Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October Mini Reviews

I've been lucky enough to read a lot of books early this year, so today I'm going to be sharing how I felt about four October releases!


Title: The Darkdeep (The Darkdeep, #1)
Authors: Ally Condie & Brendan Reichs
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury*

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
Well, this was definitely a fun adventure! But there are some similarities to Stranger Things and it's almost like it was trying to BE that show at times (just not set in the 80s). The characters were their own, though. I really liked them a lot, and I'm such a fan of friend groups tackling evil things and saving each other and uncovering secrets probably best left buried. And while this isn't typically my type of story, I enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to the sequel!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: Hearts Unbroken
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 9th, 2018!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Candlewick*

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
Aw, I really liked this one! It's a heartwarming story about one teenager's trials and triumphs over senior year. But Louise Wolfe has one thing that makes that a bit more difficult than it should be: she's Native American. And people are racist assholes, especially her ex-boyfriend who, if I remember correctly, does have a LEARNING moment, but she still deserved better than him. She got that in Joey. He exasperates her as much as he excites her, and they have some missteps along the way, but their romance is super sweet. And I loved that it never overshadowed what Louise wanted out of life. Hearts Unbroken was about a Native girl just trying to navigate her last year in high school.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018!

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
This was SO GOOD omg. I didn't love it like I loved The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, but that was a topnotch book to beat. And I think I expected just a bit more out of Felicity's story than I got. I loved the ace rep, the way that Felicity says fuck society! and goes after her dreams in a world where women aren't allowed to do much of anything. At least, without a man's approval. But the plot was sorely lacking in pirates, and I didn't always care for the turn it took. And there just wasn't enough of Monty and Percy for me. :D But really, I'm such a fan of Mackenzi's style, and I wanna read historical fiction by her forever and always, thank you.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

Title: Salt
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: October 30th, 2018!
*eARC kindly provided by Chronicle Books via NetGalley*

Find it on Goodreads.

My Review!
This book was... HMM. I feel very in-the-middle with it. On the one hand, it's a fast, likable read about a monster hunting family who basically lives on the ocean. On the other, I felt that the sibling dynamics were just a bit too WEIRD at times. (I would never walk around in front of my brothers naked. I know they lived on that boat all alone together and there's very little privacy but omg). And the ending was suuuuper anticlimactic. They were going after this impressive sea monster, hoping to find their parents, and then it's over just. like. that. All in all, though, I'm glad I gave it a chance!
Rating: 3 Paw Prints!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

(105) Top Ten Perfect Movies for Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was started by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic: Halloween/Creepy Freebie

1. Hocus Pocus
This list isn't in any kind of order, but this would definitely be my #1. I watch it every October (though I haven't done that yet this year, and omg I'm running out of time). It's so ridiculous sometimes, but I fucking love it. THACKERY BINX MY BABY.

2. Practical Magic
Funny, warm-hearted story with a dark edge to it, which is my jam. Plus the relationship between the two sisters at the heart of it just hits me right in the feels. I try to watch this one every October too. Sometimes you just need that perfect revenge plot to get you through terrible times.

3. Hotel Transylvania
This is one of my favorite animated movies! I didn't care for the second one as much, but I thought the first was so funny and unique and cool.

4. Matilda
My magical bookworm! When I was a kid, I WANTED to be Matilda. Of course, I didn't want her shitty life, but I wanted her powers. I loved this story of overthrowing her school's headmistress and finding a home with someone who loves her. (This is probably the least Halloween-ish movie/show on this list, but I DON'T CARE).

5. Ghostbusters (2016)
While definitely not horror-filled or scary, I'm still counting it because GHOSTS. I love all things to do with ghosts, and this remake is fucking hilarious.

6. Edward Scissorhands
I know Johnny Depp is trash, but this movie has always been one of my favorites!

7. James and the Giant Peach
This is one of those Disney classics that I watched all the time when I was kid, even when the story creeped me out. (I HATE BUGS). But it's pretty perfect for Halloween, if you're looking for a story about a boy and the giant peach he sails away on from his terrible aunts, and the bugs who become his lifelong friends.

8. Coco
You'll need something to cleanse the palate. Coco is a gorgeous, GORGEOUS story. I mean seriously, it's probably the most beautiful imagery I've ever seen in an animated movie. But not only that, there's good music, it's set during Día de Muertos (which is cooler than Halloween, tbh), and so many family feels, it's ridiculous. I sob every time I watch it.

9. A Quiet Place
I JUST watched this one this past weekend, and omg. How rude that it ends like that. Also was not expecting such intense feels over a horror movie, but this one hits you right in the heart with the family at the core of it.

10. The Haunting of Hill House
I HAD to add this TV show on here because oh my god, guys, it is SO GOOD. It's the perfect mix of psychological and paranormal (I still don't know what to categorize it as). It's definitely a bit scary, but by the halfway point, it becomes less about the horror and more about the family at the center of it. They are so dysfunctional and there is too much in the past, so many buried and repressed feelings and a lot of fucking grief, but you love them anyway. And you just want them to find a place of healing and to be there for each other. The Crains got to me, and I'm honestly probably going to rewatch the episodes soon. Both because I KNOW I didn't catch everything the first time around, and because I miss these characters. I would die for Theo and Nellie and Luke. MY BABIES. *sobs* 

Looking at this list, I'm just not really a horror person with movies and TV. And not because they freak me out; I just feel blah about them. Like, they're good entertainment, but that's about it. Only two have ever terrified me: the original It, which I never finished, and the Saw series (and I've only seen the first two of those because nope). I just love the feel-good movies. I love the slightly creepy, gothic, magical ones. I picked movies about monsters and ghost hunters, talking insects and witches. And I think they are PERFECT for Halloween!

What are some of YOUR favorite movies and shows that you'd recommend watching during the month of October? Obviously I need a list for next Halloween. :D And do you love any of these too?

Monday, October 29, 2018

One of the Biggest Disappointments of the Year

Title: The Boneless Mercies
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018!
*I picked up a copy of this at ALA Annual.

From Goodreads...
A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. 

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

My Review!

Yay, it’s time for another list!

The Positives:
+ The atmosphere and world-building were on point. I was very hooked on the stories and the different parts of Vorseland. And I remember very little of Beowulf, so I couldn’t say how well it was reimagined, but it felt very like the story.

+ This was a VERY readable and fast-paced book. But not much really happened? There was a lot of walking and running and storytelling and little actual fighting.

The Negatives:
- This was tragically heteronormative. Like, are you really telling me there are no queer characters/couples here? Yeah, sure. Also, there were moments (like with Siggy’s story and Ovie’s nods toward Runa) that I felt were supposed to be showing more romantic feelings? But then there were only m/f pairings, ever. Ridiculous.

- I just didn’t feel like we got to know the characters at all, even the main one, Frey. They all shared their stories once, and then that was it. There was nothing more to them, and then I couldn’t seem to care enough. Because they weren’t unlikable; in fact, I quite liked them. But they weren’t 3D characters. The surfaces were barely scratched, and the only relationship that was strong was the one between the four girls: Frey, Runa, Ovie, and Juniper.

- There wasn’t really a romance, and I didn’t really mind. But I did hate how the author wrote Trigve and Frey’s relationship, because it seemed one way, and then wasn’t. I don’t know if that was intended, but it was weird. And then I was like, oh, that’s why I felt more when a random Quick boy kissed her than when they were together. Still, I thought Trigve’s character was unnecessary in general.

- Everything was just too easy. The way they got away from one of the other jarls who was mad they gave a dead girl a good burial. The way that the sea witches and the pig mythics gave them the answers they needed to kill the beast. The way that the Cut-Queen just gave up, because she’s needed to come back in the sequel and start another Witch War. And, something that didn’t sit well with me: the way that they killed every single one of the Willows, the Cut-Queen’s lost and angry girls. I know they had to fight to survive and get their way out of the marshes. But these Boneless Mercies were tired of death, and they were compassionate. Supposedly. And like, I could’ve gotten with it, if they’d shown any remorse or grief about their murdering spree. The whole thing about them was that they didn't WANT to kill anymore. They all walked away with blood on them, but then they washed that off and moved on as if had been nothing. WHAT?

- I think that was partly why I couldn’t get a full grasp of who each of them were through all the telling, because nothing happened to draw out their emotions. I didn’t feel anything. And like I said, their whole journey was easy, even the death of their Mercy-sister, Runa. DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT ONE. *remembers her ending* TOO LATE. I’m fucking mad. She should’ve gone with the Quicks and hunted the forests like she’d always wanted, but no. Then she was the only character who mattered that died (not even Trigve? Come the fuck on). And some other character I don’t give one fuck about is gonna take her dream instead? N O P E.

- The fact that this is probably gonna be a series. I just really, really want some goddamn standalone fantasies, guys. I’m getting tired.

- The epilogue was so boring, to be honest. You’re telling me Frey just walked away from it all, a life with Roth and the adventures they could’ve gone on, and that was it? PLEASE. Her ambition and pride over being a warrior and wanting to be remembered for something was the only thing about her that I loved.

This was just… not at all like I’d expected it to be. It was full of badass girls who slayed a beast no man could kill, but who were they beyond that? You could not tell me. And like I said, this was just too easy of a book. Sadly, The Boneless Mercies is one of the biggest disappointments of 2018.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

15 Short Retellings of East and South Asian Folklore

Title: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Authors: edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: June 26th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. 

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate. 

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong. 

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.

My Reviews!
*Minor spoilers*

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi: It was an ill-fated thing to claim that a heart is safe. Hearts are rebellious. The moment they feel trapped, they will strain against their bindings. It had all the flavor I've come to expect from Roshani's writing, and it did not disappoint me. But wow, SUCH SADNESS. It's not a happily-ever-after kind of tale, which is definitely not a bad thing. Sometimes, life just doesn't work out. And people harden their hearts and turn bitter and angry over the smallest of moments.

Rating: 4 stars

Olivia's Table by Alyssa Wong: "If you honor everything I've taught you, then I promise that I will never leave you." Ohhh, I loved this one so much. It's a story of grief and healing, of letting go and honoring those who came before you. Olivia finally follows in her mom's footsteps, to cook for the ghosts at the Ghost Festival, so that they can move on. Because of her food, they're able to find peace. Her mom had done it, and now she would. And I just loved those quiet moments in here, the ones that spoke of tradition and mourning and giving voice to people who are forgotten. Simply amazing! 

Rating: 5 stars

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee: was enjoyable, but not to my tastes really. I'm not a huge science fiction person, though I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this. Yer thinks her father's an android, after he's been keeping secrets. He was taken when the recall happened, and she never knew what had transpired except that her mother died and her father changed. But tables are turned, and while I wasn't surprised by the twist, I didn't mind so much. It was an interesting take on deception and trickery! 
Rating: 3.5 stars

Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra: "You don't know how to choose until you're right there, on the precipice, giving away your everything for something that may be real or may be a shadow, a ghost you're chasing."Young Taara meets a boy at a party and finds more than she was ever expecting. But I'm a *little* confused? Why was Nick constantly searching for Taara, when it's her mom his soul had fallen in love with in a previous life? Or was it Taara instead? IDK, MAN. I get the star-crossed love thing, and the story it's based on. But this just didn't quite hit the mark for me, and I spent more time wondering what the hell was happening. 

Rating: 2.5 stars

The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette de Bodard: Cam's hand remains hanging in the air, with the touch of Tam's fingers still on hers, not sure whether she should laugh or cry or both. I ADORED this one! Not only was the writing beautiful, but so was the relationship between the two sisters. In spite of all they've been through, and how different they are, their bond stays strong and true, and that ending was amazing. I was so impressed with this one, and I would gladly have read MORE of it! 
Rating: 5 stars

The Land of the Morning Calm by E.C. Myers: Mom didn't disappear with the game or the kumiho bead. Part of her has continued on in me and in our memories, and in everything she created in life. omg this one almost made me cry. I teared up in the latter half, in the moments between Sun Moon and her mom, who died five years ago. Sun is just trying to move on, to heal, but there's something holding her back. Her grandfather thinks her mom is a gwisin, a ghost who keeps haunting them. But what Sun finds is so much more, and through it all, she's able to let go. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS ONE. 
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Smile by Aisha Saeed: Belonging meant he could place me wherever he liked, whether in his bed or in this dank tower. Belonging is not love. It never was. And another: "As long as I live within these walls I am not free. My heart is all I have to freely give." Oh, what a story! This is about a girl named Naseem, a beautiful dancer who catches the eye of the prince, and becomes his courtesan. He renames her, uses her, and what love looks like is only a relationship born of his whims. Not hers. So she chooses her heart, her freedom, over a life that feels like chains around her wrists. 
Rating: 4 stars

Girls Who Twirl and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber: Hundreds of thousands of gods, and sometimes one sees you. Preeti's story was super fun! Girls exacting revenge on a jackass boy who never apologizes for his dancing aggression? YES, PLEASE. It was interspersed with the story of Ma Durga and Mahishasur, a legendary battle between good and evil. And while Dinesh TOTALLY deserved the embarrassment he got, the girls start to feel a little bad. So they help him out, and the holiday is saved, and the main character, Jaya, gets her flirt on. 
Rating: 3.5 stars

Nothing Into All by Renee Ahdieh: "Promises from a thief are as useful to me as a pebble in my shoe." Renee is one of my favorite authors, so I couldn't wait to read her story! And it was good. It was about a complicated sibling relationship, which is one of my weaknesses. Chun and Charan are so different from one another, and their history is messy, that you almost wonder why Charan makes the choice she does at the end of it. But forgiveness can be freeing. And I loved that this was centered around goblins, and magic, and the question of what treasures one would ask for if they could. 
Rating: 4 stars

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia: was very... boring. So this MC gets a visit from a god, and without knowing what he's getting into, he's thrust into a war that seems to have no point to it. And so he wonders why the fuck he's there, and what he should do. So... he literally stops everyone in the midst of battle to get an answer that is less-than-convincing, and he goes home a coward. Like, sorry, I know you're ordinary and you don't think this gods-war that you have no part of is not worth dying for, but you ran away from it. You weren't brave like the heroes you admire. Ugh, I don't know. I just didn't care about any part of this story. 
Rating: 2 stars

Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz: was about vampires. Or aswangs, in the case of our main character, Aida. Once her mother died, she left the Philippines and has been searching for home ever since then. From New Delhi to London, she never stays in place one long. But when she overhears a rumor about vampires in New York, she goes there and gets in at this super-elite private school. And what she finds is a coven, and possibly a home, even if the mean-girl who hates her is the one welcoming her in it. I'm not really a vampire fan, but I liked this! 
Rating: 3 stars

Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman: "Don't forget we're only ever soldiers here in Shangyu, and soldiers never get to be the ones who wake up from a spell, or who even get to break a spell. We're just the dragons guarding the gate, ordered to keep breathing the fire of those who cast the spell in the first place." I loved this one! It's sad; it's heartbreaking. It's a retelling of what is considered the Chinese version of Shakespeare's most famous tragic (though this one is far older), so I guess I shouldn't have expected a happy ending. But oh, man, had I wished for it so much for these characters. They deserved more than a war-torn country and their soldierly duties. 
Rating: 4 stars

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar: Hers, they promised, was a heart meant to be shared with one who could not only bear her light but would even reflect it back at her. It was SO GOOD. I've read a previous story from Shveta (in the Toil & Trouble anthology), and loved it too, so I was eager to read this one. And it did not disappoint. I wasn't sure where it was gonna go, but I ended up adoring the way that Savitri tricks the apsara into prolonging the life of her beloved, the only person who matches her heart and reflection. Her cunning and bravery and determination were a sight to behold. 
Rating: 4 stars

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon: It was so easy to love, but no one had ever warned me of loss. Told in a unique narration, by the goddess herself, telling us readers the true tale of her and her love, Cowherd. The goddess was the youngest of seven girls, but she had the most beautiful color: crimson. And she was a firecracker. She wanted and desired, and she played her parts perfectly. Until one day, when she discovered a boy and his ox in the forest, and she decided to get to know him. This story was super great! 
Rating: 4.5 stars

Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa: omg THAT ENDING. I was reading this and liking it, and then I ended up REALLY enjoying it by the time I finished. Of course, I loved the kitsune fox shape-shifters (because foxes are my faves), and I liked how it was woven in with a boy who just wanted to save his family and his village. But while what happened is sad, that ending was fabulous! 
Rating: 4 stars

Overall Thoughts:
This has been one of my favorite anthologies that I've read so far! I only disliked two of the stories, and I largely loved the rest of them. A few brought tears to my eyes, and there were others that blew my mind. I love how varied the collection was; how it was contemporary and fantasy and science fiction and mythology. There's something in here for everyone, and I'd gladly read multiple books like this! 


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My Favorite Episodes from Season 1 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine

When I started rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I decided to talk about why I love this show so much. It's becoming my ultimate favorite. Nothing gives me such feel-good happiness like this one. I will say, though, that the amount of fat jokes kind of sucks (but if I recall, the later seasons aren't that bad). Sometimes, the humor doesn't always hit me right. But overall, I think it's the best show currently running. At least, the best COMEDY. Because it does try to steer away from the super inappropriate and nasty; instead choosing to focus more on relevant topics, character development and relationships, and how you can have a show like this be heartfelt and sincere, but still great as fuck in its hilariousness.

So I thought I'd be able to do a top ten, but then I realized I didn't HAVE to. Because while I love everything about this show, the first season is not my favorite. Don't get me wrong, it's fucking GOOD. But I think the latter seasons not only got better, but funnier, as well. So this is a shorter list, and it's not really based on how much I laughed during the episodes, but by the feels and character development and the building up of relationships that I super love. (Mostly the Jake/Amy romance, to be quite honest).

7. Tactical Village (episode 19)

This one is just fun! Rosa's pissed at Boyle and keeps hurting him, and Jake is trying desperately to keep Amy and Teddy apart. Haha. But I love any kind of competition episode! Plus this is when Jake is starting to realize that maybe he might actually like Amy.

6. Thanksgiving (episode 10)

When Jake calls the squad his family, my heart melts. And omg Boyle Bingo is the best. And I loooove it when he saves Thanksgiving for them all!

5. The Vulture (episode 5)
I HATE The Vulture, but he definitely brings some fantastic comedic relief to the show. And I love how the squad teams up against him whenever he's around.

4. The Party (episode 16)
omg the episode where Terry tries to teach them all social manners, so they can attend Kevin's party and not embarrass the captain. But then they all fuck that up, by being themselves, their stupid and ridiculous selves. 😂

3. Charges and Specs (episode 22)
The finale of season one, where a few things happen: the squad is told to back off of a case, but they refuse to listen, and Jake ends up getting fired so he can go undercover, AND Jake tells Amy that he likes her! Also this is one of the moments where you start to see how evolved Jake's relationship with Captain Holt has gotten. It's such a big thing, for Jake to give Holt that trust. They come SUCH a long way in this season!

2. Halloween (episode 6)
*source credit*

The start of the best episodes of all-time: the Halloween bets. Jake bets Holt that he can steal his medal of valor by midnight, and he DOES with the help of the squad. It's such a fun episode, and I love every single Halloween one in the latter seasons too.

1. The Bet (episode 13)
*source credit*

THIS ONE. omg. Okay, so when I first watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I wasn't as into Jake and Amy as a couple. But upon every subsequent rewatch, I end up loving them more and more because their relationship unfolds in such a genuine way. And it's one of the healthiest I've seen on TV. They really do care for one another, even when it didn't seem like it because Jake could be so immature (and STILL can be) and it took me awhile to love him as a character. But oh man, their stakeout "date" is one of my favorite parts of season one. It's so fucking cute.

Do you guys watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine too? If so, what do you think of it? And if not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Backing Bookish Projects on Kickstarter

A long, long time ago, the community was in an outrage over a YA author starting a Kickstarter to write and give us a sequel that her publisher didn't want. And I would've LOVED that, but at the time, I was one of those who was like, wtf is this?! Though I hadn't agreed with it at the time, I definitely have some regret over how I personally handled it. And because of this, I didn't try to give Kickstarter a chance until last year. I think fundraising websites like this are a great way to bringing to life art and stories that wouldn't otherwise get published. I especially love backing graphic novels, comics, and anthologies.

If you, like me, were a little worried about getting screwed over, don't fret! I've currently backed 31 projects. And of those that should have gotten to me by the first half of 2018 have, except for two of them (one of which didn't have a delivery date until December; the other because the author is still working on it and sends consistent updates). I haven't NOT gotten my rewards. If you want, you can always check on the validity of who is hosting the fundraiser, see if they've done more than one, check out how many people are backing it. I've found that most people are honest and upfront about what they're selling.

I do, however, wish some creators would be more open about the book details. I've come to realize I prefer volumes instead of issues, so I don't buy the latter unless it's digital, and that's something I always need to know. I also typically only back for digital copies now (and they're usually not more than $10, depending on the host), unless I'm SURE I'll love the book, or it's just so pretty I want my own physical copy. I mostly back publishing and book-related Kickstarters, but I've also done a few others. And I have very few regrets. So yeah, here are some of the bookish projects I think are worth checking out!

Queer Witch Anthologies
I ADORED these ones! Full of magic-y, queer goodness. I thought the first one was slightly better, but I'm still happy to have my own copies of them. 

You can buy these here. You can't back their Heartwood anthology with all nonbinary creators anymore, but be on the lookout for it. I'm sure it's gonna be GOOD. :D

Sparkler Monthly
Sparkler Monthly is a digital magazine for webcomics. I decided to back their Year 5 KS so I could see what kinds of stories they've got, and I really enjoyed what I read! (Except for Gatesmith). I think it's definitely something to look into if you really love comics!

A Muslim Love Story Anthology
A wonderful collection of love in all its forms!

Valor Volumes 1 & 2
I LOVED THESE ANTHOLOGIES! They are mostly filled with comics, but there are some written stories inside. And they are inspired by fairytales, which is one of my favorite things. I can't wait for the 3rd one! 

You can buy volumes one and two on this website!

Finding Home
I read this one when it was free online, so I could see whether I wanted a physical (because omg, it's just so pretty). And I really enjoyed it! It's probably still up online if you wanna take a look at it. Or you can buy a copy of it here

New from Alice Oseman
It's so funny, but I still haven't read any of her books yet. But when I heard about this KS, I knew I had to back it. And omg I'm so glad I did, because it's the best graphic novel I've ever read. It was endearingly sweet, gentle, with two cinnamon roll boys who are figuring themselves and each other out. I'm DYING to know when I'll be able to get volume 2, but it won't be until next year. *sobs*

Alice has said that there will probably be copies left to buy later, BUT ALSO, it just got picked up by her publisher so this first volume will be out in February! However, it IS free-to-read here. If you can't possibly wait. :D It's so good; I seriously recommend it to everyone!!

An LGBTQ+ Comics Anthology
Oh, this was SO GOOD! There were a few comic stories that confused because they didn't come together all that well, and it could've been edited a bit better, but I enjoyed so much about this. I loved the message about being true to yourself, and how this anthology celebrated queerness. I'm not sure if there'll be a way to get it outside of the finished KS, but if you're interested, I'd suggest keeping on the lookout for that.

100% I'll have another Kickstarter post at some point because I've got more projects to read. :D But until then, I truly suggest taking a look at what there is. You may just find a new favorite creator or book.

A new publishing project that just got on my radar! Electrum: a Mixed-Race Comics Anthology, and you can back it here. :D I hope you enjoyed this post!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Atmospheric and Feminist: Sawkill Girls

Title: Sawkill Girls
Author: Claire Legrand
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018!

From Goodreads...
Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

My Review!
The Positives!
+ Queer representation, including girls who like girls and an ace MC. I can’t speak on the ace rep, but I loved the way that Claire wove that in with Zoey’s story. Also sex positivity for the win!

+ Messy, complicated characters. I’m always a fan of the ~unlikable~ characters, sometimes even more than ones who are seemingly perfect. Because the fact is, no one is perfect, and as such, we shouldn’t expect characters to be either. And I love that here there were angry girls. Girls who made bad choices and who were a bit selfish at times and who just wanted to be allowed to love and live. SO great!

+ Grayson, my soft boy who bakes and who loves Zoey so much and who seems to always know just what to say.

+ Messy, complicated relationships. Because Val, Zoey, and Marion are messy teens, so are their relationships with the people in their life. And again, that’s REALISTIC. I’m always here for them!

+ FEMINISM. It’s very much a girl power story, and I loved that. And not only because the girls were at the center of this mystery and fighting it, but because through them, Claire slashes the patriarchy and dismisses society’s harmful expectations of what girls should act like and be.

The Negatives!
- The Collector itself. I don’t know what I expected from this book, but I guess I thought it would be more paranormal/thriller-y than demons. And not that demons are bad, but they’re not my thing. I couldn’t buy into it, tbh. 

- The story didn’t feel atmospheric, which I’d also hoped for? It was very descriptive, but it didn’t feel like anything new. It didn’t creep me out. 

There are FAR more positives here than negatives, but I just don’t feel that strongly about this book? I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It was very in-the-middle, and even though I feel that way, I still love how Claire Legrand writes. And I KNOW that this is just a me thing, and that others will love this story. It’s definitely good. It just wasn’t for me.


Friday, October 12, 2018

From the Den: September Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could still tell y'all about them. :)


Katrina Kendrick aka Elizabeth May
It sucks that Elizabeth had to out her romance pen name before she was ready, but I was so happy because I'd wanted to read the books but I didn't know how to find them! And I enjoyed the hell out of them both, though I didn't love them. I accidentally read HSL first, WHOOPS. But it didn't really affect my enjoyment. You don't *need* to read the two in order. And omg I'm so excited for the next one! 
Ratings: 3 and 3.5 Paw Prints!

Oh man, I enjoyed the HELL out of this! It'd been on my TBR forever, and I was in the mood for a romance, and I'm glad I finally got to it. It's so fun. I adored the independent and brilliant chef, Audrey, and her grumpy farmer. But the best part was the Shipley family. I loved their banter and interactions, and how they love each other so completely. I sometimes enjoyed that more than the relationship, to be honest. Still, I was thoroughly into it, and I love that it's set on an orchard and farm in Vermont. And I'm SO excited for Jude's book!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

OH SO GOOD. I loved that queer relationships were just a *norm* and that Kaisa and Ash were able to find their way to that ending. I hadn't been sure how it would end, but I was pleasantly surprised with it all. You can definitely see the Cinderella influences, and I liked that it also had fairies and fairytales in it. So many stories within the story, such a cute f/f romance that I kiiiind of wish had more kissing (LOL), and a stubborn, lovable main character who wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven
“He didn’t say you were a good person. He said you were a hero. There’s a difference.”

GAAAAAH. I THINK THIS WAS THE BEST IN THE SERIES. It was more action-packed, less of a hunt for answers and more of a fight to stop a war. I love little fox and her innocence and compassion and the addition of a more fully-formed Zinn. It brought levity, and it was kind of awesome how Maika teamed up with the old god. There are still more questions that I have, and as always with a new volume, I'm going to have to reread it to catch stuff I missed. The world is just so vast and complex, and there are so many things going on at once. But it's SO DAMNED GOOD. I'm dying for the next part!!
Rating: 5 Paw Prints!

I didn't REALLY care for that last chapter, and the ones before it were bittersweet. And Victoria teased that this might not be the true end to this series, and it makes sense, given how many threads are still left tangled together. So I need MORE, and I don't want this to actually be over. I'm going to miss these characters! Stoic, sharp, intelligent Victor. Cinnamon roll Mitch. Young, powerful Sydney. Cunning and charming Eli. Dangerous, beautiful Marcella. And the mysterious June. None of them are nice. They're all killers, all with complex personalities and loose morals, and they all have one thing in common: ambition. But damn it all, V's an author who can make me root for the ~bad guys~ and want them to win. This is a series about what makes a villain, what it means to be one, and the people who toe the line between good and evil. I didn't love the newest additions to the story as much as my babies, Victor and Sydney and Mitch and Eli (who definitely has a terrible past, and though I understood it, it didn't make me on his side. I just really find the sociopath super interesting). But everything came together in way that had me turning the pages and turning into a mess over what was happening and was going to happen, and I'm always here for women who want to BURN SHIT DOWN. To me, it wasn't as good as Vicious, but maybe that's my particular soft spot for the beginning of it all. It was still very, very good. AND I NEED A THIRD BOOK, GODDAMN IT. 
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

Phantom Limb
holy shit, this was SO GOOD. I loved the sci-fi part of it, though some of the science and medical aspects went over my head, to be honest. And I loved that it tied in with how Naomi felt about her Japanese heritage, and her past of being rebuilt with parts that don't quite fit right, that make her feel less-than-human. She was struggling with her identity in the story, and I think so many people can relate to that, how grueling it can be living in a society that constantly boasts how one can change themselves, take the pieces they don't like or are ashamed of, and make them better. I could understand how Naomi felt, but THAT ENDING, THOUGH. OMG. I was so not expecting that!! Phantom Limb was kind of a chilling look at what someone might do to be perfect.
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!

What books did you end up reading in September? Any good ones I should know about? Let's talk! :)