Review: Emergency Contact

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Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review:

This is a character driven novel. It’s not my favourite kind of story. I prefer a strong plot. But others will probably enjoy it more than me.

I liked the quirky characters. Penny was funny, and I loved how she was always so prepared. Sam was a tragic character. They both grew up in single parent households and faced some struggles. Jude and Mallory were the opposites of them, because they seemed like they had everything together. These contrasting characters were great.

It took a long time for the story to start moving forward. For the first hundred pages or so, the characters kept reflecting on things that happened to them in the past. I kept wondering where the story was going. For me, that was too long to start the main storyline.

Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure many other readers will enjoy this style.

Review: Black Panther, Volume 2: A Nation Under Our Feet

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Title: Black Panther, Volume 2: A Nation Under Our Feet
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Don McGregor, Rich Buckler
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Source: Purchased
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Counting down the final days of the kingdom of Wakanda! As Zenzi and The People poison Wakanda’s citizens against the Black Panther, a cabal of nation-breakers is assembled. And Ayo and Aneka, the Midnight Angels, are courted to raise their land to new glory! His allies dwindling, T’Challa must rely on his elite secret police, the Hatut Zeraze, and fellow Avenger Eden Fesi, a.k.a. Manifold! And with T’Challa’s back truly against the wall, some old friends lend a hand: Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Storm! But Wakanda may be too far gone for this all-new, all-different crew — and there’s one job the Panther must handle alone. Only he can voyage into the Djalia! Getting there is hard enough, but can he even find his sister Shuri inside Wakanda’s collective memory? Collecting BLACK PANTHER (2016) #5-8, plus JUNGLE ACTION #6-7 and bonus content.

Review:

I enjoyed this second volume in the new Black Panther series.

This story jumped right into the action, since the characters were introduced in the first volume. T’Challa appears much more conflicted between leading his country and protecting his people. Meanwhile, he needs to try to get his sister back from Wakanda’s collective memory, which is like an in-between world.

The Black Panther has to face all of these challenges, so he brings in some help from other superhero friends. I loved the cameo appearances by other Marvel superheroes. He asks Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man for help. He also brings his friends Storm, Eden Fesi, Luke Cage, and Misty Knight into Wakanda. It was interesting to see him interact with these other familiar characters.

I also enjoyed the two vintage comics at the end of the volume. They show the original comics featuring the Black Panther, so we can see how he has changed and how he has remained the same over the decades. This is a great second volume in the series!

Blog Tour: The Window

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Title: The Window
Author: Amelia Brunskill
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

Review:

I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down!

This story was very fast paced. The chapters were short, which made the story fly by. There was even a little twist in each of the chapters. The story was so addicting, I never wanted to stop reading it.

This story reminded me of Sara Shepard’s series Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. There was a lot of teenage drama, but there was a lot of mystery about the end. Jess was on her own in figuring out what exactly happened to her sister. I love this kind of thriller. They are mysterious and unpredictable, but also relatable because of the high school setting.

I loved this book! I highly recommend it to fans of YA thrillers!

About the Author:

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Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books, and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean.

She earned her bachelors degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.

The Window is her debut novel.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

March 27th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

March 28th

MNBernard Books– Guest Post

March 29th

March 30th

Novel Ink– Review

March 31st

Kat’s Books– Review
A New Look On Books– Guest Post

April 1st

Vicky Who Reads– Creative Post
Ms. Cat’s Honest World– Review & Favorite Quotes

April 2nd

Bookish In Bed– Review & Favorite Quotes
Malanie Loves Fiction– Creative Post

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Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: Reader, I Married Him

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Title: Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This collection of original stories by today’s finest women writers—including Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, and more—takes inspiration from a line in Charlotte Brontë’s most beloved novel, Jane Eyre.

A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her novels featuring unforgettable, strong heroines still resonate with millions today. And who could forget one of literature’s best-known lines: “Reader, I married him” from her classic novel Jane Eyre?

Part of a remarkable family that produced three acclaimed female writers at a time in 19th-century Britain when few women wrote, and fewer were published, Brontë has become a great source of inspiration to writers, especially women, ever since. Now in Reader, I Married Him, twenty of today’s most celebrated women authors have spun original stories, using the line from Jane Eyre as a springboard for their own flights of imagination.

Reader, I Married Him will feature stories by:

Tracy Chevalier, Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall, Helen Dunmore, Kirsty Gunn, Joanna Briscoe, Jane Gardam, Emma Donaghue, Susan Hill, Francine Prose, Elif Shafak, Evie Wyld, Patricia Park, Salley Vickers, Nadifa Mohamed, Esther Freud, Linda Grant, Lionel Shriver, Audrey Niffenegger, Namwali Serpell, and Elizabeth McCracken.

Unique, inventive, and poignant, the stories in Reader, I Married Him pay homage to the literary genius of Charlotte Brontë, and demonstrate once again that her extraordinary vision continues to inspire readers and writers.

Review:

This is a great collection of short stories!

I loved the stories that expanded on the original story of Jane Eyre. “The Mirror” tells about the marriage of Jane and Rochester. In that story Rochester tries to convince Jane that she made up his mad wife in the attic, which makes Jane question if she is going mad herself. In “Reader, She Married Me,” Rochester tells his side of the story of his marriage with Bertha. He loved her so much, and ended up marrying Jane because she wore him down. These are both fascinating takes on the classic story.

Some of the stories weren’t obviously about Jane Eyre. One of those was “The Self-Seeding Sycamore,” which was about a woman who had to fight with her neighbor over an invasive tree between their yards. It didn’t have an obvious Jane Eyre theme, but I still enjoyed reading it.

This collection is a must-read for fans of Jane Eyre!

Review: Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3)

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Title: Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3)
Author: Sarah Andersen
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

Review:

This is another great collection from Sarah Andersen. The best part about her comics is that they are so relatable.

There were a lot of pet comics in this book. One of my favourites was where a cat doesn’t know her name because she is called so many nicknames at home, such as “mush,” “kitten pie,” and “little beanie toe cutie.”

There were also a lot of comics about the struggles of being an artist. My favourite one was where artists are compared to actors and musicians. Both actors and musicians become more glamorous when they become famous, but artists are still at home, sitting at their computers.

This collection ended with some commentary about becoming an artist. Sarah talks about how the internet has changed and become more negative since she began her career, but it’s still an important tool for young artists. My favourite part was when she said that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else about their work, don’t say it to yourself.

This collection was entertaining and inspiring.

Review: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvellous Memoir

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Title: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
Author: Stan Lee, Peter David, Colleen Doran
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee—comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes—shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.

Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. The most legendary name in the history of comic books, he has been the leading creative force behind Marvel Comics, and has brought to life—and into the mainstream—some of the world’s best-known heroes and most infamous villains throughout his career. His stories—filled with superheroes struggling with personal hang-ups and bad guys who possessed previously unseen psychological complexity—added wit and subtlety to a field previously locked into flat portrayals of good vs. evil. Lee put the human in superhuman and in doing so, created a new mythology for the twentieth century.

In this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir—illustrated by celebrated artist Colleen Doran—Lee tells the story of his life with the same inimitable wit, energy, and offbeat spirit that he brought to the world of comics. Moving from his impoverished childhood in Manhattan to his early days writing comics, through his military training films during World War II and the rise of the Marvel empire in the 1960s to the current resurgence in movies, Amazing Fantastic Incredible documents the life of a man and the legacy of an industry and career.

This funny, moving, and incredibly honest memoir is a must-have for collectors and fans of comic books and graphic novels of every age.

Review:

Stan Lee has had a fascinating life. He has gone from writing comics for WWII to making cameo appearances in his own movies. His stories are timeless. They are still relevant decades after he created them.

This book is great for all kinds of fans. It doesn’t only tell the story about his comics. He also details the comic publishing industry in the mid-20th century. He has become a celebrity on his own too, so he also talks about being starstruck when meeting other celebrities. Stan Lee has the unique position of being very successful in publishing and writing, and transitioning into mainstream pop culture. His characters are some of he most recognizable characters in the world.

This really is an Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible memoir! I recommend it to all comic fans and anyone looking for a fascinating read!

Review: Wizard for Hire

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Title: Wizard for Hire
Author: Obert Skye
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped after discovering a formula that enables mind control. Their work was so top secret Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he’ll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says “Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL.” Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn’t actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth–aka Rin–he’s even more skeptical.

Sure, Rin dresses like a wizard, but the short robe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox, as does Rin’s habit of writing notes on his shoes and eating breakfast for every meal. Plus, Rin doesn’t even cast any magic spells, which means that the unexplained coincidences that start happening around Ozzy are just that–coincidences.

With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy’s father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.

Review:

I loved this book!

It’s a cross between Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. There were lots of Harry Potter references in this book. Since Ozzy lives in a cabin in the forest, he hasn’t had much contact with the outside world. Most of the things he knows about school, he learned from Harry Potter, such as that schools are closed on weekends and holidays. The way that his parents disappeared under suspicious circumstances reminded me of the Beaudelaire children’s parents in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The wizard, Rin, was a great character. His magical abilities are questionable, because he doesn’t do any spells and the information he finds for Ozzy can also be found on the Internet. Ozzy is suspicious of how much of a wizard Rin really is, but he’s the perfect adult companion for a child who has lived in a forest for most of his life. They are both clueless on many topics, so it made the story funny. For example, Rin gave Ozzy some verbal instructions on how to drive a car for the first time, which didn’t end well for the car.

I loved this story! It’s great for readers of all ages.