26 July 2018

Ice Cream Man Vol. 1 by W. Maxwell Prince

Series: Ice Cream Man (Vol. 1)
# of Pages: 144
Publication: June 26th, 2018
Source: Library E-Book
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Goodreads | Amazon 

Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, addiction, musical fantasy...there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery. ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series, featuring disparate “one-shot” tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man—a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who with a snap of his fingers—lickety split!—can change the course of your life forever.

I was so happy when I was able find a copy of the first volume of this comic through my library’s subscription of Hoopla. I saw the cover and synopsis when I was scrolling through the newly released comics and graphic novels on Goodreads. Ice Cream Man is a twisted and rather disturbing take of the man that is supposed to provide the community with sweet treats. Instead this version of the ice cream man preys on the insecurities of humans and uses it to kill and I assume claim their souls. While it was confusing at first, I think I got the gist of the story.

The plot is divided into 4 separate stories of characters who have lost ambition, drive, or have been manipulated in some form or fashion. Through the ice cream mans manipulation they either kill other people or kill themselves. I won’t go into much detail because of spoilers but the moral issues laid out within each issue is pretty interesting. I found the plot hard to follow at some points because I wasn’t sure how the ice cream man played a part, but when I kept reading I think I began to understand how he turns the life of people up side down by preying on their insecurities whether it’s loss of fame and fortune, drug addiction, abandonment, etc. he’s always there to make the matters worse and force people to make decisions that they are ultimately incapable of making due to serious self esteem issues.

The artwork was intriguing. I wish I could describe how the faces are drawn but I can’t so I’ll just have to include some pictures. For the most part it’s simplistic but ultimately captures the dread and fear of all the people who encounter the ice cream man. I also love that bright colors were used to illustrate the scenes involving the ice cream man. It illustrated a unique connection to the wide colors and variety of ice cream that an ice cream man can serve. It was twisted to be honest but I’m pretty sure that’s the point of the entire comic.

    While I wanted to give the comic five stars, I felt as though parts of it were too disjointed and presented some issues in reference to my understanding the text in its entirety; however, I did enjoy it and I’m looking forward to see what the next volume has to offer. 

    25 July 2018

    Can't Wait Wednesday, #33 What If It's Us by Beck Albertalli & Adam Silvera

    Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings 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.

    Series: N/A
    # of Pages: 448
    Publication: October 19th, 2018
    Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them? Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited. But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third? What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?

    This book is the author partnership that I've been waiting for. I enjoy both Adam and Becky and I'm so happy that they actually worked together to write a book. It sounds so cute and adorable and I'm sure that the book is going to be brilliant. I also heard that there are Easter eggs in the book for their past books so I'm excited to pick up on that.

    What are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

    23 July 2018

    Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

    Series: Harry Potter, #4
    # of Pages: 734
    Publication: September 28th, 2002
    Source: Library E-Audiobook
    Genre: Fantasy
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

    I never would imagine the day in which I would actually sit down and write a review for a Harry Potter. They’ve always naturally been five star reads for me but I’ve never taken into consideration the specific factors and aspects of the stories that make them so good. For me, The Goblet of Fire is probably one of my favorite books in the series. This is one of the most pivotal books in which Harry leaves behind the minor altercations with half-dead versions of Voldemort and actually had to deal with the realization that Voldemort has successfully obtained a body and is ready to continue to wage his war against the wizarding world. I’m going to divide this review into several different sections including world-building, plot, characters, and my personal feelings about re-reading this book in audio format.

    World Building

    I believe that this installment is probably one of my favorites in the entire series because of the fact that the world building is so extensive. The reader gets the opportunity to spend a great deal of time outside the confines of Hogwarts and inside the general aspects of the wizarding world. It’s in this book that we are introduced to the Quidditch World Cup which has so many various components and new things to learn about the sport. I really think that the movie missed out on being able to shoot the Quidditch World Cup in its entirety. There are scenes that introduced new magical creatures such as veela, and even major characters such as Winky and Ludo Bagman. I think it was also amazing that in this book Rowling introduces us to the idea that there are people who are witches and wizards from all of the world. At the Quidditch World Cup, Harry Potter describes his experience in seeing witches and wizards from different countries and schools including witches from a school in Salem (this made me squeal the very first time I read the book). Then there is the introduction to other schools through the Tri-Wizard tournament. Those students are from Beaubaxtons and Durmstrang. It still blows my mind that all of these schools exist but because of magical spells other witches and wizards can’t determine their exact locations. By including all of these elements, Rowling effectively expands what we would have considered as boundaries in this world.


    The plot for this book is super intense. When I say intense I mean insanely intense. This is the point in which the books become longer and more complex. The Goblet of Fire checks in at over 700 pages itself. The most rewarding aspects of the plot of this book are definitely found in understanding the connection between Harry and Voldemort. Having read the books multiple times, I noticed that this is the book where that connection sets the scene for what must happen in the final book and the explanation as to why Harry and Voldemort can see into each other’s thoughts and dreams. Knowing how the series ends and being able to make that connection is crazy and fun at the same time. Another interesting aspect of the plot of this book is the discussion of how magical creatures and wizards and witches are treated in terms of their social standing. We see the Weasley’s get looked down upon because of the lack money that they have and we also begin to see how severely magical creatures are neglected and treated inappropriately by their human counterparts. This is especially apparent with Winky the house elf who becomes the catalyst for the issues that occur later in the book. Hermione also begins her campaign to assist in making witches and wizards understand the importance of forming bonds with magical creatures. This will play a huge role in the seventh and final book. Of course the most pivotal moments are through Harry’s entry into the Triwizard Tournament, the tournaments challenges themselves, and the rise of Lord Voldemort.

    If I was forced to rank the tournament challenges into least favorite to most favorite I would say that it would be the maze, the interactions with dragons, and then the underwater challenge. If you’ve based your memory of the tournaments off the movie, take some time and realize that the tournaments actually have a lot more complexity to them. They just were not able to capture every single detail on film. With the introduction to the tournament, I found that I, as a reader, was exposed to more complicated spells and aspects of the world. Prior to this book, I don’t think we realize or have the opportunity to realize how complicated magic can be. What I liked most about the tournaments is that they humanize Harry. Yes, we all know that he’s this fascinating and amazing character that defeats Voldemort when it’s all said and done; however, watching him struggle and realize that he’s truly not old enough to be in the tournament really does bring the hero complex down several notches. I think sometimes in reading these books we forget that Harry is just a teenager at this point, a mere 14. The tasks that are presented before him challenge him way beyond what should be expected for his age group.

    The last area of the plot that changes the entire dynamic of the entire series is the rise of Voldemort. I always tell individuals that Voldemort’s resurrection isn’t just a minor thing that happens at the end of the book. It sets the series on a different course. The books become much darker and more complex. With the death of Cedric Diggory we begin to become exposed to a death in every single following book. This book is the shifter, the point at which everything changes. It’s no surprise that Rowling would use this book as such a strong catalyst considering it is the middle book of the entire series.


    I think I could write for days about the complexity of the characters and character relationships in this book. There are so many people who play major roles in this book, many who go missing in the film adaptation (this includes a prolonged presence of Sirius, Winky, a prolonged presence of Crouch, and Ludo Bagman). I’ll start with the relationships between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. While the three were just friends in the past three books we see that dynamic change between Rom and Hermione. They begin to become jealous of each other and who they’ve decided to date. This is particularly evident in Ron distaste in Hermione’s dating Victor Krum. Ron and Harry also run into some issues as the reader is exposed to finding out and understanding what it’s really like to be Harry Potter’s best friend. It feels like living in a shadow which is extremely unfortunate. I also believe that this is where we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through character growth. They are maturing and having to go through the stages of figuring out who they want to be.

    Overall Thought/Audiobook

    I’m currently listening to all the Harry Potter books and it’s been a great experience. I think that Jim Dale has the most brilliant voice for all the characters and really brings the world alive. It’s such a different journey than reading the physical books. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check them out then definitely do that. As I have stated before, this is my favorite book in the series and I think that it holds such an importance place in the overall grand scheme of things. I’ll definitely have to go back and do a full review of the first three books in the series.

    12 July 2018

    Midnight Sun - Movie Review

    Okay guys! So this is my first movie review that I've done in a while, but I'm really excited to be writing it! I've recently watched a ton of movies and I plan on doing reviews for a lot of them so pleasseeeee be patient with me as I work through writing and posting each one of these reviews. : )

    Director: Scott Speer 

    • Katherine "Katie" Price: Bella Thorne
    • Charlie Reed: Patrick Schwarzenegger
    • Jack Price: Rob Riggle 
    • Morgan: Quinn Shephard 
    • Dr. Paula Fleming: Suleka Mathew 
    • Garver: Nicholas Coombe 
    • Mark Reed: Ken Tremblett 
    • Barb Reed: Jennifer Griffin 
    • Zoe Carmichael: Tiera Skovbye
    • Owen: Austin Obiajunwa
    • Wes: Alex Pangburn 
    • Blake Jones: Paul McGillion 
    Genre: Teen Romance

    Rating: PG-13

    Brief Plot Analysis: Katie Price has lived her entire life within the confines of her home due to her diagnosis of XP. XP, scientifically known as xeroderma pigmentosum, essentially makes Katie allergic to the sun. Exposure to the sun is known to trigger the disease and ultimately kill the affected
    individual. Although she has spent most of her life within the confines of her home, Katie spends time with her best friend Morgan and often goes out at night. It is when she is out one night that she meets her long time crush Charlie Reed. Through their meeting Katie experiences true love, excitement, and adventure; however, she still must face the inevitable affects of her disease. While the plot was an introduction to a new health related disease, I found the plot similar to those of The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk to Remember. Two teenagers fall in love, one gets sick, and they learn the meaning of love and life. It's fascinating that I'm still drawn to movies that kind of repeat the same plot line; however, if you're looking for something new and different I wouldn't recommend going for this movie. There has also been some question of whether XP was accurately depicted in the film, but I have not done more research into the complaints. 

    Film Features: There isn't much to say about the film features. I did enjoy the manner in which the film was produced. It seems to have been shot at a marina or somewhere in a bay area. It gave a more relaxed feel to the movie and also gave off some serious Nicholas Sparks vibes. 

    Characters: So, because the plot was extremely generic the characters also came off incredibly generic. Katie is a strong young woman who is facing issues related XP, but still manages to remain positive. It was great to see such a strong female lead; however, I eventually did get tired of the beautiful, innocent girl next door vibe that Bella Thorne gave to Katie. In the same respect, she did a great job, but I would have liked to see a little more emotion. Charlie's character was extremely boring. They could have picked any popular trope boy and he would have been perfect for Charlie's character. He just didn't stand out to me. I was hoping that Patrick Schwarzenegger would have given the character a little life, but unfortunately he fell flat. Outside of the two main characters, there really isn't much to address in terms of characters. I did feel connected to Katie at some points; however, for most of the movie they were predictable and boring.

    Overall Thoughts: For the most part, I simply thought that this movie was okay. I was expecting something a little different, but by the time the movie was 30 minutes into the plot I figured out exactly what was going to happen to Katie and Charlie. Believe it or not this movie made me cry, but I still could not justify the fact that it felt as though I was watching scenes from The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk to Remember. The only difference between the movies was the location. It's still teenage angst and a heart-breaking ending with a lot of unnecessary filler in between. If that is your type of movie then I would say go for it, but unfortunately I think I've already have had my fill of those types of movies so I can't say that I would recommend it.

    11 July 2018

    Can't Wait Wednesday, #32 Pride by Ibi Zoboi

    Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings 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.

    Series: N/A# of Pages: 304
    Publication: September 18, 2018

    ​Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

    Okay first let me start by saying that there are two amazing things going on with this book. First it's by Ibi Zoboi who I fell in love with last year. Her novel American Street was phenomenal. Check out my review here. Second, it's a book that is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. From my understanding you don't have to have read Pride and Prejudice to understand the novel, but I cannot wait to be able to draw those parallels. I think this may actually be one that I end up pre-ordering. Knowing Zoboi, this book will be filled with all sorts of social commentary.

    What are you look forward to this Wednesday?

    10 July 2018

    Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far...)

    Happy Tuesday Everyone! That means that today is a day for Top 10 Tuesday hosted by Jana at the Artsy Reader Girl. Today we're supposed to discuss our favorite books of 2018 (so far....), but ya'll I've had a pretty good reading year so far so it's been rather hard trying to choose a favorite 10. I've decided to exclude any books that I have re-read this year. Let's go ahead and get started! 

    Children of Blood and Bone. I'm actually cheating with this one. I haven't finished this book as I'm writing this post, but my goodness it's so freaking good I don't know or understand how it couldn't be a favorite. If you haven't picked up this book, pick it up. The hype behind it is well worth it. Ready Player One. I listened to this on audiobook. It wasn't just another science fiction book that I listened to; it was an experience. I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed it and I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to watch the movie. We're Going to Need More Wine. This is another book that I listened to on audio and learned a lot about Gabrielle Union. I wasn't her biggest fan prior to reading this book, but I have a new appreciation for her and everything that she has been through. It's hilarious listening to it on audio especially since she reads it.

    Paper Girls Vol. 1. I shouldn't be surprised that this is a favorite considering I'm a huge fan of Brian K. Vaughn. His work is amazing and of course this comic is just as amazing as his other stuff.  Ghost. I believe that I read this one for my children's literature class and it was phenomenal. If you've never encountered the writing of Jason Reynolds I would recommend picking up one of his works. The best thing about him is that he writes across children and young adult so you have a variety to choose from. Heavy Vinyl. This comic actually has two different names. The trade paperback is called Heavy Vinyl while the single issues have been called Hi-Fi Fight Club. Either way it's brilliant with kick-ass female leads and a great array of diversity. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait until they come out with the next volume.

    Underground Railroad. This book left me speechless. Just read it. Nana Vol. 9. Holy crap this was a thick volume of Nana, but I can understand why. So much happens and we learn so much about our two lead characters. It was heartbreaking and fun at the same time which I didn't even think was possible. If you're looking for a neat shojo manga to pick up and enjoy I would recommend starting this series. Just be warned that the writer never finished it so it stops at vol. 21. Before the Devil Breaks You. This was such a beautiful installment to the series. Libba Bray could not have released this at a better time (it was released around election time). It covered so many different topics and the author's note at the end was so powerful. If you're looking for a paranormal/historical fiction series I would recommend The Diviners. Also, try listening to them on audiobook. The narrator was amazing. 

    Dear Martin. Nic Stone was able to write one of the most powerful books of 2018 in about 210 pages. I don't know how she did it, but this is a book to read. I know that a lot of people want to compare this book to The Hate U Give and to be honest it's hard not to, but this book has a message of its own and it's heartbreaking, yet beautiful and is definitely a message that needs to be shared. 

    09 July 2018

    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

    Series: N/A
    # of Pages: 248
    Publication: March 15, 2016
    Source: Library Audiobook
    Genre: Realistic Fiction
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

    Trigger Warnings: Please keep in mind that this book deals with difficult topics
    including rape and abortion.

    Exit, Pursued By a Bear is such a powerful book for a number of reasons. It takes the experience of a young woman who has been raped and chronicles her journey into recovery and facing the judgments and opinions of others. There were several things that I really enjoyed about this novel and then there were other factors that made the book particularly unrealistic.

    First off, I would like to point out that the title is based off the third act in Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale which the book is loosely based off of. The play itself has parts that focus on the strong relationship between Queen Hermione and her lady in waiting Paulina. E.K. Johnston used that relationship as the basis between the friendship of Hermione and Polly. I know that when I first saw the title I was confused and struggled with understanding how it related to the content of the book. The plot solely revolves on Hermione’s life as a cheerleader at the small school of Palermo Heights. While attending cheer camp during the summer, Hermione is drugged during a party and is raped. The rest of the plot follows her journey in coping with the fact that she has been raped and how she will decide to lead the rest of life. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the way that this book handled rape. It is something that people have refused to discuss in the past or have inevitably made the individual who has been raped into a cautionary tale. The support that Hermione receives in this book is AMAZING. The police officers, the counselors, friends, and family members treat her with respect and give her the time she needs to mentally and emotionally deal with being raped. I would like to point out that while this would be perfect and something that we would like in an ideal world, it is not reality. I do not give this opinion lightly. I, myself, am a survivor of sexual assault. My assailants were individuals that I knew, people that I trusted. I would have loved to received the same support as Hermione; however, in the world that we live in I was often accused of being at fault for what happened to me. I think that E.K. Johnston did a brilliant job at illustrating how rape/sexual assault victims should be treated. We’re not damaged goods. We need support and for people to understand that there is nothing that a woman or man can possibly do to make rape or sexual assault their fault. Unfortunately everything in this book was beyond perfect. A lot of times things worked out too perfectly.

    What I did love and ultimately enjoy about this book was the relationship between Hermione and Polly. Johnston did a beautiful job in portraying such a strong female bond. Polly supported Hermione is every way. She was present after the rape took place, she went to Hermione’s doctors appointments, she helped her talk to police and counselors, and quite often stood by her side when other people tried to make Hermione a cautionary tale. This is the one aspect of this book that I found to be believable and true to real life. I have had friends who had guided me through that entire process and as a woman it always feels great to have another woman who will stand by your side and be understanding. Hermione’s and Polly’s relationship is one of the best representations of friendship that I have seen in young adult books.

    Overall, I thought that the book was okay. I found the world that E.K. Johnston created to be a tad bit unrealistic, but definitely something that we should strive towards as a society. Her writing was simplistic and easy to follow. Based off this book, I would probably read some more of her works. If you’re looking for accurate representation of the after effects of sexual assault I would not recommend this book; however, if you want an idea of how society should handle rape and sexual assault then I would recommend picking up this book.

    08 July 2018

    Sunday Post, #17

    Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer

    This week as been absolutely crazy ya'll! It's summer at the library and I'm in the process of moving to a townhouse with my boyfriend. It's been crazy trying to get our current apartment ready for the move. Between work and attempting to get things ready I've been super tired, but I'm also really excited. I'll be getting new bookshelves and we'll have enough space for an office where I can film my booktube videos and also have a place to work on my school assignments. I can't wait to get settled in so everything can finally go back to normal. : ) I got a lot of reading done this week, but I don't think I really finished anything haha. Hopefully that'll change soon. 

    Yes this was the lone book that I completed this week because I'm participating in Tometopple Round 6; therefore, I've been reading three books that are each over 500 pages. I know it's crazy that I did that to myself, but hopefully next week I'll have more books listed as complete. 

    So these are the three books that I'm currently reading and working on. They are all over 500 pages and I'm trying to finish all three by the time Tometopple ends on the 12th. I'm currently 70% through The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, 35% through A Court of Mist and Fury, and about 40% through Children of Blood and Bone so I definitely have a lot of reading to do within the next five days. 

    • Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear 
    • Top 10 Tuesday 
    • Waiting on Wednesday 
    • Midnight Sun Movie Review 
    • Friday #56 
    • Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire Book Review 

    07 July 2018

    George by Alex Gino

    Series: N/A
    # of Pages: 195
    Publication: August 25, 2015
    Source: Library Audiobook
    Genre: Realistic Fiction
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

    I read this book for my children’s literature class and thought that it was a unique and interesting book that really captures the feelings and emotions of a transgender child. If I’m correct this is the first time that I’ve actually read a book that featured a transgender main character. I know, shame on me; however, this really prompted me to expand my horizons when it comes to representations. This book was captivating and one of the best things about this book was that it utilized the correct pronouns for the main character. Although George is biologically a boy, Alex Gino focuses on using she/her/hers as the pronouns to represent how the main character identifies in terms of gender. One of the most difficult aspects about reading this book was listening to how defeated George became when she realized that even her mother did not understand what it meant to be transgender instead of gay. From hiding magazines in her book bag to dreaming of playing Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, George grabs the attention of the readers and really gives them a first hand experience of what it means and feels like to be born into the wrong body.

    While I did enjoy the concept of this book, there were two aspects that ultimately brought the book down to four stars instead of five. The writing was simplistic and the plot was not as complex as I felt it needed to be with such an intense topic. Although I know the book is written for a middle grade audience, I think that Alex Gino could have delved a little deeper into the core of George’s problems. Everything felt a little to service level for my taste. In addition to the writing, I did have a problem with the way that Gino assumes that all middle grade readers would know and understand the importance of using the correct pronouns for individuals who identify as transgender. Of course as an adult and someone who is an advocate for the LGBTQIA community, I knew automatically what was intended when Gino utilized she/her instead of he/him. However, I know that this could lead to some confusions for middle grade readers. I think that there should have been some explanation prior to the use of the correct pronouns that way children can be prepared and taught what is appropriate. It’s hard to assume that people know what is correct and incorrect.

    Other than those two features, I thought that the book was definitely an important read. I recently fought to have it featured as one of the books for the children’s Battle of the Books at my library; however, I was out voted. If there is one book that features a transgender character in middle grade literature that should be read, I would definitely recommend this one. I heard Alex Gino speak at YallFest a little over a year and a half ago and it was phenomenal. If you’re interested in introducing middle grade readers to a transgender character I would recommend this book; however, I would also have some discussions prior to the book about what it means to be transgender and what it means to use the correct pronouns.

    06 July 2018

    Friday #56, #50 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi

    The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

    • Grab a book 
    • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
    • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

    **Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

    Happy Reading!!

    Series: Legacy of Orisha, #1
    # of Pages: 525
    Publication: March 6th, 2018
    Genre: Fantasy
    Source: Personal Copy
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise. Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

    I'm currently reading this book for Tometopple and I am completely loving it!! It's fast paced, engaging, and just an important read overall. If you haven't heard of this book I would definitely recommend picking it up soon.

    "A troop of royal guards charges through. Mangoes and Orishan peaches fly through the air. Second by second, more guards flood the market, searching for something. Someone. I stare at the commotion in bewilderment before realizing I have to move. There are five hundred silver pieces in my pack. For once, I have more than my life to lose."

    What are you reading this Friday/weekend? 

    05 July 2018

    Furyborn by Claire Legrand

    Series: Empirium, #1
    # of Pages: 512
    Publication: May 22nd, 2018
    Source: Library Book
    Genre: Fantasy
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first. A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other

    Honestly the first reason why I picked up this book was because it received a lot of hype. Typically books that get a lot of hype are books that I vow to stay away from; however, the plot summary of this book definitely caught and held my attention. Unfortunately, the initial intrigue of the book didn’t last long and it ended up being one of my most disappointing reads of the year. I found problems with representation, plot development, and character development. So let’s begin with the plot.

    The summary of the book focuses on the a prophecy that describes the rise of power between two woman. One will be the Sun Queen and the other will be the Blood Queen. The Sun Queen is prophesied to save her country and people while the Blood Queen is destined to ruin the world and everyone in it. The narrative of the book is told in two perspectives, that of Rielle and Eliana. While these two have a fate that ties them together, their stories are set 1000 years apart. This is where I found the first problem of the book. Because the narratives of the two characters were so disjointed, it felt like I was reading two books instead of one. They felt like they had absolutely nothing to do with each other. In addition to this, Rielle's part of the tale seemed to move a little slower because you find out what happens to her within the first 10 pages. The only interesting part of her story is that you kind of find  out what leads to the description of her life in the beginning chapter. Eliana's plot moved a lot quicker because of the fact that it contained more action but her character development stifled any appreciation I would have had for her storyline. In addition to this problem, I found the plot to be rather predictable and I figured out the connection of the main characters within about 200 pages which left no room for a big reveal and at that point Legrand lost her ability to pull me in to enjoy the rest of the book.

    Another aspect of the book that I found quite problematic was the character development. I didn’t find any of the characters likeable. I didn’t care whether they failed or succeeded and I didn’t care about whether they were successful in understanding more about themselves. They were selfish, thoughtless, and careless and a lot of times their actions caused harm and danger to other people. I’m pretty sure that this was the breaking point for me because Legrand failed to pull me in with the plot, but then continued to fail in drawing me in as a reader with her character development. With the lack of excitement in the plot and the lack of character development, I often came close to DNFing the book. I know that I reached a clear breaking point when Legrand attempted to reveal that characters may be bi-sexual. The representation was so futile and so random that it came off as a token in attempt to add "diversity" to the book. It was bad representation. I did not and could not believe that when it was all said and done I actually finished this book. 

    I understand why people hyped up this book. The premise is AMAZING. However, I do not and cannot understand why people enjoy this book. I do not know if I will continue the series; however, I do know that I will not purchase these books and if I do continue the series it won't be in a rush. I cannot recommend this book, but if you're interested and you end up picking it up let me know what you think. 

    04 July 2018

    Can't Wait Wednesday, #31 The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie

    Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings 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.

    Series: The Raging Ones, #1
    # of Pages: 352
    Publication: August 14, 2018
    Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

    ​In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds. Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday. Until the day she does. Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him. Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny. With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

    I'm really really excited for this new book by Krista and Becca Ritchie. If you did not know I'm a huge fan of their Addicted and Calloway Sisters series. They're both amazing and I highly recommend them. I also recently started their Aerial Ethereal series and I also enjoyed that. What will be really interesting is reading a young adult book from them as all of their other works are considered new adult. I enjoy their writing as a whole, but I'll be interested to see what they're capable of doing with a younger audience.

    What are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

    03 July 2018

    Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction

    Happy Tuesday Everyone! That means that today is a day for Top 10 Tuesday hosted by Jana at the Artsy Reader Girl. We're supposed to document books in the colors of red, white, and blue; however, I've decided to go with something a little different and give you my top 10 historical fiction books since July 4th is based on a historical event. Keep reading to find out what I have chosen.

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Although I know that aspects of this book are problematic, I think that the over all concept of the book is pretty darn interesting and I love learning about all of the Scottish history that's entwined within the pages of the book. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic novel was introduced to me when I was in high school and then I had to read it for a class in college. I absolutely loved it and have read it countless times. It's such a great insight to the Iranian revolution and explains so much. If you have not read it, I would recommend picking it up. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This was one of the most powerful historical fiction novels that I read in 2016. It was powerful and insightful and gave me such a new outlook on World War II.

    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Thank goodness for book club because outside of that I would have never picked this book up in a million years. It's a mystery, but it's based on whether King Richard III killed his nephews in order to ascend to the throne. It's captivating, compelling and makes a really good argument. It's book #6 in the series, but I read it as if it was a stand alone and I wasn't confused. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I just have one line of caution. Go into the this book blind. Don't ask anyone what it's about and if you can avoid reading any of the summaries. It's beautiful. That's all you need to know. Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai. This is a children's book, but my goodness it was such an interesting book. I learned a lot about Vietnamese culture and what happened to people during the Vietnam War which is not something that I have read about frequently especially in children's books. If you're looking for a diverse book with a diverse atmosphere I definitely would go for this one.

    Copper Sun by Sharon Draper. This is another book that I read because of book group and I'm so glad that I did because it provides a great insight to the slave narrative and what it was really like to be torn from your family and everything around you that you knew and brought to a country to be discriminated against and hated because of the color of your skin. It was beautifully written and you can tell that Sharon Draper put a lot of hard work and research into this book. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This is a children's book, but it is a book that looks at the Black Panther Party from the eyes of a child. Trust me when I say that it makes things ten times more interesting and unique than anything you've read before. It's the first in the series and I'm really looking forward to reading the next two books. The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. I read this for a children's literature class and was thoroughly amazed and absolutely loved learning more about the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of a child. It was compelling and the audiobook was hilarious! 

    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This book is difficult to describe. The title is sort of straight forward; however, there's so much more to this story. I annotated my copy of this book with good reason. I'm just going to say that if you have not read this book, you definitely should pick it up sooner than later.