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Elevetha

A Sea of Stars

 Teenaged. Clinomaniac. Caffeine Addicted. Fangirl. Bibliomaniac. Introverted. 

 

Challenge Participant

Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book Two: Spirits

Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book Two - Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino

There is so much background and landscape art in the LOK art books, which is probably my favorite thing about them. The artists have such a great grasp of color and lighting, and it really shines through in their landscape panels. Just beautiful.

The other thing that is so fascinating about these books, to me, is getting to see all the minuscule details that are so important and/or pretty, but all too often go unnoticed in the show. I also love re-watching the shows after reading the Art books and noting all the things I had missed before.

My one complaint is that I actually wish there was a little more text than there is in this series. It's about 2% text and info, which could probably be upped to at least 5%. I applaud them for making the book mostly about the art, but I like to read about some of the inspiration, inside stories, and making of.

The spirits were so whimsical and cute, when they weren't dark and creepy beyond all belief. I especially love the radish and grumpy carrot spirits!

**Yes, this is almost exactly the same review for this volume as for The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book Three: Change, as I had virtually the same thoughts about both of them.**

The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book Three: Change

The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book Three: Change - Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino

There is so much background and landscape art in the LOK art books, which is probably my favorite thing about them. The artists have such a great grasp of color and lighting, and it really shines through in their landscape panels. Just beautiful.

The other thing that is so fascinating about these books, to me, is getting to see all the minuscule details that are so important and/or pretty, but all too often go unnoticed in the show. I also love re-watching the shows after reading the Art books and noting all the things I had missed before.

My one complaint is that I actually wish there was a little more text than there is in this series. It's about 2% text and info, which could probably be upped to at least 5%. I applaud them for making the book mostly about the art, but I like to read about some of the inspiration, inside stories, and making of.

The spirits were so cute in this volume!!! And then there was this:

"What the world needed was to see what a hedgehog crossed with a tropical fruit might look like. Now we can all sleep a little easier at night."


Yes. Yes, we can.

Jackaby

— feeling amazing
Jackaby - William Ritter

Review to come someday. But this was very legit.

SPOILER ALERT!

Hold Me Like A Breath

Hold Me Like a Breath: Once Upon a Crime Family - Tiffany Schmidt

**SPOILER ALERT**

Well, that was disappointing.

First off, this cover is breathtaking. I mean, truly beautiful, though what it has to do with the book, I have no idea. The title is also eye-catching and what a play on words! That, thankfully, does fit the book exceedingly well.

All right, let's get down to business. This sounded like it would be incredible. I tried to prevent myself from getting overly excited for it, which ended up just as well, since it was a total dud.

The idea behind this story and the general plot is really quite something. The Organ Trade, a big old crime family, and a girl who can bruise from a touch. Add to that a logical retelling of the Princess and the Pea. I mean, the potential. Alas, it lived up to none of it and ended up being mediocre, at best.

Plot:

Among other things, Penny's whole family is murdered; she's on the run, fighting for her life; attempting to discover who murdered her family; trying to prevent those same people from trying over the Family business; AND trying to keep herself safe not only from the people chasing her down, but also her disease. Sounds busy and suspenseful, right? Nope. Because even among all this, Penny somehow finds time to fall head over heels in love with Char, and cutely flirt/date him for half the book after her parents and brother are murdered. And Char is also the heir of another Family, which I had so been hoping to avoid. Also, there's a bunch of shit about Garrett, Penny's long-time crush, short-time boyfriend, whom she moves on from instantly after seeing Char. (More on this under "Romance".) But the Family/Organ business eventually comes back into play, when it is discovered that, oh shocker, Garrett Ward's family, Penny's family's bodyguards, are the villains. Betrayal!! *yawn* Their last name is Ward, how is this a surprise?

Romance:

Ugh, why? So Penny goes from day-dreaming over Garett, her brother's best friend, to literally dreaming and mooning over Charlie, the hottest guy she's ever laid eyes on, within a few pages. And then wibble-wobbles back and forth briefly. And it was all so unnecessary and boring to read, not to mention mushy. It's almost as if the author wasn't sure what to do with Penny 100 pages in and decided that another love interest (from a rival Family, no less) would be the bestest thing to do. *facepalm*

Characterization:

I think the thing with Penny is that she is realistic. She's been sheltered her whole life, practically never leaves her family's estate, and just wants some freedom. She is whiny, naive, and makes a lot of stupid-ass decisions. (Attempting to run off with Garett after Carter's death, almost killing herself several hundred times, despite painful knowledge of her condition, etc) And to be honest, I'm not sure that I can blame her very much for a number of these things. But there's not denying that it was annoying to read because I wanted her to A. stop worrying about boys and B. focus on her family and keeping herself safe. The fact that Penny is alive at all is astonishing, quite frankly. By every single right in the universes, real and fictional, she should be dead. Anyways...At times, I empathized with her: her crippling disease, the murder of her whole family, but really, I found it hard to connect with her emotionally.

I didn't like Garett from the start and, while he wasn't as terrible as I thought he would be, he was still scum. I mean, sure he wanted to keep Penny safe, but his family killed hers and he did, oh, jack shit to do anything about it. But at least he semi-redeemed himself my taking a bullet at the end to save Penny. But still. And oh, your name sucks, Garett.

Charlie didn't really have a purpose, other than love interest and a nice intro to the Zhu Family. But other than that, he, as a character, and not a plot point, fell flat.

Penny's family was so little utilized. All we really get is snapshots and memories in a photo album, when I wanted the real deal. But by all accounts, for all their many many faults and illegal dealings, they meant well and weren't terrible people. I should have liked to have seen more of them. (I pretty much stopped caring, to be honest, when Carter was killed off.)

Writing:

Not a whole to say here. The prose was simplistic, but generally avoided being childish. Nothing to commend, and nothing to complain about either.

Fairytale Retelling???:

Um, what fairytale? The author goes on and on about it being a retelling of the Princess and The Pea and makes a truly compelling and interesting case for it in her Afterword. However, so far as I could tell, there was only one element of the original fairytale in the book: the one scene at the end where Penny sleeps on the tall cushy bed of a box spring, and a mattress, and a bazillion blankets and is bruised by....something, but we don't really know what. But even though that is indeed the crucial moment in the fairytale, for the two pages it takes up in the book, it felt more like a homage or a nod to the fairytale than an actual retelling.

Overall:

What this book had going for it in originality and basic story (ie. the description) it sorely lacked in execution. The potential was wasted, and I found it hard to care about Penny. Definitely won't be coming for the unnecessary sequel. (Though I'm sure the cover will be gorgeous.)

Sorcerer to the Crown

— feeling big smile
Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho

**An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

This was quite a lot of fun, with magical reforms and mermaids and malicious intent strewn about...and that's just the "M"s. But honestly, I enjoyed it greatly. Atmospherically, it had a nice blend of whimsy and gloom, and the characters were just right. Full review to come after publication.

Can't wait to read the sequel!

Geek Knits: Over 30 Projects for Fantasy Fanatics, Science Fiction Fiends, and Knitting Nerds

Geek Knits: Over 30 Projects for Fantasy Fanatics, Science Fiction Fiends, and Knitting Nerds - Kyle Cassidy, Toni Carr

I flipped through this geek knitting book for snits and giggles. It had some neat geeky designs and just a few equally bland designs, but overall was fun to look at. Also depressing, for I realized that I will never be a knitter. I mean, trying to read the language of Knit is more complicated than computer code.

Rook

Rook - Sharon Cameron

*DNF AT 104 PAGES*

Maybe someday, if I ever feel so inclined, I shall pick this back up and finish it, but I doubt it. It's not that it was horrible and I had to throw it against the wall in a fit of rage or disgust, but it was hardly compelling and the pacing was crap, not to mention that I hated Rene, the main love interest who is not who he says he is ooooooooooooh how exciting. Really, the only person I genuinely liked was Tom, Sophia's brother.

So until I hear otherwise that Rene disappears into an alternate dimension or has a visit from his good old friend the Razor, or that the rest of the book was worth slogging through, this one is a pass.

The Absent One

— feeling sure

I've been in a reading slump lately. Nothing I've read has kick-started that burning desire to keep reading, even if I enjoyed the book. In fact, a good number of the books lately have initiated the desire to give up or forgo it in favor of taking pictures of my hedgehog*. In addition to my slump, I've been crazy busy. Leading a youth retreat this past weekend and all the planning that went into it,  a two-week family vacation coming up tomorrow, as well as life in general, have been hindrances from my reading as much as I'd like to.

 

As I discovered recently, I am several *cough*thirty*cough*  books behind on my Reading Challenge this year. But I intend to fix that! Maybe not this month, and certainly not in the next two weeks, but soon. I can assure you, however, that when I return from my sojourn west, not only will my book count go up, but my reviews will be coming a lot more frequently. So hold on! 

 

*

Netgalley Advocate

— feeling excited
Challenge Participant
 
Whoooo, Netgalley!!!

Seven Dead Pirates

Seven Dead Pirates - Linda Bailey

**An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

While certainly not a terrible book, it simply wasn't doing anything for me. Mostly I think it was the tween-angst and the fact that the plot goes practically nowhere till page 250. But the ghosts were the best part of the book and a rather fun bunch, and the ending was lovely.

Full review to come closer to publication.

Muirwood: The Lost Abbey

Muirwood: The Lost Abbey Graphic Novel (Kindle Serial) (Legends of Muirwood) - Jeff Wheeler, Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Alex Sheikman, Lizzy John

**An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

1.5 stars. (Rounding up cause I didn't hate it.)

Okay, technically I only read the first issue of this, which was about 24 pages, since that's what was on Netgalley. I wasn't impressed with those 24 pages, however, certainly not enough to bother continuing with the series.

Full review to come closer to publication.

The Rise of Aurora West

The Rise of Aurora West - Paul Pope, J.T. Petty, David Rubín

A father and his daughter, battling monsters and on their way to avenging the death of Aurora's mother. The story was enjoyable, if not terribly original by any means, but I liked the relationship between Aurora and Haggard.

The art is definitely not the worst I've seen. It's mostly not so bad, though there are a fair amount of of cringe-worthy panels. Most notably, the proportions for Aurora as a child were awful and somewhat grotesque. Additionally, Ms. Grately's design is a bit odd: she's a big (very) masculine lady. 

Will be checking out The Fall of the House of West.

Supreme: Blue Rose

Supreme: Blue Rose - Warren Ellis, Tula lotay

**An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

This was a extremely trippy comic. Like, straight-up "what the heck is going on" trippy. To me, it kinda felt like a generic sci-fi story, but slightly more ambitious than most. You all know the ones, the ones that don't really make sense and you know it's sci-fi cause of words like "dimension", "continuum", "(universe) reset", and a whole slew of others. So while I didn't understand it, at all, it wasn't a terrible ride down Confusion Rollercoaster. But I'm not even going to bother to attempt to explain the plot. Nope.

The worst bit, to be honest, was the Professor Night story slides, just thrown in there randomly. They were jarring, and distracted me from what I thought was the main story. I still don't have any clue as to what was going on with him.

To be entirely honest, the cover is the only reason I requested this. And for that, I was not disappointed. The art was pretty dang good. I even stopped reading to stare at a few panels and take the artsy glory in; a rare occurrence with me and graphic novels. The use of color here was superb. The pop-art look was definitely in there, but mixed with something else, and the result was either exceptionally tolerable or rather pretty in places.

I did go into this with no previous knowledge of the source material, which was apparently a comic in the '90s?? (This explains so much.)

And this is rated mature?? I mean, teens, for sure, but I'm not sure it warranted a mature rating.

Lumberjanes Vol 1

Lumberjanes Vol. 1  - Brooke Allen, Grace Ellis,  Noelle Stevenson

Imagine a Girl Scouts' summer camp for hardcore lady types set in the small town of Gravity Falls, with essences of an all-female Gaang. And that's Lumberjanes.

Really fantastic art, with some quirky yet lovable characters, and zany goings-on. Much like Gravity Falls, don't question WHY there are three-eyed foxes, a sea monster in the lake, or boy scouts possessed...just follow the cryptic clues at every turn. Another thing I liked is that it's feminist, yes, but not feminazi. It's as feminism should be, but so rarely is.

Complaints consist of 1). The weird lesbian girl-crush between Mal and Molly, but it's fairly easy to look past. Still, though, not only that, but they're middle-graders. It's creepy. And 2). Part of the Lumberjanes pledge is:

then there's a line about God, or whatever

which is just a sad representation of our culture, however true.

Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge

**Skim read from page 120+** I know I missed a lot of plot stuff due to the skimming, but I don't really care. But if something I say below is truly amiss, feel free to let me know.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. I wanted so very much for it to be a favorite, even though I knew it was improbable that I'd love it. Fairytale retellings are my thing, I can't get enough, but sometimes they don't sit right with me. Maybe I simply wasn't in the right mood for this, but it was a little too dark for my taste. And the oddly sexual vibe I was getting from the evil forestborn wasn't helping matters. I had a sense of things to come when young Rachelle is forcibly kissed in the forest on page 12...

Hodge's prose is lovely, if occasionally royal purple, but her writing leaves something to be desired. She explains things in such a way I'm not sure she even knows what something really is. I still have very little clue as to what the bloodbound are. And goodness, did this really need to be over 400 pages? I think not.

The love triangle was so annoying. I must have hit every kissing/flirting scene, even with all the page flipping and skipping I was doing. I am so done with love triangles. SO. DONE.

I never saw what went on with the Devourer, but he/it strongly reminded me of Fenris from Norse mythology, especially since he was swallowing the sun and moon. I'm sure something quite important went on with him, or he was Armand, or some such, but quite frankly...

I couldn't be bothered to care. I wanted to, but it just wasn't doing a darn thing for me. And life is too short to read those kinds of books. So undoubtedly this is someone's type of book, but it wasn't mine.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek - Sam Maggs

2 stars pretty much solely for the paragraph on Star Wars, all the times Stargate was mentioned, and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles recommendation.

First off, who is exactly is this written for? It claims to be written for "girl geeks" but the sad truth is that, aside from a few references and comments you'd need to be in the know to get,this offers practically zero information that geeks, or human beings in general, wouldn't already know.

At this point, is there anyone who considers themselves to be a girl geek who doesn't know what Potterheads are?? I doubt it. Or who doesn't know to bring water and cash and comfortable shoes, even if you're cosplaying, to a convention?

And Magg's brand of feminism was too strong for my taste. Not even really feminism, for most of it. Towards the end of the book, she states a general definition of feminism that was spot-on, but it didn't really mesh with the message strewn throughout the book, as the book as a whole tends to put women on a pedestal. Sure, some guys, geeks or otherwise, are bound to be jerks, but some girls, geeks or otherwise, are bitchy. We aren't these amazing incredible paragons of humanity. We shouldn't need to be told we're beautiful to be validated. And we certainty don't need to nay-say males in an attempt to prove our equality superiority.

Her section on internet trolls was at the same time absolutely true and utterly laughable. I read the first few entries and then skipped over the rest. We had a Fire Troll and a Frost Troll and approximately 7 other ridiculously named versions of trolls, some of which were legitimate trolls that she nailed and some that really weren't. One of such trolls was someone that will comment about grammar. The horror.

Additionally, this is one of the most politically correct books to ever PC. I can't even. And remember: "You don't need to identify as female to read this book!!" That's really good, because I identify as hedgehog. *eye roll*

It's essentially an mostly boring, and rarely amusing, overly feminist introduction to the world of fandom and internet.