Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Review: The Dire King by William Ritter

Title: The Dire King
Series: Jackaby #4
Written by: William Ritter 
Published: August 22, 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

SynopsisThe thrilling conclusion to the New York Times best-selling series the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sends the eccentric detective and his indispensible assistant into the heart of a war between magical worlds. 

 The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether. 

The epic conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Jackaby series features sly humor and a quirky cast of unforgettable characters as they face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever.

*** I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in an exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I can't believe this series is over! I am such a huge fan of this series. It's the perfect blend of humor, adventure, mystery, and magic. I was over the moon when I was sent a copy for review from the publisher. And it did not disappoint, it was a good ending to this amazing series.

I have always loved this series for the way it is able to balance the historical fiction elements with the supernatural fantasy elements. And this book continued to do that really well. I typically like my historical fantasy to not go to hard with the fantasy elements. I like it to be grounded in reality and the actual history. But Jackaby manages to perfectly walk that like while have a totally massive fantasy world. But it think it is able to do that so well because the fantasy elements are rooted in mythology and fairy tales. It gives it this great classic charm that blends so well with the historical New England setting. I really love the setting in this series and brings able to explore it a little more in this book was definitely one of the highlights for me.

My favorite thing about this series is probably the characters. In the course of four books I have become so attached to these characters, from the narrator to the smallest secondary character. They are all so fun, interesting, and compelling. Because this was the last book in the series many of the secondary characters from the previous books were able to come back in a big way to help the fight. I loved being able to see folks like Hatun, Hammett, Mona O'Connor, Hank Hudson, and the Fair Folk from the Anwynn. There were some great callbacks and conclusions to stories from the previous books.

Of course the main characters are the most interesting. I really love Abigail. I love her easy-going attitude, quick thinking intellect, and thirst for adventure. She's a great protagonist and narrator. And she really had some fantastic growth in this book. I loved seeing her in action. Then of course there is Jackaby. I have become accustomed to but no less entertained by that trademark Jackaby wit. I'm not usually a fan of Sherlock Holmes type characters but Jackaby I love. And love him I did in this book. He also had some great development and was incredibly heroic in the best possible way. Speaking of heroic, Charlie Cane. Oh Charlie, I am such a fan of his too. By my favorite character has always been Jenny. She's the perfect foil for Jackaby and the perfect compliment for Abigail. I love seeing her kick butt and go toe to toe with everyone from Jackaby to an antagonist. But all these characters are just incredibly likeable. You can't but connect with them and their struggle.

And struggle they did. This is a book with a plot where nothing goes right. The stakes her are incredibly high and I was on edge from the very first page until the very last page. It's the kind of end of the world narrative that always pulls me in and keeps me reading. There was all kinds of action scenes too, which kept me engaged throughout the entire book. I will say though that I think that the excessive amount of action sacrificed some of the mystery of the book. I have always loved this series for its solvable mysteries with big twists that you can figure out along with the characters. And that was not the case with this book. There were surprises and twists but they didn't strike the same cords as some of the more action-packed scenes. And I do still feel like there are some unresolved questions. I would have liked more of a balance there.

But what the book did balance well is the funny moments with the emotional moments. This is a series that has always been funny and irreverent. It doesn't take it self too seriously and I love that about it. Even when it's making a point about human nature, acceptance, and prejudice, it does it in a way that doesn't seem preachy because it does it with humor and poise. But it also has plenty of emotion behind it all. This is the last book in the series so there were plenty of emotional moments. The entire last 40 pages of the book had me a sobbing mess of emotions and when it was all over I was completely wrecked. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye. And based on that ending, I am hoping we don't have to because I am desperately in need of more.

On the whole, The Dire King was a great series ender for a series that I am completely in love with. It has a fantastic setting full of history and magic, characters who are likable and complex, a plot full of action and adventure, and the perfect balance of humor and emotion.

I give The Dire King by William Ritter 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you like this series at all, you need to finish it. It's not wholy satisfying but it is still a great ending. I absolutely loved it. And if you have not read this series, you need to. I recommend it to everyone.

Have you read The Dire King? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

P.S. Totally come back on Thursday when I have a super exciting post for the blog tour of The Dire King. Trust me. If you enjoy Jackaby, the book and the character, you are going to want to come back.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Comics I've Read Recently: Summer 2017

Every couple months I go through a phase where I read a ton of comics, and in the past few months I have done just that. But it seems completely fitting that I do this post now because it is my superhero themed month here on the blog. That on top of the fact that I have actually read more comics these past few months than even my normal busy months. So obviously, lots of comics coming.

Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Jo and Vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona 
(Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis: Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico - a group of teens whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn... Runaways vol. 1 #1-6

Still on the run from their super-villain parents, this motley crew of super-powered kids finds a kindred spirit in a daring young stranger and welcomes him into their fold. But will this dashing young man help the teenagers defeat their villainous parents...or tear them apart? One troubled member finds out, as she leaves the group's hideout with their new recruit, who reveals his startling secret, putting the entire team in jeopardy Plus: Who do you send to catch a group of missing, runaway teenage super heroes? Marvel's original teen runaway crimefighters, Cloak and Dagger, making their first major appearance in years.

 Runaways vol. 1 #7-12

My Thoughts:

I have been wanting to read Runaways for awhile now. I had heard really good things about it and it seems like the kind of comic that I would be really interested in, unique cast of teenage characters, mystery, and a little bit of a sci-fi flair. But then I heard that Rainbow Rowell was writing a new version of the comic. And that sealed the deal. I knew I needed to read this so I could read Rainbow's version.

And just as I suspected, I really enjoyed it. There is a handful of characters here and they are all really interesting. I think my favorite is probably Molly. She is the youngest and the others keep trying to protect her but she is the most physically strong and I know there will come a point when they stop under estimating her. I also really love Gert and Old Lace. I mean Gert is totally snarky and she has a telepathic connection with a dinosaur. Goals, amiright? But honestly they are all really complex. I'm excited to see more from them.

But this comic also has a really great plot to it. If this were a written book then I definitely would say that it has a plot that is the perfect combination of action and mystery. There is tons of thrilling action scenes that you expect in a comic but there's also an overarching plot that is slowly unfolding. In two volumes there is still so much that has not been explained yet and I can't wait to find out.

Only the whole, this is a good series and I think the perfect comic for people who may not necessarily big fans of comics. It's super accessible if you are new to comics and for people who do love them there is enough to enjoy.

Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Caine and Kate Niemczyk

Synopsis: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi Morse, the former Avenger known as Mockingbird, goes solo in her own incredible adventures! With a scientific mind and a lethal mastery of martial arts, she's one of the most versatile, in-demand assets at Maria Hill's disposal - that makes her ideal for investigating strange goings-on in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s own medical and recovery network. And when Lance Hunter's undercover gig at the London Hellfire Club goes south, Mockingbird sets off, battle staves at the ready, to save him - and the Queen of England! From helping out a teen driven bonkers by her own new powers, to doing a little dog-sitting, Bobbi shows that she's a woman of many talents as bestselling author Chelsea Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk make Mockingbird sing!


My Thoughts:

So here is another comic that I have been wanting to read for awhile now. I heard about this awhile ago when all that drama about the cover with Bobbi wearing a shirt that said "Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda." Which honestly is so on brand for Bobbi. But I never got around to reading it. But then Marvel got added to Comixology Unlimited and this was one of the first ones I read.

And I really loved it. For one thing, Mockingbird has always been such a kickass female heroine. I loved her on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.and I was so excited to see a Mockingbird solo comic. And I was not disappointed. It was Bobbi Morse at her finest. She was brash and kickass but she was also really really fun and funny. If you like the character you will enjoy her solo comic.

But I do think the series as a whole lacked some cohesion. In each issue she went on a different adventure, often with other Marvel characters, which was fun and enjoyable but if you look at it all together there wasn't much of a point. There was supposed to be an over-arching storyline and it did get resolved in the end but it didn't feel like there was a point to those side adventures.

If you are a Wonder Woman fan maybe check this one out, but if you are reading the character for the first time, do not start here. I would also maybe suggest waiting until you have volume 2 and reading them together. I have that one now so we shall see how I feel.

Wonder Woman, Vol 2: Year One by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharpe
(Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis:A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

New York Times best-selling writer Greg Rucka continues his return to Wonder Woman! The team of Rucka and artist Nicola Scott weave the definitive and shocking tale of Diana's first year as Earth's protector.

Paradise has been breached, Ares stirs, and the Amazons must answer with a champion of their who is willing to sacrifice her home amongst her sisters to save a world she has never seen. Wonder Woman's journey begins in this epic origin story!

Collecting: Wonder Woman 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14

My Thoughts:

I am actually really enjoying the DC Rebirth version of Wonder Woman. I really like what they are doing with the characters. It's interesting because I feel like in some ways this is a version of the character that is meant for fans of Diana Prince already. There's not a lot of backstory, you're sort of just thrown into her story in the hopes that you know it already.

But it is also a really accessible version of the story because it doesn't get bogged down with a lot of history and mythology of the character.It's very reminiscent of the movie in that it mostly explores why she is in the world of men and why she can't really go back to Themiscyra. I liked the way that the story is going and I'm interested to see how it develops.

But honestly, I think that the best thing about this series is the art. It is one of the most gorgeous books I have seen in awhile. It's got bright colors, creative layout, and lots of movement. I like when comics take that to the next level and they do more than design rectangular panels and that's what this series did.

But I may be a little biased because I am a huge fan of Wonder Woman. I would probably love any of her comics because it is Wonder Woman. I will say though that I didn't realize until I was putting this together that this is not a chronological collection. It is the even numbers where volume 1 in this collection was the odd. If you are going to read these I would suggest picking up both and reading them in chronological order. This one felt like we were getting another volume 1 and I think that would be resolved if you read them that way.

Gotham Academy Volume 3: Yearbook and Second Semester Vol. 1: Welcome Back by Brendan Fletcher. Karl Kerschel, and Becky Cloonan
 (Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis: "Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Life grabs you by the wrist..." and hands you this year's Gotham Academy yearbook! The students of Gotham's most prestigious prep school are back and they've just survived one heck of a year within the walls of Gotham Academy. Now it's time for everyone to look back and experience some of the lost adventures from the school year that was. Featuring stories and art by some of comics' best and brightest creators including Dustin Nguyen (BATMAN: L'IL GOTHAM), Derek Fridolfs (BATMAN: L'IL GOTHAM) and Rafael Albuquerque (AMERICAN VAMPIRE), as well as from regular series writer Brenden Fletcher (BATGIRL)! 

Collects GOTHAM ACADEMY #13-18.

GOTHAM ACADEMY is back with an all-new storyline for its second semester! When you’re Olive Silverlock, winter holidays can be a drag. Luckily, when a new student shows up at Gotham Academy to keep her company while the other students are away, Olive finds what could be a brand new friend…or a whole lot of trouble!

My Thoughts:

I'm a big fan of the Gotham Academy series. I feel like it's a comic that is not talked about enough because it's probably not that exciting for people who are big comic book fans. But it's perfect for me because it's great characters at a Gothic boarding school.

And in the course of four volumes now I have become super obsessed with these characters. Well most of them. I'm not really a big fan of Olive. She has definitely become less likable in the past few volumes. I mean that's kind of the point but still. If you ask me, the real hero here is Maps. I freaking love Maps. She might be one of my favorite comic book characters ever.

I also really like the art in this series as well. It's always been one of those where there are tons of bright colors and lots of different designs on the page. It's like the characters can't be contained by typical panels and they just break out and go wherever they want.

I will say, though, that I think I liked Second Semester better than Yearbook. Yearbook was another one of those books where there are all kinds of different side adventures that are not at all connected to the main plot of the volume. They were fun, but lacked cohesion, and clearly that is something that I need. But Second Semester was great. It was everything I love about Gotham Academy. There were secrets, mystery, big surprises, and lots of drama. I can't wait for what is next in the series because oh boy that ending was great.

And those are all the comics I have read in the past few months. Have you read any of these comics? What did you think? Do you have any comics or graphic novels that you would recommend to me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

ARC Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Title: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
Written by: F.C. Yee
Published: August 8, 2017 by Amulet Books

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged. 

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven. 

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in an exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This book seemed totally up my alley, which is why I picked up a copy at ALA. I've heard good things about this one so I was totally excited to read this as part of my superhero month. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a fun and fast superhero story with diverse characters and a fascinating world. It didn't blow me away but I did really like it.

One of the things that I loved about this book was the world. I'm always looking for a unique fantasy world and that is exactly what I found here. It's not super uncommon to find fantasy influenced by Asian culture and yet this still felt like something unique. Much of the basis for the world was in Chinese mythology. I'm not very familiar with these stories but I did find them, and therefore this, incredibly compelling. I love when my fantasy incorporates a mythology so it was even more fantastic that this one used an actual mythology. Part of that mythology also involved the magic of this book. There was a lot of magical creatures and characters who can do all kinds of magic. It was fantastic and engaging.

I also liked the characters of this book. I particularly enjoyed the main character of Genie. She was not your typically heroine but that's why I enjoyed her even more. She's a little unlikable sometimes, being somewhat brash and overly-aggressive. But honestly I loved that about her. I love that she has a short temper and is quick to act. She's also incredibly heroic in that she would sacrifice anything for those she cares about. I would have liked a little bit more of a personal development for her as she attempted to save the world and realized that it wasn't all about the college you get into. There could have been some good opportunities for personal development but it never took advantage of that.

As far as the other characters go, they were good but not many of them were not totally memorable. Much of the book focused on Genie and it sort of sacrificed some of the other characters. Genie's parents were involved but only minimally, same for Genie's friends. Her best friend Yunie was one of the more involved characters and even she didn't get much screen time. The characters who did get the most attention were the immortals like Quentin. But if I am being totally honest, I didn't love Quentin. He was fine as far as mythical creatures come but not totally engaging as a male lead. As usual, I wish there wasn't a romantic element. But I did like the other mythical character. I think Gaunyin and Erlang Shen were among my favorites. They were both complex and engaging. I which all the characters were as complex and even dubious as these two.

The plot too was really interesting. Like most superhero books it was full of action and adventure. There were all kinds of great fight scenes as the characters battles demons and attempted to save the world. It slowly built to a thrilling conclusion with plenty of drama along the way. It was also really fun. It's one of those irreverent kind of superhero stories where there is plenty of humor to cut the more serious moments. It was a good balance and it made for an interesting plot. It was also pretty fast paced. If you have the time I think it it is entirely possible for you to finish this book on just a few days. It's definitely an engaging read.

That about sums it up. It's an engaging read. There are a lot of really great things about this book. It had a fantastic world inspired but Chinese mythology, a great main character, and a plot full of action. I do which there was more character development but on the whole I enjoyed this book.

I give The Epic Crush of Genie Lo 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I've heard some pretty rave reviews of this book and I get it. It's really good. If you like YA fantasies and are looking for a really unique one with a world inspired by a different kind of mythology then check this one out. And I would definitely recommend this to fans of YA superhero stories.

Have you read The EPic Crush of Genie Lo? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Published: October 10, 2017 by Philomel Books (Penguin Group)

Synopsis: An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Why I'm Waiting:

You had me at Evil Queen retelling. Seriously guys, villain retellings are one of my favorite things. I especially really enjoy villain origin stories because I love when you can symapthize with the person only to see them descend into madness while at the same time you understand their motivations (I'm looking at you Adelina Amouteru). So the fact that this is a retelling about the infamous Evil Queen makes me very excited.

Plus I am super excited because this version because it is inspired by Asian culture and mythology. In the past year I have been reading a lot of books with Asian main characters and with Asian influences and especially when it comes to high fantasy it's really great setting. It makes for really gorgeous locations and lush descriptions. I am expecting this for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.

I have seen a few early reviews of this or thoughts from people who have read it and it is definitely getting rave reviews. People are really enjoying it. It sounds like this may be one of my favorite debuts of the year.

I was really hoping that there would be copies of this at ALA and I was so glad to hear that it was there. I of course picked up a copy and I am so excited to read it!

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Forest of a Thousand Lanterns along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is back! Who's excited! Me. I'm excited. It's been so long since we had a Top Ten Tuesday prompt. I almost forgot how to do these. Honestly, it took me forever to come up with an idea.I was originally going to do something with superheroes because this is superhero month, but I did that like a year ago and the answers would basically be the  But after talking to Michelle I get an idea.

AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER! I'm a huge fan of Avatar The Last Airbender (and The Legend of Korra of course). It's one of my favorite shows and one of my all-time favorite magical systems. I judge most magical systems against this one. SO here are some of the ones I would recommend to people who are also fans of the series.

1.) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - My Review / Goodreads
This one is probably one of the most obvious. There are a lot of Avatar vibes to this series. First of all you have the magical system which is basically elemental magic but with a few other different types of powers thrown in. Then you have the different kingdoms and the fact that there is some history and mythology to the magic.

2.) Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh - My Review / Goodreads
I read this shortly after it came out and I definitely felt like there was a lot of The Last Airbender vibes to it. Both of these stories are high fantasies influenced by Asian culture and Asian mythology. There is also a lot of political intrigue and some elemental magic

3.) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch - My Review / Goodreads
This is the other pretty obvious choice for this list. Maybe the most obvious. But here it's mostly because of the setting and world. This is a book where there are a handful of kingdoms where people look very similar and a lot of political stuff.

4.) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace - My Review / Goodreads
I'm a really big fan of this series and I don't think enough people talk about it. It's a super creative YA fantasy and definitely gives me the same vibes as Avatar the Last Airbender. For one thing there is a return of magical person/people who everyone thought was gone or a myth.

5.) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - My Review / Goodreads
So I feel like I can't talk about why this is similar to Avatar the Last Airbender without spoiling things for you. But like really, do people not know the big reveal in this series? Okay, I'll keep it vague. There's magic. Someone's basically a firebender.

6.) Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab - My Review / Goodreads
There is some really fantastic magic in this series and a little bit of it is elemental magic similar to that of Avatar The Last Airbender. I definitely felt the ATLA vibes from the second book in the series because it brought in people from different countries and there was a tournament that was super Legend of Korra-esque.

7.) Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo - My Review / Goodreads
This is a book that has a magical system that is basically elemental magic. And it's similar to Avatar The Last Airbender in that there are really only a few different types of bending, I mean Grisha powers that you can have. Plus there's some political stuff too.

8.) The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas - My Review / Goodreads
I have only read the first book in this series but I imagine the other books are similar and that the magical system is the same. Because this is a magical system with elemental magic that is really interesting and similar. Plus there is one moment that is very Azula like and I freaking love Azula.

9.) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - My Review / Goodreads
I really enjoyed this book for many different reasons. One, I thought the magic was fantastic and it felt really similar to ATLA, especially because one of the main characters is an elemental magician who is trying to control all the elements.

10.) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski - My Review / Goodreads
And finally, another book that is on the list because of its world. This is a world with different kingdoms including one which is more militaristic that has overtaken the other. But the people in the conquered kingdom are fighting back and I feel the ATLA vibes in that.

11.) Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson  - My Review / Goodreads
I wasn't going to include this one but it definitely has some Avatar vibes to it. A lot of the book revolves around a prophesied savior and whether or not they have been found. Plus the magic, while not elemental is similar and has the same structure/is tied to an innate ability.

There you have it, the ten books I would recommend to fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Are you a fan of Avatar (the original and best Avatar!)? What books would you recommend? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, August 14, 2017

ARC Review: Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn

Title: Heroine Worship
Series: Heroine Complex #2
Written by: Sarah Kuhn
Published: July 4, 2017 by DAW (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable. 

It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission. 

All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter. 

In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis. 

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This is a really fun superhero story. It's full of action and adventure, complex characters, and an interesting science fiction world. However I didn't love it as much as the first book for some reason.

One thing that I do really love about this book is the characters. I'm really enjoying getting to know them over the course of these two books. They are definitely complex and interesting characters. In Heroine Worship we switched perspectives and got to go inside of Aveda/Annie's head. At first I wasn't sure how I would feel about that but I really liked it. She has such a distinctive voice and it added to the fun element of the book. It also helped us get to know here so much better. Hearing and seeing directly from their perspectives always helps empathizing and making a character more complex. That is absolutely what happened here. In the beginning of the book she's a pretty unlikable character but she has really great growth throughout the book and I totally loved her by the end.

But the heart of this book is the connections with the characters. First we have the fantastic friendship between Aveda/Annie and Evie. A lot of this book is about Aveda/Annie trying to be a good friend. I love seeing how strong their friendship is and that they care and support one another no matter what. There is also romantic relationships. Evie and Nate should be the focus here but because Evie isn't our narrator that was replaced by Aveda/Annie and Scott. They had a fantastic slowburn throughout the book and I enjoyed the way it developed. But I will say, I missed some of the other secondary characters. I would have liked more from Bea and more from Lucy in this book. I get that without Evie as the MC we lost some of Bea but I felt like her and Lucy were not involved at all. I really missed Bea. But I have a feeling she'll be our MC for the third book and I am definitely excited about that.

As far as the plot goes, this was definitely a book full of action and adventure. Just like everything that involves superheroes there are all kinds of action scenes and crazy fights. But this has always been a series that doesn't take these sorts of things to seriously. It's much more on the silly side. Sure they are fighting demons and saving the world but it's cupcakes and bridezillas. I love this about the series and I liked it about this book. There's also a pretty decent mystery to it. Although there wasn't enough clues for my liking. It's wasn't super predictable but it also wasn't very solvable.

But I will say, I didn't totally love the pacing with this book. I think I had much of the same issues with this one as I did with the first book. It always starts with a bang and then comes crashing down. From there it's a slow start until it builds to a strong conclusion. It's not a particularly long read for an Adult SciFi/Fantasy coming in at just under 400 pages. But I have read longer books in less time. I think it's just a series that is more on the slow side. That isn't a bad thing but it also isn't what I usually prefer.

On the whole, this was a good read. I really enjoyed the character and the superhero story full of adventure. I which the pacing was a little but more exciting but I think it's a fun and engaging read. I didn't love it as much as the first book in the series but I am definitely invested in what is coming next.

I give Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This was a good read. If you read the first book and enjoyed it check this one out. I would definitely recommend to fans of superhero stories, especially if you are looking for one with diverse female heroes and strong friendship themes.

Have you read Heroine Worship? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Crossing Over: Recommending Comics

Hey all. It's time for this month's Crossing Over! I think this is the first time I have done two months in a row for awhile. Let's try to keep this up, huh. If you're not familiar with Crossing Over it's a feature that stemmed from my desire to recommend an adult book with crossover appeal based on a YA or sometimes Middle Grade book that are similar. I hate that we pigeonhole books into a specific age range and so I try to combat that. Plus it's basically an if you liked, then try but for crossover books. It runs once a month (usually) here and I pick the books based on the theme of what I'm reading.

So this month my theme is superheroes. I would normally just recommend two books that have superheroes, or superpowers, or whatever but been there, done that. So instead I decided to do things a little differently and take this opportunity to recommend yo you some of my favorite comics based on books that I think are similar.

If You Like: 
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

There is one obvious comparison here and it's that both books are set during World War II. But I think with these two, it goes deeper than that. For one thing they are both about women who are serving during the war. For another thing they both involve fighter pilots and spies in some way. But the other thing too is that there are a lot of themes of female empowerment and some great friendships in both books.

If You Like: 
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Weibe Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Honestly, Rat Queens was surprisingly one of the hardest one to come up with for me. It's one of my favorite comics but I just couldn't find the right book. And then it hit me, Truthwitch. Both books have this great sword and sorcery vibe and involve a bunch of different kinds of magic, even pulling a little religion into it. But books also have kickass female characters who are pretty complex. But both books are also grounded in the friendships of the female main characters.

If You Like: 
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona  Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

What I love about both of these books is that there is a very strong family element to it. They are both really about women of immigrant parents who want their daughters to follow the cultural expectations of their heritage. And both books have main characters who want to be themselves even if that doesn't totally align with what their parents want for them. And in the end it all comes together. Plus both characters are super smart, and tough, and snarky. And there are some fun and lighthearted moments blended with the more serious.

If You Like: 
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Gotham Academy by Becky Kloonan, Karl Kersch, and Brendan Fletcher Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

So the obvious comparisson is that both of these books take place in boarding schools. Their schools have a lot of history and secrets to unfold throughout the course of the series. Both of these books also have a fantastic gothic kind of feeling to them. They combine all these fantastic elements like supernatural and mystery together really well. They both also have great casts of characters. I only wish maps could have gone to Mme Geraldine's. Or maybe to...

If You Like: 
The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Alexandra Bracken Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Squirrel Girl was another difficult one to compare. You honestly can't compare Squirrel Girl to anything. She is one of a kind and that's why this comic is amazing. But I did my best. I think the reason I ended up deciding on these two is that they are both really fun books. They both had me laughing out loud while reading. They both also have really amazing heroines who are constantly underestimated but it never stops them from kicking ass and saving the day.

If You Like: 
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Saga by Bran K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Both of these books have fantastic science fiction worlds, which is one of my favorite things about both of them. They both also have a lot of characters and a lot of different moving parts. But in the end they come together in a way that makes you root for the main characters. their relationships, and their survival. Because honestly, both of these books are about the characters trying to survive in the face of a ton of adversity.

If You Like:
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Both of these books have amazing surprises that I don't want to tell you about because then you will not be very surprised when you read them, which is the best part of these books and the first similarities. The other similarities is that the world of them. They both have subtle elements that are similar but different. Vague comparison is vague.

If You Like:
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

Then Try:
Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher, Jared K. Fletcher, and Babs Tarr Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

So Batgirl was the actual hardest to come up with a comparison for. I know, I know, I keep saying that. But with this book it is absolutely true. I love Batgirl of Burnside so much and I didn't want to not include it but this is not the best comparison. I will say though, both are obviously superhero stories but there is also an exploration of good and evil throughout the book. Plus there is some technology and subtle sci-fi elements to both books. And they are both really fun too!

Alright, there you go. Eight comics that I would recommend based on eight books. These are also some of my favorite comics so even if you haven't read the books, check out these comics.

Have you read any of these comics? Wha did you think? Do you have any recommendations? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!