Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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Welcome to my review stop on the Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour for Tristina Wright’s new novel 27 Hours. This has been a much talked about book in the book community for many reasons. Today I’m sharing with you my thoughts about it, as well as a giveaway for a 27 Hours Prize Pack.

There are many other stops on Chapter by Chapter’s 27 Hours tour. Click on the link below to see all of them, including reviews, spot lights, guest posts, and interviews.

27 Hours Blog Tour Schedule

Tour Date: October 9-27, 2017

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Published: 3 October 2017

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Category: Young Adult/Science Fiction/LGBT+

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

Rating: 3 Stars

Wright wastes no time in introducing the reader to the action in 27 Hours. After mere moments Rumor is thrust into a fight for his life, leaving no time to get acclimated to the world. This doesn’t stop you from engaging with the characters, oh no, but rather causes your attention to hyper focus on them, catching the edge of their coats and hanging on as it were.

The writing style of the book was satisfactory for this tale, particularly the action scenes. Rumor in particular felt like he could have been straight out of an action movie with the training and moves he displayed in the course of the story.

Nyx was my favorite character. I haven’t had the experience of reading many characters who are deaf or hard of hearing, save You’re Welcome, Universe and her inclusion made me enjoy the chapters that centered on her. Her use of hearing aids, her love of her best friend Dahlia, and her pure spirit were meaningful, fun.

The automatons were one of the inventions that I liked the most. In the grand scheme of things they probably weren’t thought of as the most important development, but I thought they were quite important, not to mention adorable in their own way. There were metal plated cats, canines for disability services. I can understand why the actual animals would not have been ideal for space travel, but I like that human nature for companions and the need for service animals remained and they found a way to create a bit of home.

Something I found somewhat perplexing, interesting maybe, was what survived in the current culture of Epsilon and the HUBs. There seemed to be a singular language that, although never called it, appeared to be English, though I assume it would change depending upon the translation of the book.

There were traces of other languages (i.e. abuela/abuelo, ASL), accents, etc. It’s 2375 at the opening events of 27 Hours, 358 years from our current time, several generations worth of scientific advancements both in the book’s timeline and in the preceding events. That’s amazing, considering how many advancements were made in the early 20th century.

So how did what the reader saw come to be a part of the culture seen represented in this book? Especially considering that Bailey, one of Braeden’s mothers, mentions that she witnessed a generational ship falling out of the sky. With these ships, presumably fresh influxes of colonists from Earth bringing their history with them, how did what was lost get lost, what remained remain? While the journey from Earth takes 200 years, I’d have expected something to survive. Nyx mentions that the first generation of colonists were “from Earth”, but given the timeline stated for the ships, that wouldn’t have been possible. Whole generations, families, were born and died on these ships. What was lost on those trips alone?

In addition to the question of culture, I was happy when I saw that there would be a lot of representation; some of it I cannot speak to as the representations do not apply to me, others felt somewhat lacking.

With the range of representation came the question of what had happened in the interceding years to have, seemingly, eased the way to a very accepting society. I suppose it could be similar to the rapid advancement of science, or perhaps the people that were originally part of the colonist mission were particularly accepting. A lot of issues we see today, anti-gay, anti-transgender, and the like, did not crop up in this narrative. Again, I was happy to have so much representation, but some background into the developing society among the Earth descendants would’ve added an engaging element.

There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way, other than the thoughts I’ve already mentioned above; some I noticed while reading, others that were in the back of my mind and I realized when I was finished and reflecting on the experience.

From page one, on which there is a speech by the Canadian Prime Minister, there was a strong sense of colonialism.

Rumor’s people, descended from the original Earth settlers, are at war with the natives of Sahara’s moons (Rumor’s home). The gargoyles are depicted as beasts, some of which look humanoid, and witnessing their interactions with the Earth descendants left an unpleasant taste on my mental palate.

Not only is this evident in their physical descriptions, but in the early part of the book, when Rumor’s home (HUB2) is attacked by gargoyles using dragons, he has an internal shock about this because he doesn’t believe the gargoyles have the intelligence to work with dragons, in addition to his views that they (the gargoyles) are unintelligent and have no right to be attacking the colonists. He doesn’t seem to believe they even have the power of speech, is shocked when he’s fleeing HUB2 and hears the voices of the gargoyles coalescing into one as they’re searching for one of their own.

There was a line from a Nyx chapter that had me shaking my head in disbelief. After the above actions, in reference to plant life that filtered the air, there was still this:

The founders of the colonies had put practices in place in an attempt to subvert the human tendency to be a parasite.

A little late for that sort of thought, don’t you think?

Toward the end of the story I was not surprised by the humans that ended up doing what they did. Their opinion of themselves and what they were doing was exactly what I would’ve expected from colonists. The ending did not leave me entirely hopeful for the sequel in terms of a “happy” resolution, whatever that means. It may well prove interesting how the politics, the loss, the intense wave of events in 27 Hours will affect those that survive in the sequel.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A 27 Hours Prize Pack, including:

* A 27 Hours Candle

* A set of 27 Hours Character Cards

* AND a copy of an October release *

*Open internationally wherever The Book Depository ships

About the Author

Tristina Wright

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

 

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley as part of the Chapter by Chapter Book Tour 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.

My House Cup Reading Challenge Sign-up Post & TBR

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I haven’t been participating in as many challenges this year as I did in the past because I’ve got an abundance of work to do, but if it’s Harry Potter related then I’m sure as heck going to figure out a way to make my schedule work!

Hosted by Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf, Alex of Book Daisy Reviews, Lauren of Live, Love, Read, and Erica of Escape Under the Cover, this challenge has a lot of leeway as far as the challenges go.

The idea is to get from Year 1 to Year 7, reading one book per “year” and those books are all reader’s choice. Woo hoo! Then there are the additional challenges, one for each house and many more that are Hogwarts themed, based on classes or character types or creatures. I’m on #TeamRavenclaw (caw caw).

Now, what will I be reading? Um…who knows? Let’s be honest, I don’t have the greatest track record keeping up with TBRs because I’m a bit of a mood reader, but I’ll do my best. These are the seven books I’m hoping to read for the main #HouseCupReadingChallenge :

  1. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Long
  2. Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
  3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  4. Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza
  5. Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber
  6. The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky by Jana Casale
  7. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Reading for points is always an adventure. Can I do it? We’ll see! Each finished book above will net 20 points for my house and then I’ll see about reading more in the optional categories.

Have you read any of these? Which should I start with? Let me know in the comment section. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cover Reveal: Stake Sauce by RoAnna Mitchell

Today I’m helping reveal the cover for STAKE SAUCE ARC 1: THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS LOVE, NO, REALLY! It’s a fun, creepy, and dark-but-hopeful serial about queer punk vampires and the humans who love them, from RoAnna Sylver, author of the CHAMELEON MOON series. STAKE SAUCE releases October 31st, 2017 from The Kraken Collective!

The cover was designed and drawn by the author… and references this classic Dracula cover. Vampires then and now!

I’ve loved vampire books for as long as I can remember and Stake Sauce renews my love for that fantastical character. The cover looks both iconic and classic, while still having parts that are fresh and inclusive.

With Chameleon Moon ready to go on my Kindle, it’s only a matter of time before RoAnna’s next story is there as well, perfect reads for the autumn season (my favorite for reading in general). If you have a moment, please enjoy the cover and take a look at the preorder information below, including how to pre-order and get a free short story, and exclusive bonus content!

 

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STAKE SAUCE ARC 1:

THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS LOVE. NO, REALLY.

 

IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

 

PRE-ORDER BONUS AND EXCLUSIVE CONTENT:

 

Pre-order the full first arc (containing 6 acts/parts!) on Gumroad, and get a free short story, What We Learned In The Fire! This takes place before the main book, and will introduce you to some super important people and… things. Stake Sauce Arc 1 releases October 31st; Happy Halloween!

Stake Sauce is also available (or soon will be, some distributors are pending) for pre-order from Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Google Play, and Kobo, as well as other retailers, but these do not carry the pre-order bonus story!

 

SUBSCRIBE ON PATREON AND GET TONS OF EXCLUSIVE STAKE SAUCE BONUS CONTENT AND EARLY RELEASES!

 

FIND THE AUTHOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

 

 

Add Stake Sauce Arc 1 to your Goodreads!

 

 

 

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

Review: Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening & Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist), Rus Wooton (Letterer, Designer)

What is a trip into New York City without a visit to the Strand? I’m not sure if I’d heard of this series before I bought the first volume, but I do wish I’d gotten it sooner because the story would’ve been in my head that much quicker. Back in February, while I was in NYC for Book of Wonder’s Evelyn Skye event, I went to the Strand and got Monstress: Awakening as a Valentine’s gift for my husband because a) he likes graphic novels and b) Neil Gaiman had done a blurb for it and NG is one of our all time must-buy authors. The art was gorgeous and the story sounded pretty interesting, so why not?

Apparently it was a more intense story than I realized, or so I was informed after he read it on the train ride home. Sadly it’s taken me another couple of months to get around to it, but I suppose in some way it’s a good thing I didn’t read Awakening right away because at the time of this review, I had volumes one and two of the Monstress series so there was just that much more of Maika’s story to enjoy/suffer through. ^^;

Thanks partly to a personal purchase (Awakening) and partly to the publisher via Edelweiss+ (The Blood), today I’m reviewing volumes one and two of Majorie Liu’s series Monstress.

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Published: 13 July 2016

Publisher: Image

Category: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Horror/Steampunk

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.

Collects MONSTRESS #1-6

Rating: 4 Stars

The art on the cover was what drew me to Monstress in the first place. Not only is it a gorgeous portrait of the protagonist Maika Halfwolf, but the detail on it was intricate. There were steampunk elements in the architecture, Maika’s outfit was not flashy but it had embroidery on it that would’ve made the real thing a treasure, and then there was Maika’s left arm. A wooden looking prosthesis, I was curious what had happened to her that would cause such an injury.

It was a little difficult to keep track of who everyone was in the course of the story. With the exception of Maika, Kippa (a humanoid Archanic with fox-like features), and Ren (a Cat with two tails), there were few characters whose names were repeated multiple times. Taking notes helped me in this endeavor, but it still made things a bit complicated.

Learning not only who claimed what name but what race they were was like beginning an epic fantasy story. The world building was very involved and it was evident how much work the author put into Monstress. Not only are there new races to consider, there are the political implications of being Archanic (half human, half “beast”), of being human, and what it means to the Cumaea, a witch people that will slaughter anyone that gets in the way of their quest for power.

There are a lot of threads to weave together to make this story, primarily what is inside of Maika and what does it mean for the future? Not everyone is what they appear to be, which made it interesting the further I went on. There was a lot of tragedy and, to be honest, it got bloody a lot. There’s fighting, there’s mutilation of people (age means nothing to the criminals), and some nudity.

My favorite character has to be Mister Ren. I know, he’s not the main character, but a) he’s a cat b) he’s a marsupial (?) cat because he had pockets! c) a quote from him is my computer and mobile background:

“To quote the poets…we’re fucked.”

There were chapter breaks from Master Tam Tam, a Cat professor, that explained some of the information that came up in the previous sections, attempting to make the story clearer. These were awesome because it supplemented the notes I was taking myself so I could make sense of the finer details of the book.

This book is intense. It’s very diverse with a lead that copes with a missing limb, non-white characters, and cultural aesthetics that really set the tone. Most of the pages could be framed because they were just that good to look at. Each one had an insane amount of detail, from clothes to weapons to the skin/fur/feathers/etc. of the various characters.

I’d caution a reader about the sometimes mature content, but recommend this graphic novel for those looking for a fantasy epic with detailed world building and engaging characters. The cliffhanger alone will compel you to read the next volume, if nothing else.

 

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Published: 11 July 2017

Publisher: Image

Category: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Horror/Steampunk

The Eisner-nominated MONSTRESS is back! Maika, Kippa, and Ren journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past… and discover a new, terrible, threat. Collects MONSTRESS #7-12

Rating: 3 Stars

Volume starts off just as dark as volume one concluded, with Maika endeavoring to figure out what the monster inside her is and how she can be rid of this curse once and for all.

My first comment would be, if at all possible, read this as close to having finished volume one as possible. I had a couple of weeks between finishing each book and in that time a few details and names escaped me, which made the intricate structure of the world harder to sink back into.

Further comments would be about the information we learn as Maika travels with Kippa and Ren to the Isle of Bones, following the trail her mother made years ago in search of arcane knowledge. More is revealed about Maika’s family, including her mother and her aunt, a member of one of the Courts that now hunt Maika because of the monster (see also: weapon) inside of her. A grandmother was even revealed: the Queen of Wolves, first introduced in volume one if memory serves. Now, however, we see just how precious Maika and her mother were to the Wolf Queen.

There’s also some development in regards to the creature inside of Maika and how it came to be in this world and inhabit those of Maika’s bloodline, all the way back to the Shaman Empress. It was interesting to see the memories of this creature because for the most part, we’ve been led to believe through its actions that it is evil. These flashbacks made me question whether what we’ve been shown so far is 100% true in terms of its moral polarity.

To sum up: the continuing journey of Maika Halfwolf let on some new information about old friends/foes/and otherwise. There’s treachery running through her story and it’s not always from who she thinks it is. There’s a lot of room to continue, and hopefully solve, a lot of the problems Maika is facing in future volumes. Again, though, I would highly suggest reading the volumes as close together as possible, or even rereading the preceding volumes, in order to keep the characters and their respective grievances clear in your head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of Monstress: The Blood from the publisher via Edelweiss 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: #Notyourprincess by Lisa Charleyboy (Editor), Mary Beth Leatherdale (Editor)

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Published: 12 September 2017

Publisher: Annick Press

Category: Poetry/Nonfiction

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

Rating: 3 Stars

A collection of art work and writing from Indigenous women, #Notyourprincess offers a look into the experiences of these women from different tribes: their hardships, their communities, their people.

I liked the portraits that were included in this book. There is a variety of skill and every one had heart from the person behind the pen or the brush.

The essays that were clear were evocative of the hardships the writer has been through and the strength they’ve found to continue on in their days. They also gave me, a white person, a better perspective on their circumstances. There’s a difference between being told something in a majority white school about what happens to Indigenous people and hearing the stories from the people that went through them, whose ancestors did.

There were poems throughout the book, but the formatting made it difficult to understand them. Lines were off-kilter, credit to the authors and titles were illegible, and even some of the essays had sentences that seemed to be spliced in from other works. It’s this reason that I rated #Notyourprincess 3 stars when, if it were formatted properly, it might have garnered a higher rating. Not being able to decipher the words properly really brought down the experience.

I think this is going to be an important work, once published in its final format with the errors cleared up. The stories will be more clear and when a wider audience reads them, they will be shared by the people that experience them, today and yesterday, and by those that need to understand what it still happening to Indigenous people. Pick this up, if you can, and hear the words from the mouths and pens of the people that wrote them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

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Published: 12 September 2017

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Category: Science Fiction/Young Adult

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Rating:  2 Stars

An interstellar journey sounds like a terrific premise. Secrets, training, all sorts of things before this team of teenagers can make it to another world and harvest something only they, as young people revered by the inhabitants of the planet, can get.

In actually, what I found was a rather dense book with an overabundance of details portrayed in a painstakingly slow manner that became a burden at 48%.

The story is told from Emmett’s perspective and about a quarter of the way through, I started feeling like Nyxia wasted an opportunity. Emmett’s views of his fellow travelers started feeling flat ten days into their space journey of a year. Repetitive observations made for a boring reading experience; I wondered what it would be like if we’d had multiple points of view. That is a method that can be confusing if the voices aren’t unique enough, but the writing so far was decent enough to make me think that Reintgen could’ve made a good example of multiple p.o.v.s. done right.

There were a lot of details drawn out through the book. Things about how they had to train and then those instances broken down even further; time spent going over nyxia, the resource the company Babel is over that can be manipulated into anything; “romantic” relationships that never felt real; and so on. There was too much focus on what felt like minutiae to be exciting. It felt like reading a textbook with some brief moments of human connection.

Emmett’s battle with his moral compass versus the amazing financial opportunity that Babel offers because he’s willing to travel to a new planet (Eden) was interesting. There were flashbacks to his childhood when his grandmother taught him how to control his anger with a mental filing system. His father and mother, though we barely hear from them in the book, are guideposts for him during horrible tests that pit him against the other teens of Genesis I and, eventually, Genesis II. This wavering between right, wrong, and what that means to him was one of the facets of the story that remained relatively intriguing throughout.

If you like details and having battles happen over and over again in a spaceship to see who gets to go planet-side, then I think Nyxia will be a good match for you. I didn’t care for it as an overall work because I don’t think the writing made up for lackluster plot elements and I got bored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: Not Your Villain (Sidekick Series #2) by C.B. Lee

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Published: 5 October 2017

Publisher: Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press

Category: Young Adult/Fantasy/LGBT+

Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants, and if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most-wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges. Everyone is in danger. Between college applications and crushing on his best friend, will Bells have time to take down a corrupt government?

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

Rating: 3 Stars

Following up Not Your Sidekick is C.B. Lee’s newest book, Not Your Villain. Told from the perspective of Bells Broussard, a newly minted member of the League of Heroes, this novel includes a diverse cast, secret missions, uncover adventures, and ulterior motives galore.

I am of two minds about this book. I loved the characters a lot. Getting to know the story of the Sidekick Squad from Bells’ point of view was great, as was getting to know the others a bit more, like Emma, Jess’s little brother Brendan, etc. However, I wasn’t as thrilled with the execution of the plot.

To begin with, I loved the diverse cast from race to gender identity. There were characters that were comfortable with who they are and there is at least one that is still questioning their identity. There was mention of Bells’ every day life as a trans-person, like his needing t-shots and the gender issues that came with his shape-shifting abilities. Emma isn’t sure if she’s asexual or aromantic or somewhere on the spectrum of either. There were instances of proper pronouns being brought up in casual conversation and all I could think was how right it felt; not just in the context of the story, but in the context of how real life should feel.

The action moves very quickly in Not Your Villain which I would usually be a fan of, but in this instant it made the book suffer a bit. To me it felt like things were happening too quickly and not enough details were being given about how things were progressing, like Bells’ meta-human training. That happens in the blink of an eye and I thought it would be interesting to see how he went through the different classes.

There was also the fact that about halfway through, things almost felt like they were done and that the second half was filler. Again, things happened really quickly and I think that the text could have been developed a bit more. This is a rather short book, which I think accounts for what I’m seeing as lack of developing scenes and transitions between locations, characters, etc. I think this easily could have been a 300+ page novel with a little delving into some parts.

In summary, the characters were the best thing about Not Your Villain in my humble opinion. I’m certainly curious to see what Not Your Backup, the book told from Emma’s point of view, will be like. I just don’t think this book has much re-read value for me.

 

 

 

 

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.

The Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things Blog Tour: A Review and Playlist

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Thank you to Penguin for giving me the opportunity to join the Gertie Milk blog tour. Today I’ll be reviewing this middle grade fantasy and sharing with you a playlist I crafted especially for this book.

Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things is just the sort of adventure I imagine playing at as a younger person. Please read on and see what makes this book so enjoyable.

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Published: 3 October 2017

Publisher: Razorbill

Category: Middle Grade Fantasy

This enchanting middle-grade adventure follows twelve-year-old Gertie Milk, who washes up on the island of Skuldark, and finds that all of her memories are gone. Home to helpful Slug Lamps, delicious moonberries, and a ferocious Guard Worm, the island is full of oddities, including a cozy cottage containing artifacts from every corner of history.

It is there that Gertie discovers she has been chosen as the next Keeper of Lost Things, tasked with the mission of returning objects to history’s most important figures right when they need them most. With the help of a time machine disguised as a vintage sports car and the guidance of her fellow Keeper, Kolt, Gertie dodges an elephant army in ancient Alexandria, crashes a 1920s flapper party, and battles a ruthless Zhou Dynasty king.

But soon, Gertie encounters an enemy that threatens everything the Keepers stand for: The Losers, villains who don’t want to keep order but destroy it. Now, Gertie must uncover the truth of her own past if she wants to stop the Losers and set history back in place.

Rating: 4 Stars

A tale of lost memories, time travelling cars, and lots of cake, Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things has all the adventure one could want in a middle grade fantasy in which the heroine must return lost artifacts to historical figures and attempt to recover her memory.

The story opens with 12-year-old Gertie waking up on an island with no clue as to her identity, other than (presumably) her name embroidered on her dress. Stumbling away from an incoming tide and up a cliff, Gertie meets Kolt, a Mad Hatter-esque character that introduces her to her destiny as a Keeper.

The strange things he introduces her to are whimsical and sound like just the thing a young child would like. Cakes of all kinds, jams, tea, and a convoluted house with towers and hundreds of bedrooms to house the Lost Things.

Beneath all this wonder is darkness, however, and more so than that of the enemies of Keepers, the Losers who want to destroy the Keepers and their work. There are questions that pop up in regards to Keepers, like who are they? Kolt, who has been a Keeper for at least 100 years, can’t even remember his real name (Kolt is made up from the initials of Keeper of Lost Things). It’s revealed that all Keepers lose their memories when they’re “chosen” so that they can more easily accept their fate.

Chosen here means kidnapped because the B.D.B.U. (Big Dusty Book Upstairs) deems them necessary for the mission of protecting the knowledge of human kind. Children being dragged into this kind of work with no choice, losing everything that made them themselves, is a rather dark aspect of this book’s mythos.

Gertie bears her journey well. She has many questions for Kolt, and even when he doesn’t answer them directly she soldiers on. I honestly would have expected her to fight back a bit more.

The various historical figures that are introduced were interesting in their variety. There were mathematicians, philosophers, athletes, and more. Some I had to look up as they were name dropped rather than introduced as an essential part of the plot, which detracted somewhat from the story.

With an open ending that could lead to at least one more book, maybe more, Gertie Milk turned out to be a fun story with fantastical, crazy elements mixed with figures from the past that prove essential to the way our world is now in terms of knowledge. This book will, I think, entertain not only children old enough to read on their own, but parental figures and their charges, with a narrative that flows and action east enough to follow along when being read aloud.

Remember…it could always be worse. 😉

Spotify Playlist

 

  1. Prologue (Through the Wall) – Stardust OMPS
  2. Can You Hear Your Heart? – Winter’s Tale OMPS
  3. Doors – Alice in Wonderland OMPS
  4. Sweetwater – Westworld Season 1 Soundtrack
  5. Camel Race – The Mummy OMPS
  6. The Medallion Calls – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl OMPS
  7. Journey to the How – Prince Caspian OMPS
  8. The High Seas – Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag Game Soundtrack

 

Blog Tour

Week One:

October 2 – Never Too Many To Read – Review and Listicle

October 3 – The Plot Bunny – Review and Playlist

October 4 – The Hermit Librarian – Review and Playlist

October 5 – Descendants of Poseidon – Review

October 6 –  Folded Pages Distillery – Review

Author Bio

Simon Van Booy_author photo Simon Van Booy is the best-selling author of seven books of fiction, and three anthologies of philosophy. He has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, NPR, and the BBC. He enjoys building robots, model airplanes, and off-road vehicles—which he likes to crash. He has an impressive umbrella collection, a Bowler hat, and carries a green thermos of tea everywhere. His books have been translated into many languages. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, a project which helps young people build confidence in their literary abilities through annual awards. Raised in rural Wales and England, Simon currently lives between Brooklyn and Miami with his wife, daughter, Robot Rabbit Boy, and a fully-grown sheep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher 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: Good Angel by A.M. Blaushild

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Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 22 August 2017

Publisher: Independently published

Category: Fantasy

Iofiel is an ideal candidate to become a guardian angel, and help steer humans away from sin: she’s helpful, cheery, and utterly loyal. And, as the ‘angel of beauty’, it’s not like she has anything better to do.

Heaven and Hell long ago ran out of space: there’s too many humans these days, so both have come to a shaky truce – one school sheltered in the forests of Canada, hidden from humanity, where their young can study.

All seems well for Iofiel’s first days at university – her Archangel roommate is a bit uptight, and dealing with demons feels weird– but when a picked on demon confesses he’s too nervous to pursue his true passion of soul stealing… Iofiel promises she’ll major in it with him!

So much for being a proper angel. Her helpful impulse has repercussions that shake the school, and may just change the world forever. Or just end it.

Because that’s a possibility too.

Rating: 3 Stars

The premise for this book is what convinced me to accept the author’s request to review it. Heaven and Hell making a truce, angels and demons forced together in a University setting, and then that one pair that throws a wrench in everything.

Iofiel, the angel that is one of the main characters, seemed like she’d be a really good MC for an anime. I could easily picture her as the cheerful sort transferring to a new school, dealing with an uptight roommate, and making the “wrong” friend. It was interesting to watch her get used to her corporeal form, including feelings like hunger. Someone get this angel a plate of chili cheese fries!

Iofiel’s roommate, Maalik, was a bit of a pain. As described in the synopsis, he’s uptight and I get that, considering all of the rules that angels have and are expected to live up to. It just wore on me after a bit, all of his strictness. Iofiel’s new friend, Archie the Imp, was one of my favorite characters. He was born/made an Imp, a sort of demon but not really in most eyes, but he’s doing his best: studying soul stealing, practicing magic, all the things that would make him a good demon. Despite all the problems he runs into, including non-stop bullying from his fellow students, he persists. I admired that in him.

Good Angel delves deeper into the creation and categorization of angels and demons than most other books I’ve seen. This book mentioned the classifications, what they looked like (multiple arms, animal heads, etc.) rather than going with the popular film interpretation of model looking human with a pair of giant wings.

This being a very diverse, LGBT+ inclusive book, I thought a particular scene between Iofiel and some of the other angels was interesting. When they were discussing sexuality, both in humans and angels, there was mention that angels had a “heavenly standard”: angels are supposed to be triple A angels: asexual, aromantic, agender. It was interesting to see this “default” being discussed, much as a lot of people in the human world assume heteronormative relationships are the default. The angels discussed how a lot of them didn’t follow this standard, experimented to discover who they are, and how little sins were not that bad in the grand scheme of things. There are angels questioning their gender, their sexuality, and coming to terms with that. It opens Iofiel’s mind to the possibility of life outside of the cookie cutter standard that she was born with, that beings take many forms, including their outlook on sexuality, romantic spectrum, and gender.

There were some inconsistencies that didn’t affect the overall story, I thought, but took me out of the reading experience for a minute while I puzzled over it, such as when Iofiel doesn’t know the name of the room she’s in for a meal and then a moment later uses the correct word (cafeteria). The pacing was decent enough in the getting from Iofiel’s first day at the University to the coming of the End Times, though there were times when I felt it slowed down and made things drag.

An independently published novel about angels, demons, and their various roles in the course of their own lives and humanity, A.M. Baushild has crafted an interesting story that questions a lot, shows possibility, and delivers a good tale about a cast of characters that ran the gamut of alignment from, as far as I could tell, lawful good to chaotic evil.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author 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.