Saturday, February 25, 2017

Notable Releases: 2/19-2/25

Here are all the books released this past week that are either on my radar or that I think people will be interested to know is coming out.


Castle Glower Book 5: Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George

For middle-grade fans, this series comes to a close. I...still need to read the first book. I got it for free on Kindle sometime ages ago, I just never got to it for some reason.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Historical mystery that sounds all kind of awesome.

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

This sounds like Designated Survivor: Fantasy Edition and I have to say....I'm here for it.

Transference 1: The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins

This a bit like Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles series which was a favorite of mine back in the day so...I kind of have to give it a shot just on principal.

Adult Fiction

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

This week's twisty thriller release has already been released in the UK apparently (and it looks like it got pretty popular there) now it's coming over to the US.

Shades of Magic Book 3: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

I'm pretty much V.E. Schwab trash at this point. You guys know I'll be reading this.


The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

If you're interested in science history, it sounds like this book may be for you.

Graphic Novels

Jughead Vol. 2 TP
Adventure Time Comics Vol. 1 TP
Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Lies TP (Rebirth arc)
Snotgirl Vol. 1 TP
Ghost in the Shell Deluxe Edition vol. 1 HC
All New X-Men Vol. 3: Hell Hath So Much Fury TP
Penny Dreadful Vol. 1 TP

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: The Lady and Her Monsters

TITLE: The Lady and Her Monsters
AUTHOR: Roseanne Montillo
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Micro-History/history?/Biography
PREMISE: A look into what life in Mary Shelley's time was like as well as her life and things that influenced her and the writing of Frankenstein.
MY REVIEW: This was a pick of the month from The Mary Sue Books and More Club over on Goodreads (hi, to any Mary Sue members reading this). I was a little late to reading it (it was for January) because I wanted to get A Vindication of the Rights of Woman done first. I figured that'd be a good lead in book for it. I was right, it was. Because it let me know what happened to Wollenstonecraft after that book. Spoiler: it's really sad.
For the most part, this was very informative. There are things in here I had no idea about when it came to Mary Shelley. It also has made me super interested in the upcoming movie about her. Sometimes it wandered a bit too much for my taste (I didn't pick up this book to learn about random doctor who did this which probably inspired Shelley). But it is highly readable and very informative. Which at the end of the day is most of what I ask from my non-fiction.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mary Shelley fans, Frankenstein fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five lady authors who deserve more recognition

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

TITLE: The Girl Who Drank the Moon
AUTHOR: Kelly Barnhill
PUBLISHED: August 2016
CATEGORY: Childrens/Middle-Grade
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Every year a small town leaves a baby as an offering to the old witch in the forest. Every year, the witch takes the baby to the other side of the forest to find a better home. One time however...she keeps one baby to raise as her own...
MY REVIEW: I wanted to read this book pretty much as soon as I saw the cover. Look at that gorgeous cover. Luckily, this turned out to be one of the few times my cover lust did not get the better of me: this book was just as good on the inside as it was on the out.
It is very middle-grade, so it's told in that old-school story telling type of manner. The prose are the standout for me here. The writing in this book is gorgeous. I also just love the imagination behind it. It is just frankly, a charming book. If you're not won over by Xan or her snarky swamp monster friend, I really don't know what to say to you.
If you're a Neil Gaiman fan or love things like Studio Ghibli films, absolutely pick this up. Incidentally, I really want an animated movie of this. ;looks at Pixar or Studio Ghibli pleadingly;
WHO SHOULD READ: Neil Gaiman fans, fantasy fans, you like old school fairy-tale type books
MY RATING: Four out of Five snarky swamp monsters

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

So You've Finally: Gotten to Your Black History Month Reading Pt 2

Last week, I did a recommendation list for Black History month that was mostly just classics published up to the 1980s. Now, here's a list for more modern books to read for Black History month and beyond that.
Note: I am not putting The Color Purple, Beloved, or The Autobiography of Malcolm X on here. Not because those books aren't good (they are, go read them) but because probably at this point everyone knows those books and putting them on this list would probably be redundant.

The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

If you've already read The Color Purple, try this novel, written the same year Color Purple came out.

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

If you've likewise, already read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, check out this book written by a Black Panther activist during the eighties.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

If you're into essays and feminism, absolutely check out this collection written in the 80s but no less relevant.
Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley

If you're looking for some mystery to add to your Black History month reading, check out this series started in the 90s about a man in the 40s solving mysteries in LA.
Push by Saphire

You might remember this book due to the movie of the same name that gave us the ever delightful Gabourey Sidebe.

Fences by August Wilson

You've no doubt heard of Fences thanks to it being nominated for several oscars.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

For sci-fans, check out this old school dystopian from the nineties (and then look into Hopkinson's other work)

Feminism is For Everybody by bell hooks

I have recommended this one before but seriously: read it. Especially those who think feminism doesn't need to be intersectional.

The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hil

If you're looking for a book to read after you've read Homegoing or Roots, check out this award winner from 2007.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Honestly, you probably already know about this book if you're in the book world at all. But in case you don't....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review: Agent of Chaos

TITLE: Agent of Chaos
Book 1 in the X-Files Origins series
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Mystery
PREMISE: Get a peek into the past of Agent Mulder during his teen years.
MY REVIEW: I freely admit: I was late to the X-Files game. I didn't watch the series for the first time until a few years ago on Netflix. I did really enjoy it, but I'm probably not what one would call a super fan of the show. But when I heard they were doing books about teenage Mulder and Scully, I couldn't resist.
This book focuses on Mulder. We get a glimpse into what his teen years might have been like and we get hints of that thirst to find the truth that he has. If one is not a super-fan of the show though...I suspect this book might fall flat, as it's mostly mystery oriented and if you're not really familiar with the show there are a lot of easter eggs in here that you might miss.
Ultimately though, I really did like the book. It gave that X-Files feel. I definitely believed this was a teenage Mulder, and even the mystery was good. If you're a fan of the TV show who's going through withdrawal, this is a good one to pick up. I confess though, I'm really looking forward to Scully's book #teamScully all the way.
WHO SHOULD READ: X-Files fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five aliens who may or may not exist

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Review: Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

TITLE: Dreams From My Father-A Story of Race and Inheritance
AUTHOR: Barack Obama
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Memoir/Biography
PREMISE: Written before he became POTUS, Barack Obama tells the story of coming to terms with his heritage.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those books that has been on my TBR list for quite awhile now. My library happened to have it this past week, so I picked it up.
This book was written before Obama became Senator and deals with the period where he was a community planner. There is also a lot of talk about race and his experiences with it (hence all the people getting mad over it). It talks a lot about his time coming to grips with his heritage.
This was a very interesting memoir. It's not the best one I've ever read. It stops too abruptly at the end. But overall, this was a very decent read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Obama fans, people interested in presidential biographies
MY RATING: Four out of Five living presidents whom I really miss

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Your Syllabus For: Hamilton

Yes, I'm starting a new feature. This is what happens when one is bored. Mostly this is another version of Thematic Sunday or So You've Finally. I'm just being more thorough with these lists. It's list form, not many pictures. Lots of links. There are going to be a variety of topics from genres to specific themes.
So it's President's Day Weekend and if you're like me, you probably took that as an excuse to re-listen to the Hamilton musical for upteenth time. So, here's a proposed syllabus/reading list for the Hamilton musical.

Required Reading:

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy Carter

For ultimate Hamilton fans, absolutely get this book. It has the entire script of the musical itself that is annotated by Lin-Manuel himself, gorgeous pictures, several essays going into the making of the musical and as bonus, the book is just beautiful itself.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

The musical definitely covered a lot and gave an excellent overview of Hamilton's life. For more in depth look into things the musical maybe didn't have time to go into, check out this biography.

Suggested further reading for specific characters:

George Washington: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Yes, Chernow again. What can I say, the man knows his stuff.

Aaron Burr: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenburg

Lafayette: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Thomas Jefferson: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis

James Madison: James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Louis Ketcham

John Adams: John Adams by David McCullough

The Schuyler Sisters: Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts-Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any books that I can see specifically about the Schuyler Sisters. Hopefully the musical inspires some historian somewhere and we get one. In the meantime, here's a book about several awesome ladies during the early days of the US.

Further Reading for the historical tidbits mentioned in the musical:

For the Revolutionary War itself: The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauf-For a overview of the war that Hamilton and co. were involved in during the first half of the musical.

1776 by David McCullough, yes him again. Again, some authors are just that good.

The election of 1800: Adams VS Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800

Adams Jefferson Letters-Not specifically about the election, but considering these two were the major players in that election, this might be a good collection of letters to look into.

Extra Credit: Books/Writing that the characters in the musical were likely reading during this time (or in some cases specifically mentioned in said musical):

The Constitution of the United States of America

Robinson Crusoe as well as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Candide by Volitaire

The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling by Henry Fielding

The Federalist Papers by various authors

Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and later The Age of Reason by the same author.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin This was not published until the late 1790s, but I'm sure Hamilton and co. read it (and probably either laughed at it or hated it)..

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Notable Releases: 2/12-2/18

Here are some new releases from this past week that are on my radar or that I think people may be interested in looking into.


Charlotte Holmes 2: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

I admit, I was skeptical of A Study in Charlotte when it came out. Gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes books tend to not work out well for me (I love Elementary though, go figure). But it really surprised me and I am really eager to see more of Charlotte.

Dark Gifts Book 1: Gilded Cage by Vic James

The latest buzz worthy YA fantasy series. I am not immune. This series sounds awesome.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

LaCour is one of those authors I keep meaning to read. After reading You Know Me Well, which she co wrote with David Levithan, I think I'm finally going to give her solo books a shot.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

A contemporary book that looks like its topics are going to be very timely and that has been getting pretty decent reviews.

Adult Fiction:

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

The author of The Last Unicorn (one of my ultimate favorites) is writing another fairy-tale centered around unicorns. Huzzah!

Olympus Bound 2: Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Immortals was a surprise pleasant read for me last year. I look forward to its sequel.

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Looking for another twisty family thriller? Check out this book that has been getting some buzz around the blogosphere.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I heard about this book through various places and it sounds really interesting.

Graphic Novels/Manga: (note: HC=Hardcover edition, TP=Trade paperback edition)

Angel Catbird Vol. 2: To Castle Catula HC
Batgirl: A Celebration of 50 Years HC
Future Quest Vol. 1 TP
Flight of the Raven TPB
Locke and Key Small World Deluxe HC
Guardians of the Galaxy New Guard Vol. 3: Civil War II HC

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: Windwitch

TITLE: Windwitch
Book 2 in the Witchlands series
AUTHOR: Susan Dennard
PUBLISHED: January 3rd, 2017
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Believed to be dead, Merik goes after the people he thinks tried to kill him. Meanwhile Safi has be en captured, but her thread sister Iseult makes a dangerous bargain with an assassin to track her and rescue her.
MY REVIEW: I enjoyed Truthwitch, I really did. The only thing is, I was a big fan of the author's previous trilogy Something Strange and Deadly and to me...Truthwitch just didn't compare. With this sequel however...I think I'm revising that opinion. I suspect I mostly just had too high expectations.
This second book was an excellent sequel. It's pacing is near perfect, there's character development, world-building development. I suspect the first book was just mostly a prologue bit and maybe that's why it didn't grab me immediately. Now that the plot has really started, I'm loving this series and can't wait for the next books (we're getting two more!).
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, Susan Dennard fans, witch book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five okay now I'm on board feelings

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review: The Blind Side

TITLE: The Blind Side
AUTHOR: Michael Lewis
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Biography/sports history
PREMISE: Lewis tells the story of Michael Oher, a kid from the poor side of town who rises up and becomes one of the major NFL football players.
MY REVIEW: I mostly picked this up to complete the read a sports book task in the Read Harder challenge over at Book Riot. I have seen the movie that was based on it. My feelings on the movie are...mixed. Sandra Bullock and the guy playing Michael Oher are great, but I don't particularly think it was Oscar worthy.
As for the book...if I were to judge it based on just the would be a perfectly decent book. Lewis is a competent writer, he explains football in a way I actually understand, and we get a good overview of Michael's life. What left a bad taste in my mouth was the way the author went about writing it. You know the white savior-ish feeling of the movie? Yeah, that's no accident. The author basically writes the book as if the Touhy's and all the generous white people in Oher's life are the ones single-handedly responsible for Oher's success. When he writes about Oher's biological family...there's a lot of condescension lets just say. He also is clearly very biased about things because he writes as if the Touhys can do no wrong. Even though there are some highly questionable things going on in this book where the Touhys are concerned.
That along with him deciding that it's totally necessary to including homophobic and transphobic conversations (when it really wasn't) make me really side-eye this book hard. Is the story inspiring? Sure. I definitely did root for Michael. But the way the author goes about writing this just left me grimacing a lot.
WHO SHOULD READ: Sports fans, fans of the Blind Side movie
MY RATING: Three out of Five really hard side-eyes

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

So You've Finally: Are Getting to Your Black History Month Reads (Classic ed.)

So you've had your fill of romances for Valentines day. Now maybe you're ready to read some books for Black History month or books to read anytime because you can read these all year around. I'll be doing two lists for this. The one today is going to be classics (to narrow it down, I'll be sticking to books written before 1980). Next week, I'll be doing a list of more modern books to look into. I'm going to assume most people know about the books by Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B Du Bois etc. If you don't, I highly recommend looking into those authors.

Black History Month Reads: Classics

Passing by Nella Larsen

A novel from the late twenties that is often considered one of the best to come from the Harlem Renaissance that came about during this time.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This classic, written in the 1930s is still widely read today. I hear it's very good. I need to get to it myself.

Native Son by Richard Wright

Written in the early forties about what it was like to be black in America in the 30s.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

One of the most important novels from the fifties.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A play from the late fifties about a family living in the south side of Chicago.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Angelou has a ton of books to choose from, including many wonderful poems. But if you're looking to read her for the first time, I recommend her auto-biographies first.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Pretty much all James Baldwins books are great reads, but this collection of essays is probably the best of his work.

The Collected Poems by Langston Hughes

Hughes was a prolific poet who wrote up until his death in the late sixties.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The entire Logans series is great, but I especially recommend this award winner from the seventies.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Written in the mid-seventies if you're looking for family sagas, this is your book.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Looking for some more sci-fi in your black history month reading? Then check out all of Octavia Butler's books, but especially this standalone written at the end of the seventies.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange

A play from the 1970s that won several awards.

Note: if you're looking for The Color Purple or The Autobiography of Malcolm X, those were written in the eighties, so will be included in the modern book list next week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

TITLE: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Book 1 in the Wayfarers series
AUTHOR: Becky Chambers
GENRE: Science Fiction
PREMISE: A woman joins a crew and their first mission becomes more then expected...
MY REVIEW: So this book has been around a bit. It just took me awhile to get to it. First, my library didn't get a copy of it until much later. Then there was a long reserve wait, and then...I just have to be in the mood for sci-fi. It's a weird thing with me. I can read fantasy any time, any where, but sci-fi? Have to be talked into it.
Now I personally really enjoyed this one. The characters are wonderfully developed, the world-building is fabulous, and the writing is great. My major complaint is that it's just...really slow paced. If you're into sci-fi for tons of space battles a la Star Wars....this probably won't be your thing.
So this is good. I hope the pace picks up in the next one. The pay off is worth just took too long to get to said pay off and not every reader has the patience for that. I'll definitely be looking into the next one at some point in time.
WHO SHOULD READ: N.K. Jemisin fans, Star Trek fans?, those who like more character focused sci-fi
MY RATING: Four out of Five wormholes in space

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review: Bad Blood

TITLE: Bad Blood
Book 4 in The Naturals series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PUBLISHED: November 2016
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Cassie finally gets some answers about her past as the group investigates a cult.
MY REVIEW: It's always a little bittersweet when a favorite series ends. I have enjoyed every installment of this series since it first started and am very sad to see it go. For those that don't know what it is: basically it's a YA Criminal Minds if they had powers instead of tech and if there were more on-going plots instead of just one-shot mysteries where there is no character development. I might have issues with Criminal Minds ;shrugs;
Personally I loved the ending. We got answers to the main mystery. We have a general idea of where the gang ended up. I was satisfied. I want more, because I adore these characters so much. But I am overall happy with where we ended up. I am sorry to see this series end but can't wait to see what new ideas Barnes has in store for us next.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of the first three books, Criminal Minds fans, CSI fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five sassy squad goals

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2017 Adaptation List Pt 2: March and April

Here are some books/graphic novels coming your way to the big and small screen.

In March:

On the 3rd:
X-23: Innocence Lost

So another Logan film comes out this year. You can read the plethora of Wolverine comics out there or you can look into who the badass little girl in the trailer is. I highly recommend the latter.

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

The latest Christian book to get the Hollywood treatment is The Shack. Honestly, I'm surprised it took them this long to make a movie considering how huge the book has been.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

You guys remember this one? I know it's been out awhile (it was in fact one of the first big buzzy books I reviewed for this this blog ;feels old;) I'm not sure how well this will translate into a movie, but the trailer looks promising.

March 10th

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

This lit book that I'll read one of these days is coming to theaters.

March 17th

Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

Yes, the movie is based on Disney's Beauty and the Beast, but they based it on this tale first.

The Immortal Iron Fist series

If you're looking for a quick intro into Iron Fist before you watch the Netflix show, I recommend checking this series out.

March 31rst

Ghost in the Shell manga by Masamune Shirow

Yes, I am bitter that we couldn't have gotten an actual Japanese or at least Japanese American actress for this movie. I'm sure ScarJo does a fine job, but we seriously need to stop white-washing movies.

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

This upcoming WWII movie is based on this non-fiction 2007 release.



iZombie series

iZombie season 3 is FINALLY coming April 3rd. Seriously CW, this long wait between shows is not cool.


Call the Midwife Trilogy by Jennifer Worth

Can't wait for Call the Midwife season 6 in the US? Try the book series the show is based on.


Wonder by R. J. Palacio

This 2012 bestseller comes to the big screen this april. I should...probably read it now, huh?


The Lost City of Z by David Grann

A non-fiction book featuring lost explorers and a mystery.


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

At long last this terrifying (yet plausible if the current political climate is anything to go by) comes to our screens. It's on Hulu though. So I guess I now have to shell out bucks for a subscription.


The Circle by Dave Eggers

Proving that dystopians are not dead, here comes another dystopian movie adaptation.