Review: Getting It Together, Vol. 1

Title: Getting It Together, Vol. 1
Author: Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny Fine
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Rating: ★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Marvel Comics and GLAAD nominated award Iceman writer SINA GRACE and co-creator OMAR SPAHI deliver the all-new modern dramedy you didn’t know you needed! Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s indie rocker sister and roommate. Tensions skyrocket when Sam and Lauren open up their long-term relationship, sending social shockwaves through their friend group and the entire Bay Area, leaving poor Jack caught in the middle! Life gets pretty messy when you’re in your 20s and your friends are your family. Newcomer artist JENNY D. FINE shines in this series about love, friendship an rock n’ roll!

Collects GETTING IT TOGETHER #1-5

Review:

This graphic novel is about a group of friends in San Francisco. Sam and Jack are best friends, and Sam is dating Lauren, Jack’s sister. After Sam and Lauren decide to have an open relationship, Lauren sleeps with her her band mate. That devastates Sam, leading them to break up. Jack ends up in the middle of the break up, between his best friend and his sister. Meanwhile, Jack is constantly using dating apps to meet new guys. They all have lots of drama in their lives.

I was drawn to this graphic novel because of the cover, which resembles the cast of the tv show Friends. This story was also about a group of friends in their 20s, and it opened with a couple breaking up because one of them misunderstood what it meant to be “on a break.” However, that’s where the resemblance ended.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. There wasn’t a lot of plot either, other than them having random romantic encounters. The graphic novel began with Sam and Jack, but they had disappeared from the story by the end. Some plot points were so dramatic, I think they were just included for a shock factor, rather than actually moving the plot forward.

The art style changed, and improved, in the final chapter of the book. At the beginning, the images were less defined and detailed, which made many characters look alike. I’m not sure if it was part of the story or just in my advanced copy, but I wish the later art style was throughout the story.

Unfortunately, this graphic novel didn’t work for me.

Thank you Image Comics for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 1 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, Cathy Le

Have you read Getting It Together? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Desert Books

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Desert Books. Here’s my list:

1. Dune by Frank Herbert

2. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

5. Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

(All book covers from Goodreads)

If you’d like to do this list too, consider yourself tagged!

Did you make a Top 5 Saturday list?

Review: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore #1)

Title: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore #1)
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods.

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him.

Review:

Barclay Thorne is an apprentice to a mushroom farmer in Dullshire. He’s an orphan, whose parents were killed by a massive beast. In Barclay’s town, they keep the beasts away. No one is allowed to go into the forest where the beasts live. When his friend goes running into the forest while they’re gathering mushrooms one day, Barclay follows him. Barclay’s worst nightmare comes true when he encounters a beast, who creates a bond with him, turning Barclay into a Lore Keeper. Barclay is run out of town when the townspeople realize he has a magical connection to a beast. He meets Violet in the forest, who brings Barclay to a town to have his bond with the beast removed. However, the bond is not easily broken, so Barclay is convinced to participate in an apprenticeship contest in order to get his beast bond removed.

This was a fun twist on the middle grade fantasy story. Usually, the main characters in fantasy stories are eager to find and connect with animals. In this case, that was the worst thing that Barclay could imagine. His bond with a beast ruined the plans he had to live a quiet life in his town as a mushroom farmer. The life he wanted to live was so quiet, that the town is actually called “dull.” He didn’t want to go on an adventure, unlike most fantasy characters.

There were some surprising twists throughout the story. Some characters weren’t what they seemed, which really surprised me. The story ended with another adventure beginning, so I’m excited to see what happens in the next book.

This was a fun middle grade fantasy.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Have you read The Accidental Apprentice? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – March 26

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here is my first line:

“The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.”

Do you recognize this first line?

And the book is… Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Check out my review of Clockwork Angel here.

Have you read Clockwork Angel? What did you think of it?

Review: The Near Witch

Title: The Near Witch
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 12, 2019 (originally August 2, 2011)
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Brand new edition of Victoria Schwab’s long out-of-print, stunning debut

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

There are no strangers in the town of Near. 

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Review:

A stranger comes to the town of Near one night. Lexi saw him before he disappeared. The night after he appears, a child goes missing. Everyone in town thinks the stranger must have stolen the child. Then more children disappear. A group of men start tracking the stranger to find the missing children. Lexi keeps thinking about the bedtime story of The Near Witch. She’s sure that the Near Witch is responsible for the missing children. Lexi meets the mysterious stranger, who helps her search for the Near Witch and the missing children.

This story reminded me of a children’s fairytale. Lexi was told the story of The Near Witch when she was a child. It was about a witch in their small town who was banished. The townspeople are divided on whether it was a true story or not. There was some mysterious magic in the town, which made Lexi believe the Near Witch story could be real. Both the Near Witch story and Lexi’s story had fairytale qualities.

This story had the beautiful poetic language of V.E. Schwab. The sentences read like a poem. There was a nursery rhyme that the children would sing about the Near Witch which was a poem. This was V.E. Schwab’s first novel, but it has her voice woven throughout it.

I really enjoyed this fantasy story!

What to read next:

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Have you read The Near Witch? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – March 25

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first..

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: A Taste for Love

Title: A Taste for Love
Author: Jennifer Yen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Jenny Han, Jane Austen, and The Great British Baking ShowA Taste for Love, is a delicious rom com about first love, familial expectations, and making the perfect bao.

To her friends, high school senior Liza Yang is nearly perfect. Smart, kind, and pretty, she dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But to her mom, Liza is anything but. Compared to her older sister Jeannie, Liza is stubborn, rebellious, and worst of all, determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang’s traditional values, especially when it comes to dating.

The one thing mother and daughter do agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston’s popular Yin & Yang Bakery. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery’s annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she’s more than her rebellious tendencies once and for all. But when Liza arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there’s a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.

The bachelorette situation Liza has found herself in is made even worse when she happens to be grudgingly attracted to one of the contestants; the stoic, impenetrable, annoyingly hot James Wong. As she battles against her feelings for James, and for her mother’s approval, Liza begins to realize there’s no tried and true recipe for love.

Review:

Liza Yang helps out at her family’s restaurant and bakery, Yin and Yang. Her mother holds a competition every year for young bakers, with the prize of a scholarship. Mrs. Yang is eager to find husbands for her daughters. Her oldest daughter, Jeannie, is attending school in New York and is working as a fashion model. Liza has always been the rebellious daughter who dated American boys, rather than Asian boys. Liza is given the opportunity to help her mom judge the baking competition for the first time, but as soon as she sees the contestants, she realizes this year’s competition has been set up as a dating competition for her. Each of the contestants is an eligible Asian teen boy. One of the contestants is James, who has already gotten off on the wrong foot with Liza. Despite that, and even though Mrs. Yang approves of him, Liza can’t help but be attracted to James.

I’ve been binge watching the Great British Bake Off in the last few months, so this book was on trend for me. The competition that Mrs. Yang holds in the story is very similar to that baking competition. There was even an episode of the Bake Off that was referenced in the book that I watched a few days ago. The characters made a wide variety of baked goods in this story. I had to look up some that I had never heard of but they all sound delicious so I’ll have to try them!

This book also had me hooked when I realized it was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. There have been so many retellings that it’s hard to get an original story. This one definitely worked for me. I really enjoyed this story because it wasn’t an exact copy of Pride and Prejudice. Some of the plot points were rearranged, but it followed the general story of the Jane Austen classic.

This was such a fun story. I recommend having sweet treats on hand while reading it!

Thank you Razorbill for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

American Panda by Gloria Chao

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Have you read A Taste for Love? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – March 24

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart. The expected publication date is April 20, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance. 

Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power. 

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)

Title: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Chain of Gold, a Shadowhunters novel, is the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade. .

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Review:

Cordelia Carstairs’ father was accused of a crime and arrested, so her mother and brother brought their family to London to start over their lives. Her mother wants Cordelia to be married, but Cordelia is interested in learning how to fight as a Shadowhunter. Cordelia is reunited with her childhood friends Lucie and James Herondale. The world of the Shadowhunters has been quiet for years, without demon attacks to train the younger generation. However, after Cordelia arrives, they encounter some demon attacks during daylight. These demons aren’t like ones they’ve ever fought before because they appear in the daytime. The new generation of Shadowhunters has to figure out how to defeat the new demons while also dealing with their personal relationship problems.

This is the first series I’ve read that follows different generations of a family. The Infernal Devices, which is about the parents of the characters in this book, is one of my favourite series. I loved this continuation of their story. I thought I would miss the parents in this story, but they were in the story enough. There were things the kids had to keep secret from their parents, including their demon battles, which made the story exciting.

Though there were about 6 primary characters in this story, they were all distinct people. It would definitely be helpful to read The Infernal Devices first, because the parents of these characters were introduced in those books. I actually had to make a family tree when I first started reading so I could keep all of the characters straight. However, they each had different personalities and storylines, so it was easy to keep them distinct in my mind.

I loved this start to the new Shadowhunters series!

What to read next:

Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Other books in the series:

  • Chain of Iron

Have you read Chain of Gold? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Funny Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Funny Book Titles. Here’s my list:

1. The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)

2. Megabat is a Fraidybat by Anna Humphrey and Kass Reich (illustrator)

3. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

4. The Ninjabread Man by Stewart Ross

5. Ten Things My Cat Hates About You by Lottie Lucas

6. Take It Away, Tommy: A Breaking Cat News Adventure by Georgia Dunn

7. Cracking the Case of the Missing Egg by Sandra Dumais

8. Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker (editors)

9. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dad Pilkey

10. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?