Book Review: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 in the Ms. Marvel Collected Editions 

Summary

Ms. Marvel is a normal Muslim teenager in Jersey City – until something happens. Now she has to figure out what is going on, and without tipping off her very protective parents. 

What I Liked

  • This is a great starter comic series if you have no prior knowledge of the comic universes. I tried reading other comics that were hard to get into because I had no idea what was going on. And while different characters do pop up throughout the series, you don’t have to have any prior knowledge to follow and understand the story line. 
  • I loved how being Muslim was just a part of the main character’s life. It wasn’t a central focus and it wasn’t in-your-face, but it was there as an influence in her life. It was neat to see the religion from the every day point of view instead of the large scale religions 101 definition. 
  • I really like the character. She’s emotionally strong and isn’t afraid of being herself, but not in an unrealistic way. 
  • I like the side characters in this series as well. They seem supportive of her and her ambitions, even if they accidentally find out she has super powers. 

What I Didn’t Like 

  • Not much 

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to delve into the comic book world, or if you’re just looking for a comic about a kick-butt teenager, this is the book for you. 

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link) 

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1 Year Ago: Book Review: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
(Book 3 in the Parasol Protectorate series) 

(Contains spoilers for the first two books in this series. You can check out those reviews here  and here.) 

Summary

Almost everyone has abandoned Alexia now that her “news” is public knowledge, including her husband, her family, and even the Queen. Thankfully, she’s strong enough to face almost everything on her own. Now she has to figure out how to escape the vampires hunting her, fight off mechanical ladybugs, and find out more about her condition (and maybe why the vampires want to kill her.) 

What I Liked 

  • This is my favorite book in the series so far. I started reading it on a weekday, so I spent well over a day on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I read during every break, during lunch, in my car after work, before meeting with my friends after work, and more. And when I was doing stuff (like pricing french fries or hanging out with my friends) I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t reading. Would Alexia’s life fall back together? What answers to what mysteries was she going to reveal? Can any more things really go wrong in her life? 
  • We get to see more characters that were introduced in her young adult Finishing School series. So that was pretty cool. 
  • Last minute escapes! Cool underground laboratories! More travelling with eccentric friends! Homicidal mechanical ladybugs! Pesto! 

What I Didn’t Like 

  • That I didn’t have the opportunity to read this all in one sitting! 😛

In Conclusion 

Seriously, go read this series! It’s so amazingly complex and interesting. 

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link) 

 

1 year ago: Book Review: Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

Book Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stand-Alone book 2 in the Letters to the Lost series 

Summary

This book follows Rev Fletcher, the best friend of Declan from Letters to the Lost. Rev had a traumatic childhood until he was fostered and then adopted by his current parents. He still prefers to stay in the shadows and wears dark hoodies that swallow him up and keep him out of sight and mind. Emma Blue is into video games and computer programming, but is being harassed by a gamer in the community. We get to see them each deal with their individual challenges, but also get to see them grow as friends (or more!). 

What I Liked

  • I love his parents. Like, I want to be them when I grow up. They’re just so loving and kind and non-judgmental. And they always seem to know exactly what each child needs – they adopted Rev, but they still foster regularly and are always trying to help the parents of the fostered child get back on their feet. 
  • This book was quite intense! I read it all in one sitting, because I just had to find out what happened next. 

What I Didn’t Like

  • I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this one as I was in Letters to the Lost. Not that it was a bad book by any means, but it didn’t live up to the first one, in my opinion. 
  • Emma’s character seemed a little flat. She had some depth, but not much that went outside of the cliché “gamer girl”, which would have been nice to see. 

In Conclusion

Brigid Kemmerer is an amazing author and you should read pretty much everything she writes, including this book. 

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

Book Review: The Sheik and the Christmas Bride by Susan Mallery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Kayleen is a school teacher who was raised by nuns and is trying to make the world a better place by caring for orphans. As’ad is a business focused sheik/prince whose aunt is secretly trying to set him up. He ends up in a situation where there is only one possible solution – adopt three girls and hire Kayleen to take care of them.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes you just need a good, cliche romance novel to cheer you up. This one certainly did the trick.
  • I loved the commoner/prince dynamic presented by this book. It was sort of like Netflix’s The Christmas Prince, but with character development and natural dialogue.
  • I was sort of a fan of As’ad’s pompous personality. He didn’t act that way because he was a jerk – he was just raised that way and knew no better. (If you’ve ever read the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, As’ad is very similar in personality to Jonathan.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • I was looking forward to reading about a business focused male love interest – and instead got the stereotypical playboy love interest. It would have been nice to see something new.
  • There were some inconsistencies in the book. For example, they very explicitly state that none of the princes are playboys, and yet each of the ones we meet… definitely are. Kayleen’s character was a little inconsistent as well.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for the book version of A Christmas Prince, this is for you. (There is adult content in this book, be warned.)

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Forgotten Carols by Michael McLean

Rating: ⭐⭐

Summary

A nurse named Connie Lou is assigned as a caretaker for “Uncle John” during Christmas time. She’s very starched and straight-forward and has no family of her own. She is a by-the-book rules follower. Uncle John is the exact opposite – eccentric, unpredictable, and charismatic. He shares Christmas with Connie Lou by telling stories about each of his unique ornaments.

What I Liked

  • Not much. This would have gotten one star, except that is reserved for books I loathe. And to be honest, this one wasn’t written well enough for me to loathe it.
  • Some of the messages were sort of okay? Or could have been, if written better.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It was very heavy-handed in its messages. Even as a Christian, I found it a little overwhelming.
  • For as heavy-handed as it was, it wasn’t very Biblically accurate.
  • I didn’t get it? I’m sure there was supposed to be a very obvious, heart-warming message in there somewhere, but I just didn’t get the story. It was weird and I didn’t understand the ending at all in the context of the rest of the book.
  • It was inconsistent. Half of the characters you meet are obviously supposed to be from the Bible. But the other half seem to be pretty random. There was no cohesiveness in this story whatsoever.

In Conclusion

I guess this is popular as a play, but as a book, it isn’t worth your time.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is a middle grade graphic novel. The father of two children goes out to get milk so they can have their cereal and tea for breakfast, but he takes a really long time to get back. So, over breakfast, he tells them the tale of what happened that made him take so long.

What I Liked

  • This was sort of a fun story. It involves many different settings (like pirate ship, alien spaceship, etc.) and time periods. It’s exactly the sort of story you would want to make up if you’re camping under the stars or trying to distract your child from a storm. It was intriguing and unpredictable, especially since it involved time travel.
  • I just love that graphic novels are now a thing for all ages. I think they’re important to reach those who otherwise might not read at all. (I know this isn’t specific to this book, but I wanted to mention it anyway.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • At one point the father comes across ancient gods and interacts with them in some capacity. Depending on your religion or your child’s knowledge of such things, this might not be a good book for them. (Like, if they’re already reading Percy Jackson, they’ll probably be fine. But if you’re reading it to a younger crew who doesn’t quite get the concept yet, maybe not.)
  • How safe is that milk?? I read this book right after I read Fast Food Nation, so my food-safety brain was very concerned about the germs this adventurous milk must have acquired! 😛

In Conclusion

If you have a reluctant middle grade reader, you’re an adult who loves a whimsical story, or you have curious children who love hearing stories, this might be the book for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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1 year ago: Book Review: Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane

Book Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 in the Perfect Chemistry series

Summary

This book follows Carlos Fuentes as he adjusts to life in Colorado. He grew up in Chicago and most of his family is in Mexico, except for his brother in Colorado. His family hopes that the move will help him and his gang-leaning ways. At his new school, he finds himself attracted to Kiara, a blend-into-the-background sort of girl.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes it’s nice to pick up a young adult romance such as this. It flowed decently well and I was able to read it in a day or less. I love the predictability of romances sometimes, and this was no exception.
  • Some of the pranks the characters pull on each other are fun and creative. It was nice to see that as well.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The relationship moved crazy fast! I know this is fairly typical in romance novels, but this seemed a little extreme. At the very least, we didn’t see as much relationship building as you would expect.
  • Kiara didn’t have very much personality in the book. Her pranks were fun and quirky, and she definitely had her moments, but as a whole she was pretty unmemorable.
  • The ending seemed way too easy and quite unrealistic. Compared to the first book, this was a little disappointing.

In Conclusion

If you liked Perfect Chemistry (book 1) or if you’re a fan of books like Anna and the French Kiss, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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1 year ago: Book Review: Scooby-Doo y el Monstruo de las Nieves (Scooby-Doo and the Snow Monster)

Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

I enjoyed this book even more than I enjoyed the first one in the series. In this one, random supernaturals (werewolves, ghosts, vampires) are suddenly disappearing OR they are losing their ability to change into their supernatural form. Our main character, Alexia (who is preternatural and has no soul), sets out on an adventure to figure out why this is happening and how she can stop it.

What I Liked

  • The first book had a lot of world building. This is a fantastic world, so I’m thankful for that, but it was great also to move on to a focus on characters and events. For a reminder, this takes place in Victorian Steampunk England.
  • I love that, in this universe, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts aren’t hidden. They’re a part of society and are regulated by the government. It’s super interesting to see how society develops with supernatural creatures. You get to see the politics inside the individual creatures’ structures (hives for vampires, packs for werewolves) but also how they interact with each other and humans as a whole.
  • Guest appearance by characters from the author’s “Finishing School” series. (And by “guest appearance”, I mean that this series was actually written first, even if I didn’t read them in that order.) We get to see what happens to some of the characters. (And oh. my. gosh. I can’t believe it took me so long to place them!)

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(Some of these I included because they give you a taste of the world.)

  • “‘And what exactly is it?’ added the vampire, pouring the tea. Lady Maccon took hers with milk and a little sugar. He took his with a dash of blood and a squeeze of lemon.”
  • “‘But honestly Alexia, I do not mean to be boorish, but do you realize that your underdrawers are exposed to the night air, not to mention the public view?’
    ‘Ivy, I am hanging on for dear life to the side of a floating dirigible, leagues up in the aether. Even you must admit there are some instances wherein protocol should be relaxed.'”
  • “‘…what am I to do? I am overcome with the injustice of it all.’
    Lady Maccon replied with a suggestion. ‘Seek the assistance of an ugly-hat-addiction specialist this very instant?'”
  • “The dirigible came to rest as lightly as a butterfly on an egg, if the butterfly were to stumble a bit and list heavily to one side and the egg to take on the peculiar characteristics of Scotland in the winter: more soggy and more gray than one would think possible.”

What I Didn’t Like

  • This isn’t really a negative, but more of a heads up: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE NEXT BOOK ON HAND!! Maybe it’s just me, but the book was cliffhanger enough for me to make me dive right into the next book!

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for an adult fantasy, give this series a try!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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1 year ago: Book Review: Sixteen Kisses by Kelly Oram

Book Review: Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This graphic novel follows Willhelmina (Will), a high school student who has to navigate part of her summer without electricity, thanks to the storm Whitney, which knocked out the power.

(“Storm”, in this case, actually means “storm”, like a thunderstorm or hurricane. When I first read the synopsis, I definitely thought Whitney was a person who “blew into” her life and messed it up. But no, Whitney is the name of a storm.)

What I Liked

  • “Poignant” is probably the best way to describe this graphic novel.
  • This reminded me of Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. I saw this especially in Will’s use of a hobby to deal with loss. (Will’s hobby is building lamps out of found objects, which is really cool! Especially since this is a graphic novel and you get to see her inventions.)

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(This book didn’t have page numbers, so I don’t have those for you.)

  • “‘Reality might suck right now, but I guarantee things will change.’
    ‘How do you know?’
    ‘Because things always do.'”
  • “‘You know. You fake it ’til you make it.’
    ‘So… Act the part until you become it?’
    ‘Yeah! If you always challenge yourself, you get used to being outside your comfort zone.’
    ‘Huh, that’s like being comfortable being uncomfortable.'”

What I Didn’t Like

  • Thanks to reading the synopsis beforehand, I was sort of expecting a girl named Whitney to show up. Turns out, Whitney is a storm, and Will is short for Willhelmina. I was just a tad confused for a bit. 😛

In Conclusion

If you are a fan of Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It’s also great for anyone looking for a young adult graphic novel.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)


1 year ago: Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate series

Summary

Alexia Tarabotti is soulless, which means (among other things) that when she is touching vampires and werewolves, they turn mortal. On top of being soulless, she is also a spinster (at 26) and now she’s suspected of being involved in the disappearance of different supernaturals. Together with friends such as Ivy Hisselpenny (who wears crazy hats), Lord Maccon (a handsome werewolf), and Lord Akeldama (flamboyantly gay vampire), hopefully she can get to the bottom of it.

What I Liked

  • I love this world! It takes place in Victorian steampunk England – with vampires and werewolves. The society is fascinating but also logical. There are governmental branches for the supernatural (vampire, werewolf, and ghost) and well as the preternatural (soulless, what the main character is). Vampires have pushed themselves into high society – where fashion and the arts reign. They function as hives – a queen and many drones. Werewolves have an Alpha, a Beta, a Gamma, etc. but are structured in a much brasher way.
  • I love the characters. Recently I’ve really appreciated authentic characters. I’ve read too many books where the author claims something of a character, but never shows us that side of the character. Gail Carriger does not do that. Her characters are unique and unpredictable – but their actions always match their personality.
  • I love the visual images provided. Her stories are so visual without being overly descriptive. This would be a great book to make into a movie.
  • It was a romance novel. I didn’t expect this to be a romance novel, and it falls pretty solidly under fantasy otherwise. But it also had the pretty standard romance plot, which I found I enjoyed.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The pacing was a little bit off. The action came in spurts. I’ll forgive it though, since the next books are better (!) and the world is so fantastic.
  • (Spoiler in white, highlight to read.) The ending got really grizzly. It reminded me a lot of Angelfall and its ending as well.

In Conclusion

If you like the idea of a Victorian steampunk fantasy with vampires and werewolves, this is the book for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

1 year ago: Book Review: World After by Susan Ee