Review: Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen


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Published: 27 March 2018

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Category: Graphic Novel/Humor

Sarah’s Scribbles,  Goodreads Choice Award for 2016:  Best Graphic Novels & Comics

“. . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … ”
The Huffington Post

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

Rating:  5 Stars

One of my favorite comic artists is back with a third collection in her Sarah’s Scribbles series.

Sarah’s slice of life comics continue to be amazing, ranging from chuckling to gut busting hilarity. Each page has it’s own merits. Some are light, some are cute, and more have deeper meaning beneath the surface, such as bad thoughts being seeds and buried only to reach out their roots and cause more chaos. There are also some that, while seemingly lackadaisical, comment on important issues. One comic in particular has off-page characters mocking Sarah for wearing a choker or drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte and you realize that you can just let people enjoy the things they like without tearing them down.

A wide readership will find relatable content in Herding Cats, from your legs sticking to a chair in the heat of summer to leaving your headphones at home before your commute. Speaking to the creative among us, there is a chapter about half way through that speaks directly to creative endeavors in the modern age. What it means to have access to the Internet, the sharing platforms, etc. The comics in this portion, as well as the prose, is serious. Sarah’s take on what people are finding online, the difficulty facing diverse people (their work, being believed, etc.) is upfront.


Never give up on your art. There will be tough times, anxious times, but you’re always moving forward and that’s the important thing. Sarah has a talent for communicating this and more “lessons” through her art and I look forward to the next collection.






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.

Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult


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



There’s an attitude that books for children have nothing to offer adults. I think that’s ridiculous because there are a lot of layers to children’s books. There are the things that we pick up on when we read them when we’re younger and then there are the things that we pick up on when we’re older, when we’ve learned to read more critically and can see beneath the top of the book.

This week I picked four of my favorite examples to share with you (I’m sorry, I wasn’t sure what to pick for the fifth slot so this is a shorter than usual list).



Matilda by Roald Dahl

Something I realized, reading this book again as an adult, is that it’s got a good message for kids beyond the cool powers and the positive bookworm main character: you do not have to suffer bullying adults. They may be your parents, but if they treat you badly you don’t have to stand for it. Granted this is oversimplifying the matter a great deal and there are situations in which this would be complicated, but in Matilda’s case she finds a  way to stand up for herself against not only her parents but the Trunchbull as well.



The Giving Tree by Shelf Silverstein

I swear I read this as a kid and thought it cute. Reading it when I got older, I realize how horrifying it is and how it illustrates how materialistic and selfish humankind it, particularly towards nature. Adults need to reread this and remember that even if nature seemingly doesn’t fight back, such as the tree not smacking this man upside the head like he deserves, it doesn’t make his actions correct.



The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Lots of kids see Disney movies growing up and for my part I remember being read a slim volume of Grimms stories. I think it’s good to go back and read them again because you’ll realize that the Disney tales are so washed out as to be almost unrecognizable and you’ll revisit some truly amazing gruesome tales that you don’t see nowadays.



The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Y’all need to revisit Ferdinand and remember this brave bull who was minding his own damn business, being a soft cinnamon roll of a being, and then got bullied into some toxic version of what people expected him to be. Did he let that change him into that fighting thing? No he did not! He eventually went back to his own cork tree to smell the flowers and was true to himself. 🙂









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

Review: Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst


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Published: 6 March 2018

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Category: Fantasy/Young Adult/LGBT+ (Bisexual MC & Side character, F/F relationships)

Asra is a demigod with a dangerous gift: the ability to dictate the future by writing with her blood. To keep her power secret, she leads a quiet life as a healer on a remote mountain, content to help the people in her care and spend time with Ina, the mortal girl she loves.

But Asra’s peaceful life is upended when bandits threaten Ina’s village and the king does nothing to help. Desperate to protect her people, Ina begs Asra for assistance in finding her manifest—the animal she’ll be able to change into as her rite of passage to adulthood. Asra uses her blood magic to help Ina, but her spell goes horribly wrong and the bandits destroy the village, killing Ina’s family.

Unaware that Asra is at fault, Ina swears revenge on the king and takes a savage dragon as her manifest. To stop her, Asra must embark on a journey across the kingdom, becoming a player in lethal games of power among assassins, gods, and even the king himself.

Most frightening of all, she discovers the dark secrets of her own mysterious history—and the terrible, powerful legacy she carries in her blood.

Rating: 5 Stars

Pacing is a very important aspect of a book to me. It determines how well my attention is kept and how much I enjoy reading about the characters. Bad pacing leads to a boring reading experience. Inkmistress had excellent pacing. Events did not move too fast, nor did they skip ahead. Events unfurled quickly enough to make me happy and keep my book open.

Asra went right to my heart. In the beginning she has this idea that she’s selfish because she wants to matter the most to the woman she’s involved with (Ina). I didn’t see this, though. If anything she was incredibly reserved and giving. Her heart was given wholly to Ina, which did lead to trouble but wasn’t inherently self serving. There was a bit of naivety  that was a bit wearing at times, though it never reached a truly painful level. In fact, it more emphasized how good her heart was that she kept trying to see the good in people, kept trying to fix things. It hurt seeing her try to do all these things and yet see so many people betray her. Her strength, even with her goodness blinding her to the cruelness of some people, kept her from losing her purity.

I did question her devotion to Ina. The time they spent together did not feel intimate enough to warrant the faith Asra put in Ina, which shows when she tries to convince her to let her manifest settle. As much as she tries to appeal to the Ina she knew, it really emphasized that the girl she knew, the girl Ina was, and whatever Ina is now are different things. However, she did grow a lot as a character and this growth enabled her to see that what she felt for Ina was not the love she’d thought it was, neither for her part or coming from Ina.

Ina was not nearly as likeable though definitely more understandable. I got a more selfish feeling from her. Ina came up to the mountain as an escape but was really secretive about it, which I understood to an extent. However, she didn’t seem to have as much heart in the relationship as Asra did and didn’t acknowledge it. She kept asking for and digging for dangerous secrets that Asra only gave up to please her.

Once her village is gone, her anger and haste made a lot of sense. Her grief influencing her decisions was relatable and I didn’t have to like her to sympathize. The secrets she was keeping from Asra made me realize that my dislike and the oddness coming from her side of the relationship was well sensed. It was heartbreaking, the betrayal that she committed against Asra, so much so that I was yelling at the book for awhile.

Hal, child of the wind god, was a character that made me think of the nature vs nurture debate. His upbringing was rather difficult owing to losing his mortal mother at 3 years old, being raised as best as possible by his 14 year old sister, and otherwise surviving on the streets. Despite the thieving and the potentially corrupting nature of his silver tongue abilities, he is a good person when Asra meets him. His personality is an incredible balm in a difficult time.

Asra’s magic was unique and interesting. There were dangers hinted at early on but we didn’t get to see the effects until Asra used it “for” Ina. The limitations reminded me of wishes one might make with faeries or genies: you have to word your request really, really carefully or it will be twisted. Asra finds this truth out in a terrible, destructive way that ultimately propels her into a quest to rectify her mistake.

The magic system at large, at least when concerning demigods, was intriguing because they were not all powerful as I think I tend to see. Hal and Asra using their gifts took something from them that varied depending on the strength of the task. Their suffering was a direct reflection of using their various gifts and I liked that being the children of gods didn’t make them perfect.

There is a lot of betrayal in this book, but there is also a lot of faith and a lot of love. There’s a lot of pain, but the strength of the characters helps them to fight their way through it even when the darkness of both their powers and their own crushed feelings threatens them. This could have been a standalone, though it is actually a prequel of some kind to Of Fire and Stars, which makes me very happy because I’m curious to see what kind of effect Asra’s blood magic has left on the world and whether she still has any part in it.






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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me


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.



This is an abbreviated list this week with six surprises rather than ten. Some are good ones, some less so. Please let me know if you’ve read any of them and have had similar reactions or even different ones!



Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

I wanted to read this book a lot because it is about Alice, an asexual character, and I really want to read more about people similar to me. I wasn’t going into it with huge expectations because while I’d read books with asexual characters before, I thought that they brushed the character’s sexuality aside. They mentioned it and then it didn’t mean anything more. Alice’s story, however, really embraced that facet of her character and enabled me to see myself on the page.



Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

The characters, the plot line, the ending! This book was one of the best books I read in 2017 with that ending in particular surprising me.



Giant Spider & Me by Kikori Morino

I did not think I would like a manga about a giant spider, or in this case a spider-like creature. However, SHOCK! I love Asa-kun, even with all those extra eyes and legs. Turns out, by the way, that this is totally a cooking manga. Who would’ve guessed?



Artemis by Andy Weir

This was, sadly, not a good surprise book. It sounded really interesting, high stakes action and all that on a moon settlement. Rosario Dawson narrates the audiobook, so I thought this book would be awesome.

Wow. It was offensive and generally was a big disappointment.



The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Charlie’s book because I tried The Paper Magician as an audiobook and found it kind of boring. This book, though, was dark and mysterious and so enjoyable.



As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

I thought the premise sounded interesting because it had a lot of room for introspection, for moral reasoning, and fantastic character development. I was looking forward to it and yet…surprise, it was pretty terrible. The main character was insufferable and the story dragged so much I wanted to throw the book across the room.






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

Review: Sighwitch (Preview Excerpt) by Susan Dennard


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Published: 23 January 2018

Publisher: Tor Teen

Category: Fantasy/Young Adult

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.

Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before TruthwitchSightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

Rating:  2 Stars

Format wise, Sightwitch felt very rough. I’m hoping that, since this was an e-arc preview, that things will be fixed, but between font color changes and alternating capitals and lower case letters, my eyes started to hurt shortly after starting. It was jarring and did not make for a pleasant reading experience.

The sketches and the diagrams of the Sightwitch levels and the environments they encounter were nicely done. Artwork in books can be either hit or miss; in this case, the style was a nice compliment to the story.

Ryber and Tanzi’s Threadsister bond was pretty clear from the memories the reader gets from the journal entries written by either. It was sad when Sightwitches started going missing and Ryber started to despair of seeing Tanzi again. The fear in her heart and the panic in her mind was very clear.

As this was set up as the journal of Ryber, I thought that I’d be able to find her voice clear and distinct. There are also entries from Tanzi,  as well Dysi, a Sightwitch Sister from generations ago. Comparing these three points of view, I found almost no difference. If it were not for their entries titled with their names, I would not have been able to tell you which entry belonged to which girl. Another problem was, a lot of the entries were not labeled with a name. Sometimes it was only Dreams, sometimes Memories, and what with the intensely similar “voices”, it sometimes took me a minute to flip back and figure out who was doing what.

I did not care for the story itself. Pacing was decent, but there was nothing that really clicked for me, nothing that made me want to find a complete copy.

I think fans of Truthwitch, and indeed those that have read the already published Truthwitch and Windwitch, might enjoy this as a supplementary novella more so than someone just coming to Susan Dennard’s books. Even though this is #0.5 in the series and should be perfectly readable without having read #1 or #2, it didn’t have that ease and I’d really recommend having the “previous” books under your belt before reading Sightwitch.







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: Splatoon, Vol. 1 by Sankichi Hinodeya


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Published: 12 December 2017

Publisher: Viz Media LLC

Category: Manga/Science Fiction/Childrens

All your favorite Inklings are about to get embroiled in an all-out Splatoon Turf War!

Four Inklings who can switch between human and squid forms get caught up in a Splatoon Turf War that launches them into all-new adventures based on the hit Nintendo video game series!

The Turf Wars have started in Inkopolis, and the team that inks the most ground will be crowned the winner! Goggles and Team Blue are ranked lower than their competitors. But with some teamwork and a touch of creativity, they might just leave their mark on this tournament!

Rating: 2 Stars

Splatoon, before reading this manga, was simply a game to me. One that my child loves and plays enthusiastically. I requested the book on his recommendation and thought it was very energetic and wild.

The book starts in the middle of things. A turf war is about to begin between Team Blue and Team Yellow-Green. The introduction to characters was good, but they seemed rather settled, one dimensional if you will. Once the first chapter was over, things got a bit better as the characters finally got to interact on a more normal level, but that didn’t last long before more Turf Wars began among them and teams that were supposedly increasingly difficult compared to them.

Team Blue is a low ranked Inkling squad, but they make up for their abilities with team work and intensity. Compared to the first team they come up against, their camaraderie is evident, even as Goggles (Inkling Boy) continually drops his pants or pops out of ink naked (all private areas are always covered). His energy was a bit much at times, not altogether off putting, but what I really didn’t like about him was when he started pantsing others, such as Rider. It’s a childish tact and more than a little unnerving when directed at others.

His teammates (Specs, Bobble Hat, and Headphones) didn’t really standout as much as  (annoying as he is) Goggles did. If they hadn’t been identified by their signature look, it would’ve been difficult to tell them apart based on their personalities. The fact that their whole identities are wrapped up in these accessories was another tic mark on the Con list. While shopping, Goggles wears a helmet and Headphones says “you’re not even Goggles anymore!”

Artistically Splatoon wasn’t bad, but it had a plethora of busy scenes that made it difficult to suss out what was happening. Black and white is traditional for manga, but I think this book would have benefited from a color edition since so much of the story line is dependent upon colored inks and competitions to paint an arena.

As far as volume one goes, the chapters with Turf Wars were basically the same. A lack of development made for a somewhat dull majority of this book. Team Blue, supposedly such a badly ranked team, kept beating elite teams with little to no conflict or difficulty to make it interesting. Hopefully some kind of story line will appear in future volumes, because otherwise I can’t see it lasting too long as a series.





I received a copy of this book 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.

Top 5 Wednesday: Free Topic Week – Books I’d Want to See As TV Shows


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

As the topics went up a bit late this month, we were given the option of picking any past topic as this week’s Top 5 Wednesday. After combing the archives of the group, I decided to go with Books I’d Like to See As TV Shows.



The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Admittedly I haven’t read this book yet, but the premise of a centuries old curse and it being compared to Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus has me fairly convinced that this could be a good series on the CW or Freeform. There’s an air of darkness, there’s magic, I’m sure there’s going to be a love interest that’s cursed or at the very least troubling. What about this doesn’t scream t.v. show?



The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara really breathes energy into epic fantasy and I think the visuals and the energy of the story could make for a visually fantastic. I listened to this book and Pearl Mackie is the perfect narrator for it, so she should definitely be involved in the production in one way or another. Maybe there could be voice overs? Maybe she could play Asha?



Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

This is kind of a weird book, as anyone who’s read it or who has heard the podcast will attest. There aren’t many networks that could handle it, but whoever did the series Black Books is probably the right “person”. I think that was BBC? It’s a very surreal story taking place in the desert with an ominous Glow Cloud, angels, a pawn shop where everything is the same price but you get what you need. Very strange, very awesome. I almost wish Syfy could do it because then I could watch it sooner, being an American station, but my favorite shows on that channel tend to get cancelled sooner so best to keep any Night Vale adaptation far away from them.



Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

I’m not sure if t.v. show would be the right term for how I’m picturing Nice Try, Jane Sinner, but a web show at the very least would be cool. Considering that half the book centers around Jane’s role on a campus web show called House of Orange, a cam footage style show would fit in with the narrative. Maybe a Netflix or Hulu could do a special. Heck, I bet even a skilled YouTube team could tackle this and make a truly amazing show.


The Cat Who… Series by Lilian Jackson Braun


I don’t think I’ve yet read every book in this series (there are 29 of them!), but the sheer volume of the series means there’s plenty of material for a good long series. It’s a mystery series centering around journalist Jim and his Siamese cats who are smarter than they appear. I get a real Murder, She Wrote vibe from these books, but with crime solving cats.





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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo


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Published: 6 March 2018

Publisher: Feiwel Friends

Category: Young Adult/Fantasy/Mythology

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Rating:  2 Stars

CW: self harm

I was really looking forward to this book because so rarely have I seen a story with sirens that are not physically more like mermaids, beautiful beyond belief and more like typical mermaids. I liked the promise of a bloodthirsty princess that hunted princes, even of the prince that has been seeking revenge for humanity.

The Good

There was clearly a lot of time spent on the look of the worlds we visit in this story. From the underwater kingdom of Keto to the land kingdom of Midas, everything was very detailed, refined in a manner befitting the inhabitants of each whether it be shells or gold. For my part I preferred the underwater kingdom, frightening as it might be because there was more a sense of peace there than in Midas. The beauty, whether traditional or brutal, that existed in Keto was amazing. Lira’s scales, the eye differences that mark the sirens, all of it had a murky kind of attraction that I enjoyed.

I liked how the author drew parallels between Lira and Elian. Coming from two different worlds, you might think they’d have nothing in common but there were elements that tied them together before they ever met. These elements weren’t direct side-by-side comparisons, more structure wise with different coverings.


The Not-So-Good



I’m surprised to not have seen any other reviews touching on the self harm aspect of the book. It only occurs once, so perhaps it wasn’t picked up on, but there is a scene where Lira uses jellyfish to inflict pain upon herself and talks about how doing so muddies her mind and takes her away from her present. These are the hallmarks of self harm and just because she’s using methods that a siren might use rather than a human doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially as damaging.



An observation I had about Lira and Elian is that while I liked them, I noticed that their voices were very similar and initially I didn’t realize that the point of view narrator had switched between them. If I weren’t aware that one was on land and one was on sea, there was very little differentiation between the two. I wondered if this was done deliberately to enhance the similarities between them, the princess and the prince, but by the end I couldn’t be sure whether it was that or carelessness.

Elian, while he had some good qualities, also turned out to be a fool in a major way. In order to bring these two together, the author threw Lira into his path via almost drowning in the ocean when she’s been turned human. The circumstances of finding her in the middle of the open ocean, naked and yet not harmed by the cold, wearing a necklace that he admits is only possessed by monsters…I really couldn’t see how he didn’t figure out what Lira was. She spoke the language of the sea, for crying out loud, and it was already stated that no human knows how to speak it. Even his crew were wary about her when this was revealed, but Elian disregarded their concern. There were huge red flags flying left and right, yet not once did he clue in.

Then there was the romance between Elian and Lira. It was so mindbogglingly uninteresting that I really wish it had been dispensed with completely. There was no real connection between them and the whole “Elian is immune to the siren’s song because Lira gave him her heart” was cheesy in the extreme. It felt like Lira was this strong and powerful siren and Elian’s presence took that away. I think this would couple would end up on my list of least liked in all of YA.

As for secondary characters, the crew members of the Saad, Elian’s pirate ship, were very one dimensional. There was some banter tossed about, very familiar lines, and I just couldn’t care about any of them. Heck, I’m not sure I could name all of the ones who were actually named. They were very much relegated to the role of supporting cast and while they allowed Elian to run about and do what he wants, their presence was negligible.

Here’s my problem with the book overall. I liked the characters well enough on their own, especially Lira when she was being particularly vicious. Elian was alright though he was by no means my favorite. That said, I think To Kill a Kingdom was better at characterization that is was at actual storytelling. The first fifteen percent of the book really dragged, being heavy with details that were not told in an effortless manner. It felt more like an info dump and that made the book suffer.

Once the action begins, once Elian knows what treasure he’s seeking and Lira is human and trying to get home, it didn’t get any better. The action was dragging and taking entirely too long to get to a point. There were side quests and whatnot that didn’t feel at all important to the core of the story and yet these were given more page time than anything that would get us to the end. The revelations of identity, the battle between the “good guys” and the Siren Queen, none of that happens until 83% of the way through and then everything rushes to the end. I felt more interest when Lira and Elian were fighting a thief named Rycroft aboard his ship than in the final showdown, which seems really off.

The more I write about this book, the more I realize how disappointed I was. The premise was amazing, but the execution just made me sad.






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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes


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.



Authors are generally good with words, but there are moments when their writing really hits it out of the park and a quote resonates with you beyond the confines of the book.

This week’s post is about the quotes I’ve saved on Goodreads because I loved them so much, whether funny or poignant, I had to remember them.



The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Oh, well, thanks an awful lot, Thomas, Myfanwy thought bitterly. It sounds like I’m the Defense Minister of Ghosts and Goblins, but as long as the job is “all fairly self-explanatory,” I’ve no doubt it will be fine. The country might get overrun by brownies and talking trees, but what the hell–there’s always Australia!



Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”



Stardust by Neil Gaiman

“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now, that’s a question.”



Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”



Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

“For a few moments I want to be 5 years old again. I want someone to plunk me down in front of a Disney movie and ask me if I want apple juice or grape.”



The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”



The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

“Hospital walls have no memory. They would crumble under the weight of so much suffering. It’s better that they forget.”



Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Crappy mall food cures everything.”



Madeleine L’Engle

“A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”



Among Others by Jo Walton

“It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”


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Review: Tokoyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 & 2 by Sui Ishida


Volume One

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Published: 16 June 2015

Publisher: VIZ Media

Category: Manga/Horror/Fantasy

Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

Rating: 3 Stars

As wide spreading as this manga is among fans of the genre, I somehow hadn’t picked it up until this year when my new Manga Club decided to try it out after having finished Death Note. It has something of the same darkness as Death Note and, I think, a lot of parallels could be drawn as to what makes a person/ghoul and whether or not they share personality traits, blurring the lines of prejudice between the two groups.

This first volume felt, to me, to be a strictly introductory volume. There isn’t a lot of action, but we are introduced to several characters that will be important to the series as it progresses: Kaneki (half human half ghoul protagonist); Touka (ghoul/new acquaintance of Kaneki); Rize (the ghoul to whom Kaneki “owes” his halfling nature); and the staff at a cafe that serves both human and ghoul customers.

There was a bit left to be desired in this volume and while I wanted to continue, I can see how some new readers might be frustrated at the slow pacing. It’s a series that requires hanging on for a bit to really get to the meat of the story, but as I’ve got two volumes done already, I can say it is worth the wait.



Volume Two

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Published: 18 August 015

Publisher: VIZ Media

Category: Manga/Horror/Fantasy

Unable to discard his humanity but equally unable to suppress his Ghoul hunger, Ken finds salvation in the kindness of friendly Ghouls who teach him how to pass as human and eat flesh humanely. But recent upheavals in Ghoul society attract the police like wolves to prey, and they don’t discriminate between conscientious and monstrous Ghouls.

Rating: 4 Stars

In volume two, there is more insight into the individual ghouls and what makes them what they are. Ghouls are not defined by their ghoul nature, as we see in the characters of Hinami and her mother and the continued actions of Kaneki. There is also insight into the Doves (ghoul hunters) who, at least in regards to a couple, are as monstrous as they seem to believe all ghouls. Whether their opinion of the ghouls can be changed remains to be seen, but for now it looks like a rather bloody path for both sides.

While in volume one I wasn’t impressed by the atmosphere of the book, volume two steps things up. We begin to see the danger the ghouls are in, what they do to fend it off, and the tragedy that occurs when the Doves catch up to their intended target.

Kaneki, while still confused by being half human half ghoul, is starting to have a more present personality. He’s seeing those around him in his new community as more than ghouls. His initial fear is still present, but it is adjusting to his situation, as it must if he’s to survive.

The appearance of his iconic mask occurs on the last page and it is, while terrifying, a thing of beauty.





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