The Girl in the Tower picks up where The Bear and the Nightingale left off. The magic and mystical setting of medieval Russia sparkles through the pages, in large part due to Arden's gift of lyrical story-telling.
This time around the characters are more emotional and solid, the story arc more demanding and on edge, and the aesthetic is so real you can almost reach out and touch the powdery snow and warm steaming bread. I love this author, and even if the story has some holes, her voice is so spellbinding you just want to read more. No one really writes about medieval Russia (and I'm personally not a fan of Russian lit which usually deals with loss and existential crisis), but this book continues a dark fairy tale, and one I may not be able to leave.
After being pushed away from her home, Vasya is forced to live as a boy on the run in the middle of winter, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Complications begin as she becomes entangled with a local lord and a frost demon she can't seem to escape. Politics and emotional threads weave their way back to her brother and sister staying in the Russian capitol of Moscow. As the stakes grow higher and higher as the Grand Prince takes an interest in befriending her, lies and status hang in the balance as Vasya struggles to figure out where she belongs, and what really matters.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest book review from Netgalley.
I have to admit I flew through this book. I also have to admit the characters are far from likable. While the pace and the storyline keep you hooked, apparently every boy in this book has to fall for our heroine Henrietta Howell. MMmmmmmmmmkaaay.
While the first book established characters and what role everyone would be playing in the supernatural war, this book focuses on the actual battles and finding any way to win. While that may be well and good, the romance undercurrents were a huge turn off. I have always hated Rook, who is the main love interest, but she wanted to parade Magnus (who I like), through a playboy phase, and Blackwood (who I wanted her to actually end up with), turns into a power hungry, misogynist, crazy person. There are no main male characters in the series that can be viewed as having any solid redeeming traits at this point (Magnus, slightly).
Third wave feminism has started to drip into everyday reading, and although I don't think it was an intentional artistic choice, the female characters in this iteration only really come out strong because the males are corrupt or weak. Henrietta does make some brave decisions, although they are usually rash and never well thought out.
Obvious "tells" throughout the book have to be explained even as they become revelations. This IS YA, but it doesn't have to be dumbed down.
The writing is good, the newer characters and fae are not well developed, but if you want a quick romp through an alternate Victorian London, give it a shot. You may not love the characters, but it's worth hanging in there for the overall plot.
I received a complimentary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
November is National Novel Writing Month, or in the writer world, Nanowrimo (Nano). Those that choose to participate write 50,000 words in a month. It's really fun.
No, it's really not.
But it gets the work done.
If you are interested in Nano you can click the banner below! I'll see everyone at the beginning of December!
This graphic novel covers a plethora of issues young gamer girls deal with, and the stumbling blocks that continue to be prevalent. The story deals with a young girl adjusting to change in her life by entering into an online game community, and the struggles and problems she faces along the way.
The story can come off as a little preachy, but has an overall great message of harmony and cooperation when dealing with people and gamers from all walks of life. I highly recommend for any young gamer.
I got a complimentary copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
All of us have bet on what we've seen in pop culture, racing to our phones to prove our point faster than our companions. This book might answer some of the more confusing or interesting of them all. Cinemaps uses movies and their stories to completely map out characters' journeys in a unique and artistic way.
Part nostalgia and part art project, this book is the perfect example of something you want to have on your coffee table. From The Princess Bride to Shaun of the Dead, it links characters' actions with a type of rainbow bridge you can follow. The style changes a bit from movie to movie but still slightly retains an 8 bit video game feel to the graphics.
I would highly recommend this for movie buffs of any age.
I received a complimentary copy from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.
Filled with styles from a multitude of ages, this coloring book brings a culture and its elegance to the pages of a coloring book in a sophisticated package.
The book has a ribbon bookmark and elastic band to keep everything nice and tidy when you aren't coloring. The pages are printed front and back, which may or may not be a preference to some. I personally like the compactness of it since it makes it easy to keep track of your work and keeps the pages bound together, even if you've torn them out.
The art ranges from fashion, city streets, buildings, to patterns, so there's a little bit of something for everyone. I would recommend it for a middle school or high school gift book.
I received a complimentary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.
Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. -Excerpt
RELEASES OCTOBER 1st, 2017
With not quite enough gold in his pocket, Kit Sylvain trudged through the underbrush, trampling salal and fern under his hiking boots. The sun had set, and the light was fading. Not that there had been much light to begin with. It was a Wednesday in early December, and here on the western side of Puget Sound, clouds generally socked everything in for the whole winter, and a good deal of fall and spring too. Tonight the sky hung pewter gray between the swaying fir branches high above, and on the forest floor the colors were washed out to a greenish black.
Kit couldn’t see the rising full moon what with the thick forest and all the clouds, but he knew it was there.
By now he didn’t even bother with a flashlight. He knew where to go. He wouldn’t recommend anyone else wander out here alone after dark, though.
He weaseled between close-growing trunks, and stopped in a tiny clearing wedged in by six thick trees. Only dead fir needles lay under his feet here; no other plants could take the constant lack of sunlight. Except mushrooms, of course. Never any shortage of mushrooms.
Kit ran his hand through his hair, and pulled the slim gold necklace from the pocket of his leather jacket. Another full moon, another offering.
He lifted his face toward the treetops and whistled a few notes of one of the the tribe’s songs. None were tunes you’d hear on the radio, though Kit would have sworn one of them had stolen riffs from a Bowie song. No surprise. Goblins stole stuff every chance they got.
In answer to his whistle, a few notes on a pipe floated down from the trees. Then someone blew a raspberry from a hundred feet up, and someone else cackled.
Immature buttheads. God.
“Guys.” Kit held up the chain. Three little gold hearts dangled from it. “It’s me.”
“Kiiiit. Daaaarling.” The cooing voice sank closer to the ground.
At the base of the trees, something light caught his eye. Several puffy white mushrooms had arranged themselves into a row. The line trailed out between two of the trees, through a space that hadn’t been there a minute earlier.
He gritted his teeth and walked forward, following the mushroom trail. The goblins wouldn’t show their faces unless you accepted their invitation and followed their path. But he hated doing it, every time.
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I know it's been a difficult time for a lot of people, and I just wanted to reach out and say it will eventually be okay again. It's hard to hear when all of this is going on:
But it will get better. I know I struggle with a lot of anxiety and mental stress in these sorts of situations. I think it's also more likely for someone to feel abandoned and depressed because everyone else is so absorbed in what they're doing at the moment. Everybody gets that way at one point or another. Some people have to do it for their own mental wellness. Just know that everything will be okay. It just might take some time.
Just look at this picture of a Dog:
Ignotofsky is at it again in her compendium of sports figures in histories past. I requested this book because there was a roller derby gal on the front (and I read Women in Science and loved it).
The pictures and stories on women athletes are thorough, each page a detailed accounting of what made an individual unique in their field. The graphics are gorgeous. Bright pops of color, and well laid out designs, make this so much more than a "facts" book.
The cover is light and velvety - teasing the goodness between its pages. I really appreciate everything these books are trying to do, and if they had been around when I was a pre-teen I would have been all about them in my day. That's why I am so glad I got them for my daughter.
*I received a complimentary copy from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review*
It has become quite clear that the age of the "Geek" or "Nerd" is superficial. It's cool right now because everyone grew up with it. But there's something I have a beef with: saying you like Science Fiction when you really don't.
Now I know there are different genres of SciFi, and to be honest I lean towards "Soft" or "Space Opera". I'm not really a fan of "Hard" SciFi (my brain doesn't really care how they got the nuclear reactor to work or how the holographic projection is doing its thing (although I can go for a Weir or Crouch novel occasionally)). There are all kinds of fans of SciFi-so I don't understand why stuff has started to struggle.
Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, Sense8 (yes, yes they are all Wachowski), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The O.A., The Expanse, Dark Matter, KillJoys (and I 100% guarantee you Star Trek: Discovery) are struggling, or downright bombing, at the box office or on tv.