Thursday, March 22, 2018

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel. (add on Goodreads)

“Frankly, I had no idea how anyone knew if they were in love in the first place. Was there ever a single thread a person could pick out from the knot and say “Yes—I am in love—here’s the proof!” or was it always caught up in a wretched tangle of ifs and buts and maybes?”
An Enchantment of Ravens was a somewhat enjoyable read. I felt like I spent the entire book doing one of two things: watching Isobel paint or walking through the woods. At first I enjoyed the descriptions of curves and colors, but then I think my mind started to skip over those details. They were lovely illustrations, but there were a lot of them.

Rook and Isobel have an odd relationship that doesn't always make sense. I felt like I was picking a flower and saying, "She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me..." I never knew how they truly felt about each other, but somehow everyone else did. I wish we had learned more about Rook's raven pendant (and the story behind it), because I feel like that would have answered a lot of my questions. Isobel seemed very isolated from the world, but savvy in the ways of faerie. People were awed by her Craft and proximity to the Fair Folk, but she didn't seem to have single friend. 

I was really disappointed when it felt like I was always one-step ahead of the characters. It was a little frustrating waiting for them to figure things out, and honestly I thought Rook would have been more knowledgeable about his world. It seems like a lot of things happen that he isn't prepared for, yet he's a Prince of Faerie. He's supposed to be crazy powerful, but we don't see him use that power too often, and never when it's needed.

Overall, I liked the story. I feel like things either didn't make sense, or they clicked into place too easily. An Enchantment of Ravens just didn't wow me like I thought it would.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Weekly Pull [12]

My Weekly Pull is something I will be doing every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #20 by Ian Flynn, Dave Wachter, Freddie Williams II
Kick-Ass #2 by Mark Millar, John Romita, Francesco Francavilla
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #17 by Jody Houser, Nathan Stockman
Incredible Hulk #714 by Greg Pak, Carlo Barberi, Mike Deodato

Ms. Marvel #28 by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Valerio Schiti
Tales of Suspense #103 (of 5) by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman, Yasmine Putri
Thanos #17 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw
Thanos #17 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Christian Ward (Ward Variant)

Only seven this week! We're still trying to narrow down our list, but it's hard. There are so many I don't want to give up on; however, Ms. Marvel may be one of them. I've read a few issues now and she's still missing. I haven't read anything from her perspective, so I have no idea where she is or what she's doing. It may have been mentioned before her Legacy issue (when I started), but I don't know. 🤷

The last two images are for the same comic: Thanos. I have heard so many good things about this series since Donny Cates took over. He started writing the comic on the thirteenth issue, and now they can't keep it in stock. The Legacy was #13, but it's impossible to find a first printing (unless you want to spend a ridiculous amount of money). I had really wanted to surprise my husband with the first few issues for our (five year!) anniversary, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I'll think of something else! 

Spider-Man Renew Your Vows is sooo good, you guys! I love the banter and family dynamic. Spider-Man married MJ, had a baby, and now they all fight crime together. It's really fun to read!

Still undecided on Kick-Ass, but it's just the second issue! Tales of Suspense is marvelous! Hawkeye and Bucky working as a team--hilarious. 

Let me know what you've read this week and if you're starting anything new!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Final Thoughts [1]: Hawkeye #16 & The Unbelievable Gwenpool #25

I picked up Hawkeye on a whim when I stumbled across the first few issues at a Half Price Books. They looked interesting, and I've always liked Hawkeye, so... I fell in love. Kate Bishop is an incredible Hawkeye. She's clever, silly, and I frequently found myself laughing at the things she said and did.

Jessica Jones made an appearance for a few issues. Kate is a Private Investigator (or trying to be), and JJ offered to show her the ropes (prior to the comic starting). She pops in for a visit with a little business on the side, and I really enjoyed the banter between the two.

Hawkeye (Clint Barton) shows up at the end, and it's like seeing your brother and best friend for the first time in forever. They have an easy relationship, and they just understand each other. Watching two Hawkeyes fight baddies was so much fun!

I cannot believe this is ending so soon, but the final page said she (Kate Bishop) would return in August, so we'll see! It could mean a lot of things: a new arc, a new writer, etc. This one left something major unresolved (not really a cliffhanger per se...), so there is plenty to build on. I hope they do! I would like to know what happens with a certain something. Read my review of the first few issues here.


When we decided to start getting comics every month, Gwenpool was my first choice. I actually knew very little about her (other than the basics), but thought it would be fun to read. I grabbed the issues I could find, and my LCS helped me find the rest (the comic had been running for awhile, so sometimes it's hard to find the first few issues). 

I binge-read the first ten and knew this was the perfect comic for me! Gwen is stabby, insane, and the best friend you could have. She actually tried to teach herself how to fight with swords by searching the internet, and a lot of her battles were only won because some unforeseen accident happened. Luck seemed to play a big part in her comic book experience. 

Gwen has a mysterious past, and she willingly chose to insert herself into the Marvel Universe. She grew up reading comics, and eventually found herself living in one. She knew everything about everyone, which caused problems for her a few times. She didn't always get scared, because she was able to use this "other" knowledge to her advantage. It was like a super power (almost).

The Unbelievable Gwenpool offers a unique perspective to the MCU, and her presence will be sorely missed. Gwenpool always has something else to say, even if you don't want to hear it. She's very in-your-face and constantly surprised me. She could be terrified one second, but giggling about it the next. She didn't rely on her prior knowledge too much, but tried to fend for herself and help her friends.

Another thing I loved about The Unbelievable Gwenpool was the other characters. We get to see so many different superheroes, and a few of them play significant roles in her personal story. Dr. Strange, Deadpool, Thor (Jane Foster), and a lot of others. It was interesting to see how they looked outside of their own comics.

It was so weird to read about a character that knew we were reading about her, and also that this was her final issue. It was twisty, unpredictable, and perfectly Gwenpool. I'm pretty sure every version of Spider-Man made an appearance. Gwenpool wrapped things up with a bittersweet conclusion, but hopefully not a permanent one. Read my review of the first few issues here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

Award-winning author Hadley Dyer’s YA debut is smart, snarky, and emotionally gripping, about a rebellious cop’s daughter who falls in love with an older man, loses her best friend, and battles depression, all while trying to survive her last year of high school.

Feisty and fearless George Warren (given name: Frances, but no one calls her that) has never let life get too serious. Now that she’s about to be a senior, her plans include partying with her tight-knit group of friends and then getting the heck out of town after graduation.

But instead of owning her last year of high school, a fight with her best friend puts her on the outs of their social circle. If that weren’t bad enough, George’s family has been facing hard times since her father, a police sergeant, got injured and might not be able to return to work, which puts George’s college plans in jeopardy.

So when George meets Francis, an older guy who shares her name and her affinity for sarcastic banter, she’s thrown. If she lets herself, she’ll fall recklessly, hopelessly in love. But because of Francis’s age, she tells no one—and ends up losing almost everything, including herself.

This is a gorgeous, atmospheric, and gut-wrenching novel that readers won’t soon forget. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

He glanced over at the farmhouse, then back at me. "No. I knew you were too young for me. Even if you were twenty, you would be too young. But the first thing you said to me was funny." He slapped his hat against his leg. "And I wanted to hear what else you had to say."
I received an arc from a Goodreads giveaway, but this is still an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I've been trying to figure out what to say, but this one is hard. I was so invested in George's life and how her decisions rippled out and impacted the people around her. She wasn't selfish or insecure, but seemed to be very honest with herself and her thoughts. At the beginning of the book she's full of confidence, but soon learns that you can be lonely even when you're surrounded by people. 

Here So Far Away deals with a lot of tough topics. I don't think they were over-the-top and obvious, but the writing was delicate and deliberate. There's an old man struggling to come to terms with his age and not being able to do the things he once did. We have an irresponsible and unadvisable relationship. A father feeling like he's not up to the challenge of being the man before. A brother struggling to take on more responsibility and dealing with his fears. A mom that feels smothered and underappreciated. A group of friends that are slowly drifting and discovering that they might not want what they've always wanted. A man that wants what he can't have, but still tries to do the right thing. Also, a girl that doesn't know how to mend a broken fence, who does things she wouldn't normally do, and eventually stops being able to deal with reality.

I don't know how Hadley Dyer was able to squeeze so many important issues into so few pages, but she does it incredibly well. My heart beats for these people. I wanted to comfort them when they were sad, cry when the world punched them in the face, and rage when everything comes crashing down. I know that people have to learn to live with their mistakes, and the things that no one has any control over, but that doesn't mean any of it is easy. Living with lies and half-truths doesn't just hurt one person, and making a decision for someone else doesn't give them strength or courage.

My one disappointment is that there wasn't more. I wanted to see the person George became. I wanted to know what happened to her friends and family. Rupert. Bobby. Here So Far Away is filled with witty dialogue that made me laugh-out-loud, and vibrant details that really brought a small valley to life. The story and the characters are so authentic and will forever be real to me.

I'm still internally crying about the pig and the rock (two completely different things). Life is full of mistakes and regret, but it's how we choose to deal with those two things that help define who we are. Friendships don't always last forever, love is incredibly hard, and people will continue to surprise us. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Weekly Pull [11]

My Weekly Pull is something I will be doing every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

All New Wolverine  #32 by Tom Taylor, Djibril Morissette-Phan, David Lopez
Astonishing X-Men #9 by Charles Soule, Matteo Buffagni, Leinil Francis Yu
Despicable Deadpool #296 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Declan Shalvey
Falcon #6 by Rodney Barnes, Sebastian Cabrol, Jay Anacleto
Marvel Two-In-One #4 by Chip Zdarsky, Valerio Schiti, Nick Bradshaw

New Mutants Dead Souls #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Marcos Martin
Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #301 by Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones
Punisher #222 by Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, Clayton Crain
Spider-Man Deadpool #29 by Robbie Thompson, Scott Hepburn

As you can see... Jacob did not give up Spider-Man Deadpool, so we are at odds. 😉 I don't know why they are old men now, because I didn't get that far into their story, but I do love the covers. I think they're unique and still very them.

All New Wolverine is my favorite ongoing comic right now. If you're just getting started, you could definitely start with this one! Her Legacy issue isn't too far back. 

The New Mutants Dead Souls is new this week! It looks really interesting and is supposed to explore some of the darker parts of the Marvel Universe. 

I'm actually completely caught up on my comics right now, so I've been digging into some of the older stuff I haven't started yet. I'm almost finished with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters 2 (it's only 5 issues), and then I'm going to tackle Venom. Jacob has already gotten them in order for me (the crossovers can be a bit confusing), and I cannot wait to start them! #WeAreVenom

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Q [2] How Many Books Do You Read at Once?

This is something I’ve been wondering about lately! I know it’s different for everyone, and I’m just curious what works for you. How many books do you read at one time? A few years ago, I would have said only one. I felt like I needed to get through one story before starting another. It was confusing bouncing from one book to the next, and I had trouble separating the details.

I don’t know when the change occurred, but suddenly I was reading four or five different books at once. I was definitely being controlled by my moods, but also by the format. In the last year or so, I’ve started listening to a lot of audiobooks, replaced my long-dead Nook with an iPad (so ebooks were an option again), and this past year we’ve really gotten into comic books. It's opened up a lot of different avenues for reading, and I like to take advantage of them all! I feel like I get something different from each of them, too.

This is what I’m reading right now: one physical book (for myself), one physical book (a chapter book at night for my son), one electronic book, an audiobook and various comics. In my mind, it's like I have several incomplete stories being thought about, and I cannot wait to get back to each one!

I can plan what I want to read the next day, but it almost always changes. I love that I have so many options to choose from! What do you do? How do you like to read the written word? Let me know!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her
prisoner. (add on Goodreads)
“I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…” He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. “I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”
I am really enjoying this series! I love the world, the writing, the characters--everything. Marissa Meyer is very good at what she does. I'm not usually a fan of retellings, but these are amazing! The subtle references don't overpower the story, and you can see how Meyer took a thread from an old fairy tale and made it something new and entirely her own.

Also, the narrator! I know I've said this about her before, but Rebecca Soler is WONDERFUL.

Cinder was about Cinder, and Scarlet was about both Scarlet and Cinder. We see everything unfold from various perspectives, so we know what is happening in multiple places at once. There are so many different layers to these books; hidden nooks and crannies that are not fully realized until all of the pieces fall into place. I cannot stop listening once I start (which isn't good for getting things done).

I loved Scarlet and her no-nonsense personality. She was straightforward and determined in her efforts to find her grandmother. I admired her capabilities (she had no issues pointing a gun at someone's face), but thought she was a tad too eager to throw herself into dangerous situations.

Wolf was an interesting character, and I would love to know more of his history. I think I might get my wish in the next book, if how it ended is any indication.

I loathe Levana. She's vile, vain, and virtually untouchable.

I feel like everything is building toward something catastrophic, and I cannot wait to find out what that is! I'm so happy there are still more books in this series to read!