesting, but I felt that Jack should have been the main protagonist…out of all these randomly selected characters introduced in this series, Jack was the ONLY one to get some sort of personality! The story is told in Genesis’ pov, and SHE HAD NO PERSONALITY BESIDES BEING THE GIRLFRIEND OF JACK…I know more about Jack than I do about Genesis. What’s the point of having a MC when the reader hardly knows anything about their interests, ideas, quirks????? Sadly, this book left a bitter taste in my mouth…

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Most disappointing Jack Frost retelling ever…but the prologue have the best opening.

He was a force of nature. He could warm your soul like the sun and then bury you in ice the next second. He was more destructive than any other universal element or could ever be. It was his way, to be like a hurricane crashing upon the shores, or lightning splintering everything in its path. He was a force. But he was my force. And in the end, it didn’t matter, because he disappeared, just like the weather always does. Here for one brief moment and gone the next. His name was Jack and his love for me was like a flood, now frozen over.

Final Rating: ⭐ (1.5)

Publishing Date: November 6th, 2018

The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey

the beau and the bellegoodreads-synopsis

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window.

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

commentary

This book review is LONG overdue. The first R.S. Grey novel I read was Chasing Spring, and even to this day, I still gush about it. SO, I have been following the author on her social media, and I am a huge fan of her covers for adult books. Now, I was in the mood to read a R.S. Grey book, especially her adult books…now how bad could it possibly be?? Those were my initial thoughts, but, boy did I cringed throughout my reading experience!

Maybe I am not the best person to turn to when recommending Adult books…I felt this book was uncomfortable for me. I wanted to go back to my YA books, and not touch a New Adult book.

So, what had happen was that this book included a very questionable relationship between Beau and Lauren. In the first part of the book, Lauren is a teenager that actively lusts for Beau. I had no problems with it. I have to admit that the author wrote Lauren as convincingly human as she could be. Lauren was realistic, and she developed a crush on a much older guy…now my main issue was the behavior of Beau towards Lauren in the first part…He was aware of the very QUESTIONABLE relationship they could have gotten into in the first portion of the book. YET, he felt the same for her…I felt gross…

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Lauren was the worst protagonist as well. She would get mad at Beau for not trying to flirt with her, or be her boyfriend. She wanted a relationship with him, though he kept repeating to her that she was UNDERAGE! This book has no need for the REVENGE element. The protagonist was so stupid…I can’t even. Lauren was so infuriating…and out of all the least liked characters on my list, she is now officially NUMBER ONE.

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Other than that, this was supposed to be a romantic comedy, and yet I found myself neither laughing nor amused. Maybe this wasn’t the book for me. I wasn’t satisfied with either character. Lauren as an adult acted as if she had never gotten away from her cringing teen phase. I wanted Lauren to be a changed person, especially when Beau reappeared into her life. I wanted Lauren to be strong…but I guess I had too many expectations going into this book. May I consider another Adult book from R.S. Grey…maybe….I guess I can try for next year or in the next five years. I was in the mood for something romantic…and yet I found myself hating every bit of this book. I’m disappointed, but this was not marketed for my demographic.

Final Rating: ⭐ (1.5)

ARC: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

miragegoodreads-synopsis

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

commentary

When I first picked up Mirage from my tbr pile at home, I had no idea what I was expecting. I can best describe this book as the female version of The Prince and The Pauper in Space with hints of forced colonialism and imperialism. The first chapter had me hooked on the story, and normally, it takes a couple chapters before I become invested in a book.

Mirage was quite different from what I have read. To begin, it seems like not much happened, that was my original thought when I first finished the book. After letting my thoughts marinate for a couple days, this book does not bring the action, but it builds up to potential conflict that the characters will encounter in the upcoming sequel.

To begin, Amani is not the chosen one, nor is she a Mary Sue character. Amani dreams of having her life with far less restrictions, she and her family live in a village. She has a passion for reading books, especially poetry. She and her brothers live in a society where the Vathek Empire has subjugated other planets into submission, and Amani’s planet is one of them. When Amani’s village is celebrating a special cultural practice, robots serving the empire take Amani by force away from her people and family. Amani is forced into a position in which she has no control over her body, nor her fate.

Amani shares a close resemblance to Princess Maram. Amani is presented as a fragile when compared to Maram’s vicious nature. Amani becomes the Empire’s puppet in order to protect the princess from any danger. Given the tough situation, Amani does get agency. Though being Maram’s body double did give Amani fright at first, she learns that she can wield her own power given her position. Amani obeys and listens to her orders, but, she also learns to manipulate her situation.

The relationship between Maram and Amani is complicated. The princess is shown to be as a morally grey character. As a reader, you question Maram’s ideals. Was she influenced by her nature, or her nurture?  At the same, you can’t help but feel sorry for the princess. She was been raised by her Vathek family, and it has served as a factor to why she behaves in a cruel, and unjust manner.

As for the love interest, I will admit, it was definitely a insta-love situation, and usually I loathe insta-love relationships. But, I found myself digging the relationship between Amani and Idris. It was a forbidden love, and both characters are forced into positions that they have to comply to. Though, I am interested to know how Idris and Maram are in a relationship, because it’s vague and left to the imagination. The ending left me craving for the next book immediately. The very last chapters has the suspense and action that it was lacking in the first portion. I came with little to no expectations when it came to Mirage, but I wholeheartedly love it. It’s science fiction, fantasy, has the drama you need, and I think I might ship Amani and Maram more than Idris and Amani!

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC: Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

Commentary:

Perhaps, I am getting older because it is hard for me to find a good contemporary YA book that pleases me in this day and age. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert was a choice. The synopsis was intriguing, the plot did seem something out of the CW, so I took a chance on the book. I did receive Finding Yvonne in Yallwest, but opinions are all my own. So, this is a unpopular opinion. Considering the reviews I have seen for the book, there aren’t much negative reviews. This book was an experience, and I was left shaking my head due to certain events that played out. That being said, this will be a rant review with spoilers.
Starting on a positive note, I did enjoy how Yvonne was unapologetic about herself and her sexuality. I have no issues with a character’s sexuality. Yvonne was confident about her body and her choices. That being said, she made a lot of questionable decisions. I will say that the pregnancy aspect of the book did not play a major role as I had anticipated. The pregnancy revelation was placed near the last third of the book. The synopsis presents a story of how a pregnant Yvonne has to chose the right path due to her circumstances…but, the reality was not the case.
It is hard for me to comprehend the actions of Yvonne, especially when it came to her relationships. So, Yvonne was seeing her father’s sous chef, Warren, but it was not an exclusive relationship. The relationship between Warren and Yvonne was secretive because of the age difference between the two. Warren was protective of Yvonne, and did not want to be sexually engaged with her until she was officially 18. It seemed like Yvonne wanted her relationship with Warren to move at a faster pace. I felt myself siding with Warren because she was underage. Though the age difference was not extreme, it seemed that Yvonne disregarded it for the sake of love. I rolled my eyes…but this was not as bad as The Beau and The Belle by R.S. Grey, a book that I had several issues with…
Yvonne was happy in her relationship despite not being official. When she and Warren hang out in Venice Beach, she finds herself completely and utterly drawn by a street musician named Omar. Despite being in a complicated relationship with Warren, she falls completely head over heels for Omar. A major issue I had with this book was the cheating aspect. Yvonne does get into a major fight with Warren because he chose to work on her birthday, and she reacts by destroying the birthday cake that Warren bought her. Yvonne also seeks out Omar, and considers hanging out with him…DESPITE NOT KNOWING THE GUY!
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The story tried to establish a love triangle, but it was lame. I felt uncomfortable with how Yvonne was seeing Omar, while she had her fight with Warren. Yvonne lies about her relationship status to both men. Instead of being rational and calling her relationship off with Warren, she peruses each man. I fully did not trust Omar, he seemed a bit shady…but instead of getting to know Omar, she has sex with him on her first official date with him. It does not help that she continues seeing Warren, and has sex with him a week after she has had sex with Omar. I assumed that she was going to get pregnant by Omar, but I was surprised. As mentioned previously, her pregnancy does not play a major role in this book. NOR WILL YOU FIND OUT WHO THE REAL FATHER IS!
Literally, this book was about Finding Yvonne, and how she was going to deal with her relationships, ambitions, and career choices. I was not the biggest fan of Yvonne because she did have several immature moments. In my opinion, she manipulated both guys. I knew Omar was shady, which did end up being true. Yvonne goes through minimal growth. It seems that she is used to getting praises all the time. For example, growing up she received praises for her violin skills, and then as a teen, she thrived off praises for her baking skills. I really wanted Yvonne to be an awesome character. The only character that I liked by far was her best friend Sabine. Sabine was looking out for her friend, and even warned Yvonne that she could be potentially used. Sabine was supportive, and dealt with Yvonne’s unnecessary drama and antics. Kudos to Sabine for being the true MVP of this book.
Final Rating: ⭐⭐
Publication Date: August 7th 2018

The Graces by Laure Eve

thegracesbookreview

Goodreads Synopsis

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

Commentary

I finally decided to pick up The Graces by Laure Eve. I had the book on my reading list for almost a year. I was in the mood to read a story with a creepy atmosphere, and I am such a big fan of stories that have witches. I saw the rating on Goodreads…it was lower than I had anticipated, but I decided to read it. I tried not letting the ratings bother my reading, and everyone has different experiences when reading. When it came to finishing the book, now I understand why The Graces has low ratings.

I’ve read some terrible books this year, but River is possibly the worst snowflake offender for 2018. River mentioned so many times that she was not like other girls…Okay, River is the definition of a “pick me” character:

Urban Dictionary:

  1. A person who begs for the attention, acceptance and approval of a certain group in different things they say. In most case, it’s to attain the attention, acceptance and approval of the opposite sex.

River is the living embodiment of a “pick me” character. River is introduced as the new girl who can’t make friends, and a bit of a loner. Though she has a hard time adjusting to her school, she is entranced by The Graces. The Graces happen to be popular siblings attending her high school, both rich and mysterious. It is rumored that the Graces are witches. River is madly in love with Fenrin, the only male sibling. River tries to be a cool girl with a non-conformist attitude, but she desperately wants to fit in with the siblings. Most importantly she wants to be like the siblings. Her life revolves on pleasing the siblings and pretending to be something she is not.

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River’s home life is not great. Her father mysteriously disappeared, and her mother ignores her daughter’s life. River is given independence, and most of her life revolves around the Graces. She cannot live without them. River gets accepted into the group, because she becomes the best friend of Summer. River tries to be different from all the other friends of the Graces. River tries to be so cool that she makes it known that she is not interested in Fenrin, though as a reader, you know that she loves him. The love is pretty much one-sided. Because all the girls love Fenrin, the Grace siblings do not have permanent friends.

River is the only person that gets accepted into the inner circle, and rises to popularity. Although River is dear to the siblings, she is not fully accepted.

“The Graces had friends, but then they didn’t. Once in a while, they would descend on someone they’d never hung out with before, making them theirs for a time, but a time was usually all it was. They changed friends like some people changed hairstyles, as if perpetually waiting for someone better to come along.”

Summer is the goth, Fenrin is the hot dreamboat, and Thalia is the manic pixie girl. All the siblings are best friends with each other. Each character had dark secrets, and the friends were not as united as I had assumed. The siblings aren’t aware of the privilege and status they have. The Graces manipulate people and cause damage to the people that get involved.

The magic of the book is never really explained. Though the Graces are considered witches, the magic system is based on the intention of words. It reminded me sort of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. The Graces never really indicate whether they are witches. Each sibling has a different belief. Summer believes in magic, Fenrin doesn’t care, and Thalia is frightened by the supposed curse on the family.

This book is messy with drama. River is accepted into the lives of the Graces. She gets involved with drinking and partying. All the characters are messy. There are ridiculous events that happen in the book. Even though I don’t like the characters, I found them to be entertaining, and the book was laughable. Like I mentioned, the romance is one-sided. Fenrin is a tease and a flirt. River sees signs of Fenrin being interested in her, but he never acts on it. Fenrin doesn’t have permanent relationships with women. I felt that Summer might have had romantic feelings for River. I would have liked to see a romance between the best friends rather than Fenrin and River. There was one character that I did not like because he was there, and his name is Wolf. I did not care for him, but he plays a crucial part in the story, which I never saw coming.

“It was easy to romanticize tragedy, like you suddenly transformed into some sort of Byronic hero, sitting in darkened rooms with crystal glasses of whisky, hair tousled and artfully lank from all those sleepless nights starting at the walls and cursing the gods.”

I couldn’t take the book seriously. It reminds me a lot of Twilight, but with witches instead of vampires. Fenrin and Edward are similar, but Fenrin is not a stalker like Edward. Neither is Wolf like Jacob. River is an unreliable narrator, and a try hard. There were a couple of twists that did make the last half of the book more enjoyable. I initially rated this book 2-stars, but I did like it more than I imagined. I do look forward to reading the sequel for this series. The second book will be in Summer’s perspective from the synopsis on Goodreads. I am looking forward to reading about this problematic siblings and their angst.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.25)

 

ARC: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

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Goodreads Synopis:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

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Commentary

“Darkwood might be progressive, but your society on the whole has a long history of classifying people by their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender and using those classifications to subjugate particular groups. It is surprising that a bunch of small-minded government leaders think cloning is the first step onto a slippery slope of Armageddon and the demise of the human race as we know it?”

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for The Similars for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This contains a lot of spoilers!

The main protagonist of The Similars is Emma Chance, who has a difficult time adjusting to her best friend’s suicide. Her school life changes when six clones are enrolled in her school. Though Emma does not have prejudice against the clones, there is one clone that stands out of the six. Levi is the clone of her best friend Ollie, and it shakes Emma’s world. It is clear that Emma is still processing the death of her friend, and having Levi at her school, does not allow her to heal mentally. She is reminded of Ollie, even though he is not alive. Though the physical similarities of Levi and Ollie are the same, their personalities are different. Emma goes through a wild school year with the Similars and the dark secrets in her school.

This world is an alternate future where clones barely have rights in the United States, and the rest of the world. This book reminds me of immigration due to the prejudice and discrimination that the Similars encounter. The subject of the book was the most unique aspect that I really liked, but as for the rest of the book, I didn’t like the execution.

I thought Emma Chance was an okay character. Emma is vulnerable, especially the scenes involving her getting emotional over Ollie.

“If I’ve learned anything these past few months since Oliver died, it’s that pills don’t take away your grief and pain on their own. They mask it, briefly. But it’s all worse when you emerge from the pharma haze and realize your best friend is still gone.”

Emma tries adjusting in her school year, and depends on medicine to get her by because the pain is raw. She loved Ollie, and as for Levi, she gives him a hard time. Levi’s presence makes it hard for Emma to move on because he is a reminder of what she lost. I have to admit, that Emma is lucky person given that she eavesdrops and uncovers so many secrets without getting caught. There were no high stakes in the book because Emma was able to get away without getting hurt. Emma’s curiosity leads her to ask many questions about the clones and her surroundings, but no one wants to reveal the truth.

As for Levi, he is a bookworm and treats Emma with some disdain. Emma mistreats and criticizes him, and he does not allow himself to be a pushover. It would have been great to know Ollie’s personality to compare the two. The romance of Emma and Levi was a slow burn, love hate relationship. Though I do want to categorize it into a insta-love relationship since Emma is drawn to Levi because of his similar appearance to Ollie. But, I was not amazed. I would have preferred no romance to be honest.

I felt that most of the clones had dull personalities. I hoped that the author does expand their personalities in the next book because it seemed like all of the similar were the same…just different names. Levi was the only one to have a personality, and I didn’t care for the other similars.

A lot of events of the book were highly predictable for me, and these are some of the reasons:

  • Mean girls and cliques…
  • Love triangle between Ollie, Emma, and Levi…
  • Petty drama and 20-year grudge…
  • The school using the clones for medical research…
  • Surprise…not really Ollie is alive
  • The clones were created to get revenge for this 20-year grudge…
  • It was obvious who the villain was at the halfway mark…
  • Emma is not she is…she in fact is a similar

This book tried being a lot of things…and left me unsatisfied. The twists and turn were too predictable. It was hard for me to read the book because I made a lot of guesses that came out being true. It was a bit frustrating to read, the world building could have been better, and I don’t want to pick up the next book.

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Publishing Date: January 1st 2019

Final Rating:  

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Mini Book Reviews: Graphic Novels II

the scarlet roseSynopsis: After the horrendous murder of her father, Maud discovers she has a grandfather, a noble count living in Paris, where she must now live. There she encounters The Fox, a masked Robin Hood-like rogue – a dashing figure she falls for. While her grandfather struggles to tame her wild spirit and introduce her to Society, Maud rebels by secretly becoming the masked Fox-like marauder – The Scarlet Rose!

Maud une jeune fille rêveuse et éprise de justice, vit en France au XVIIIe siècle. L’assassinat incompréhensible de son père l’oblige à rejoindre Paris où vit son grand-père, un noble dont elle ignorait jusqu’à l’existence. Elle y croise la route du Renard, un brigand des grands chemins qu’elle admire. Mais elle ne sait encore rien du secret que lui a légué son père et que convoite un mystérieux individu.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: I believe the child version of me would have loved The Scarlet Rose. It has elements that I love which are historical periods, sword fighting, and heroic antics. This book is set in France during the 18th century, and it  is a bit of a mystery. Though The Scarlet Rose has elements I love in books, the pacing of the book felt too obvious. I applaud Maud for going beyond and becoming a vigilante due to her obession with the French version of The Zorro, but that’s about it. When reading this comic, I immediately knew who The Fox’s identity was. It could have left some mystery, but that was not the case. Some of the events were a tad dramatic, but a young reader would enjoy it. And by young, I mean like a kid. Though, the costume could have been better. It’s a tad on the gaudy side. None the less, the book was entertaining, but everything was too obvious.

ghost storiesSynopsis: Ghost Stories is a graphic novel collection offering three haunting explorations. Granted the chance to meet three of her dead idols in “Ghost,” the author’s cartoon-self embarks on a journey to remote and unanticipated landscapes, in a story of self-discovery and healing. In “Wallpaper,” a child tells the story of a household move, remodel, and loss through the lens of flashbulb memory. And in “Makers,” two girls with an unorthodox friendship make a rocky transition into adulthood. Throughout each tale, ghosts exist as past selves and remnants of past relationships that are met with inquiry, resolution, and personal rebirth.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Commentary: What kind of comic was this? The stories were not connected, and it was all over the place for me. The only story that was the best written was Makers despite the anti-climatic ending. When I saw the cover, it was gorgeous and simplistic. I wanted to read the book based on the cover. I fell for a cover again. It was a weak story. Assuming that ghost stories was going to be based on ghosts, this book felt like the ideal one for me. Ghost Stories the chapter was okay. I honestly thought that Ghost Stories was going to play a major part in this book. Wallpaper was the weakest chapter. As I mentioned, Makers was a relatable story. It was about friendship and growing apart. I related to it, but the ending didn’t leave satisfaction. Sadly, this book was not my cup of tea.

Fragments of Feminity.jpgSynopsis: This is a collection of portraits of 7 women, of all different ages, backgrounds, circumstances and eras. Each one of them is facing a defining moment in her life. They are bound together by the symbol of their femininity: their breasts. We see an awkward college girl getting to grips with her womanhood; a 1960s house-wife freeing herself from the restraints of propriety; the manager of a small underwear shop fighting against corporate giants; a woman nude modeling for an unexpected reason… Love, illness, sex, liberation, sensuality: Olivier Pont draws us into the lives of these women with astounding force.

Rating: ⭐️

Commentary: This is possibly the worst comic that I have ever read. The stories were all about women obessessing over their bodies. This was not feminist. This was awful. Though each story took place during different eras, this did not add to my enjoyment level. I almost dnfed this book because my frustrations with the lack of structure and the shallowness portrayed by the characters. Truly awful. I never want to experience reading this comic again. Writing about it is giving me a headache. This is mature and not meant for younger audience.

le petiti loup rougeSynopsis: This synopsis is in French, sorry ya’ll. Soudain, une voix douce L’interpella : “Pourquoi pleures-tu ?” Le petit Loup rouge se retourna. Une petite fille blonde, étrangement vêtue, le regardait avec curiosité. Décontenancé, le petit loup se rappela ce qu’on lui avait toujours enseigné, à savoir “rester loin des humains” ! Mais cette petite humaine avait l’air si gentille, si fragile, qu’il lui fit tout de suite confiance.

Il était une fois… mère louve qui envoie son louveteau porter un lapin à sa grand-mère édentée et bien trop vieille pour chasser. Mais attention ! En chemin, il devra se méfier des méchants humains : le terrible chasseur et sa fille. Sur la route, tout désemparé d’avoir englouti par gourmandise le lapin destiné à sa grand-mère, il rencontrera et suivra bien naïvement une étrange petite fille qui lui contera l’histoire de sa famille, d’un gentil chasseur et de sa femme, qui aurait été mangée par les cruels loups… Dans ce conte sombre, relecture du Petit Chaperon rouge où les rôles s’inversent, deux visions, réminiscences d’un passé cruel, vont se confronter. Mais qui, des humains ou des loups, détient la vérité sur ce souvenir douloureux ?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: Growing up on Disney and books, my heart is a sucker for fairy tales. Though I am an adult, I’m still a huge fanatic of this genre. Reading The Little Red Wolf was refreshing. It is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood, but in reverse. Instead of presenting wolves as the stereotypical villians, that is not the case in this short story.  Even though humans are presented as evil, you feel sorry for both parties. This is an endearing tale with an ending to shock you all. The artwork is beautifully gorgeous, and eye catching. The Little Red Wolf presents two perspectives to the story, adding agency to the wolves. I can’t wait to read other works by the author, she is very talented.

the tea dragon society.jpg Synopsis: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Commentary: Wow, I was blown away by this children’s book. Let’s start with what I loved and that was the diversity in race and sexuality. I applaud this book. Besides the cover and lovely artwork, this was one of my favorite books that I have read. This is a charming book, and I can see all the love the author poured into this book. I wouldn’t mind other books in the series, and I loved reading about the dragons. The book covers details about each dragon., Greta and Minette have a cute friendship, and their bond was solidfied throughout the book. This is a highly recommened children’s book. I read The Tea Dragon society when I was experincing a book slump, but this one really helped me out through tough times.

 

Manga First Impressions: Perfect World Vol. I by Rie Aruga

Perfect World.jpgNetgalley Synopsis: Perfect World is Rie Aruga’s touching drama about the romance that develops between an abled interior designer and her first love, whom she reencounters one day only to find he is wheelchair-bound.

26-year-old Tsugumi Kawana reunites with her first crush from high school, Itsuki Ayukawa, at a get-together between an architecture firm and the interior design company she works at. He sends her heart aflutter, until she realizes he’s now disabled, and in a wheelchair. At first she feels she couldn’t date a guy in a wheelchair, but then her feelings begin to change…

commentary

“Don’t just go and decide…that I wouldn’t be happy with you. Stop deciding…everything by yourself. Even though…There’s no one that could replace you…”

**Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for giving me an e-book copy of the book for an honest review. All opinions are my own**

The story introduces Tsugumi Kawana meeting her first love as an adult after being separated for many years. Though the times have passed, Tsugumi feels the same emotions as she did many years ago. Itsuki  is a changed man, he is no longer the same person that Tsugumi has known physically. Itsuki is now paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury during his high school days.

Tsugumi reconnects with Itsuki because the two work together and get closer. Itsuki lets Itsuki know that he is not interested in her neither is he interested in romantic relationships. He understands that he is a burden and does not want that to happen to anyone in a relationship with him. He tries his best to adapt with his disability and pursues the same passions such as basketball and architecture when he was a young boy. Tsugumi believes she knows Itsuki, but with each encounter she learns a little about him everyday.

Itsuki is sickly, he constantly goes to the hospital. He tries to make the situation light about his condition. He reminds Tsugumi that she doesn’t have to stay by his side. Rather than leaving, Tsugumi doesn’t abandon her first love. Her feelings grow stronger each time she sees Itsuki. She learns to become more empathetic being with Itsuki though he is not interested in her romantically. She tries to help Itsuki bring closure in this first volume concerning his first love. The author shows that the stakes are high if Tsugumi continues to pursue Itsuki. She will get her heart broken because of his condition, but that doesn’t stop her.

“It was a night we felt we had connected. But the happiness felt that night…was delicate…as the snow melts, and disappears.”

I thought this first volume was sweet and ended in a cute way. I prefer Itsuki over Tsugumi. He understands his condition. He is fiercely independent, but he has flaws. He doesn’t let people in. He has emotional borders due to the event. He hasn’t completely accepted the fact that he is disabled. He still lives with his disability, but he is not a poster child of it as Tsugumi believes he is. Despite his conditions, he tries his best. The best chapter of this first volume was Itsuki’s interactions with Haruto, a teenage boy that recently became disabled.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ARC: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

the reading belle bruja born.jpg

goodreads-synopsis

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…commentary

**Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for giving me an e-book copy of the book for an honest review. All opinions are my own**

In Labyrinth Lost, the first book in the Brooklyn Witches series, Alex was the original protagonist. The black sheep of the family due to not having magic like her sisters. After the events of the first book, the point of view shifts to Lula Mortiz, the eldest sister of the family. In Labyrinth Lost, Lula was a confident witch with healing powers, but she undergoes a transformation in which she “loses” herself. Though this book deals with Lula, I love the maturity Alex gained from her experiences with Los Lagos. She seems more mature than the previous book. It is a shame that this book did not include a lot of Alex and Rishi moments.

As much as I loved Labyrinth Lost, I completely fell in love with Bruja Born. This book is about the process of healing for Lula because of her scars, both mentally and emotionally. Lula has found herself in a dark place, and only she can get herself. What I loved about this book is that Lula had an encouraging support system of her sisters and family that loved her even when she didn’t feel like herself. This is a beautiful journey of self discovery especially after losing her dearest boyfriend and the events of Los Lagos. Lula no longer feels joy and her connection to magic has severely changed. She is also learning to adjust to having her father back into her life after disappearing for many years. What I really loved about Lula is that she was raw, emotional, and mostly flawed. The author does not present a special snowflake, but rather someone relatable. It’s refreshing to read about realistic characters rather than Mary Sue type characters. She makes a lot of mistakes, along the way, but it serves to improve herself for the best. I could relate to Lula’s experiences of re-experiencing self love. The author portrayed Lula’s emptiness so realistically despite being a work of fiction.

One of my favorite lines in the book. This shows the sass and the protection Lula has for her sister Alex:

You really think I’m going to betray my sister for you? Boy, bye.

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Though the setting takes place in Brooklyn, magic plays a heavy element to this sequel. New lore is introduced in this urban fantasy such as casi muertos (neither living or completely dead, somewhere in between. Others would say they are similar to zombies), vampires, and witch hunters. Magic is always has a price. Lula learns this the hard way. Resurrecting the dead is not possible, even with Lula’s healing magic. She gains a new ability, but pays the ultimate price. The stakes are really high in this book. I loved the action scenes, and the magical alliance between different magical folks. This book presented a showdown and really delivered! I really hope that the author continues this series. I would love to see the Mortiz sisters once again. And I hope that Rose gets a perspective too!

Rating: 4.5

Bungo Stray Dogs Reading Challenge

 

Bungo Stray Dogs

Hey everyone, I wanted to create a reading challenge based on Bungo Stray Dogs. I finished watching season two today and I am so excited to see how this anime will continue once season 3 arrives. Because I felt inspired, I decided to do a reading challenge. I am not sure if anyone has made this challenge yet from what I’ve seen on the internet. Anyways, the characters of Bungo Stray Dogs are named after Japanese authors, and their powers are based off their literary works. The inner bookworm in me was excited!!  So, this will be my project that I’ll try to continuously update as more characters are introduced!! Anyone is free to join this reading challenge.

*For some of the characters, it was hard finding a particular book that relates to their power. I’ll try to associate books with each character.

**Some books are difficult for me to find online.

The Armed Detective Agency

  • Atsushi Nakajima: The Moon Over the Mountain, and Other Stories
  • Osamu Dazai: No Longer Human
  • Yukichi Fukuzawa: The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa
  • Doppo Kunikida: River Mist & Other Stories
  • Edogawa Ranpo: The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows
  • Kenji Miyazawa: Night on the Galactic Railroad
  • Akiko Yosano: River of Stars: Selected Poems of Yosano Akiko
  • Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: Naomi
  • Kyouka Izumi: The Surgery Room

Port Mafia

  • Ryunosuke Akutagawa: Rashōmon
  • Chūya Nakahara: **
  • Ichiyou Higuchi: Takekurabe
  • Ougai Mori: The Dancing Girl
  • Yumeno Kyusaku: **
  • Kouyou Ozaki: The Golden Demon
  • Hirotsu Ryurō: **
  • Motojiro Kajii: Lemon
  • Michizō Tachihara: **
  • Sakunosuke Oda: Stories of Osaka

The Guild

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
  • Lousia May Alcott: Little Women
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables
  • Margaret Mitchell: Gone With The Wind
  • Herman Melville: Moby Dick
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat
  • Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn
  • H.P. Lovecraft: The Call of Cthulhu