Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Weekly Pull [6]

My Weekly Pull is something I will hopefully be doing every Wednesday to show which comics I received for the week! Comic book stores will offer to pull specific comics for you until you're able to pick them up. It's keeps you from missing out on the issues you want!

I've done this post a few times (obviously since this is the sixth post, lol), and I really want it to be something that sticks. 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!

All-New Wolverine #30 by Tom Taylor, Juan Cabal, Dan Mora
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #15 by Jody Houser, Nick Roche, Ryan Stegman
Despicable Deadpool #293 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Mike Hawthorne
Falcon #4 by Rodney Barnes, Joshua Cassara, Jay Anacleto
Incredible Hulk #712 by Greg Pak, Greg Land

Invincible Iron Man #596 by Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Mike Deodato
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #27 by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos
Moon Knight #191 by Max Bemis, Jacen Burrows
Phoenix Resurrection Return of Jean Grey #5 (of 5) by Matthew Rosenberg, Khoi Pham, Leinil Francis Yu
Tales of Suspense #101 by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman, Andrea Sorrentino

I am incredibly pumped for All-New Wolverine! It looks like Daken is finally fighting will all of his appendages again, so yay. The cover for Despicable Deadpool...it looks like Rogue is going to smash him with a rock. I'm sure he deserves it, right? Falcon is in a hot mess. 

I'm not sure why there are so many Iron Man suits attacking Riri on the Invincible Iron Man cover, but it looks intense. I really like the Moon Knight cover! It's a comic I started reading with Jacob, but the dude is DARK. He has different personalities in his head, and not all of them are nice and want to keep people alive. I decided to stop reading it after two issues, but Jacob still enjoys it. He tries to get me to read it, but ugh. I don't like over-the-top death and destruction. 

It's my last Phoenix Resurrection! I can't wait to see how they wrap everything up!

Do you read comics? Would you like to start? Find a comic store in your area and look around. It doesn't have to be a big commitment. You can walk in, find something you like, and walk out for less than five dollars. You'll never know unless you try!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Deadly Sweet (The Spellwork Syndicate, #1) by Lola Dodge

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad no one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.

Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.

The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.

If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death? 


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

I really liked the premise for Deadly Sweet, but the story felt hollow. The synopsis makes it seem like Anise has this incredibly rare gift, but the book doesn't elaborate on that at all. She can bake spells into food, so that's cool, but why is that an uncommon power? Why is it so unusual in a town full of magical people?

The blurb is also misleading. She "books it to New Mexico," but it's not solely because she's excited about being an apprentice. Also, the reasons behind her leaving town are never resolved, and it isn't an issue that can be overlooked. Did her mother meddle with minds... I have no idea what happened there. Additionally, she left "without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl," but she didn't even know there was another girl to ask about!

Do not get me started on her "bodyguard," or whatever the hell he is. He has a contract with her, or Agatha, maybe the Syndicate... I'm not sure. It's obvious he doesn't want to be there, and his gruff attitude gets pretty old. The author doesn't even drop hints about him and where he came from, or why he's determined to protect Anise with his life. Everything felt unfinished. I know this was the first book in a series, but all of the characters were very blah. There wasn't anything special that made them stand out.

I am aware this was an advanced copy, but it was difficult to read through at times. There were a few paragraphs I had to skip over because I wasn't sure what the author was trying to say. Major plot holes, too. Characters would start off one way and then be something else by the end, or we would see someone for a few chapters and then poof.

The story had some compelling aspects, and I really liked the overall concept, but a lot of the magic didn't make sense. I wanted to know more about the vortex in Taos and all of the individual characters, but I felt like I was reading an outline--a lot of potential and very little detail.

Friday, January 26, 2018

White Hot & Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #2-3) by Ilona Andrews

Narrated by Renee Raudman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice … 
“Grandma pointed her fork at me. “Just watch. Fate will throw you two together. One day you’ll just run right into him and boom! True love.” 

Narrated by Renee Raudman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke. 

“When we were at the lodge, and you were dancing in the snow, I kept wondering why the snow wasn’t melting. You’re like spring. My spring.” 
This review is going to be for White Hot and Wildfire. I devoured these books (barely sleeping), and I'm not sure where one ended and the other began.

Words cannot express how much I love this series! It's seriously one of my all-time favorites. They are books that I will read again and again until I'm old and gray, and even then their audiobooks will be played at an insanely loud volume to compensate for my nearly nonexistent hearing.

I love the relationship Nevada and Conner have. He wants to protect her and keep her safe, but he isn't macho about it. He wants Nevada to be her own person and make choices without his influence. He knows that she is capable of defending herself (even if he wants to murder all of her enemies), so he doesn't try to keep her away from danger. He sees her as an equal, and I absolutely love that. They are repeatedly there for each other, and I adored the progression of their relationship. It was perfect.

The family dynamic in this series is incredible. I love the Baylor family and its many members. Grandma Frida is hysterical, and you know you'll laugh when she's around. There is a small age gap between some of the members, and I think Ilona does a wonderful job highlighting those differences. Teenagers are angsty and emotional. They're also prone to rash decisions and heightened feelings. Nevada is always concerned about what is best for them, but really they are all devoted to each other. They fight like family, but their love for each other is always there.

The villains are even superbly written. I don't think I had an issue with any character (except morally), because they were all detailed and driven. There was a reason behind everything, even if we don't know what those reasons are.

The magical aspect is phenomenal. It's new and refreshing, but also detailed and descriptive. I'm not confused by how it works, and you can tell the author put a lot of work into the why and how of it all.

Bonus: I never knew what was going to happen! If the characters were surprised, so was I. I didn't know anything before they did, and I wasn't able to guess things before they happened.

Magic, steamy romance, action, family, monsters, pacifist bears--this series has it all and more! If you haven't read the first book, Burn for Me, stop reading this right now and go find it! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Weekly Pull [5]

It's still Wednesday, which means I remembered to do it on the right day! I just did not have time to type this up before now. I still count this as a win.

The Black Panther cover is one of my favorites so far! I love how Old School it looks. The Legion cover is creepy. J said that Legion is supposed to be the son of Xavier (X-Men), and my first question was, "Who is his mom?" He looks crazed and I think he's supposed to be. He has a mind like his father, but his somehow splits into multiple personalities.

The Marvel Two-in-One is Thing and The Human Torch. The first issue was interesting! It answered a few questions I had from reading other comics (about the Fantastic family), but I'm starting to feel like I see Dr. Doom EVERYWHERE. The guy gets around. The X-Men Blue Annual is VENOMIZED, so obviously we chose that cover. It also starts the Poison X crossover!

Amazing Spider-Man #794
Black Panther #169
Legion #1
Marvel Two-In-One #2
Phoenix Resurrection #4
X-Men Blue Annual #1 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [4]

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.

I had a pretty good book week this week (and last), so I'm going to combine the two! 

Giveaways:
Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

I usually enter a Goodreads giveaway on a whim, so I was shocked and thrilled when I got an email saying I had won a copy of this book! I never win things! Yay! I also cannot wait to read this--it looks amazing! 😍

NetGalley:
Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Library:
 Deep (Stage Dive #4) by Kylie Scott
Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

Other:
 HeartShip (Full Hearts #1) & HeartOn (Full Hearts #2) by Amy Jo Cousins

I'm so excited about all of these books! I'm going to read them all this week--πŸ˜… Haha! Maybe not all of them, but definitely a few! Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Mini Reviews [1] The Hating Game & The Baller

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne,
Katie Schorr (Narrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. 

“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”
I didn't love The Hating Game. Lucy and Joshua really frustrated me as characters, and I didn't understand their reasons for the games they played. If you hate a coworker with every fiber of your being, it makes more sense to remain professional and pretend they don't exist. 

It was clear that their games were thinly veiled flirtations, but neither of them admitted their feelings, and the progression of their relationship was painful. It also didn't feel realistic to me. Lucy had the potential to be a quirky-cute character, but a lot of her actions and conversations were childish. 

I didn't mind listening to this in the background, but I wasn't too worried if I missed something. I'm sorry if you recommended this to me! I know it's disappointing when a friend doesn't like a book as much as you did.


The Baller by Vi Keeland,
Mackenzie Cartwright (Narrator),
Sean Crisden (Narrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men's locker room.
It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don't mean he told me any of his secrets.
No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question.
On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby--screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw
with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don't date players.
And it's not because I'm one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I'd date an athlete.
It's the
other kind of player I don't date.
You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.

Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Simple right? Let's face it. It never is.
There's a story between once upon a time and happily ever after...
And this one is ours.  
“They say blood is thicker than water, but that doesn’t mean shit. Everyone needs water to live.”
The Baller is my first book by Vi Keeland. It was a fun story that provided a nice break from what I routinely read. The language was occasionally too much, but it wasn't unbearable. (I'm not against swearing, but it seemed to be the bulk of Brody's vocabulary.)

I liked their story well enough, especially the ending (adorable!), and thought Brody's relationship with his ex-girlfriend's ailing grandmother was sweet. It allowed us to see a different side of him. However, the addition of Brody's ex-girlfriend was odd at times and didn't always flow with the rest of the story. She wasn't there, then she was, but then she had her own perspective for a few chapters...

If you're looking for something short and entertaining to read, this might be worth looking into! It was enjoyable, but not very memorable. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Weekly Pull [4]

I have been absolutely awful about doing this each week! I really want this to be a reoccurring post, so I need to get my shit together and start scheduling them in advance. Once I'm holding the comics, I have no desire to write a post about them. I want to sit down and read every single one. In my defense... I've waited a month to continue a story, and waiting another day is unnecessary torture.

This week:
All-New Wolverine #29
Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #299
Amazing Spider-Man Venom Inc Omega

Last week:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #78
Daredevil #597
Despicable Deadpool #292
Gwenpool #24
Old Man Hawkeye #1
Phoenix Resurrection #3 (of 5)
The Punisher #220 
Spider-Man Deadpool #26
Venom #160

All-New Wolverine is wonderfully intense! I love all of the characters and their story. Honey Badger is my new Spirit Animal. Gwenpool is ending (which I'm super bummed about). It's also weird because Gwenpool knows she's in a comic, so she also knows that her comic is about to end. I'm curious to see how they wrap up her story. Phoenix Resurrection is fabulous! If you want something short, it will only have 5 issues (but I definitely want more). I'm excited to read Old Man Hawkeye! The Hawkeyes are quickly becoming my favorite Marvel characters. All-New Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) is also ending. 😭 I'm just happy Kelly Thompson is also writing Rogue & Gambit!

I haven't gotten into The Punisher yet. It's one my husband gets solo at the moment. I plan on reading it in the future, though. He says it's good, and I can usually trust his opinion. Books? No. Comics? Mostly.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You Don't Know My Name & You Won't Know I'm Gone (The Black Angel Chronicles, #1-2) by Kristen Orlando

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Fighter. Faker. Student. Spy.

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never
part of the plan. Now Reagan must decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she’s always wanted? And does she even have a choice? 
"Like that's what love really is; that back and forth, give and take. She says one thing. He says another. She laughs. He touches her arm. If you're lucky, it's in those simple moments you find complete happiness. And that's how you want to spend the rest of your life. Forever in the middle of a conversation with the person you never, ever get tired of talking to."
This was a lot darker than I was expecting. I knew it was going to be about spies and espionage, secret agencies and double lives, but I wasn't thinking about the unpleasant aspects. That's my fault, honestly. I should have known it wouldn't be a romantic, happy and carefree story. The romance is subtle, but I wish it had been nonexistent. Their relationship just wasn't something I could get behind wholeheartedly. It never clicked for me.

As for the unpleasant aspects, the author doesn't explicitly mention the gory details, but she skillfully nudges the mind in a specific direction. She encourages certain thoughts, and those played out very vividly in my mind. 

I get that Reagan was paranoid and anxious, she had every reason to be, but she should have shared her concerns with someone. She endangered herself and everyone around her because she didn't want to look crazy. I also didn't like how much hatred she directed at herself. She always wanted to take all of the responsibility and make it her own, and then she would drown in her emotions. I wanted her to handle things a little differently, but alas... 

You Don't Know My Name captured my attention and held it. I have a few issues with the main character, her self-loathing being one of them, but they are all qualities she can grow and learn from. 


Warning: potential spoilers if you have not read the first book.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Going rogue in an effort to rescue her kidnapped parents has cost Reagan Hillis her automatic ticket to the Training Academy. But becoming a Black Angel is the only way Reagan will be able to exact revenge on her mother’s merciless killer, Santino Torres.

When Reagan is given a chance to prove that she’s worthy of training to be a Black Angel, she also gets the first chance she’s ever had to be her true self. No aliases. No disguises.

But when her friend Luke joins her at the Black Angels training compound, Reagan finds herself once again torn between the person she was and the person she wants to be. Reagan has to prove that she's as good as her parents trained her to be, because she’ll never find Torres without the Black Angels’ help. 


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

Luke is so frustratingly loyal and it always bites him in the ass. Raegan wonders whether or not she is selfish (she is), and Luke is unflinching in his devotion/friendship/love for her no matter the cost to himself. I honestly don't think she deserves even half of him. After what happened in Columbia, and once Luke saw how consumed she was with vengeance, he should have started doing more for himself. There was no going back, but he could have done things differently going forward. He could've been her friend and loved her from a distance.

I don't know what I would have done in Raegan's situation, but I can see how her thoughts and actions affected the people she cared about. She started to really lose herself in this book. She didn't know who she was, what she really wanted, or how to go forward. It was like she was stuck in a loop.

*highlight to view spoiler» I don't think Torres is working alone. I think someone within the Black Angels is helping him and feeding him information. It's the only thing that explains how he knew so much about things before they happened. I also think that's why Raegan going rogue allowed her to literally catch him with his pants down.

I really enjoyed the setting for this book. We also meet a few of the other trainees, which are mostly Legacies (children of Black Angel operatives), and I wish they had been expanded on a little more. They had childhoods very similar to Raegan, so I'm sure they had interesting stories to tell. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) by Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Mary Jane Wells
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known? 

1) “The right words can bind someone more effectively than chains." 2) "Just because you don't understand or agree with something doesn't mean that it lacks merit."
I think the synopsis is a tad misleading. I never thought of Devon as cold-hearted or rakish. He may have pretended to be in the beginning, but we can see that's not how he truly feels. The man is compassionate and puts the lives of others before his own. He didn't want the responsibility, but he handled it well and made improvements to benefit everyone, not just himself.

Despite past exploits, Devon claims he hasn't been that way for awhile, and that those activities have lost their appeal to him. He was mostly bored with the life he had been living, and I think he (subconsciously) saw this as a new and exciting challenge. He vocalized feelings that came across as insensitive, but his actions almost always contradicted his unkind words.

The other characters were very well-written, and I especially liked reading about the twins. I think the other sister, Helen, will be the focus of the next book, but I would really like to learn more about the twins and what their future entails. West (Devon's brother) was definitely a scoundrel in the beginning (but also not very cold-hearted) and was actually quite funny. He really fell in love with the people in the community and tried to better their lives however he could. He wasn't a guy in a suit afraid to get his hands dirty, but the one that rolls up his sleeves and offers assistance. Everyone in this book was a joy to read about, and really showed how working together in a community can be beneficial for everyone.

Kathleen is a strong female character that doesn't clutch her pearls when a handsome man is around. She is able to stand toe-to-toe with Devon even when he's being impossible. I'm positive she influenced some of his decisions and forced him to view the world differently. There are some shocking revelations about her, and I'm glad she was able to find her own happiness. No matter what her circumstances were, her heart always bled for others.

Cold-hearted Rake was an enjoyable read. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and a lot of the phrases have stuck with me. I had to buy this book to justify my ridiculous amount of sticky notes and tiny stars to mark my favorite places. I've heard amazing things about Lisa Kleypas, and this was my first book by her. I plan to read more of her books in the future, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!

Side note: I don't know how people, especially children, survived mourning periods back then. It seems miserable and unhealthy. I doubt the deceased cared whether their loved ones had black over their windows, wore veils, or secluded themselves from the world. I would want my family to go on living and enjoying life, because death only shows us how short that life actually is. I can't imagine trying to keep my three children indoors for a year because their father died, and it would be "inappropriate" for them to play and enjoy themselves. Oh, and men had significantly shorter mourning periods.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall. 
“You're trying to block out every bit of noise. But people are made of noise, Mac. The world is full of noise. And finding quiet isn't about pushing everything out. It's just about pulling yourself in.” 
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have been altered or changed in some way, but I am quoting from what I received. 

I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner! My first book by Victoria Schwab was The Near Witch, which was wonderful, so I should have known I would enjoy The Archived. Now I need to read everything else she has ever written, especially The Unbound.

The author is incredibly creative. She didn't build a fantastical new world, but something intricate and secret that few people know about. The Archive seems simultaneously small and vast. There are endless possibilities, yet only a few. It depends entirely on who you are and what your purpose is within the Archive. It was magnificent.

I had no idea what was going on. I felt just as lost at Mackenzie. Her loss and fear felt like my loss and fear. I cringed when she had to twist her words with her parents, and when she relived painful memories. I felt her determination and endurance. I was Mackenzie Bishop when I read this, and that is powerful and compelling storytelling. I was completely caught up in her story, and I didn't know anything until she did (yay!).

I loved Mackenzie's flashbacks to conversations with her grandfather. They were very insightful and added another layer to the overall story. I also liked all of the secondary characters. A few of them were only mentioned a handful of times, but I felt like they were integral pieces of the puzzle. I knew a lot about them with very little information.

If you've been wanting to read this book, or you've liked any of the author's other books, please don't waste a lot of time like I did. This is not a book that needs to be passed over for something else. It needs to be read and enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Invincible Iron Man (#1-3) by Brian Michael Bendis

Invincible Iron Man (#1-3) by Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): From the violent streets of Chicago, a new armored hero rises! Clad in her very own Iron Man armor, Riri Williams is ready to show the Marvel Universe what she can do as the self-made hero of tomorrow. But is she ready for all the problems that come with stepping into Iron Man's jet boots? Where's a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist when you need one?

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I was pleasantly surprised with this new series! Riri Williams is a wonderful Iron Man/Ironheart. The first issue was hard to read, but most heroes have a tragic past that they are continuously dealing with. Riri is no different. However, her demons are a little more difficult to identify because they were the result of senseless violence. She can't explain their actions away, or even try to understand them. It's just something she has to deal with for the rest of her life.

I've enjoyed watching her transform into a strong, determined and powerful woman. She was all of these things before, she's just found a way to amplify them. Her Tony Stark A.I. manages to help. (I'm still really curious how that is going to play out...)

I've read the first three and then the newer ones, but I really want to find the comics I'm missing so I can read through the entire series. I'm not lost since I picked her story back up after the Legacy issue, but I still want to see what happened before that.

I'm sad that Brian Michael Bendis is leaving Marvel, and I hope that his replacements are able to meet the high expectations he has set for all of his comics.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Breath of Fire & Heart on Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2-3) by Amanda Bouchet

Warning: potential spoilers if you have not read the other books.

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
SHE'S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD... "Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT
Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.
“Kato looks ill. “I… It… Me…” He stares at the massive snake. “Big.”I squeeze his arm. “Don’t worry. You’ll speak in complete sentences again soon.”
I really enjoyed the story and world-building for the first book, and I was excited to jump back into this series. Breath of Fire picks up right where the other book ends, so there isn't a lag or jump to adjust to.

Cat and Griffin have an initial argument that seems bizarre and out-of-nowhere, and he's also a little cruel and abusive, which doesn't seem like the Griffin from A Promise of Fire. He would never hurt Cat, even if he was angry, and now he's banging her head against a wall. It just didn't fit. Overall though, I did enjoy the additional information for Carver, Kato and Flynn. I still wish there had been more, but it was better this time. I also like that there was an entire section that only included Kato and Cat. He's quickly becoming my favorite character!

Piers makes me uncomfortable. I don't like how abrasive he seems to be, or how calculating. He's the bookworm of the family, but I feel like he is planning something awful.

The story is compelling and engaging, so I never wanted to put it down, but there were still quite a few things that irked me. For example, Cat is more than willing to sacrifice herself for her male companions, but she still always seems to end up the Damsel in Distress. She's a strong female character, but then she isn't. Blargh, it's confusing.


Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin's role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step—reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn't kill her will only make her stronger...we hope.
“I am caught. You caught me. Not the other way around. From the very first day. And from the very first day, I would have done anything for you—except let you go. I couldn’t. Not when deep down, I knew we were meant to be like this. To love like this.” 
I received ARC from 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.

So. Many. Questions.

I have enough loose ends to make a sweater. This is how it ended? Really? The entire series has been action-packed and fraught with turmoil, and then it just ends. I groaned when I looked down and saw there was only 1% left in the book. I knew that meant there would be no further explanations, and that it was unfortunately the only conclusion I would be getting. It was incredibly anticlimactic, which was honestly a surprise. 

I wish Cat had fewer and shorter inner monologues. They would last page after page even in the middle of a battle. The girl has the thought process of a snail. I didn't mind her thoughts and explanations, I just wish they had been condensed. That time could have been better spent evolving other characters or the story. I still don't feel like I know them well enough. Kato is definitely my favorite, which is why *highlight to view spoiler» I will never forgive Amanda Bouchet for killing him off. He didn't need to die for Cat to learn something she should have figured out an entire book sooner. Gods, I cried and over that. I liked him more than Cat. It was annoying watching her struggle with the same problem over and over again. 

I know it sounds like I didn't like this book, or the series, but surprisingly that's not true. I really enjoyed these books. I quite literally could not put them down. I think I read the last two books in just three days. I stayed up entirely too late to finish them, too. The story itself is captivating and mind-consuming. The Greek Mythology, always a bonus for me, was phenomenal. I love that Persephone and Ares were a main focus. Persephone isn't always a god that's given a lot of attention, and Bouchet shows a softer side of Ares. Who knew he could be compassionate? He's always portrayed as a brute.

I did love these books, there were just really big things that I found infuriating and wish had been written a little differently. There were a few unexpected twists, and I can't believe I didn't figure some of them out sooner. It was like a slap to the forehead when they were revealed. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

Expected publication: February 27th 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying? 
"She asks me to unbutton my top. I almost don’t care that I’m flashing my boobs. I think everyone in the hospital has seen them. They try to cover them up with the sides of my pajama top when they examine me, but it never fails, something slips. Boobs are slippery like that."
I received an ARC from 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.

I absolutely loved this book! I'm so happy it was the first book I finished in 2018! It was a great way to start the year, and it means I'm going to have very high standards for everything else I read. I hope they are all just as marvelous!

The entire book has an underlying sadness to it. The grief is palpable and constant. It shows you how different people choose to heal and manage their emotions, but it also shows you that the pain never completely leaves. 

The characters are ridiculously relatable. I didn't feel like I was reading a fictional story. I felt like I was reliving someone's life experiences. It was really realistic and there were times I thought, "I do that, too!" Another awesome example: Matt reads Harry Potter and James Dashner. He also reads a romance book and isn't ashamed that he enjoyed it. 

The relationship between Matt and Leah was sweet and sincere. They went through their rainbow of emotions, and it was beautiful to watch them come together. The newness of their feelings was light and refreshing, while their circumstances gave it a darker edge. 

Leah also has the best Best Friend. I thought it was hilarious, and so very true, when the author included a bathroom scene with the two of them. They can have an entire conversation while taking turns peeing into a toilet, and it's not awkward or weird. It shows just how comfortable they are with each other, and it takes a long time to develop that kind of friendship and ease with another person. 

There are literal laugh-out-loud moments, sweet and endearing moments, and moments when you want to take some of their pain away. It was a captivating, emotional, and hilarious story that I plan to read again and again.

I do have one minor issue with the book--*highlight to view a potential spoiler» it was too easy for me to determine the killer. I had made my assumptions long before the information was actually revealed, and it disappointed me a little. It didn't take away from the overall story, or Matt and Leah, but it was still a bummer. I like to be surprised. I don't mind intentionally knowing something before the characters, but I feel like this revelation was supposed to be shared with them. Instead I'm thinking, "Yep! I knew that was coming!" I wish his identity had been a little harder to discern. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1 (of 5) by Matthew Rosenberg

Phoenix Resurrection: 
The Return Of Jean Grey #1 (of 5)
by Matthew Rosenberg,
Leinil Yu (Illustrator)
"I just finished Phoenix Resurrection by @AshcanPress, and enjoyed it *immensely*! The story is captivating from the first page, and the entire comic reminded me why I love the X-Men so much! Thank you for writing, @AshcanPress. I didn't realize how much I had missed Jean Grey." 
Synopsis (via Goodreads): She will return, like a Phoenix from the ashes. Years ago, Jean Grey died and the X-Men mourned her. Since then, the world has changed, her teammates have lived without her and died without her. And now, when strange events start happening all over the world, those teammates can only come to one conclusion – the one true Jean Grey is back! 

𑁋

I think my tweet says it all! When I was trying to type this post, I couldn't think of a better way to say it, so I just quoted myself. πŸ˜…

The beginning of this comic is eerie and foreboding. There are a few things happening simultaneously, and no one has any idea what is going on. Sometimes stories allow the reader information that is withheld from the characters, but I'm equally in the dark. Nothing that happens makes sense, and I'm left needing more answers. Not just that... more everything.

Like I said in my tweet, this comic and its story reminded me why I love the X-Men. There are so many of them, all vibrant and filled with their own stories to tell, but I love watching them come together as a team. 

It's only going to be five issues, and the first one came out this week. It should still be available at your LCS! Get it! I promise you won't be disappointed!