I recently read the first volumes of two long-running comic books: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Bill Willingham’s Fables. Click here to see what I thought of them!
Become a Hard-Core Lady Type with Lumberjanes [re-direct to Mind the Gap]
End-of-the-Year Survey – 2015
I enjoy filling out surveys, and I (obviously) love books, so this end-of-the-year survey hosted by Jamie (Perpetual Page Turner) is right up my alley! Read on for my answers :)
Number Of Books You Read: 111 + about 10 manuscripts during my internship (Jan-April)
Number of Re-Reads: 18
Genre You Read The Most From: probably urban fantasy (YA is NOT a category!)
1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
It’s a cross between Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertali) and Every Word (Ellie Marney).
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Bane Chronicles. I mean, I wasn’t really surprised because I haven’t liked the last four Cassandra Clare books I’ve read, but Magnus was always my favourite character.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Raziel Reid) – it got a lot of buzz when it was chosen as one of the finalists for Canada Reads, and that in itself was surprising (in a good way!).
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’m going to say Every Breath a) because I recommend it on pretty much a monthly basis (technically I read it in 2014, but it was literally the last book I read – I finished it on December 31!) and b) my sister read it and become just as obsessed!
5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Best series started: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)
Best sequel: Every Word (Ellie Marney)
Best series ender: The Wondrous and the Wicked (Page Morgan)
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Susin Nielsen. I read literally all her books (including one that’s not even published yet!) this year.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Unbearable Lightness – Portia de Rossi
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Every Move (Ellie Marney). I could not move while reading it.
9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Cinder (Marissa Meyer) because I haven’t picked up the rest of the series yet, and I’ll probably have to re-read it before I continue.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath – Ishbelle Bee
11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
The Book Thief (Markus Zusack) is gorgeous, but it was a re-read. “New” book that was beautifully written: Magonia (Maria Dahvana Headley)
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Soulless – Gail Carriger. It has so many things I love in it!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I have seen the aftermath of death, the incredible mechanism of the body laid bare, and I know now that each person is a kind of miracle. A spark nestles like a bird inside our chests, so deep that we can’t find where it lives, but it is everything. It’s what makes us dream and think and feel and laugh and sing. And it is a mystery, and it is mundane, and, above all, it is fragile. Any moment could be our last. – Rachel Watts, Every Word
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
The shortest (not including picture books or comics) was The Little Prince with 98 pages and the longest was the Complete Blooming Goddess Trilogy (Tallulah Darling) with 1080 pages total (it was all one ebook, so if I was counting individual books, it would be Outlander with 850 pages).
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud. THAT ENDING. I NEED THE NEXT ONE LIKE NOW.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Wattscroft forever!!! Ellie Marney is in charge of writing all the kissing scenes forever.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Flavia and Dogger from Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket!)
21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
My sister told me repeatedly to read a Gail Carriger novel and I’m SO GLAD I read Soulless (and the sequel, Changeless!).
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Technically he’s from the end of 2014, but who doesn’t love James Mycroft??
23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
I flat out sobbed at the end of The Wondrous and the Wicked (Page Morgan).
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Not published in 2015, but I really enjoyed Knightly and Son – Rohan Gavin
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
In terms of being sad, I’d say Why We Broke Up, but if you’re talking about one that beat me down until I finished it, I’d say Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Lair of Dreams – Libba Bray
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Anne & Henry – Dawn Ius. I had such high hopes for it because it had such a great concept, but the characters infuriated me.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
This year was the first year I really paid attention to book blogs and really worked on my own reviews. Some of my favourite blogs include: Pop! Goes the Reader, The Broke and the Bookish, A Reader of Fictions, Snuggly Oranges, Cuddlebuggery, and, of course Perpetual Page Turner, plus a whole lot more! I also have to shout out to all the blogs I follow/who follow me here :)
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Probably my Simon vs review or my extensive review for Every Breath/Every Word.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
The post with the most comments was my Top Ten Books of 2015 from a few weeks ago.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I helped out at OLA which was a really interesting experience, but I also got to meet Alan Bradley at Random House which was really cool (he’s such an adorable old man!).
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Interning at Tundra was definitely a highlight and I got to work on their blog, which was lots of fun!
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Finding time to write the reviews in between writing for Mind the Gap/idobi!
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Every Word blog tour (most views on one particular day); overall, it was my Blurryface track-by-track review (in terms of views) and top 10 books of 2015 (in terms of comments).
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I’m quite proud of my UK in YA TTT!
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Apart from all the blogs I mentioned earlier, I’ve also really enjoyed Book Riot and the read-iculously cheap Book Outlet.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I set 100 books as my Goodreads challenge and surpassed that goal!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
Good Omens (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) is going to be the first book I read in 2016.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
I don’t even know if it will come out in 2016, but I’m salivating for the next Lockwood and Co (Jonathan Stroud) book.
3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
The Love That Split The World – Emily Henry. It’s been getting a lot of hype and it was the first book to come to mind.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
I’m really hoping that Every Move will be published in North America next year so I can complete my collection!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
I’m setting a goal for 120 books, plus one of my resolutions is to read more classics. And my sister and I (and possibly our nine year old niece) are going to do a full Harry Potter re-read which is really exciting.
6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
The two 2016 books I’ve read so far have been The Serpent King (Jeff Zentner) and Vikki VanSickle’s If I Had a Gryphon (illustrated by Cale Atkinson), both of which I recommend (and will have reviews up in the next couple of months!).
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s prompt is Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015. I’ve narrowed it down to the best books I’ve read this year that were released in 2015 (I read some good ones that are at least a year old!).
Each one is linked to my review (the first three are in order).
- Every Word – Ellie Marney
- The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud
- The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan
- Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali
- Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
- Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra
- The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath / The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl – Ishbelle Bee
- Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
- Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs
- Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons
Here are another five books that I rated 5 interrobangs that weren’t released in 2015 (and that don’t include any re-reads!):
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor (review coming soon!)
- The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence
- The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen – Susin Nielsen
- Soulless – Gail Carriger
- Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
What were your top ten books this year?
ARC Review: Saved By the Bell (Graphic Novel) – Joelle Sellner
Saved By the Bell – Joelle Sellner, Chynna Clugston Flores (Illustrator), Tim Fish (Illustrator)
The classic TV series gets an update for today’s brand new high-schoolers as the coolest kids at Bayside High start their freshman year!
All your favorite characters – Zack, Slater, Kelly, Lisa, Screech and Jessie (and Mr. Belding, of course!) – are starting freshman year at Bayside High, trading in brick phones and mullets for iPhones and Twitter accounts. Does Lisa’s fashion show get on the air, and will Screech ever leave her alone? Will Jessie get that A+? And, most importantly, who’s Kelly going to go out with – preppy Zack or new star athlete A.C. Slater? It’s alright, ‘cause we’re saved by the bell!
Release Date: July 1st, 2015
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
I grew up watching Saved By the Bell and, because of my sister, was a Zack Morris fan (she loves Mark-Paul Gosselaar), so this graphic novel had me feeling like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills.
What I liked:
-well, the whole concept, to be honest. I think it’s really fun that they “modernized” the classic TV show for the next generation. You don’t have to be a fan of the original show to enjoy the stories – they do a good job of introducing the characters, though, admittedly, if you’ve watched the show, you can imagine the characters’ voices.
-the art is cute and quirky. Maybe not as amazing as the new Archie comics (they’re adorable!), but it almost has a 1980’s quality to it that fits with the story.
-the stories are short but similar to the TV show – in fact, I think a couple of the stories even share episode titles – and they all have the “lesson” or “moral” at the end.
-Slater is still a tool. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but at least they didn’t try to change his character.
-I both liked and disliked that the stories focused on other characters, instead of just Zack. Since he was the protagonist in the show, I wouldn’t have minded having him as my “guide” through the graphic novel (I mean, really – they didn’t even make use of his ability to freeze time!!).
What I didn’t like:
-I have no idea why Kevin the Robot was such a major character when he played a minor role on the show. More than that, there were no upgrades to his appearance, so it was weird to have a very eighties robot in the middle of Bayside’s class of 2015.
It’s a quick read, light-hearted and fun, and it’s a great way to introduce a new generation to the magical world of Bayside High where the dudes are a notch above surfers, and the cheerleaders are BFFs with feminists, and Valley students are the enemy.
Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s prompt is Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters. I went with five because I honestly couldn’t think of ten! Obviously I need to expand my reading pool. Of course, there have also been books with diverse characters that I didn’t like, so I didn’t include those (I don’t care if Zoey’s part Cherokee or whatever, I think the House of Night books are awful and they do not deserve a place on this list).
1) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali
One of my favourite books of 2015, Simon is not-yet-out-of-the-closet but someone may be trying to blackmail him. I adored Simon – add this to your list right now if you haven’t already!
2) Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Not only is Nimona herself not your typical heroine, but the hint of a relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin is precious.
3) When Everything Feels Like the Movies – Raziel Reid
While this book may not be to everyone’s taste, I think it’s an important read and I love that it was part of Canada Reads because it brought LGBTQ issues (and YA novels!) into mainstream media for at least a little while.
4) Every Breath – Ellie Marney
Am I just obsessed with Every Breath? Maybe. But the secondary characters are diverse and fleshed out, not just stereotypes thrown in to mix things up (Mai is Vietnamese, Gus is Sudanese).
5) The Rearranged Life – Annika Sharma
I wasn’t in the right mood for this book when I originally read it, but I like that the protagonist was from a traditional Indian family. A interesting look at a culture that’s so very different from your typical “North American” household.
Fiction Friday Round-Up – June 5th, 2015
This was a pretty busy week; among other things, Jane and I launched our new pop culture website, Mind the Gap (which you should totally check out because we have a lot of great content!). But I also managed to completely catch up on the Flavia de Luce series, and finished a couple of ARCs. As always, please click the titles for the full review!
- As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust – Alan Bradley: “The series is no longer simply a collection of unrelated mysteries; it started to hint at the bigger picture and Flavia’s role within that larger narrative.”
- Devil’s Daughter – Hope Schenk de-Michele and Paul Marquez: “It had a great plot and some interesting moments but, while it had an open ending, I’m not tearing down the house in anticipating for the sequel. Definitely a good change from most of the other angel-based YA out there, though.”
- Grunge Gods and Graveyards – Kimberly G. Giarratano: “If I was trying to pitch this book, I’d say it was a combination of Melissa Marr’s Made for You and Elizabeth Chandler’s Kissed by an Angel but with more ghosts and, well, grunge (those are all good things, by the way).”
Last week, I read a truly disappointing ARC:
- Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas: “I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but this is one of those rare cases where I feel too old to read this and I think it would be better received by readers aged 12-14”.
But I also read a great female-centric comic book, so it sort of evened out!
- Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass & Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe: “There are also light, funny moments in between all the fighting; whether it’s Betty packing candy and drugs for dinner again or Dee being anti-social i.e. reading a book at a party, you get a good glimpse at the queens’ personalities.”
Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe
Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe
A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.
It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!
First of all, thanks to my pal Jane for lending this to me (we swapped comics after I gushed about Nimona to her)! Speaking of Jane, you should keep on eye on this cool thing we’re working on (it officially goes live on Monday).
Anyway, as I have mentioned numerous times, comics are not my strong suit. I like and appreciate them, but I’m by no means an expert.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Rat Queens! I mean, for one, this volume is entitled “Sass & Sorcery”, which is amazing. And for another, these strong female characters are hilarious. This is their battle cry:
I’m not even sure what that means, but I love it.
There are also light, funny moments in between all the fighting; whether it’s Betty packing candy and drugs for dinner again or Dee being anti-social i.e. reading a book at a party, you get a good glimpse at the queens’ personalities. Plus they – the queens themselves and the supporting cast – are pretty diverse, which only adds to the awesome factor.
I read a couple of reviews that suggested you don’t take the Rat Queens seriously, and by that, I think they mean don’t go in expecting high-brow humour. They can be crass and boorish, but they’re also sassy and tough and they don’t take nothin’ from no-one.
Fiction Friday Round-Up – May 15th, 2015
Here are some books I finished over the past week and a bit (I’m currently unemployed, so I’ve had time to read). As always, please click the link for a full review!
- Speaking From Among the Bones – Alan Bradley: “Part of this book felt like filler, but since spending any amount of time with Flavia is always a delight, it wasn’t a chore to read. It just wasn’t very memorable.”
- A Great and Terrible Beauty (re-read) – Libba Bray: “I was still hooked by the first few paragraphs, the writing was just as evocative as I remembered, and there were even a couple of creepy moments that sent a small shiver up my spine.”
- The Rearranged Life (ARC) – Annika Sharma: “This book read like a cross between Bend it Like Beckham and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and it was definitely interesting to read the descriptions and think about the differences between cultures…a cute summer read.” *includes a giveaway!**
- Endless Nights – Neil Gaiman: “This is both a good and a bad way to be introduced to the world of the Sandman. On the one hand, you get a story starring each Endless sibling, which gives you an idea about them […] On the other hand […], I had no idea what to expect.”
- Nimona – Noelle Stevenson: “I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for a strong, badass female villain/shapeshifter […] whose default form is a “pudgy” girl.”
And I’m also helping to host a giveaway!
- Spelled giveaway!!
Last week, I read a new adult ARC and was sorely disappointed:
- Sing for Me – Gracie Madison: “I have complicated feelings about this book. It wasn’t bad per se, I just didn’t really enjoy it. I read the whole thing, though admittedly I started skimming at about 30%.”
Also, I got an Indigo giftcard so I bought some books I’ve been meaning to buy for a while, and it’s all terribly exciting.
Obviously, I’ve already finished Nimona, but I’ll have reviews for the other three at some point, hopefully this month or next.
What have you read this week?
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
I might not read a lot of comic books, but I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Nimona so I decided to pick it up.
SO GLAD I DID.
First of all, the animation is adorable. It’s fairly simple, but it’s effective. Apparently you can spot random superheros/villains in the background of some panels, but I’ll admit that I was too focused on Nimona herself to pay attention to the small details (I’ll look for those “Easter eggs” the next time I read it).
I’m a huge Adventure Time fan, and reading Nimona felt like reading an Adventure Time comic book (I have a small collection, because man, they’re addictive). Nimona is a complex girl and, in my mind, a combination of some of AT‘s strongest female characters: she’s as tough as Fionna, as clever as Princess Bubblegum, as fiery (literally and figuratively) as Flame Princess, as sassy as Lumpy Space Princess, and as badass-with-a-soft-side as my personal favourite, Marceline the Vampire Queen.
Nimona made me laugh out loud, especially whenever she turned into a shark (“I’M A SHARK”), but there were moments where, instead of trying to offer some sort of complicated explanation, she dismissed something by saying “it’s magic”, or “it’s science”, and I loved it. Sometimes you don’t need an explanation for something, as long as it makes sense within the story’s world.
The relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin (if that’s not the best name for a hero, I don’t know what is), is complicated but arguably realistic (realistic within their world, I mean). And the development of Blackheart and Nimona’s relationship was just the cutest thing.
I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for a strong, badass female villain/shapeshifter (did I mention her shapeshifting is amazing? Because it is) whose default form is a “pudgy” girl. Nimona is an excellent read, and I am definitely going to be re-reading it – after I lend it to everyone I know.