Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read or Continue Reading A Book

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

If you were around these parts last week, you’ll remember my post on things that will instantly make me want to read a book. Well, it’s time to flip that coin and see what’s on the other side. Yup, that’s right, it’s time for the things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book.

Some of these examples are ones that will put me off right away, others are ones that will instantly make me want to put the book down or throw it out the window.

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These are in no particular order but they all bug me to a certain degree. It’s sad because I try to enjoy as many books as possible, but sometimes, you just have to grit your teeth and let them go. Also, of note: please realize that these are my opinions. If you happen to like some of these examples, or some of these might by your automatically want to read topics, please don’t hate me! They just aren’t right for me.

Awkward Cheesy Covers

These are the ones that look like bad colored pencil drawings or terrible clip art mock-ups, covers so bad I’m not sure how they ended up as paper covers in the first place.

Traditional Romance Covers

I don’t know what it is about these, but covers like these automatically turn me off. I feel like I can’t take them seriously. The plots are usually quite thin if they’re existent at all, the characters are stereotypical on purpose. I mean, what is there to like about them? The best examples? Each and every cover that looks like Fabio is or should be on it.

If The Goodreads Rating Is Under 3 Stars

This one is kind of grain-of-salt territory, especially these days when people are moving against authors by rating their books 1 star even if they haven’t read them yet (ex. when neo-Nazis flooded Lauren Silverman’s Girl Out of Water Goodreads page and low rated it). I will say that if the rating is under 3 stars, I’ll probably be way more cautious about reading it unless I know there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the book.

Plots Where Nothing Happens

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This book is a perfect example. Hated it, hated it, HATED it. Books like this where pretty much nothing happens are books that I just can’t stand and if I hear reviews about a book to this effect? Yeah, I will probably never pick it up.

Mind-numbingly Slow Writing

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This book I finished because it was for a review, but had it not been I would have discarded it so much sooner. The first 40% was incredibly painful because of the writing style. I was severely disappointed because the book had been comped to Love, Actually, one of my favorite Christmas movies.

If the writing is so slow that basically nothing is happening within the first third of the book, how does that look for the rest of the book? I’d expect something to be going on, some kind of plot of character development to  be happening by then. If not, out it goes.

Graphic Novels That Use A Famous Name As The “Author” But Don’t Credit The Actual Writer or Artists

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Username: Evie was the book that made me much more cautious about graphic novels that only have one name on the cover because Joe Sugg? Yeah, he didn’t write or draw or anything like that. He consulted on the idea and maybe came up with the initial concept, but the actual writers and artists? No credit on the cover AT ALL. That made me angrier than the fact that the book was crap.

From now on I check and if the book is hiding the artists or writers? Yeah, no. That’s not cool and I won’t be participating in it.

Poor Representation

These two books are personal examples of books that have horrible representation, one for eating disorders and the other for eating disorders/grief/depression. Mental health representation is so important, especially when we’re talking about young adult books. How many young adults look to books for advice, for support? If the books they get have such “shining” examples, what are they to make of them? Books go buh-bye, thanks.

Overly Religious Plot

I don’t care for books that are essentially proselytizing in book form. This is different from books that are allegories, like The Chronicles of Narnia. The former are books where the plot is constantly shoving religion in your face with no real purpose other than to seemingly convert the person reading it.  You can’t always tell from the summary, so finding that out after I’ve picked the book up is sure to get it set aside.

Series With No End In Sight

This doesn’t mean I won’t pick them up eventually, but I’m much less likely to. I understand that it takes times to write a book, but I don’t really want to start a series, get intensely invested in the characters, and then face an even longer wait than those fans that have already suffered for years. The last Game of Thrones book was published in 2011, so that’s six years they’ve already got under their belt. The Archived series should have book three, The Returned, someday, but there’s no knowing when exactly because V.E. Schwab has/had two other series that’s she was busy with (Shades of Magic/Monsters of Verity). I’m sure I’ll love both of these, eventually, when I do decide to take the plunge.

Books With Multiple P.O.V.s That Don’t Have Distinct Voices

Luckily this doesn’t happen too often, but when I get a book and it has multiple points of view, I expect to be able to tell the difference between once character and the next, especially if the points of view are told in first person. There are times when the shifting p.o.v.s are in first/third person, which makes it a bit easier, but if you’ve got two or more p.o.v.s that are too similar and you can’t tell who is who, you have to keep rereading a chapter just to keep it all straight, then clearly something went wrong in the telling of the story.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Tarun Shaker’s Website  –  Kelly Zekas’ Website

Published: 14 March 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Category: Young Adult/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…

Rating: 3 Stars

One thing that I’ve noticed with trilogies is that second books tend to disappoint me. They might not be terrible books, but after an excellent first run, they lack the energy and surprise of the first book. These Ruthless Deeds seems to have escaped this trend and for that I’m thankful.

In the late 1800’s, Evelyn is fresh of a sad ending and struggling to find her footing. This is when a new opportunity is presented to her in the form of the Society of Aberrations, a group that seems to be the answer to a whole host of problems for a young woman of her station in that time period. However, nothing is ever as good as it seems, as Evelyn quickly finds out.

The book started out with a dilemma and threw Evelyn right into trouble. These problems that she confronts highlights what is to like and to dislike about Evelyn. She’s a smart girl with a sarcastic wit, but sometimes she’s impulsive and that comes back to bite her. Her methodology for planning isn’t the worst I’ve seen, nor is it the best. She’s easy to understand and luckily it doesn’t turn into my hating her for being completely stupid, which is one of the biggest problems I have with heroines (sheer idiocy with no plausible source).

The variety of powers continued to remind me, as others have mentioned, of a Victorian era X-men. Watching these abilities interact in an era where it’s more difficult to hide them was interesting because while in modern day time you might be able to pass certain things off as street magic, abilities like telekinesis will land you in an insane asylum. I’m not sure if you know much about asylums in general, but the ones of the Victorian era and up until modern times were pretty awful.

Another thing that pleased me about this book, aside from the continuing quality, was that I found the pacing to be superior in this book than its predecessor These Vicious Masks. That book took a bit of doing to get into, whereas reading These Ruthless Deeds went by like no time at all.

If you’re looking for a fast read, one that has magical elements, historical settings, and a good dash of romantic intrigue, I hope you’ll continue with the These Vicious Masks trilogy. If you’ve yet to start it, here’s to starting a new series that already has two books out so you won’t have to wait to get more material to gobble up.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Author’s Website

A brand new title in the bestselling Rainbow Fish series!

Everyone loses once in a while. But being a good sport when you lose isn’t always easy—not even for Rainbow Fish. A lighthearted look at accepting loss without losing your sparkle!

Rating: 4 Stars

The latest addition to the bestselling Rainbow Fish series, You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish teaches a good lesson with the right balance of fun, bright artwork and seriousness.

Rainbow Fish is playing a game of hide and seek with some friends, some of which are different than he is (one is bright red, one quite a bit smaller), and while they’re playing he learns that, sometimes, you can’t win every game. Some days are better than others and, while you might be the best hide and seeker there is, even the best have off days.

This was an easy introduction to a lesson that is important for children to learn. It’s all to easy for them, in these days of instant gratification and idolization, to become quite spoiled and self indulgent. Learning that things don’t always go their way, but that you can have fun despite that is a valuable lesson and skill that will serve them well.

This is the first Rainbow Fish title I’ve read, so I can’t compare it to its predecessors in terms of quality. I will say that I did like the watercolor style of the images. I think that, were this a physical book rather than an eARC, I might have gotten a bit more of Rainbow Fish’s shimmer. There are tones in the fish’s scales that looks silvery that I think would benefit from being printed.

This gets a definite recommendation from me. I will be looking into more books from the Rainbow Fish series to see if they have the same quality of message and art.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Promdi Heart – Hometown Love Stories by Georgette S. Gonzales, Agay Llanera, Chris Mariano, C.P. Santi , Jay E. Tria, and Ines Bautista-Yao

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Amazon (Kindle)  –  Goodreads

Published: 29 March 2017

Category: Romance

Take a quick tour of the Philippines with six hometown love stories.

Visit Jimenez, Misamis Occidental where a priest might just set you up with a man whose dimples are to die for.

Visit Silay, Negros Occidental and get on a horse alongside hunky, hazel-eyed Negrense royalty.

Visit Kalibo, Aklan and find yourself in the arms of a cute drummer boy who just happens to be your kuya’s BFF.

Visit Hagonoy, Bulacan and spend All Saint’s Day next to a distracting boy who promises to write you a song.

Visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur and meet the hot man you used to bully when he was a shy, chubby boy.

Visit Pundaquit, Zambales and find love in a bronzed fisherman whose eyes hold depths you’ll want to explore.

Rating: 2 Stars

This book brings together six authors to write about hometowns in the Philippines, each with their own take on stories bringing tow young lovers together. A chance Twitter encounter brought this book across my Kindle and today I’m sharing my thoughts on this collection.

Only the Beginning by C.P. Santi

I did not enjoy this story for a few reasons, primary of which is that I couldn’t get into the story. The action didn’t seem to have a clear pace. The characters, especially the main one (Andrea), were confusing. Andrea starts the story objecting to a project, vehemently speaking out against it at a meeting, but this objection seems to slide to the side because someone close to her is actually in charge and gets her a job involved in the project.

The “chapters” were cut off seemingly at random and quite abruptly, another thing that bugged me. The timing was another matter that made the story difficult to process; it jumped from saying a couple days later, a couple days later, etc. It felt weird and like saying dates or even specifying the times would’ve flowed better.

The basis of the story sounded like it could have been really interesting. Gathering the stories of the community, learning things about them, could have been a great way to share details with the reading audience, but I never got that sense of community from this particular story. The romance itself never felt real, either, whether it was because of the jolting nature of the storytelling or because there simply wasn’t enough time to develop the relationship, I’m not sure. In either matter, this was not my favorite story of the collection.

Letters About a Boy by Ines Bautista Yao

Told in a series of letters from Tin-tin to her friend/cousin Annette, this story shared the trait of odd timing with Only the Beginning. Since these are letters, dates would’ve made infinitely more sense rather than “end of summer” or “a few weeks into high school year”.

Tin-tin herself was not a sympathetic character. She came across as a bit whiny and more than a little petulant. She’s pining over a boy, Nicholas, who gives her mixed signals about his interest. Over the years he dates, but never gets over Regina, a girl he was interested in at the beginning. Tin-tin is quoted as saying:

My god, Annette, it’s been so freaking long. Why can’t he get over this girl?

That is a classic pot calling the kettle black situation if I ever heard one. It didn’t help that in the next paragraph she started tearing Regina apart, wondering why Nicholas liked her because Tin-tin doesn’t think she looks like anything spectacular.

I really didn’t like the relationship that “developed” between Tin-tin and Nicholas. She really did end up pining after him all these years, he made excuses for why he didn’t “see” her sooner, and everything wrapped up far too nearly too quickly. They may have know each other for a long time as friends, but that’s different than being in a romantic relationship. These two seem to have skipped several steps in between, making the finale a letdown.

Drummer Boy by Chris Mariano

This was the most visually appealing story of the novel. Taking place during the Ati-atihan Festival, the description of a party in the street, full of bright colors and loud music gave the piece a jubilant air.

I liked the familial relationship between Reina and Dex more so than the romantic one between Reina and Ben. Though brief, I got a real sense of caring from Dex. He was the annoying big brother, sure, but he was also helpful to Reina when he realized that she liked Ben (which he found out when he elbowed his way into their first “date”, but that’s a whole other thing). It was a weird situation to come to terms with in his mind, but he knew it was his sister’s decision, would make her happy, and what he could do was support her (and take her side in any fights she and Ben might have 😉).

While there was still an insta-love feel to the relationship, it didn’t feel quite as strong as some of the other stories. Reina and Ben have loosely known each other 8 years, but their interest is thrown into overdrive at the commencement of this tale. A little drama and it ends at a decent place: not solved, not a huge cliffhanger; just right for a short story.

One Certain Day by Jay E. Tria

I enjoyed the writing at the beginning of this story more than the previous stories and thought that it spoke of a turnaround for the collection as a whole. While it turned out that story’s quality didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, the quality of telling it was good enough that I’d considered trying this author again in the future. This story in and of itself could have blossomed into a longer piece, I think, and been a contemporary YA novel. Things felt too rushed, too shoved into a too-small space.

There were some things that didn’t make sense to me, such as Alice’s interest in being an actress being mentioned offhand at one point. She mentions a part she gets called back for, but someone else is up for it so she’s not sure she’ll get this coveted role. Until then I’d had no idea what really spoke to her in terms of interests, other than All Saint’s Day and Son’s writing a song for her.

I’m glad they were able to reconcile their feelings and be friends at the end, even though Alice had hoped it would be different. Alice and Son, close as their are, do seem like they could be best friends. Things may change in the future, they may not, but the note they ended on was a decent one, if not wholly exuberant.

Once Upon a Bully by Georgette S. Gonzales

This story was a bit of a conundrum for me. The writing was decent, the characterization good (even if I didn’t like the characters, the way they were written certainly managed to evoke specific emotions), but there were elements of the tale itself that did not make sense.

Bridgette has spent the last decade of her life somewhere, in stasis, but where? Her family is a bit far flung (Germany, Ontario) and remaining in the Philippines  was her choice, though I’m unsure why. She says she’s never lived away from her family, claims to be living alone, but it sounds like the place she’s moved into on page one is an apartment/glorified room in a compound of her aunt’s. Does this really count as living on her own?

This got relegated to the background of my mind when we were introduced to how she treated Miguel, her new neighbor and former childhood classmate, when they were children. It was abominable behavior and made me dislike her for the rest of the story. She seemed to show some guilt, but I have to wonder whether that guilt was tainted by her childhood fear of getting into trouble for torturing a fellow person.

I’m not sure if it was a cultural difference, Miguel’s handling of the bullying. Perhaps a fellow reader could clear this up for me. He says:

…he didn’t hate or dislike her. He was not brought up that way. He tolerated her bullying because his mother told him to never tease girls nor strike back and hurt them.

I’m not sure I could agree fully with his assessment that harboring ill feelings was pointless. Maybe you could move on from someone making your life horrible for months on end as a child, but would you really grow up to fall in love with them? That whole aspect of this story felt disingenuous and had me pulling faces the further I read.

Of course, just because he said there was no reason to be nasty, it meant she was absolved from her bitchiness. Or maybe she was absolved from that but not from apologizing.

This passage further highlighted something that Bridgette interpreted from her interaction with Miguel that I couldn’t understand. I’m “glad” she feels she’s been absolved of her bullying past, but that kind of past speaks to her character. She never really faced consequences for her actions; a slight embarrassment, maybe, but nothing that was anywhere near what she put Miguel through. This goes back to my wondering whether it’s a cultural handling of bullying, but are things different in the Philippines than in the US? Was there any consideration for what bullied children actually go through and what it’s like to see a story in which a bullied child enters a romantic relationship with their tormentor?

Back to the Stars by Agay Llanera

This story was by far my favorite because, while there were some parts that were not as fleshed out as I’d have liked, it felt like there was a good, solid story. There was conflict, happiness, and I could follow along on the action, the most important thing of all.

Leah’s conflict between two love interests had me a bit unsteady at first, but when she and her work group (love interest #1 included) went to her beach house for the weekend, we got a peek at her life growing up. Wency (love interest #2) was there waiting for her, a summer time childhood friend, and we learned more about Leah, about what her hesitation regarding the past really meant for her, what it meant for her future. This story had the most heart of the collection, to me, and the least amount of difficulties.

Summary

I had some difficulty enjoying this book because I was out of my depth with the culture and the terms that were being used. I spent a lot of time having to look up terms that, while I could get the general context of, made it difficult to sort out who was related to who, or what their exact relationship was. The constant going to Google kept taking me out of the story, preventing me from really settling in to any one of them.

The stories were about 50/50. Three I liked fairly well, the other three I did not like much at all. With short story collections from different authors, or even from collections by the same author, this kind of  thing is bound to happen. The ones I liked, I’d recommend seeing if you can find more from those authors and trying their longer fiction out. At the conclusion of the book is a brief bit on each author, including previous titles.

Also after reading this book, a fun bonus is this quiz that will tell you what your ideal Promdi vacation would be: Promdi Vacation Quiz. My personal result?

Soaking up the summer sun in Pundaquit, Zambales!

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I received a copy of this book from Agay Llanera, one of the authors, in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

This week’s topic is all about featuring my favorite LGBTQ+ reads. I’ve read some really good ones this year and if you haven’t read them yet, I hope this post will inspire you to add them to your TBR.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

I know I’ve featured this book on a couple of lists lately, but it bears repeating: I loved this book. Charlie, one of the main characters and one of two points of view we read, is a bisexual woman who’s had to deal not only with her sexuality, but with the film industry wanting her to suppress it “for the good of her film” and with fans that ship her and her ex, the star of the film that brought her into the world wide cinematic arena.

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The Search for Aveline: Sink or Swim #1

by Stephanie Rabig and Angie Bee

Captain Harriet “Harry” Roberts and the daring crew of The Sappho are not for the faint of heart. A ship of strays unlike any other, they’re not afraid to face whatever the world throws at them—be it mermaids, kidnappings, sirens, plague, clashes with their mortal enemy Captain Wrath Drew of The Charon, a handsome merman, or good old-fashioned love.

This book has a whole host of relationships in the LGBTQ+ spectrum and I love how they’re all treated well. Things aren’t always easy for these characters; there is, alas, tragedy for more than one, but the book is overall one of acceptance.

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George by Alex Gino

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not….

I finally got to read this year and was surprised by how much emotion I felt while reading it. I’d heard about George, a transgender girl, before, but never much about how the book handled her story. It’s a middle grade book that is very respectful of it’s subject, probably helped by the fact that this book is #ownvoices.

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Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

This has been one of the view books that has made me cry so far this year. The writing really gets into not only your head, but also your heart. Peter’s journey between England and Neverland, between his life as Wendy and his life as Peter, is one told in snippets and flashbacks while Peter comes back to Neverland as a young adult, having grown up despite his claim to never be able to do so. The M/M relationship is one I never realized would work so well either between well known and loved characters from the Peter Pan legend.

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

I never saw the end of this book coming.

I’m a sucker for any book that takes place in New York City, so point one to this book. When I got it in an OwlCrate, point two. The characters were fleshed out so well I could picture them as people I actually knew, which added to the heartbreak I suffered when the book was coming to its conclusion. I wish this weren’t a standalone because I have so many questions about where life will go for Aaron.

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

This week’s topic is about the Top 10 7 Things about a book that make it much more likely for me to at least check it out, though there are a couple on this list that make it an almost 100% certainty that I’ll just buy the book and enjoy it later.

Auto-buy Authors 

There are a lot of authors that I’m intrigued by and will most likely look into their books when I hear about them, but there are two that, without a doubt, I will buy books published by. If it’s by J.K Rowling (or her nom de plume Robert Galbraith) or Neil Gaiman, I will without question be buying that book.

Audiobooks Narrated by Their Authors

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Neil Gaiman falls under this category too, but my most recent acquisition because of an author reading their own story is Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can. I feel like the author, assuming they’re also a good narrator as those I’ve come across have been, can give the story a bit more nuance that a narrator that’s not personally invested in the story. They understand what parts might need a little something extra, that sort of thing.

If It’s Recommend By Cait aka PaperFury

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Cait has an unfailing great sense of humor and can make any book sound amazing. While I might not end up sharing the same opinion on the book in question, if she recommends it, I’m probably going to pick it up, 9 times out of 10. Check out her blog at paperfury.com.

If It Takes Place At a Convention

Some of my happiest times have been spent at anime conventions, especially Anime Next before it moved locations to Atlantic City last year. If a book takes place at a convention, I’m more likely to pick it up because it allows me to relive some of these great times and immerse myself in geeky culture. It’s even better if the conventions are based on actual ones that I can picture more accurately (Queens of Geeks = SDCC, The Four-Day Weekend = Otakon).

If the Main Character is a Book Nerd/Fangirl/Etc.

These are the kinds of characters that I relate to the best, so if a book has one of them as the main character I’m more likely to want to read it.

Comic Collections/Manga

Manga was a bit part of my life starting in high school and has remained a constant ever since. I’ve begun to appreciate comics outside of the manga forum in recent years, especially if they’re funny and/or slice-of-life social commentary types, like Sarah’s ScribblesR.O.D.: Read or Dream actually encompasses two of my Top 10 reasons (manga & book nerds).

The Book Is Related to Knitting/Crocheting in Some Way

The Blossom Street series is one of my favorites because it starts off a series of strong female friendships that begin because of interactions around A Good Yarn, the titular shop on Blossom Street. Each book features a project and the pattern is included at the beginning of the book so you can follow along if you like. Debbie Macomber is a strong crafting and charity advocate, so I loved getting further into this series.

I would like to see more books with crafters in them, especially written by people that know what they’re talking about. While I’m more likely to pick up a book if it mentions a knitter or crocheter, I’m also likely to be more critical of their use of terminology. If you get that wrong, what was the point of including that characteristic?

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Jonesy Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries & Caitlin Rose Boyle

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Jonesy is a self-described “cool dork” who spends her time making zines nobody reads, watching anime, and listening to riot grrrl bands and 1D simultaneously. But she has a secret nobody knows. She has the power to make people fall in love! Anyone. With anything. There’s only one catch—it doesn’t work on herself. She’s gonna have to find love the old-fashioned way, and in the meantime, figure out how to distract herself from the real emotions she inevitably has to face when her powers go wrong. Collects issues #1-4.

Rating: 3 Stars

Jonesy  caught my eye because the color and the style reminded me so much of the television show Steven Universe. While as far as I know neither creator has nothing to do with the show, this book has its own humor and shine.

Jonesy is a Cupid-like character who has the ability to make people fall in love with other people, things, ideas, etc. Some of these matches are much more successful than others. Many have consequences that force Jonesy to confront her view on the subject and figure out how to make things better or whether to meddle again when she has the potential to make things even worse. There’s no indication yet where her powers come from, whether they’re passed down from a family member or spontaneously bestowed upon her, but she’s certainly making use of them since discovering them accidentally when shipping two characters on t.v.

The weird thing about Jonesy is, even though she’s described in the summary of the book as being a fan of anime and a devotee of grrrl bands and 1D, I didn’t really get that from her in this book. She mentions anime once or twice, watches an unnamed show once, but she never mentions anything specific about anime, like a favorite character or movie or show. It is the same with her musical tastes. The only musician that I saw mentioned was a fictional one called Stuff, whose persona is that of an alien on the planet Earth, playing music for humans. It might be a callback to an early David Bowie persona, but I didn’t get that vibe either. I’m hoping her interests will be demonstrated more in future books because volume 1 seemed to be all about her powers and how she misused them.

Speaking of her misuse of power, it is this that brings me to a point about Jonesy that annoyed me during the course of the book. Her age is never stated outright, but from the description of the school and school events, like a Valentine’s Day flower sale for charity or prom, it’s easy enough to figure out that she is somewhere in high school. My guess would be 16 or 17. However, based on her actions throughout the book, I would’ve pegged her age as much lower at best without these context clues.

She acts like a sixth grader, if that, in terms of her selfish nature regarding helping her father and using her ability to make others fall in love with anyone/anything. While each chapter featured an escapade in which Jonesy screwed something up and a subsequent reversal of her opinion about said event, I can’t help but feel like she’s not learning much of anything yet. I feel like, if she were actually a teenager, she’d have at least a modicum more of sense in regards to these situations.

On the positive side, there is a lot of diversity in this book. The main character, Jonesy, comes from a Hispanic family (her abuelita, who appears briefly, is hilarious!). Her new BFF Ginger is not only a Black woman, but a gay woman whose love interest features in one chapter. There are other side characters that appear that have the potential to be brought forward as time goes on, including Jonesy’s other friend Farid (about whom not much is known).

I might have another look at this series and I’d definitely recommend giving it a try, though I’d probably put this in the column of checking it out from the library first to see whether or not it’s up your alley.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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