First Lines Friday – July 20

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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 are my first lines:

“I wasn’t sure how it had happened. But Jesse Foster was kissing me. I was kissing him back, opening my eyes every few seconds to verify it was really, actually happening, to see the twinkle lights and garlands strung up around the basement, the Santa hat listing on the banister post, and sure enough, Jesse Foster above me, his hands in my hair, his brown eyes closed.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Save the Date by Morgan Matson.

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Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

I loved this book. You can find my review here. Have you read it?

Review: Herakles Book 1

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Title: Herakles Book 1
Author: Edouard Cour
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Lion Forge
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Author Edouard Cour revisits one of the greatest Greek myths by painting the often-heroic Herakles as, well . . . somewhat of a jerk. Crude and stubborn at times, in little glimpses we meet a man—half-human, after all—with a psychology more complex than he appears, entangled in guilt over the ghosts who have haunted him since childhood. A mournful sadness seizes him as he crosses the fleeting silhouettes of a woman and her three children.  “Friends or foe, all those who cross his path end up stiff and worm food,” ​​comments Linos, the ghost of his childhood music teacher.

Brimming with pathos and dark humor, this portrait of Herakles is a graphic whirlwind leaving little respite and often revealing beautiful surprises.

Review:

I love Greek mythology, but the story of Heracles is one that I never read.

I think this book is meant for fans of the story, rather than new readers. I know the general story, that he had to do tasks, but not specifics. I was confused through most of the story, especially by all of the different characters. There was a glossary of characters at the end of the book, but it would have been much more helpful at the beginning.

Herakles wasn’t a likeable character at all. He was a jerk most of the time, and pretty gross. He also passed most of his tests by fluke, and without using much skill.

Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me.

What to read next:

  • Mythic, Volume 1 by Phil Hester, John McCrea

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Have you read Herakles Book 1? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – July 19

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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 The Last Magician (The Last Magician #1) by Lisa Maxwell.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

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

Review: My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1)

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Title: My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Gift
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

Review:

I loved this book! It definitely lived up to the hype.

I loved how this history was similar to real history but slightly different. A few years ago, I read some Philippa Gregory books, and I loved the ones about the Tudors the best. The war between the Eðians (people who could turn into animals) and the Verities (people who didn’t think people should turn into animals) mimicked the real fight between Protestants and Catholics.

I liked the twists throughout the story. I could predict some of the things that happened, but some surprised me. Most things seemed like they could be real, but then someone would turn into a horse or bird and the scene would become comedic.

One thing that I picked up on right away was that G kept coming up with lines of poetry, which would later be in Shakespeare’s plays. You’ll just have to read the book to find out that connection.

There were many funny parts in this story. I laughed out loud quite a few times. This was a clever way to retell history with a fantasy spin.

What to read next:

  • My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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  • Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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  • Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think of it?
  • ‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – July 18

    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 Becoming Belle by Nuala O’Connor.

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    Goodreads Synopsis:

    Based on the true story of a woman destined for stardom, and the boundary-crossing love affair that enthralled Victorian London.

    In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest daughter of a middle-class military family in a small garrison town. By 1891, she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of her rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down
    With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle and takes the city by storm. A true bohemian and the star of a double act she performs with her sister, she soon falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, though his ruthless father makes it clear that he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place. As their marriage takes center stage in London’s courtrooms and in the newspapers, Belle finds herself on trial not only for her wedding vows, but for the very life she’s fought so hard to create.
    An inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, Becoming Belle is a celebration of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time.

    What books are you waiting on this week?

    Review: Bad Girls

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    Title: Bad Girls
    Author: Alex de Campi, Victor Santos
    Genre: Graphic Novel
    Publisher: Gallery 13
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Release Date: July 17, 2018
    Rating: ★★★

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    Goodreads Synopsis:

    In this heart-pounding, starkly colored, and visually stunning graphic novel, three women have twelve hours to get out of Cuba with six-million dollars on the night of New Year’s Eve 1958.

    Gangster’s moll Carole, jazz singer Taffy, and mambo queen Ana all have their reasons for needing to escape the El Eden Casino in Havana. And on the tumultuous night of New Year’s Eve, when Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the country and the nation falls to Fidel Castro, they get their chance…with the help of six suitcases filled with stolen dirty money. Of course, it’s one thing to get the cash…and quite another to get off the island alive.

    From the Eisner-nominated writer Alex de Campi and virtuoso artist Victor Santos, this story of three strong and multifaceted women struggling to leave their pasts behind in a tension-filled getaway is timely, fast-paced, and gripping.

    Review:

    The description of this book makes it sounds like an Oceans Eleven-type heist. But it wasn’t quite like that. There was a lot of murder and politics involved.

    I found many of the scenes confusing. The style was a little noir and a little art deco. The scenes were done in monochromatic colours with a lot of shadows, so it was hard to distinguish between characters unless you look very carefully. The men all looked alike and wore similar suits so I got them mixed up, but the women wore different dresses and had different hair styles so it was easy to differentiate between them.

    There was a lot of tension in this book. There were some murders and an attempted rape. Some of these scenes were hard to read. There was also a lot of political upheaval in terms of the communists taking over Cuba.

    Unfortunately, this book isn’t for me. It wasn’t the type of story I usually like, but I’m sure other readers will enjoy it.

    What to read next:

    • Mayday by Alex de Campi, Tony Parker, Blond

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    • Smoke 1: Good Boys Grow Up To Be Soldiers by Alex de Campi, Igor Kordey

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    Have you read Bad Girls? What did you think?

     

    Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Short Stories/Novellas

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    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 Favourite Short Stories/Novellas. For this list, I revisited the short stories and collections I read in university, so some of them are pretty heavy. Here’s my list:

    1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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    2. The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

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    3. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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    4. A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor

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    5. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

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    6. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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    7. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

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    8. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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    9. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

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    10. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

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    (All photos taken from Goodreads)