27 April 2017

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

Published: March 15, 2016 
# of Pages: 270
Source: Purchased Copy 

You might know her as the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone. She ended up in Oz, where she became friends with the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. But the temptation of magic was too much for her. She let it change her. Her friends became twisted versions of their former selves.

The magical land of Oz is now a dark and menacing place.

My name is Amy Gumm. Tornadoes must have a thing about girls from Kansas, because I got swept away on one too. I also landed in Oz, where Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good, and the Wicked Witches clued me in to my true calling:


The only way to stop Dorothy from destroying Oz—and Kansas—is to kill her. And I’m the only one who can do it.

But I failed. Others died for my mistakes. Because of me, the portal between the worlds has been opened and Kansas and Oz are both in danger. And if I don’t find a way to close it?

Dorothy will make sure I never get to go home again.

Please keep in mind that this is the third in a series so it may contain spoilers. 

Okay so I can say that I'm a huge fan of the Dorothy Must Die series. I originally loved the first and the second book. The idea and concept behind an alternate Wizard of Oz land just made my skin tingle; however, my real issues with the series began when I found out that the series which originally started as a trilogy was being developed into a four part series. For me, this meant that there would be a high possibility of a filler book. And this third book definitely gave me that feeling. 

While I enjoyed the plot and characters of the first two books, I had a really difficult time adjusting to them in this third installment. They just didn't really cut it for me to be honest. In this novel, we as readers are introduced to another villain that goes by the name of the Nome King. He had no relevance to the novels before the story; however, for some reason he was thrown into this plot to make it more interesting. In adding this new character, I felt like the plot was stretched thin and that the creation of a four book series was primarily for the sake of monetary gain which I found disappointing. Without the addition of this character, I genuinely feel as though the third and fourth book could have been combined into one. 

In addition to the stretching of the plot, I didn't enjoy the characters as much as the first two novels. Amy didn't have the strength and level of interest that I originally enjoyed. She seemed quite passive, unable to do the simplest of tasks. I just missed the old Amy that had so much fire and passion in her soul and ability to do what she needed to do in order to save Oz and her home. Unfortunately, she gets lost in the mess of a plot and doesn't really define herself as a strong character. At this point, Amy should be well-developed with goals and expectations of what she's looking for in terms of saving Oz. That simply doesn't occur.

Honestly if you can't tell, I was greatly disappointed by this book. I was so into the first two books that I expected this one to be just as fascinating, intriguing, and captivating; yet, it fell completely short of my expectations. I hope that the next and final installment of this series gives me what I need to conclude my journey with Amy and the other characters on a high note. It's simply disheartening to see the series turn into something I don't really enjoy. 

20 April 2017

Food Wars: Shokugeki No Soma Vol. 11-13 by Yuto Tsukuda

Published: April 5, 2016 
# of Pages: 192
Source: Purchased Copy 

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Mimasaka copies his opponents’ dishes so perfectly and completely it’s uncanny. And he does it solely to win. But is that what cooking is really about? Hoping to find the answer, Soma bets his all as a chef! Who’s right and who’s wrong will be made clear when it comes time to judge the Fall Classic’s first semifinal round!

This volume was amazing!! I loved the way Soma handled himself in the semi-finals and it was even more interesting to see how the competition was going to end. It seems like we were working our way to this point in previous volumes. To be honest, I was glad to see this arc of the story finally start to come to a close. It was great reading about the fall classic at first; however, it began to get a bit tedious after a while. I simply wanted to see more things about the kids who attend this school. Nevertheless, the artwork was phenomenal and I must say that Tsukuda has a gift for writing a good story. I definitely was not expecting this volume to end the way it did. 

Published: June 7, 2017
# of Pages: 192
Source: Purchased Copy 

The Fall Classic semifinals conclude with a historic first—a three-way battle in the finals! The ingredient chosen to grace the grandest stage is an autumn staple, pike. But with such a tight time limit, what incredible dishes can finalists Soma, Hayama and Kurokiba possibly create?!

This volume was just pure creativity. I loved loved loved the fact that each one of the finalists was presented with a tricky ingredient that they had to really figure out. What I enjoyed even more is that this volume did not end the way I thought it was going to end. I assumed one thing and it definitely went in a completely different direction. Once again the artwork was amazing and the level of dedication to the description of food never ceased to amaze me. I think that this volume particularly made me excited simply because of the fact that I knew that the fall classic was coming to a close and that meant we were entering a new story arc. Yuto Tsukuda is a gifted writer and when I keep going going through each volume I see why I'm hooked. 

Published: August 2nd, 2016 
# of Pages: 192
Source: Purchased Copy 

Three students survive the harsh trials of the preliminaries, winning their way into the finals. Which student will be the one to take home the crown as the winner of the Fall Classic?! Later, the furor of the Fall Classic has barely died down when Soma and the others are sent off to new battlefields! What is this new challenge that will test their desire to be chefs?

Okay so the most interesting aspect of this volume was definitely the fact that Soma entered into a completely new phase of the Institute. I mean, I like the Fall Classic story line, but this was so much better! I think I was just ready to see something different and Yuto Tsukuda definitely provided that to me. The artwork was brilliant and this new challenge that the students face definitely makes for an interesting story. This definitely re-energized my love for this manga and it's for this reason that I flew through the next available volumes. 

19 April 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #5, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at WishfulEndings. She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Expected Publication: May 16, 2017 

I read Ahdieh's The Wrath & The Dawn a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it! I was so excited when I heard that she was coming out with another series that some Mulan elements to it! And not to mention the cover of this book is absolutely stunning! 

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known. 

18 April 2017

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Things That Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today is the second day of the week so that means I am back with another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. This was definitely a difficult topic for me not in the sense that I couldn't answer it, but it was really difficult focusing in on specific elements. Nevertheless, I somehow managed to come up with 10 : ) so without further ado keep reading to find out what 10 elements instantly make me want to read a book.

1. #OwnVoices: I'm a sucker for this movement. I've definitely been trying to push myself to focus on more books that are #ownvoices and so far I've been doing a great job of it. There's something about reading characters written by authors who have experienced the same thing.

2. Beautiful Cover: Oh boy haha I mean who doesn't want to instantly read a book with a beautiful cover. I truly believe that publishing companies are learning how to market these books in a way that captures the human eye.
Beautiful Cover

3. Historical Fiction: As a history major in college, this element defines my interest as a person. I absolutely love historical fiction as well as those      books that have a historical setting.

Historical Fiction
4. Great Female Lead: There are some great books out there with great female characters; however, I love reading books that have KICK BUTT female as the lead. As soon as I read that I am destined to pick the book up and read it as soon as possible.

5. International Authors: I love reading out of my comfort zone and that definitely means reading a lot of translated works or works from authors that are not from the United States.

Comic Book
6. Comic Book/Manga: If it's a comic book or manga I'm probably destined to read it at some point in my life. I just love the ease and simplicity associated with each genre.

7. Award Winners: I included this element not because I think award winning books are superior to other books, but because award winning books have a tendency to spark my curiosity. They are liked and well awarded for some reason and most of the time I want to know why.

8. Mythology: Have I ever told you guys how much I love mythology. If you didn't know, just check out how many books I've read by Rick Riordan : )

9. Re-Tellings: I love re-tellings. Like really love them and it took me a while to discover my fondness for them; however, I am glad that I did. So no if you tell me that a book is re-telling I more than likely will read it.

Pop Culture 
10. Books That Incorporate Pop Culture: There are a few of these out in the world and I need to get my hands on them all. I love being able to read a book and identify tid bits of pop culture in them!

17 April 2017

Sailor Moon Season #1 Review

Season 1 

Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara

  • Usagi: Tracy Moore & Terri Hawkes
  • Sailor Mercury: Karen Bernstein 
  • Sailor Mars: Katie Griffin
  • Sailor Jupiter: Susan Roman 
  • Sailor Venus: Stephanie Morgenstern 
  • Tuxedo Mask: Rino Romano & Toby Proctor 
  • Queen Beryl: Naz Edwards 
  • Jadeite: Toby Daniel
  • Zoisite: Kirsten Bishopric
  • Kunzite: Dennis Akayama 
Genre: Anime 

Rating: N/A

Brief Plot Analysis: Sailor Moon is an early 90's anime that is focused on several girls who become responsible for finding the moon princess and protecting her from the evils of the dark kingdom. Each young girl holds a name starting with "sailor" and then is aligned with a specific planet. Along their journey of being "awakened" (the girls don't know that they are sailor guardians) they obtain special powers that assist them in fighting these monsters. Each girl has a distinct personality that overall blends together to make the team. The anime, like the manga, opens up with Usagi meeting Luna, a talking cat that is responsible for guiding Usagi into her powers as Sailor Moon. It's full of girl power crime fighting action.

Film Features: There isn't much to really discuss in the section about the film features or the features of every episode; however, I will say that I am impressed with the graphics considering that this show was originally developed in the early 90s. I just love that feel of watching an "old school" cartoon. It takes me back to my childhood. One of my most favorite aspects of the film probably falls along the line of the theme song. Sailor Moon probably has one of the most catchy theme songs I've ever heard before. If you don't believe me check out the video to the song below.

Characters: Sailor Moon definitely has a wide variety of characters. One of my favorites is probably Sailor Mercury who is quiet, but super intelligent and kind. When it comes to conflict she always seems to be the most calm. I don't believe I necessarily have a least favorite character; however, Usagi really got on my nerves when she constantly cried like a baby. She was clearly less mature then the rest of the girls, but she assumed the role as leader (non spoiler). It was tough watching her, but I'm convinced that her character is going to really develop during the future seasons. What is most intriguing is that you don't meet all of the Sailor guardians in season one. You only meet five of them. I'll be sure to include a picture and name associated with each character. Surprisingly, these girls really balance each other out. You would think that it wouldn't be that way because it's five females fighting crime and monsters; however, the do get along rather well and I think it's because their personalities vary so widely. If you are looking for that in characters then I would definitely recommend this anime.

Sailor Mercury 
Sailor Mars
Sailor Venus

Sailor Moon 
Sailor Jupiter

Overall Thoughts: Overall I thought that this season was amazing. After all is was my reintroduction to the show which I watched when I was younger. I'm also currently reading the manga so it's great to read the manga and see certain elements incorporated into the anime. The only thing I would warn anyone about is the fact that the seasons of this anime are extremely long and when I say long I mean each season is 40+ episodes. But with that being stated, I can also say that each episode is so action packed that they go by extremely quickly. They also contains so many different elements and themes that you don't really feel like you're watching the same episode over and over. I definitely recommend this show and if you have seen it I would pick it up as soon as possible. 

16 April 2017

Sunday Post #4

Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer. It's been a while since I've done one of these once again. Haha I can't seem to do one of these weekly wrap ups in a consistent manner. If you haven't heard the Sunday post is an opportunity to discuss what happened on your blog during the week and what you have planned for the upcoming week.  So let's go ahead and get started!

Okay let's start with my week in a complete recap. It's been a crazyyyyy week. Work is getting a little overwhelming with everything that we have going on; however, I think that it eventually will turn out ok. I'm going on vacation to Florida next week to see my dad and brother who I haven't seen in years so I'm trying to get all of my blog posts organized for the week that way I don't have to worry about them when I'm gone. So let's go ahead and get started! 

So this past week I've actually been getting quite a few books and I don't want to post them all because it really was a lot haha. However, I did post them all for my Stacking the Shelves post so if you're interested in seeing all of the books that I acquired for the week I definitely would recommend checking that post out. 

  • Sailor Moon Season 1: Review 
  • Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Things That Instantly Want To Make Me Read A Book
  • Can't Wait Wednesday #5, Flame in the Mist
  • Food Wars: Vol. 11-14 Review
  • Friday #56, #31 Clockwork Prince
  • Stacking the Shelves, #2 

So I'm trying to finish both Illuminae and Clockwork Prince before the 20th which is the end of the tometopple readathon. I don't know if it'll happen, but I'm seriously hoping it will. I'm catching up on Food Wars as the 17th volume was just released.

That's it guys!! Hopefully I get some stuff accomplished before I go on my trip. But this vacation is solely about me relaxing so I'm not going to pressure myself into doing much of anything except having fun. Let me know what you guys did this past week and what you have planned for the upcoming week. 

15 April 2017

A BookishRealm Discussion: Diverse Books That Make You Uncomfortable

Lately I've been having a few thoughts on my mind and quite a few that I'm unable to get rid of. I noticed that a great bit of the booktube and blogger community has begun pushing themselves to read more diverse books. However, what I have also begun to notice is that some people are wanting to read diverse books that fit into neat little packages. Books that don't make you feel uncomfortable and ask you to see the world through a different lens, but ones that just tell a good story with a diverse cast with diverse issues. Don't get me wrong, these book are moving mountains in terms of getting people to read outside of what they would normally read; however, I have been seeing quite a few people turn down their noses at books that have made them seemingly "uncomfortable." 

This is probably what has led me to my thoughts. I don't necessarily have answers to my own questions, but I want to know how everyone else views this situation. Should we read diverse books that make us feel uncomfortable? Should we focus on really learning about the narratives of characters that live these "uncomfortable" day to day experiences. I think that the answer should be yes. I'm not here to force anyone to read any book that they don't want to; however, I think that we as a community should strive to give these books greater acknowledgement than they have been given. Diversity isn't something that is wrapped into a neat little package for us to devour. It can be ugly, it can be uncomfortable, and it can be disheartening to read about the reality of other individuals compared to your own life. However, all of these stories need to be heard and I'm here to be an advocate for them. 

If you want to give some insight to this topic please let me know in the comments below. Should we advocate for people to at least try to read diverse books that aren't put into perfect little boxes? 

Please remember in reading this that I am not trying to force anyone to read any book they don't want. I just want people to understand that diverse books that make you feel uncomfortable are just as important as those that don't. They teach you about experiences that may have never been a part of your reality. 

Here are a few books that I recommend for those interested in reading diverse books that may make you feel uncomfortable: 

Here are my reviews for each book: