Title: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No Bullshit Guide to World Mythology
Author: Cory O’Brien
Genre: Humour, Mythology
Release Date: March 5, 2013
My favourite courses in university were my Greek mythology classes. I find those stories fascinating. Cory O’Brien loves myths too, so he retells a variety of world myths in this collection. He covers everything from Greek to Hindu to Chinese to Native American myths. He even discusses “American” myths, which are the stories of the founding of the United States.
This book is hilarious. He tells each story in a blunt way, though the general story is correct. He draws attention to the promiscuous acts of Zeus in Greek mythology and the gold loving dwarves in Norse mythology.
Though O’Brien makes fun of the absurdity of these myths, in the conclusion he is more serious. The mythologies of different cultures have a lot in common. They all have a creation myth and a myth where the gods destroy the humans on earth. It’s amazing how these cultures that are so distant in geography and in beliefs can have the same plots in their mythologies.
I loved this book. It is quite explicit at times, but the myths are very funny. I really enjoyed it!
This month’s Uppercase Box is so adorable!
On top of the bag are super cute iron-on patches of a book and a cat!
The book is a YA story about how winning the lottery can change a teenager’s life. It sounds exciting!
My favourite item is the pair of earrings! Each earring is a different book shape. I’m going to save them for a special occasion!
Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Celaena Sardothien is an assassin who has been living in a prisoner camp for a year. One day the Crown Prince Dorian requests to visit her. He has selected her to be his champion in a battle to find a new champion for his father, the King. He promises her that if she wins, she can work for them as their champion for four years and then she will be free. The captain of the guards, Chaol, trains her and supervises her security. She has to be under lock and key at all times, since she is the most talented assassin in the world. Her identity is kept a secret throughout the competition for her protection and to help her win. The champions in the competition are eliminated through tests. However, some are murdered under mysterious circumstances. The murders don’t follow a pattern though, so Celaena is scared that she could be next. Her only wish is to make it to the end of the competition so she can win her freedom.
This was a very exciting book. It was fairly long, but the pace was consistent.
It has a third person narrative. It switches to give the perspective of different characters, though it usually follows Celaena. This gives some insight into what the other characters are doing or thinking. It also builds the mystery of who is behind the attacks, because it makes many people look suspiscious.
I really like this story and I’m excited to read the rest of the series!
Title: Mythic Volume 1
Author: Philip Hester
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Mythic Lore Services is a company that solves the problems of supernatural beings in the world. Waterson is the leader. He is immortal, and has been around for thousands of years. Waterson, Nate, and Cassandra are one of the teams that work for Mythic, but when a bunch of robots start destroying the world, they end up being the only team left. This first volume covers them fighting off a variety of mythical creature.
The premise of this graphic novel was so interesting. I love mythology. I like how mythical creatures are brought into the real world in this story.
At times, I found the story and pictures confusing. There were so many different sides to the fight, from the Mythic team to the mythical creatures to the robots. There were many fight scenes where the explosions made it unclear what exactly was happening. Also, each issue in the volume followed a different creature attacking the earth, so by the time I figured out who one character was, they were gone.
The ending of this graphic novel was very good. It was a bit of a cliffhanger and now I want to go find out what happens next!
Title: Speed of Life
Author: Carol Weston
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Sofia Wolfe lives in New York with her father. Her mother died from a brain aneurysm a year ago. She goes to an all-girls private school. One day, Dear Kate goes to her school to do a presentation. Dear Kate is an advice columnist for Fifteen magazine, and Sofia’s best friend Kiki is obsessed with her. They sneak into the presentation for parents at night, which both girls convinced their parents to attend. Kiki hopes that her mother and Sofia’s father will start dating. As Sofia deals with confusing issues about growing up, and without a mother figure to speak to, she starts emailing Dear Kate her questions. When Sofia’s dad starts dating someone, she doesn’t want to hear about it, but she emails Dear Kate asking for advice. This all derails when she meets her father’s new girlfriend. Then Sofia not only has to think about the loss of her mother, but also her dad’s new girlfriend, his girlfriend’s teenage daughter, having her first boyfriend, and the possibility of moving and starting at a new school.
I couldn’t put down this book! I liked that the age level for it is between middle-grade and young adult. I don’t think there are enough books for this in between age, which is important to have. Sofia’s perspective is more middle-grade since she is just graduating from middle school and starting high school. However, she has to face many teenage issues when it comes with her dad’s girlfriend’s daughter.
This book also talked about many issues that teens face but may be afraid to ask. This comes out in the questions that Dear Kate is asked in her column. Girls, such as Sofia, feel more comfortable asking her questions through email, rather than speaking to someone in person about these awkward topics.
Sofia also mourns her mother and faces the possibility of her father remarrying, which is a real issue for many young girls. I like the way this story deals with these difficult parts of life in a positive way.
This is a great book for both young readers and parents alike!
Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Stacy King, Po Tse
Genre: Graphic Novel, Manga
Publisher: UDON Entertainment
Release Date: August 10, 2017
When their father dies, the Dashwood sisters and their mother are displaced by their half-brother, John Dashwood. Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret Dashwood move to a relative’s house in the country along with their mother. Marianne meets the dashing Willoughby and falls in love almost immediately, despite Elinor’s warnings to be cautious. Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve, so when Willoughby’s secrets are revealed, she is publicly humiliated. Elinor also has a romantic interest, though she is more sensible in the way she hides it. This story a study in sense and sensibility, with characters displaying both traits.
This is my least favourite Jane Austen novel. I love her other books so much, but I just couldn’t get into this one. Likewise, I wasn’t as crazy about this graphic novel.
The story was told very well. It is more straightforward than the novel, especially since it is able to demonstrate what is happening through pictures. However, I found that a lot of the characters looked alike. Since there are many girls around the same age in the story, they ended up looking very much alike. Even the three sisters were difficult to distinguish between sometimes, though they had slightly different hairstyles.
Though this isn’t my favourite graphic novel in the Manga Classics series, I would still recommend it for anyone looking for an introduction to the classics.
Title: The Heirs
Author: Susan Rieger
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release Date: May 23, 2017
The patriarch of the Falkes family dies in 2000, leaving behind his wife and five sons, Henry, Will, Sam, Jack, and Tom. A few months after Rupert Falkes dies, a woman sues his estate, claiming to have had a relationship with him and to be the mother of two of his sons. The Falkes sons fight with her in court, but their mother is suspiciously not surprised with this turn of events and even suggests that they should pay off the woman. The story follows these new events in their lives, as well as jumping back to things that happened to the Falkes boys’ parents and grandparents.
The beginning was very good, and I was excited to read the story. However, the storyline jumped to different times between paragraphs so I was always confused as to when things were happening. It would jump from the lives of the youngest generation, to the affairs of their parents, to an affair of a distant friend.
I found this story very confusing. Each chapter is named after a different character, and somewhat follows that character’s perspective of events. At the beginning of each chapter I was very disoriented and I had to figure out who was in this part of the story and when it was happening. It really slowed the story down.
I was very disappointed in this book. It had an intriguing premise, but it was poorly executed.
Title: Based on a True Story
Author: Elizabeth Renzetti
Publisher: House of Anansi
Release Date: June 5, 2014
Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti is about a former UK soap star, who struggles with alcoholism and drug abuse. It opens on Augusta Price leaving rehab, having completed another round. Her memoir is coming out on paperback so she has to do some press for it. She meets Frances Bleeker, an American journalist working in London, who interviews Augusta for a tabloid article to publicize the new paperback edition of her memoir. Frances is fired from her position soon after the interview and Augusta hires Frances to help her write a new memoir. Their first task is to fly to California to prevent Augusta’s former lover from publishing his own book about love, which Augusta assumes is about their romance. Frances has to support Augusta along their trip across the pond.
This book was a great and funny read. The duo of wild Augusta and sensible Frances make for some funny situations that they have to dig their way out of. Their relationship resembles the pairing of Miranda Priestly and Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. I recommend this book for some funny, relaxing entertainment.
Title: Shoebox Funeral
Author: Elizabeth Voltz
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Elizabeth Voltz grew up on a farm in Wolf Creek. She is one of ten kids. She is the second youngest. She often made her own fun by playing with the animals on the farm, particularly the cats. However, this also meant she had to bury her beloved friends starting from a young age. This memoir tells of her experiences with these animals.
I could relate to a lot of what she talked about in regards to the pet cats. She distinguished between the house cats and the barn cats. At my house, we feed a lot of stray cats. I like to play with some of the kittens and they all have names. I understood the emotional attachment she got to them, even when they weren’t really her pets. Often this attachment leads to heartbreak when they get sick or injured beyond recovery.
This is a well written book. I enjoyed a lot of it, but the heartbreaking stories of having to bury pets were too much for me. I’ve had to do that before and it dredged up too many unhappy memories. This is a good book, but too emotional for me.
Title: The Hockey Saint
Author: Howard Shapiro
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Release Date: Oct. 14, 2014
Tom Leonard is a hockey player and a sophomore in university. His coach made him assistant captain for the team and he may get a full scholarship for his next year at school. He lives with his grandmother because his parents were killed in a car accident when he was a kid. He loves hockey and his favourite player is Jeremiah Jacobson. When he finds out where Jeremiah lives, he goes and sits outside his house, just to think about the problems in his life. Jeremiah goes outside and starts talking to Tom. Jeremiah tells Tom that he lost his father as a child too, so he understands what Tom is feeling. He invites Tom to go out with him the next day.
When Tom meets him the next day, they go to a food bank where Jeremiah volunteers every week. Tom assumed that Jeremiah went there to sign autographs but he wants to help people. Then he takes Tom to his next stop at a hospital to visit with veterans and children with cancer. Jeremiah continues to defy Tom’s expectations of who a stereotypical athlete should be.
Tom learns that his idol is very generous. Jeremiah is a famous hockey player who uses his status to help people who are less fortunate. Tom is shocked when he does this without asking for recognition. There are some celebrities that do this in the real world. Celebrities, whether they are athletes, singers, actors, or another profession, have a lot of influence over large portions of the population so they could make a positive impact on the world if they use their influence in a good way. However, many don’t use their power to make positive changes.
This is a really good graphic novel because of the way it looks at helping people who are less fortunate. Tom’s assumptions of Jeremiah looking for recognition of his good deeds are also knocked down. I like this positive message in the story. It is the third graphic novel in a trilogy from Howard Shapiro. The first one is called The Stereotypical Freaks. You can find my review of it here.