Friday, February 23, 2018

My Weekly Pull #9 & Stacking the Shelves #5

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! Leave a link in the comments if you decide to do your own post. I would love to stop by and check it out!

I know it's not Wednesday! My son recently turned four, so we've been spending a lot of time together as a family (J took off for an entire week), and my posts have been few and scattered. It's Friday, so technically these are still the comics I got this week, but I wasn't able to get them on Wednesday. 😁

Hit-Girl #1 by Mark Millar, Ricardo Lopez, Kim Jung Gi
Amazing Spider-Man #796 by Dan Slott, Mike Hawthorne, Alex Ross
Astonishing X-Men #8 by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Mike Deodato
Black Panther Annual #1 by Christopher Priest, Daniel Acua, Brian Stelfreeze

Daredevil #599 by Charles Soule, Ron Garney, Dan Mora
Incredible Hulk #713 by Greg Pak, Greg Land
Infinity Countdown Prime #1 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato, Marcos Martin
Tales of Suspense #102 (of 5) by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman, Yasmine Putri
Venom #162 by Cullen Bunn, Will Robson

I still don't know how Spider-Man breathes in that mask. You'd think he'd want his nose or mouth exposed instead of re-breathing all of his own air. I doubt he has some sort of air filter in there. Yuck. See Daredevil? He's blind, but at least he can breathe normally! I guess I never noticed, but Black Panther seems to have the same problem as Spider-Man. Is it for anonymity? I don't think it's to protect that area of their face. 

I don't know if I'm going to read Hit-Girl, because that's one Jacob wanted to read. It seems too violent for me. Infinity Countdown Prime is what follows the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm curious where the story will start! Tales of Suspense is getting interesting! I love those three.

Reading any new comics this week?


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. This meme is for sharing all the books you’ve added to your shelves throughout the week.

Library:
Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

NetGalley:
Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope
Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Giveaway:
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (won a giveaway at GReads!)

Thank you, Ginger! Eek! The Wedding Date! I've heard such wonderful things about this book!

I am so excited to read all of these! I don't know where to start... Have you read one? Which book should I read first? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cinderella and the Geek by Christina Phillips

I'm not looking for love or a Happily-Ever-After because I know how that ends. I just need to concentrate on my degree and look after myself. But there's something about my boss, Harry, I can't resist. It's crazy since he's so hot and smart it should be illegal.

And then, just like Cinderella, I have my night at
the ball and a midnight kiss, and for a week all my sexy daydreams come true. That fake date changes my life in a way I could never imagine. It turns out, Harry wants me too.

But I’m off to pursue my dreams, and he’s taking his business to the next level. There’s no way this fairytale has a happy ending, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing for it. (add on Goodreads)

I hold open the door for Alice. As she walks outside, her perfume dives straight to my dick. Don’t even think about rising to the occasion. Too late.
I received an e-arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for 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.

This one started off so well, until my eye started twitching (which it is still doing). In all fairness, I don't think the eye-twitching is in any way related to Cinderella and the Geek, but the book was responsible for a ridiculous amount of eye-rolling. Alice was so insecure, and I absolutely hated how many times she called herself "ordinary," because she didn't look like a model or have perfect hair every day. There is nothing wrong with wearing your hair in a ponytail if it's what you want to do. 

"He’s the most gorgeous guy ever, and me, well, I’m so ordinary it’s not funny."

Like I said, it started off well. I enjoyed the information about Blitz and The Plains of Exitium. I love RPGs and wish they had gone into a little more detail. Obviously that wasn't the focus of the book, but it would have been a bonus. Watching Alice and Harry come together (after working closely for nearly a year) was fun at first, but their insecurities and cluelessness really started to grate on my nerves. It felt like they were purposefully misreading things just to be difficult. I really wish they had just spoken their thoughts out loud, and maybe confronted some of their ever-present concerns, but no. Things have to completely fall apart before anything can be done about it.

I did like certain aspects of the book. For example, the first time they're intimate with each other is from Harry's perspective. Normally these things are told from a female's view, and it was nice to see how a guy would react in that situation. Those scenes were brief and scarcely detailed compared to other books I've read, but they were sweet and endearing. 

Alice and Harry were choking on unspoken thoughts and feelings, and I was continuously trying to give them a mental Heimlich maneuver. I finished the entire book, but I lost hope about halfway through. The story was interesting enough to make me want to see how everything played out, but even that was anticlimactic.

(I will be posting My Weekly Pull later this week! My son turned four, so we've been doing family stuff the last few days. I'm really behind on everything, but I don't mind! I love spending time with my kiddos. Also, FOUR. MY BABY! 😭)

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. (add on Goodreads)
“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”
Oh, wow. The beginning of this book is brutal, and that's just the first unexpected twist to the story. I never knew what was going to happen next! Almost everything Jude decides to do is a surprise, and it wasn't often I was able to guess her next move.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story for The Cruel Prince. It's different, but in a good way. There's a love interest, but there's not. There's a good family dynamic, but there's not. Good friends? Yes and no. You never know what you're going to get from page to page, because the rules of the game are constantly changing.

It was interesting to see how two mortals would survive in Faerie (twins!), even though they were practically raised there from a young age. Humans are the equivalent of toys, and it doesn't matter who your "daddy" is. They have the same problems as other mortals, so they cannot eat faerie food, they're susceptible to compulsion, and their only advantage is that they can lie without consequence.

A little more character development and background information of the secondary characters would have been nice, but it didn't detract from the overall story.

It's so hard to review this book, because I feel like every small detail could clue you in on something big that happens, and I want you to be as surprised as I was! All I can say is: READ THIS NOW (and then we can talk about it 😉).

Unrelated: If you want to participate in the next DNF&Y, it's going to be posted on the last day of the month (February 28th). You'll be able to link up on here!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller & Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor


Argyle Fox, with his signature style, wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: Woosh!

Mama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution.

The story of Argyle teaches that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity. (add on Goodreads)

I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I read this with my son and we both really enjoyed it! I love that the story allows Argyle Fox to make mistakes and learn from them. His mother cautions him in the beginning, but (like most children) he's determined to try despite her warning. 

We're always telling our son to think about things. We ask a lot of questions to try and encourage him to find his own solutions. Why did that happen? Where does that come from? It's so fun to watch his little mind come up with answers. Mama Fox doesn't just give her son a solution, but tells him to think of one, which he eventually does.

I did have two minor issues with the book, but only because they didn't really make sense. One of the examples was a soccer ball being blown into a tree by the wind, but I've personally never experienced a spring breeze with such force. The other illustrations were more believable. The second thing was Argyle Fox wrapping his new idea and labeling it "Top Secret." The next page has him running outside with the package, but then it's open and he's using it, so why wrap it at all?

It's an incredibly cute story about a child that needed to fail in order to succeed. 


The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career. (add on Goodreads)

"No man is worth more than another wherever he is from."
When I think of Achilles, I think of Brad Pitt and his exposed buttocks. I know, right? It's literally the only thing I can remember about that movie. 😅🤷 

I love reading books that contain elements of Greek mythology. We've all heard of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and the battle that lasted 10 years. This was better. Madeline Miller has created a beautiful story about hope and understanding. She also shows us how one man's pride can impact thousands, and yet he's able to continue down a selfish path of destruction. 

The Song of Achilles had me raging on the inside. The unnecessary violence, the treatment of girls and women, and how male lovers were ignored and not openly accepted. I wanted to smash people in the face and show them what righteous anger looks like. 

Chiron is usually my favorite character whenever he's included in a story, and this time was no different. The few years that Patroclus and Achilles spent with him was my favorite part of the book. I hated when they had to leave, and wish they could have just stayed with him forever.

It's a long book, but definitely worth it. It's starts off with them as children, we see their friendship begin, and then we get to watch as they discover a deeper love for each other. All of this happens while training and knowing that war is inevitable. It's been Achilles' destiny since birth, and not something he is able to escape. 


Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive. (add on Goodreads)


“My father didn’t believe in war. He said war was evil, but if it came he would revel in it like sand in a storm.”
I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few people that didn't like this book. I actually thought about not finishing it, but the audiobook was only two-ish hours, so I stuck with it. The story wasn't bad, it was just... there. I felt like I was watching someone do laundry (with dangerous aliens, obviously), while it was narrated in my head. I didn't feel anything for Binti and her struggles. What she went through was terrible, so I expected to feel horrified, but there just wasn't an emotional attachment for me. 

A lot of the science went way over my head. She was talking about numbers and equations that made zero sense to me. She's a brilliant and talented woman, so understandably some of her language would match that intelligence. Speaking of language, the writing is beautiful (even the parts I didn't fully understand).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Weekly Pull #8

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! Leave a link in the comments if you decide to do your own post. I would love to stop by and check it out!


Kick-Ass #1 by Mark Millar, John Romita, Olivier Coipel
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42 by Dan Slott, Cory Smith, Mike Hawthorne
Amazing Spider-Man Review Your Vows #16 by Jody Houser, Nathan Stockman, Ryan Stegman
Despicable Deadpool #294 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Daniel Warren Johnson
Falcon #5 by Rodney Barnes, Joshua Cassara, Jay Anacleto


Marvel Two-In-One #3 by Chip Zdarsky, Valerio Schiti, Jim Cheung
Ms. Marvel #27 by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Valerio Schiti
Old Man Hawkeye #2 (of 12) by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto
Punisher #221 by Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, Clayton Crain
X-Men Blue #21 by Cullen Bunn, Jacopo Camagni, Arthur Adams

I'm behind on a few of these, but I'm trying to catch up tonight! Kick-Ass and X-Men Blue are new for us, but Jacob really wanted to read the Poison X crossover, and I think he's always been a fan of Kick-Ass. I believe it's going to be a female this time, so that's new! (All of this is speculation based on the cover, and all I know for sure is that it's a new person.)

There are a lot of Hulk variants out there right now, but only a few we've liked. However, I really have loved all of the covers for Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows! There's just something about them!

I don't know if Ms. Marvel will be a comic I continue reading. I was going to read the most recent issue and then the new one before making a final decision. I'm just not as invested in her story right now as I would like to be. J really likes Falcon, but it wasn't one I got super excited about either. It's very, er, political at first, and then it gets weird. I don't know, maybe that's your thing!

Anyone else reading comics this week? Find anything new? Let me know!

Monday, February 12, 2018

DNF&Y #1

It doesn't happen often, but there are times when I just cannot finish a book. As a reviewer, what are you supposed to do? Do you review the part you read? Do you completely remove the book from Goodreads like it never happened? Do you acknowledge it with a label and then forget about it?

I feel bad when I can't finish a book, especially when it's for a blog tour, or an author personally asked me to read and review it. However, I refuse to continue reading something that I'm not enjoying. Life is just too short, my friends.

I want to use this post, DNF&Y, to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. After talking with Karen from For What It's Worth, I decided to list my reasons for not finishing a book, but also include links to reviews by people that may have had a more positive experience. I feel like that lessens the negativity surrounding this type of post, and allows it to end on a positive note. To quote Karen, "Personally, I find those reviews more helpful. What you don't like might be what I love."

We're all different people. We have different likes and dislikes, and that's why I love books. There is literally something for everyone, and we're not limited to just one person's ideas. We are able to pick and choose books that make us happy, read stories that change our lives, and we get to share our thoughts with the world. Occasionally, those feelings are bad, but I don't think they need to be ignored.


King (King, #1) by T.M. Frazier
Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.

Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.

A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pussy or a combination of all three.

King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

Warning: This book contains graphic violence, consensual and nonconsensual sex, drug use, abuse, and other taboo subjects and adult subject matter. Although originally slated to be a standalone, KING is now a two part series. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

This DNF is mostly my fault. I didn't read the synopsis or the warning at the end until after I had started the book. I saw all the raving reviews, and a few of my friends suggested it to me, so I just started reading it without giving it a second thought.

DNF after the prologue and first chapter. *possible spoilers

I am disgusted with this book. Rape is not a topic I want to causally read about. It's not okay. Yes, it is rape (she's drunk/drugged and he thinks her vagina is payment for a tattoo he did), because he didn't ask her if she wanted to have sex. He flips her over and does what he wants when she clearly cannot coherently say anything. Then he almost kills her! He gets so caught up in his own orgasm, he nearly chokes her to death. He actually has to check to make sure she's still breathing.

It gets worse. He then calls his friend into the room and tells him to "take care of it." After a brief conversation, the friend asks if he's "done with it," referring to the still unconscious girl, and leaves with her slung over his shoulder. The asshat implies that his friend doesn't mind his "seconds," so she's likely going to be raped again.

I could not continue to read this book. The language was overdone in the beginning, and I can't keep reading something that casually throws rape into the story like it's not a big deal.

If you want to read a more positive review, check out Jessica's thoughts from Peace Love Books. She didn't post the review on her blog, but it can be found on Goodreads.


The Dating Debate (Dating Dilemmas, #1)
by Chris Cannon
Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.

West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.


Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

I received an e-arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

DNF at 35%

Bookish girl, Harry Potter references, and a neighborly romance--all things I thought I would love about this book. However, everything felt forced. The quips and snarky comments, the conversations between Nina and West, and even the Harry Potter references themselves. At one point West compares Nina to Luna Lovegood, but it just doesn't make sense.

I love that Nina was confident and always wanted to tell the truth regardless of the consequences, but she was also incredibly pushy. She threw her thoughts and opinions around like no one could possibly feel differently. It was like she was too perfect at times. She never argued with her family, always did her chores without complaint, constantly thought of others, and even played matchmaker.

I'm not sure I've noticed this with other books, but the author never actually explains what the characters look like (at least not during the 35% I read). This doesn't necessarily bother me, it's just something I noticed. I know some people enjoy thorough descriptions.

In the end, I didn't feel like there was a natural flow to the story. It seemed to jump around, and at times was even hard to follow the thoughts of one person. It also felt like they tried too hard to be "bookish". If Nina and West are supposed to be crazy book people, I'm sure they could have found other books (not just HP) to talk about.

If you would like a different opinion, try Angelica's review from The Book Cover Girl, or Michelle's from Book Briefs.

HeartShip (Full Hearts, #1)
by Amy Jo Cousins
Some mistakes are worth making.

Benji never meant to catfish a hot, college football player in Minnesota when he met a fellow anime fan online. But when @joshfortytwo announces he’s coming to Miami for a spontaneous visit, Benji is pretty sure the left tackle (whatever that is) expects to meet a cute girl in a bikini, not an aging twink hoping to finally get his life together when he finishes massage therapy school.

Josh doesn't let himself wonder about questions like:

• why don't you want to ask @princessglitter if she's a girl?
• why don't you tell your friends that you can't hang on Sunday nights because you've got a date to watch anime with your new BFF?
• why do you call it a date?

He just knows he needs to escape from the stress of having been injured just before the bowl game, and @princessglitter has somehow become his best friend.

But when Josh's secrets and Benji's sex appeal smash together for forty-eight scorching hours, they're going to feel the heat from Miami to Minnesota. (add on Goodreads)


DNF&Y:

I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

DNF at 16%

I tried reading this last night but gave up after a couple of chapters. I thought maybe I was too tired to enjoy the story, so I tried it again today. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't a good fit for me. I had trouble following their Twitter conversations, and kept getting the two of them mixed up. There were also a lot of terms that went right over my head. Like the characters, I watch anime, but I was still slightly lost. Jack seemed to pick up the terminology pretty quickly, but that meant I lost the explanations from Benji.

I don't know if it was the writing, the characters, the story, or a combination of all three, but I couldn't get very far into this book. HeartShip may not have worked for me, but I plan on reading another book by Amy Jo Cousins in the future. I've heard wonderful things about her written romances!

If you'd like to see a different opinion, read Catherine's review on Goodreads


What do you do when you cannot finish a book? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you have you a few books you were unable to finish, and you want to participate in this post, just leave a link below so I can check it out!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Astonishing X-Men (#1-7) by Charles Soule, Jim Cheung (Illustrator)

I wasn't going to read this one, but again Jacob insisted. I guess I should trust his judgement, because he clearly knows me well! Once I started these, I read them all pretty quickly. The very first issue is full of action and a slight overload of information. There are so many things happening all at once, and I absolutely loved it!

I've always been intrigued by Psylocke, so it was interesting to see how she would be portrayed in this comic. As expected, she kicks ass. Overall, it's an odd but awesome group of X-Men. I enjoy the banter between Rogue and Gambit (which is why I'm also reading their comic), and I don't often see Mystique and Fantomex. Bishop was new for me, too. I've seen him in one of the X-Men movies, but never in a comic. He is a very complex character. If I'm not mistaken, he's from the future and has the ability to jump through time. This knowledge allows him to scan events as they happen and cross reference them against future outcomes. He doesn't just see how it can effect the current reality, but every potential reality. Oh, and he can absorb energy and project it from his body. It's insane.

As for this series, it's a literal mindfuck (because they go to the Astral Plane). I never knew what was actually happening to the characters, and it gets pretty trippy. At the end of the seventh issue, something really shady happens, and now I don't know whether or not to believe it's real. It could be an illusion, or someone pretending to be something their not, and I'm not entirely sure where the story will go from here.

Fantomex! I cannot believe he willingly makes a certain decision, but I was enjoying his time spent with Mystique. They would be an unusual couple, and I think it'd make a wonderful comic! Raven needs a little love in her life.