Poison Study
Book Review / October 13, 2017

Title: Poison Study Series: Study, #1 Author: Maria V. Snyder Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Mira Release Date: March 1st 2007 Format: Paperback Pages: 409 Source: Library First Published: October 1st, 2005 Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison… About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear… (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I recommended this to one of my book clubs for purely selfish reasons. A few different bloggers kept raving about this series over the past year on their blogs. It came up again and again– I knew I just had to check it out, but…

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra
Book Review / September 23, 2017

Title: Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra Series: Zodiac Starforce, #1-4 Author: Keven Panetta Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Books Release Date: March 9th, 2016 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 136 Source: Library Illustrator: Paulina Gancheau They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters–not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself–and the world–from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions! From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship–with plenty of magical-girl fighting action–delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics!  Collects Zodiac Starforce #1-#4 (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   One of my friends, Sarah Stern, is a comic artist. For her day job, mostly, she is a colorist and she is amazing (for real – check out her website!). Recently,…

Dumplin’
Book Review / September 17, 2017

Title: Dumplin' Series: Dumplin, #1 Author: Julie Murphy Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Harper Collins Release Date: September 15th, 2015 Format: Audionook Source: Library Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly…

Flame in the Mist
Book Review / August 27, 2017

Title: Flame in the Mist Series: Flame in the Mist, #1 Author: Renee Ahdieh Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Teen Release Date: May 16th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 393 Source: First to Read The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath. So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace. The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for…

Big Mushy Happy Lump
Book Review / July 29, 2017

Title: Big Mushy Happy Lump Series: Sarah Scribbles, #2 Author: Sarah Andersen Genre: Comic Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing Release Date: March 7th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 132 Source: NetGalley Illustrator: Sarah Andersen Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.  In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I love Sarah’s Scribbles. Sarah Andersen has been doodling the thoughts of everyone maturing as a late Gen-X’er/early-millennial since 2011. Starting as a web comic, Andersen captures vignettes of life focused around a singular female protagonist who more-or-less wakes up one day to realize she needs to Adult. Properly Adult. And she just is NOT prepared for this. Not only is…

The Fallen Kingdom
Book Review / June 13, 2017

Title: The Fallen Kingdom Series: The Falconer, #3 Author: Elizabeth May Publisher: Chronicle Books Release Date: June 13th, 2017 Format: eARC Source: NetGalley The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer’s story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion. (via Goodreads)   This book is the third book in the trilogy The Falconer. My review contains minor spoilers for book one, The Falconer and book two The Vanishing…

The Vanishing Throne
Book Review / June 8, 2017

Title: The Vanishing Throne Series: The Falconer, #2 Author: Elizabeth May Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Chronicle Books Release Date: June 21st, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 458 Source: Library First Published: November 19th, 2015 Everything she loved is gone. Trapped. Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of the evil fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive. Tortured. Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana’s memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she’s about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecognizable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault. Transformed. The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater danger awaits: the human and fae worlds may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of…

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Book Review / May 8, 2017

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God Author: Zora Neale Hurston Genre: Classic Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics Release Date: November 23rd, 2004 Format: Audiobook Pages: 237 Source: Library; Blogger Recommendation First Published: 1937 One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose.  A true literary wonder, Hurston’s masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published – perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Wow! A HUGE thank you to Melanie @ Grab the Lapels for recommending not only this book but specifically the audiobook to me!  Winner of the Audie Award for Solo Narration – Female in 2001, listening to Ruby Dee recite Their Eyes Were Watching God was incredibly powerful. I love this book…

We Should All Be Feminists
Book Review / March 8, 2017

Title: We Should All Be Feminists Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Essays Publisher: Anchor Release Date: February 3rd, 2015 Format: Paperback Pages: 49 Source: Library First Published: 2012 In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I had seen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDxEuston talk before. But, in light of everything happening around the world, and today being International Women’s Day, I felt like I needed to reconnect with it on my own time. And at my own pace. It was time to pick up the published text. An eloquent and personal essay, We Should All Be Feminists addresses Adichie’s experiences as a woman experiencing internalized, culturized, and socialized misogyny on varying levels. I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my…

Mom & Me & Mom
Book Review / February 23, 2017

Title: Mom & Me & Mom Series: Maya Angelou's Autobiographies, #7 Author: Maya Angelou Genre: Memoir Publisher: Random House Release Date: April 2nd, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 201 Source: Library First Published: January 1st, 2013 The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother. For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them. Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding,…

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