Birthday Book Tag!

Today is my 25th birthday! I found this tag on Becca’s blog, becandbones, when it was her birthday earlier in the month. You can check out her post here!

So here are the questions!

COUNT YOUR BIRTHDAY ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF AND THEN SUBTRACT YOUR BIRTH MONTH

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So I have yet to read this book, but I love the covers in this series so I bought the first two. Maybe this is a sign that I should read it soon…

IF YOU COULD SPEND YOUR BIRTHDAY WITH ANY FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

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I would spend my birthday with Harley Quinn. She would let me read all day, because she knows it’s my favourite thing to do. But then she would force me to go out on the town with her to some wild clubs at night. We would probably end the day snuggling with puppies she just rescued on her last mission. But she’s so unpredictable, that the day could really go in any direction.

FIND A BOOK THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE SEASON YOU WERE BORN IN

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I recently reread this book with the girl who I tutor. It’s one of my favourites, and since it takes place on Valentine’s Day, it’s set close to my birthday. I LOVED Junie B. Jones when I was a kid, and she’s still hilarious to read about today!

FIND A BOOK THAT IS THE COLOUR OF YOUR BIRTHSTONE

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Gone Without A Trace is the colour of my birthstone, which is Amethyst. But this story isn’t as calming as the stone looks. It was one of my favourite thrillers of last year, because I was shocked at the ending. You can read my review here.

PICK A BOOK SET IN A TIME PERIOD, WORLD, OR COUNTRY YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BEEN BORN IN 

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I would have loved to have been born in the Victorian Era. I also would have loved to have been born in England!

I tag anyone with a birthday coming up soon!

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Review: Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet

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Title: Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt–but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!

Review:

I absolutely loved this graphic novel!

There is great diverse representation in this story. The entire cast is made up of people of colour. In the first issue, a lesbian couple was introduced. I love seeing minority groups represented in a superhero story!

At the beginning, the story was a little confusing because there were so many characters in a original world. But the “letters” pages in between issues, where readers submitted their letters to the writers, helped me with that. I was reassured after each issue that other readers had the same feelings as me. I quickly caught onto the story and ended up loving it!

I also loved the bonus comic at the end, which shows the Black Panther’s first appearance in Marvel comics. It’s a great piece of comic book history. It was a great addition to the first volume of this new series.

I haven’t seen the new movie adaptation Black Panther yet, but I hope to see it soon! After reading this graphic novel, I can’t wait!

Review: The Nest

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Title: The Nest
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Review:

This is a great middle grade book!

The story was quite creepy at times. It reminded me of Coraline and Skelig. The children in those stories also encountered supernatural things in their backyards.

Steve had very realistic dreams that haunted him during the day. I’ve had dreams that seem like they’re really happening and it can be very scary. But the wasps in his nightmares also appeared to him outside. I kept wondering if Steve was really going crazy!

This story is a great learning experience for children. Steve has to learn to cope with his ill baby brother. Though he doesn’t want him to be sick, he also wouldn’t want to replace him with a perfect baby. Many children have to deal with a sick relative at some point, and though it is difficult, we have to learn to deal with illness. Steve also has anxiety, which is not often depicted in children’s stories, but children can get anxious too.

This is a great story for middle grade and adult readers.

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend

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Title: My Sweet Friend
Author: H.A. Leuschel
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Helene Leuschel
Source: Reads & Reels Book Tours
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

The writing was excellent. Each chapter alternates between Rosie’s and Alexa’s perspectives. There were also flashbacks in each chapter, about the time that Alexa spent in the office. These flashbacks were woven into the narrative seamlessly. Sometimes it is jarring when a story returns to the present from a flashback, but that wasn’t the case with this story.

The story was a bit of a thriller too. Alexa’s behaviour was suspicious and her past was strange, since she didn’t talk about it. I kept wondering how much her behaviour would escalate and if she would become dangerous. It kept me guessing through the whole story.

If you’re looking for a light thriller, go check out this book.

About the Author:

HA Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches yoga.

https://www.facebook.com/HALeuschel

https://twitter.com/HALeuschel

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

http://www.heleneleuschel.com

Tour Schedule:

Feb. 19th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Brizzle Lass Books (Excerpt) https://brizzlelassbooks.com

The Repeat Mom (Review) http://Thethreepeatmom.blogspot.com

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Review) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Jill’s Book Blog (Review) https://jilljemmett.com

Feb. 20th

Books and Belle (Excerpt) https://booksandbelleblog.wordpress.com

Beware the Reader (Excerpt) http://bewareofthereader.com

Jenacidebybibliophile (Review) https://jenacidebybibliophile.com

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com

Cover to Cover (Excerpt) http://www.liisthinks.wordpress.com

Feb. 21st

Girl Masked (Review) http://girlmasked.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

The Starving Book Worm (Review) http://thestarvingbookworm.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Feb. 22nd

Splashes Into Books (Review) http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) https://www.muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Feb. 23rd

The Orangutan Librarian (Review) https://theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Love Books Group (Review) http://lovebooksgroup.blog/

Just 4 My Books (Review) https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

R&R Book Tours

Thank you to R&R Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – Feb. 19

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

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This weekend I finished My Sweet Friend!

 

What I’m currently reading:

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I’m currently reading The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg.

 

What I’m reading next:

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Next I will be reading Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray

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Title: The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray
Author: E. Latimer
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A Tim Burtonesque retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray aimed at Middle Graders.The most peculiar things always happen to Bryony Gray. As if it isn’t bad enough that her uncle keeps her locked in the attic, forcing her to paint for his
rich clients, she’s becoming rather well known in the art world… since all her customers seem to go missing.

When her newest painting escapes the canvas and rampages through the streets of London, Bryony digs into her family history, discovering some rather scandalous secrets her uncle has been keeping, including a deadly curse she’s inherited from her missing father. It turns out, Bryony has accidentally unleashed the Gray family curse, and it’s spreading fast.

With a little help from the strange-but-beautiful girl next door and her paranoid brother, Bryony sets out to break the curse, dodging bloodthirsty paintings, angry mobs and her wicked uncle along the way.

Review:

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite Victorian novels. This is a great sequel to the story.

This story had great pacing. Bryony’s paintings began to come to life right at the beginning. It was so creepy! It kept me hooked through the whole story. I really couldn’t predict what was going to happen next, so I was always surprised.

I think this story is actually creepier than The Picture of Dorian Gray. Though it is a sequel, it follows Gray’s daughter, so it is for a younger audience. I loved this story and I got a lot out of it, even though it is aimed toward middle grade readers. It is a great choice for both young readers and older fans of Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde.

After reading this book, I’ll never look at paintings the same way again!

Review: Captain Canuck Volume 2: The Gauntlet

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Title: Captain Canuck, Volume 2: The Gauntlet
Author: Kalman Andrasofsky
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Chapterhouse Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Site Aleph is secured and Equilibrium is ready to explode onto the world stage. So everything’s great, right? Wrong. Mr. Gold is still at large, Marla Ritchie is still missing, and Captain Canuck will move heaven and Earth to find them both. The Gauntlet collects Captain Canuck #7-11 and features the comics debut of Blue Fox and the first appearance of the all-new, rebooted Northguard, now starring in his own solo series!

Review:

 

I didn’t like this volume as much as the first.

In this book, Captain Canuck faced the same villain, Mr. Gold. I was hoping his story was over and we would get a new villain in this book. It was tedious and boring to read about the same problems again.

I liked the introduction of Blue Fox. She was a great contrast to the Captain. However, his allies got lost in the mix. I kept getting them confused. I think it would have been better if there were less people on his team or if they were given more space in the story.

I hoped that this volume would be as entertaining as the first one, but unfortunately it was not.