The Blazing Star
Book Review / December 12, 2016

Title: The Blazing Star Author: Imani Josey Genre: Magical Realism Publisher: Wise Ink Release Date: December 6th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 239 Source: NetGalley Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius. But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again? She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow. Great. Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger. As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I am typically not someone…

The Girl From Everywhere
Book Review / November 7, 2016

Title: The Girl From Everywhere Series: The Girl From Everywhere, #1 Author: Heidi Heilig Genre: Magical Realism Publisher: Greenwillow Books Release Date: February 16th, 2016 Format: Audiobook Pages: 443 Source: Library Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon The Girl From Everywhere is everything and nothing like I expected it to be. Time-travelling pirate…

The Shadow of the Wind
Book Review / September 22, 2016

Title: The Shadow of the Wind Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1 Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon Genre: Fiction Publisher: Penguin Books Release Date: January 25th, 2005 Format: Paperback Pages: 487 Source: Library First Published: 2001, in Spanish Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   If only I knew how to write this book review. The Shadow of the Wind enraptured me within paragraphs. I was immediately pulled into a beautiful world of well-woven words. Eventually, I even gave up writing down all my favorite quotes. There were so many great moments and sentences that I…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 7: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger
Book Review / September 7, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 7: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger Series: Lone Wolf a Cub, #7 Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: April 10th, 2001 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 283 Source: Library First Published: March 27th, 1999 There is more than just blood between parent and child. Itto Ogami and his son Daigoro have seen more blood flowing from more bodies than anyone in Edo, but what connects them is their spirit and path. In this collection of classic stories, Itto must protect a young girl after her family is destroyed by a cunning courtesan. Meanwhile, Itto’s arch-enemy, Yagyu Retsudo, has sent the civilian police force to round up the Lone Wolf as a common criminal, and before long, Daigoro is coincidentally tangled in a messy pair of crimes. And, most dramatically, Itto returns to the scene of one of his past executions to enter a tender and honorable sword fight against an executed lord’s former retainer. GoodreadsAmazon   Unlike in previous volumes, female characters come front and center in Volume 7: Cloud Dragon, Wind Tiger. Unsurprisingly and sadly, all the stories for these female characters are tragic and violent. Also, continuing the…

The Diviners
Book Review / June 26, 2016

Title: The Diviners Series: The Diviners, #1 Author: Libba Bray Genre: Paranormal Fiction Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers Release Date: September 18th, 2012 Format: eBook Pages: 578 Source: Owned Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   I…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 6: Lanterns for the Dead
Book Review / June 8, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol 6: Lanterns for the Dead Series: Lone Wolf and Cub, #6 Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: March 31st, 2001 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 283 Source: Library Illustrator: Goseki Kojima First Published: February 27th, 1999 The legend of Lone Wolf and Cub continues to grow in this latest chapter of Koike and Kojima’s epic samurai masterpiece chronicling the wanderings of Japan’s deadliest assassin, Itto Ogami, and his infant son, Daigoro. In this volume, Ogami takes on the most dangerous killer of the countryside, foils the plans of a deceptive gambling troupe, tricks an evil lord into exposing his weak underbelly, and pits himself against the Shogun’s dangerous and deadly Kurokawa ninja! Drawing extensively from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and featuring the saddest puppy-dog story ever published, this must-have volume is packed with action and emotion. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   In Lanterns for the Dead, there is a definite shift in writing. Up to this point, we have seen mostly stand alone stories around how Ogami Itto became the Lone Wolf and is surviving on the road of meifumado. Only recently have we started to see the…

All The Light We Cannot See
Book Review / May 31, 2016

Title: All The Light We Cannot See Author: Anthony Doerr Genre: Fiction Publisher: Scribner Release Date: May 6th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 530 Source: Library From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments,…

Out of the Dust
Book Review / May 27, 2016

Title: Out of the Dust Author: Karen Hesse Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Release Date: January 1st, 1997 Format: Paperback Pages: 256 Source: Owned When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring. Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon     As to be expected for a story set during the dust bowl in Oklahoma during the Great Depression this story is dark and dreary. Even bordering on a gruesome quality that, thankfully, the verse distracts us from. However, this is also a story of hope and human connection, making it also beautiful and heart wrenching. Out of the Dust is a 1998 Newbery Medal-winning book written as a journal. Billie Jo is our narrator and she begins her entries in 1934. However, unlike most epistolary novels, narrative poetry is used to tell the story instead of…

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Book Review / April 23, 2016

Title: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant Series: Delilah Dirk, #1 Author: Tony Cliff Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: First Second Release Date: August 27th, 2013 Format: Paperback Pages: 169 Source: Library Illustrator: Tony Cliff Lovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk has travelled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life. A little bit Tintin, a little bit Indiana Jones, Delilah Dirk is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine…and globetrotting adventures. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Thanks to a friend’s recommendation that I read Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes, a collection of comic book art interpretations of common nursery rhymes, I was introduced to the publishing company First Second. As this collection featured some beautiful art, I knew I had to learn more about this…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 5: Black Wind
Book Review / April 21, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 5: Black Wind Series: Lone Wolf and Cub, #5 Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: February 13th, 2001 Format: Paperback Pages: 228 Source: Library Illustrator: Goeski Kojima First Published: January 30th, 1997 This volume contains five powerful, classic tales of the assassin Itto Ogami, the Lone Wolf, as he continues his journey to hell. The Yagyu clan, fearful of the growing legend surrounding Lone Wolf, has decided to protect itself by sending its own assassin after him, and later pit the greatest swordsman of a rival clan against him. Also, Lone Wolf must face the leader of a bounty-hunting gang who seeks revenge against Ogami for slaying his young lord years ago, and a master gunsmith who values the art of warfare above all else and will change his life forever. Don’t miss a single volume of the acclaimed epic series that belongs on every bookshelf: Lone Wolf and Cub. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon Volume 5: In which we begin to really see that Ogami Itto is a flesh and blood man. I’m not trying to be sarcastic or condescending here. I’m serious. For 4 volumes we have watched Itto…

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