Review: The Scarecrow Princess by Federico Rossi Edrig (Author), Andrea Colvin (Editor)

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Published: 24 October 2017

Publisher: Lion Forge

Category: Graphic Novel/Fantasy/Young Adult

Morrigan Moore has always been moody, but her new home is the worst. Her novelist mother has dragged her to the countryside, drawn by the lost myth of the King of Crows, a dark figure of theft and deceit, and the Scarecrow Prince, the only one who can stand against him. When Morrigan finds herself swept up in the legend, she’ll have no choice but to take on the Scarecrow Prince’s mantel, and to stand and fight. For her town, her family, and her own future. This lushly drawn graphic novel will pull you into its sinister secrets and not let go till the final page. For fans of Coraline and Over the Garden Wall

Rating:  1 Star

I looked for this on NetGalley at the recommendation of someone close to me who had seen it somewhere and thought it might be interesting. Luckily it was on NetGalley as a Read Now option, so here we are. With the line “for fans of Coraline…” in the synopsis, I thought it might be interesting enough. That’s one of my favorite books and movies, after all.

Morrigan is, right off the bat, described as “always moody” in the synopsis. From what I could tell, however, she acted like a teenager that had had her life disrupted in what she thought was an unfair way: because of the job of her mother and bother, novelists that chase myths and legends. While her snark toward the new landlady was a bit biting and obviously rude, I understand where she was coming from and rather felt like she was being painted as a brat when she was simple reacting as one would expect her to have in such a situation. That doesn’t mean I liked her, as such, but I understood her bratty-ness.

Sophie and Edgar Moore were an odd pair of characters. I didn’t get much of a sense of personality from them, besides that of absentminded authors. What I’m still wondering about it, why mother and brother? There wasn’t enough detail about them to flesh them out and see them as such. To be honest, without the brief mention of his being her brother at the beginning, I would have thought Edgar was her father. He and their mother came off as absentminded author parents, really, rather than a brother working with his mum. Plus the language used to talk about them, “your folks”, is most often used for parental figures.

The King of Crows was by far the creepiest, most perverted character in the book. I disliked his mannerisms, his way of speaking; for a thousands year old creature, he sounded like an entitled modern man full of arrogance. I hated him when he started making sexual advances toward Morrigan, our fourteen year old heroine, and nothing is said in the text about it. He’s a bad guy because he took her parents, not because he’s trying to seduce her or because he made a comment about a four panel page scene earlier in the book when, after escaping from his kingdom, she pleasured herself. What. The. Hell. was that about??

The final battle between Morrigan and the Crow King further feeds into this creepiness because both characters are completely naked at the end. The Crow King has his lower half covered by crows/shadows, but Morrigan? The child in this book? Not a stitch, nothing. It was a rude scene change in the narrative and added nothing that I could see. If the mantle of the Scarecrow turning evil and needing to be stripped away was so important, I feel like the author could easily have managed this without parading Morrigan around like he did. It made a read that was somewhat dull into one that was downright uncomfortable.

The book is touted as being for fans of Coraline and I can almost see that, but I think it shared a bit too many similarities with Coraline to really stand out as a unique work of fiction that might appeal to fans of both books. If you didn’t use names or the details about the crows, I think people might not be able to tell the difference very well and that seems a problem for me because this could have been wonderful. The idea of a Crow King haunting a small English town sounds eerie and mythical. It was a bit sad that it didn’t quite reach that level for me.

The art seemed rather rough around the edges, like static on a television. Then, the coloring. It was quite flat and didn’t seem to flesh out the story. It was like filling out a coloring book page with one colored pencil or paint pen and not doing much in the way of shading or layering.

Ultimately, even if the art had been of a higher quality, I don’t think I could rate this higher because of the story and gratuitous nudity.

 

 

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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The Hermit Librarian Presents: A review of Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman + Interview with the Author

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Published:  22 May 2017

Category: Romance/LGBT (F/F)

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations–if only she could come up with ideas she likes as much as last time! When she sees Danielle Solomon’s paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork…

Fluffy Jewish f/f contemporary set in the author’s childhood home of South Florida.

Rating: 5 Stars

Knit One, Girl Two is artistically rich and features more than one brand of artistic endeavor. Clara is not only a knitter, but an indie dyer, looking all around her for inspiration for her next yarn line. Danielle also sees the beauty around herself in Southern Florida, translating these sights into paintings which inevitably inspire Clara.

Painters are hard workers and I’ve seen many styles portrayed in fiction, ranging from oil paintings to grafitti. Knitters don’t seem to get as much attention and seeing Clara featured, as well as her other crafty friends, brought new joy to my reading experience in 2017.

Aside from the artwork displayed by both Clara and Danielle, there’s a sweet romance that develops between them. Starting as a business relationship, it has the right balance between slow burn and instalove. Their interests aren’t stagnant, either, so we get to see other things they like, such as films. Both of them being Jewish also had an impact on the story and while the book didn’t have to teach me something about their Jewish faith, I found it neat to learn about a few aspects of it.

Things were a bit shorter than I would have liked, but within those pages the author told a complete, thoughtful story about Clara and Danielle. It was a pleasure to read this book, brief as it was. Seeing my craft (I do love knitting and new color lines are always inspiring) on the page in a recent, LGBT+ friendly novella was so good and I hope to read more by Shira Glassman, especially if Clara and Danielle make an appearance!

As a special treat, I have an interview with the author herself! Thank you to Shira for answering my questions and sharing some thoughts about seeing yourself on the page and her arty thoughts.

 


 

The Hermit Librarian: Do you ever find yourself inspired to write a story based on a pattern or a yarn line like Clara creates a colorway based on Danielle’s paintings?

Shira Glassman: I haven’t gotten story ideas from patterns or yarns before, but maybe I will now that you’ve put the idea into my head! Since my writing focuses on relationships between characters, most of my inspiration comes from just watching people interact.

 

THL: Can you think of the first time you saw yourself in a book, in any capacity?

SG: I’m not sure about the first time I saw myself as a queer woman, but the first time I saw a face like mine — and a nose like mine — presented as cute and pretty was in Dylan Meconis’s Family Man comic, with the character Liesl Levy. It was basically world-changing to realize you COULD DO THAT.

 

THL: When reading Knit One, Girl Two, it felt like it was written by someone who really understood what it was to be a crafter. What got you into knitting in the first place?

SG: I got into knitting when I was about nine because my grandmother thought it would help keep my fingers out of my mouth. (I have dermatillomania/dermatophagia, which I now manage by giving myself regular homemade manicures.) Knitting didn’t actually solve the problem but now I can make blankets and sweaters and all kinds of other fun stuff. It also provided most of my social life in grad school, where I met Caitlin, the indie dyer who inspired Clara.

 

THL: If you had to pick a type of pattern for your main characters, Clara and Danielle, such as shawls, fingerless mittens, etc., what type of project do you think best represents them?

SG: Clara, like me, likes stories — in her case, a made-up superhero fandom that’s getting its own book next year, and musical theater. I think she’d want to participate in that nerd event on Ravelry where everyone has teams — Buffy, Firefly, etc. — I’m blanking on the name?? Oh, gosh. The one where you make whatever projects you want as long as they’re themed for the “team” you’re on. So, lots of little things. Danielle, she’s a bold, artsy type who enjoys romantic style. She’d wear an outrageously fancy looking shawl. Or an asymmetrical scarf. (They live in South Florida, so fingerless mittens and knit socks are probably pushing it.)

 

THL: Follow up question: what colorway type would go with that? Speckeled, variegated, solid, tonal?

SG: Danielle would explore handpainted colorways and speckles and all the fun stuff — she’s an artist and she’d want to experiment. I’ll give Clara a tonal gradient since I really like them.

 

THL: If you could go on a writing vacation and set your book in that place, where would it be? Let’s throw time travel in there for fun, any TIME PERIOD. 😀

SG: I feel like Clara would want to go to any of the settings of the big musicals — Sweeney, Les Miz — and Danielle would have an edgy, feminist answer like “you think I’m gonna say 1940’s for the pinup clothes but haha no” 😛

 

THL: Last but not least, because I have to ask: will there be any more adventures for Clara and Danielle in the future? More sock club adventures, perhaps?

SG: I never know what my muse is going to throw at me! I have no further Clara/Danielle adventures PLANNED, but all that means is that I haven’t come up with them yet. I mean, when I finished A HARVEST OF RIPE FIGS I honestly thought Mangoverse was over, but I missed them too much and then out came OLIVE CONSPIRACY which is the best of the books because I had the most practice. So I can’t ever really “know” something’s over, especially when they had no time to get going, like Clara and Danielle. Maybe? I’m sorry I can’t say for sure! I can promise you this — there is more f/f coming. In general.

 


 

Thank you, Shira, for taking the time to answer my questions and for writing Knit One, Girl Two. Here’s looking forward to many more books in 2018. 🙂

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

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Published: 21 November 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Category: Psychological Thriller/Mystery

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass’ two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Rating: 1 Star

Caution: marital rape/sexual assault scenes

The premise of Poison sounded like it would make for a rather good thriller. Tense moments, mystery, a life-or-death situation…these elements appear in many a good book and I thought I would find the same here. I found that to be rather far off the mark in this instance.

The book starts off rather pompously, with over exaggerated language to describe the family unit and what it’s members do to ensure survival. It was a bit off putting, almost condescending, as the author/narrator pontificate about the perfect system that is a family, how everyone has to follow the rules or the unit crumbles. As this wasn’t being said by a member of the Connor family, I felt like this prologue was more preachy than necessary.

The manner in which the story progresses felt very much like the copy for a documentary on the modern family. As the reader, I didn’t sink into the story as usual, but felt like I was peering in at the Connors as one might look at an aquarium, complete with narration from some omnipotent being.

In another writer’s hands I might have been able to sympathize with the Connors, see them as a family that is tired in their routine, but generally alright. There was no time to come to that point in Poison. From the start all I got was a deep sense of co-dependency, of the author stretching out the details like an overextended rubber band.

I didn’t much care for how Cass, the matriarch, was portrayed. It’s stated early on that grief had made her dull and boring, grief for her first husband that died of an extended illness. This didn’t come across as a personal belief that Cass held, but rather a dismissive opinion of the author or, as I mentioned before, the narrator of the documentary that is the Conner family. The problem is, with the way she’s treated early on, it makes it difficult to like her midway through when normally I would have been sympathetic, maybe even sincerely worried about her. Building that foundation was essential for a story like this and I didn’t get that.

There were also snide, sexist remarks about Cass’s “true calling”: picking up after her children, not the career she’s had for years in legal journalism and as a journalism professor. Again, this might not be so bad if it felt like the character’s desire, but the way in which that passage in particular came across as the author breaking into their own story and remarking upon what they think is the “proper place for women”.

There was a chapter when, describing her narcissistic, egotistical, misogynistic father than Cass seems to rebel against his more dated ideas, to pity or mock them, but these protests felt like a puppet speaking from a script because, as I’d seen prior to this point, she is encumbered by these notions more than she admits. This is either a result of falling back on familial comforts or the author trying to portray Cass one way, but letting their own opinions shine through despite that.

It wasn’t consistent, either. One moment things seemed decidedly old-fashioned, the next Cass was going on about how modern Ryan was, how he didn’t wholly subscribe to traditional genders roles by being both able to construct floors and cool a good meal. There was always this undercurrent of falling back on a more 1950’s world view, but the narrative going forward couldn’t make up its mind.

Ryan wasn’t a good character either, though in his case I strongly disliked him because of his constant gaslighting of Cass. I was frustrated with Cass because she allowed it, accepted that this was how things were, and instantly forgiving him despite acknowledging that he was turning his fault into a criticism of her and her “failures”.

No one in the book seems to realize the privilege they have either. Though it’s never stated, I assume the family is white because of how they behave and remarks made about things in their life, such as the Victorian house they inhabit. The narration indicates that it’s “an example of what can be attained with hard work, a little luck— and a low-interest mortgage.” That’s not all there is to it and yet not one person recognizes the advantages they have because of who they are as well as what they’ve accomplished.

Home aside, they also have hired help within the home and children in multiple activities that require a good deal of money to attend, the ability to have these things never seeming worthy of note by either the family or the author. It was frustrating because the book is built around their achievement of a sort of familial nirvana, but there’s no recognition for getting there or being able to get there.

Cass even ticks off the things she has, the privileges of middle class wealth, at one point and instead of noting that she is fortunate enough to have these things both because of her person and her accomplishments, she waves them off as comforts she can count on, as though they were marks on a map or ladder that everyone aspires to follow or climb.

There was a careless comment thrown in about Cass being a “sleep anorexic” that rubbed me the wrong way. Eating disorders are nothing to joke about and the author using this phrase was unsettling because it felt like it diminished the severity of a person with anorexia and made Cass’s insomnia a flippant thing. The way Cass talks about her self-diagnosis was really bewildering because it sounded like something an anorexic person might say when in denial about what their disease is doing to them: bragging about how little they need, how much better they are than others because they can do more on less than their peers.

An oddity I noticed, especially concerning Marley (the new babysitter), was that the timing and order of events was off for some things. In Marley’s case, when they first meet Cass finds out that she’s 24, but later Marley says, when speaking of her personal illness, that she was 12 in 1984. That would make her at least 45 since the book takes place in 2017. These inconsistencies don’t seem to be because of paranoia, as Cass’s husband might suggest, but perhaps a bit of carelessness in the writing.

The formatting was a bit awkward in the book and I don’t think it was because it was an ARC. The transitions from scene to scene were very abrupt. One line to the next you might find yourself, formerly in the Connor house, then all of a sudden in a restaurant in Seattle proper, with nary a line split to really set things apart.

As for the pacing…with all the issues that kept coming up, along with the strange writing style considering this is pitched as a thriller/mystery, I found myself wondering when something would actually happen. Even when things did pick up, around 30%, it was a rather random acceleration of events, like 0 to 60 in three seconds. The whiplash did not endear me to the characters or the story.

For long expanses of time I found myself uninterested because nothing was really happening. The family troubles, which could have made for some kind of drama, were flat and, written as they were documentary style, had no real rising action that I could find. When Cass begins to suspect Ryan of indiscretions, it wasn’t written in an engaging manner. It was like a textbook case being displayed on the page. No humanity to the words, really, just the blunt statement of “fact”.

The ending was unsatisfactory in that, despite all the troubles and legal complications stacked against her, Cass was able to solve the case to the authorities’ satisfaction rather quickly. It didn’t seem real or possible, considering what the courts and the police had thought of her moments ago. There was also the matter of the story not really being resolved. The reader is more given a foot on the path to the end rather than a definitive conclusion.

I wouldn’t recommend this because of the lack of interesting content and the problems that arose from sexism, gaslighting, and the cycle of repetitive interactions between the two main characters.

 

 

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

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Published: 2 January 2018

Publisher: Balzar + Bray

Category: Young Adult/Contemporary

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

Rating: 3 Stars

As Taliah’s alleged father is a famous indie rock star, I expected there to be a lot of musical references and what I did find in the text was great. The names of different bands and musical performances, from familiar musical Hamilton to obscure (to me) bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, had me looking up videos or songs on YouTube and Spotify to get a deeper sense of how the scene might be developing.

The first thing artist mentioned, and the reasons I started to like Taliah’s best friend Harlow, was Amanda Palmer. While baking pistachio cupcakes in Taliah’s kitchen, Harlow is listening to The Dresden Dolls and Taliah mentions how Harlow was “in a phase where she was both nursing a major crush on Amanda Palmer and wanting to be Amanda Palmer”. As a fan of both her Dresden Dolls days and individual albums, I was very happy with the A.P. reference.

Via musical taste variances and more contrasting elements, the differences between Julian Oliver and Taliah Abdallat’s lives/generations are examined as both evidence/non-evidence of their familial relationship. Besides Julian being critical of musicals, there is also some early contention between him and Harlow about politically correct language and current events. While we see a more modern Harlow defending her position against, as she calls him, “prototypical middle-aged white dude” Julian, Taliah is having a mental debate with herself about where she stands on the subject of micro-aggression at large and in regards to Julian. Does she have things figured out? When will she be able to express the things she’s feeling? What is the right way?

Here We Are Now is not just the story of Taliah trying to connect with an absent father. It is also the story of her mother, Lena, and her immigrant experience. In the first perspective we have of Lena’s, she has recently arrived in the U.S. to study medicine, though there’s already doubt about whether she will complete that study. She finds herself missing Jordan more than expected, even once her classes begin. There are seemingly minute moments (the changing color of leaves) and even bigger events that, once read, reveal more depth to her.

There’s her homesickness and her desire to fit in; her Muslim upbringing at conflict with who she is now (something Taliah also comments on, though she doesn’t understand it). It is that last point that unfolds and reveals her character more than anything. There are several paragraphs that tell about her experience in Jordan vs the U.S. wearing a hijab, something she quickly shed upon arriving due to her desire to blend in and become American. Her life thereafter is influenced strongly by this choice: her writing, her art, her friends and the people she hosts in her home.

Lena’s story is just as vital to the book as anything that happens between the current day characters and, at times, I found it more involved and interesting. It offered insight into the decisions she made then and now, the choices that affected the path she and her daughter were on well before the book started. The strange thing I found about the flashbacks  concerning were that these chapters were being told as Julian’s reminiscences to Taliah and Harlow, but actually written down they were told from Lena’s perspective. The reader is getting far more information about Lena and her past than Taliah is hearing the story. Realizing that made it a bit awkward, knowing that Taliah was not really hearing the same information that I, as the reader, was getting.

There are two things that I did not like much in the course of the book. The first thing is that Harlow isn’t present for the majority of the book, so the description of her in the synopsis is a bit misleading. Then there’s Toby, a neighbor of Julian’s parents, whose whole presence felt unnecessary. He was two dimensional and the “relationship” that develops between him and Taliah felt more forced than any other in recent memory. Whatever he was meant to do or be in this narrative, I don’t think it came across as well as the author might have intended. If his portrayal is indeed as intended, I think it a rather poor choice and one that adds useless padding to the story.

There are themes of forgiveness, the search for personal identity, and familial connections throughout Here We Are Now. Not everything is smoothed over, but the best takeaway, perhaps, is that some endings aren’t just that, but rather beginnings as well.

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K Vaughn (Writer), Fiona Staples (Illustrator)

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository

Goodreads  –  Image Comics Website

Published: 27 December 2017

Publisher: Image Comics

Category: Space Opera/Fantasy

After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

CollectingSaga 43-48.

Rating:  5 Stars

Caution: scenes revolving around miscarriage/abortion, violence, nudity

Saga continues to be a favorite series of mine. From the diverse cast to the epic storytelling, there hasn’t been a volume yet that has let me down.

When I started reading this, I actually didn’t realize that I’d missed reading Volume 7, so there was some confusion and unexpected heartbreak as I came in on the results of events from the previous volume. Characters had passed from the narrative, others were in horrible situations, and our main group was facing some challenges that were rather heartbreaking.

 

I’m going to enter into spoiler-y territory here so SPOILER WARNING!

 

At the end of the last volume, there was an accident aboard Marko and Alana’s ship, resulting in her losing her baby. Volume 8 picks up almost right after, with the crew journeying to a planet where Alana will be able to get a late-term abortion. Now, this takes place alternately in Abortion Town (more than a bit callous, naming it that) and a back alley town which is the only place Alana can go a) because of her and Marko’s situation as “enemies” in a war and b) Abortion Town doesn’t handle late term abortions under any circumstances.

The commentary on how situations like this can be forced on pregnant women is not told solely from Alana’s perspective, but also a character we’re sort of introduced to at the end-wife’s office. An elephant patient sought the end-wife out because her fetus was revealed to have a debilitating deformity that would have made its life painful and short. As horrifying as the setting it, the topic is important and about choice.

Prior to and up to the conclusion of the appointment with the end-wife, there are scenes where Alana exhibits signs of magical ability. This is especially odd because spell casting is only doable by those from Wreath, Marko’s home moon. It’s discovered that she “has” magic because of her son and when he passed, the magic becomes hers for a time. That in and of itself is sad, but what makes it even more tragic is that spell casters can make projections of their potential future, which results in Alana projecting an image of what her son could have been like.

This development was equal parts traumatic and possibly cathartic? It was a strange situation all around as Hazel sort of gets to know Kurti (her brother, named after a friend from Vol. 7) and they talk about what it’s like to be alive/real and expectations (she thinks her parents want her to be a doctor, he encourages her to be a singer). The most heartbreaking scene for me occurs as Hazel is in the waiting room of the end-wife’s office and sings Kurti a lullaby as he fades. Vaughn sure knows how to ride a heartbreaking scene, doesn’t he?

Fiona Staples continues to live up to the excellence I’ve come to expect from her work. The creatures we meet, the colors of the worlds and how it melds with the scene, all come together with Vaughn’s writing and creates a tale that sucks you in.

Even with all the sadness and the trauma, there is still so much to look forward to. All the bad things that happen to this family and their friends/”friends” and there is still hope. I’m not holding out for a HAPPY happy ending at this point because this seems to be one of those series where no one is getting out unscathed, but maybe, someday, we’ll see Alana, Marko, Hazel, and the rest of their family finding the peace they need.

 

 

 

 

 

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

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 5 Wednesday: Forgettable Books

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

It’s hard reading so many books over the years because, after awhile, stories get crossed and details a bit muddy. I’ve more than a couple of times thought something happened in one book only to find out it was another.

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday is about five books who I’ve quite forgotten at this point. I may have loved them at the time or despised them. Still, their details have gone out of my head. ^_^;

 

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Maggie-Now by Betty Smith

Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is easily one of my favorite books of all time and I could talk about it for ages. Two more of them, Tomorrow Will Be Better and Joy in the Morning, are equally enjoyable. Those three I’ve read multiple times, I like them so much. Maggie-Now on the other hand is a title I’ve only read once and I couldn’t really tell you much about it. I remember overreaching events within in, but details? No clue.

 

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Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The problem with this book is that I find the film much more enjoyable. While I’ve seen it dozens of times, the book begins well enough and then drops in interesting parts. The second half and conclusion were so hard to get through that my brain seems to have left their events in the dust.

 

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Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

I read this years ago, at least ten, because I was looking for something that was in the same vein as Harry Potter. I know there was some controversy around it because it shared some elements as the more popular series, but I do remember enjoying it. Just…I don’t remember why exactly.

 

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I picked this up while on vacation and was engrossed the rest of the time. There are lots of twists and false endings, all wrapped up around an author of a strange collections of short stories and a biographer with a somewhat tragic past. There are little pieces I remember, but because of all the twists it’s hard to remember all the paths this book went down.

 

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Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

I know I read this. I swear I did. I know there was sadness, bitterness, and possibly a lot of sex, but what else was this book about? No. Freakin’. Clue.

 


 

What are some books you’ve read and forgotten? Do you know any of the books I’ve shared today? Let me know in the comment section. 🙂

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find the most current prompts here.


 

Resolutions are really hard to keep. I think it’s because, at least for me, I aim too high and make it too difficult right from the start. I made my Goodreads goal 100 books last year since I had failed it in 2016 and in 2017, I ended up surpassing it! Now that I know I can do it, though, that makes me want to aim high again. It’s some kind of catch-22. ^^;

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is about my bookish resolutions for the year. I’m not putting a ton of thought into them and hopefully that will keep me from reaching too high.

 

Read more of the books I get in subscription boxes.

FairyLoot and OwlCrate are the two book subscriptions boxes I get most often. However, I usually end up putting off reading the books I get in them. This may have to do with the fact that I keep the goodies and the book inside the box they come in, thereby hiding it from view or the fact that I have a storage problem and they can get lost under piles.

This year, I want to try to read all the books I get from these services as well as the back list ones I still have on a shelf.

 

Keep my currently-reading shelf to a minimum.

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At the time of writing this list, I have seven books on my currently-reading shelf (Language of Thorns is one more spot down), but that’s only because I cleared out a lot that I was only a little bit into or couldn’t remember the content of. I have a bad habit of starting lots of books and reading them at the same time, making for a very cluttered list. I think my top number was in the thirties. In 2018, I want to try and focus on finishing a book before starting another (except in special circumstances).

 

If I like a book in a series, read the next one quicker.

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If I read the first book in a series and the rest of the series (or at least the next book) is available, make it a priority. My memory is poor and leaving too much time between sequels can mean that I forget important characters or events. I’m trying to finish up Illuminae now, so Gemina will be high on the list of books to read early this year.

 

Read the books movies I like are based on.

There are a lot of classic stories I know from watching the films. I’d like to try and read more of the books themselves. For example: I’ve read three of the Narnia books, but I want to finish the series. Then there are Austen’s novels which, while I love the movies, I honestly cannot remember finishing one of her books. Oops.

 

Read more back list titles.

I hoard books. It’s a side effect of being a bit older and of collecting books most of my life. They do tend to pile up and, with around 3000 books (I’m estimating but it’s probably wrong), I have a lot of back list titles I need to read. I want to read more of them this year instead of ignoring them for the shiny new titles.

 

Keep my NetGalley requests down/up my percentage.

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I request far too many books and, while my percentage is hovering around 80%, I know it could be better. I want to read my list down, get reviews out on time, and get that percentage to at LEAST 90% by the end of 2018.

 

Read more manga/light novels.

I went to AnimeNext for ten years straight and because they moved to Atlantic City recently, I’ve been unable to go. That was the place where I learned about the newest manga trends, saw amazing cosplay, and made friends interested in anime and manga. While I could do a lot of that online, there was something about the atmosphere and the fun that I miss. I want to recapture some of that feeling again by reading more manga. I think I stopped for the most part last year because I was mourning a bit. Hopefully I can move past that now.

 

Read more books that take place outside of the U.S.

I’m not sure what my percentages were for books I read set outside the U.S. in 2017, but I don’t think it was very high. Most of them seemed to take place here and while that’s fine, I want to broaden my reading and read books set elsewhere.

 

Read more audiobooks.

My job allows me to listen to audiobooks while working so this one shouldn’t be too hard. Similar to reading my back list, I have a lot of audiobooks that I have ready to go in my library. I think The Princess Diarist is the one I’ll read first because Carrie Fisher narrates her own book and it sounds really candid, like we’re chatting and I’m not listening to a recording.

 

Don’t stress about monthly TBRs or reading challenges.

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Trying to cram in time to make the challenges rather than reading because I wanted to makes for a miserable experience. This year, I will try my hardest not to make too much work for myself when joining in challenges. I won’t strain myself, whether that means taking a breaking when needed or going to bed rather than staying up way too late.

 

 

 

 

 

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