Red Series

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Book Review: The Jungle Book: Manga Classics

Title: The Jungle Book (Magna Classics) by Rudyard Kipling

Publication Date: April 28, 2017

Source: Netgalley

Purchase: Amazon, Book Depository

Summary on Goodreads: Heavily influenced by his childhood in British-ruled India, Rudyard Kipling created some of the most well-read children s stories in Western Culture. Book One of The Jungle Book(s) includes Mowgli s Brothers, the story of Mowgli, the abandoned man-cub who was raised by animals in the Indian jungle, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the heroic mongoose, and Toomai of the Elephants, the tale of a young elephant-handler, and in The White Seal, we meet Kotick, a rare white-furred northern fur seal as he searches for a home where his family will not be hunted by humans. Originally published as a series of short stories for magazines in the late 1800s, the Nobel Prize-winning Rudyard Kipling would eventually publish the classic The Jungle Book in 1894." 

Book Review

I highly recommend this manga/book. Yeah, I said it from the start. This version of The Jungle Book hearkens back to the originals which don't focus on just Mawgli. You have a heroic mongoose, animals that are used both for burden and war and so on. Yet each story has your attention from beginning to end thanks to great writing and breath taking art/visuals. When you read about the effort put into this project at the back of the book, you see why. Everyone on this team wanted to create a new way for young readers to be introduced to Rudyard Kipling's original work but in a new style for the younger generation. I never read the original stories and only saw about three versions of the movie (including 2016's masterpiece in visual effects). Just remember that as a magna you have to read from left to right, therefore starting from where most of us would consider the back of the book. I got a free e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

Monday 24 April 2017

Book Review: Goldie Vance Vol. 1

I'm back guys. Not 100% but well enough to be back in the blogging world.

Title: Goldie Vance Volume One by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

Publication Date: October 11, 2016

Source: Netgalley

Purchase: Amazon, Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads: Move over Nancy, Harriet, & Veronica. There's a new sleuth on the block!

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place. Her mom, who divorced her dad years ago, works as a live mermaid at a club downtown. Goldie has an insatiable curiosity, which explains her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Charles, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, he agrees to mentor Goldie in exchange for her help solving the mystery. Eisner Award-winning writer Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel) and artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker, A.K.A Hellcat!) present the newest gal sleuth on the block with Goldie Vance, an exciting, whodunnit adventure.

Book Review

I had a lot of fun reading this book. Marigold 'Goldie' Vance is a spunky girl ready to help do the right thing, even if it means doing a little bad. She wants to be a detective for the hotel her father works at. Her parents are divorced but she's a well-adjusted teen who has a close friend who also works at the hotel.The friend's a young lady who wants to be an astronaut which I also love.  Also, books representing black people and African-Americans in a positive light is always appreciated. And you get to meet a variety of diverse characters, each with their own part to play. When the surprising mystery of a stolen necklace turns into a shocking kidnapping, Goldie is on the case. But when her sleuthing gets not only her but her father in hot water. Can she undo her mistakes and still find the victim in time? You'll have to read the book to find out and I highly recommend it. I think from pre-teens upwards will enjoy this read and it works for both boys and girls.

The only downside I can give this book is the sad stereotyping of Russians and Germans. The latter started fine but then it kind of went sideways with typical running from the government to savior United States. Yes, I get that there are times when espionage happens but when your first instinct is to use Russia or Germany (this also includes authors who automatically target Asian Countries), it kind of makes me think you're not that creative. Spies are in many countries. Not just a few that you can count on almost fully on one hand. For a book with a great representation of females and African Americans, it was sad to see this happen.

In the end, it is an amazing book with an intriguing would be detective lead that can draw in readers of various ages. I got an e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

Thanks for stopping by. See you on Wednesday.

Friday 14 April 2017

Out Sick

Sadly I've been having flu remission and it's sort of kicking my ass. See you next week.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Title: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Source: Purchased at Bookstore

Purchase: Amazon, Book Depository

Publication Date: January 8, 2013 (this edition, book was originally published in 2009)

Summary on Goodreads: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Book Review

Beautiful Creatures was a book I first read back in 2013. It followed Ethan Wate as he meets a strange girl named Lena Duchannes and all the madness his life descends into as a result. What Kami and Margaret did was create a story that kept readers invested and took magic in another direction. With a curse that forces females in Lena's family to potentially turn evil at sixteen, the clock was running out. Ethan's determined to help her and so's her uncle who sees the boy as a hindrance to that goal. Time is on no one's side and the reader's taken on a journey that asks many questions but gives limited answers. Including if it's really a good idea for a regular boy to fall for a special girl? Despite being a bit longer than necessary this book was an intriguing read. I'd recommend to anyone looking for a good young adult read. More so if you want one with a male protagonist.

Rating 4 Stars

Monday 10 April 2017

Getting Personal: Thanks for the advice...but no

I am a frank person. Sure I'm shy and hopefully fun when I can be. But I'm likely to either give you the truth or just walk away. If you want someone to tell you a bunch of fairy tales, that's not me. Not that I just go around spouting 'my truth' everywhere. I know when something is none of my business and stay out of it. However, I've noticed that on some topics that I've come out strongly about. There are some comments saying that I should either not post that way or consider the risk of losing or limiting a future as a published author. Now I know some are just trying to give honest advice and I respect that. But the answer is a strong no.

When I made this blog. I had no idea that I'd have all kinds of people visiting and me visiting them back for years to come. Hell, I even lost touch with one of my first blog visitors but then got back in touch with them when they restarted their blog and I also discovered their twitter. This blog has been great to me and almost every visitor, a pleasure. However, there are times when I'll discuss a hard topic or do a rant. When I rant I do ensure to let people know so they have the option to read or not. I just think it's good to let people go on with eyes wide open. Of course the same goes for me as well. 

Also, I know of many authors who defy the rules of not talking politics, respecting opinions and so forth. And these people have great careers and when you hear their stories, they've been hard from the get. Sure not every publisher will take on such an individual but a lot do. There's a YA author who told a parent on online that she was born without. The parent had found her site and criticized her for how she 'acted' at the airport. This author didn't give a hoot and she's 100% traditionally published and has been outspoken and even rude for the longest time. She doesn't care what anyone thinks and still got her agent and publishing deals. You can scroll back to see her online history of I don't care. It's there and she clearly has no fears. Now if she's fine then I feel pretty good about my chances. 

So I'm just going to post my thoughts and opinions. People are free to agree or disagree with me. I'm fine with that. You will never get shunned or burned for just being honest. Being flippant is another story and sadly I ended communication with one blogger a while back. But trust me it was for saying something super out of touch. It never happens with my regular readers. Anyway thanks for stopping by and always stay true to yourself and listen to the thoughts of others. See you Wednesday.

Friday 7 April 2017

Book Review: I Will Love You Forever

Title: I Will Love You Forever by Tatsuya Miyanishi

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: June 1, 2017

Purchase: Amazon

Summary from Amazon: A female Maiasaura finds a lost egg in the forest and decides to look after it with her own egg. Surprisingly, a baby Tyrannosaurus hatches from the egg. The greathearted mother accepts and raises him as her own son, Heart. One day, Heart goes to pick berries and comes across another Tyrannosaurus. The foster son of the Maiasaura discovers his real identity. The fourth title in this acclaimed Tyrannosaurus series, I Will Love You Forever delivers a heartwarming story about adoption with vivid, brightly colored illustrations and endearingly drawn characters.

Book Review

A touching story about love, adoption, acceptance and sacrifice told through dinosaurs. I must say for a short read this left me quite emotional. Both writer and artist know the right words and images to draw out the reader. Even single parent issues and brotherhood are touched on this book. The art will definitely be great for kids and adults can read this to children without being bored or annoyed by childish language or cliches. Highly recommend for small children, parents, and picture book enthusiasts.

Rating: 5 Stars

Thanks for coming and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Book Review: Return to the Isle of the Lost

Please Note: Like I said in previous posts for April I'm not participating in any hops (including IWSG). While I won't have the full hiatus this month, I'm still limiting my blogging to posts and blog visits only. Thanks for understanding. I'll be back in May.

Title: Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz

Source: Purchased Paperback from TBD

Publication Date: May 24, 2016

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Summary from Amazon: There's no place like home. Especially if home is the infamous Isle of the Lost. Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay haven't exactly turned their villainous noses up at the comforts of Auradon after spending their childhoods banished on the Isle. After all, meeting princes and starring on the Tourney team aren't nearly as terrible as Mal and her friends once thought they would be. But when they receive a mysterious invitation to return to the Isle, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay can't help feeling comfortable in their old hood—and their old ways. Not everything is how they left it, though, and when they discover a dark mystery at the Ise's core, they'll have to combine all of their talents in order to save the kingdom.

Book Review

Melissa brings back the lovable rebel villain kids for a rabble-rouser of a sequel. I really had a lot of fun with this one. As a huge fan of the Disney Descendants film, this book really took me away. Watching the VKs continue to adapt to life in Auradon while trying to maintain some of their mischievous was is very intriguing. Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay are interesting anti-heroes in their own right. Especially when they end up having to return home to the Isle in order to stop their parents from bringing down goodness forever. There are a few deux ex machina moments and rushed resolutions that took a little shine off the story but not enough to cause too much damage. Plus this book knows how to combine comedy and danger like no other. Saving a friend from certain death by chanting 'tick tock tick tock' for example.

Anyone interested in reading this book should read the previous one first. Plus also watch the movie (not a must) which is set after the first book but before this sequel. The fandom for this series is massive and definitely on fire with the movie sequel coming this summer. If you are a fan of fairy tales told from a teen perspective and enjoy retellings of fairy tales then this is a book series you should try.

Rating: 4 Stars

Happy to be out of my book reading funk. This was one of my unfinished books from last year. Thanks for stopping by. I can't wait for Descendants 2!

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Book Review: Stitched #1 by Mariah Huehner and Aaron Alexovich

Title: Stitched #1 by Mariah Huehner and Aaron Alexovich

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Purchase: Amazon, Book Depository

Summary: Crimson Volania Mulch has a problem; she just woke up in a crypt and, besides her name, has no idea of who, where, or what she is. Welcome to the Cemetery of Assumptions, a vast landscape of stones, mausoleums, and secrets. Home to monsters and mayhem, it may also hold the answers to her unknown parentage. Crimson is a resourceful patchwork girl and determined to find them. Along the way, she meets the mysterious Wisteria, who has a tendency to change and a witch named Parameter whose spells tend to go awry. And two boys, Simon and Quinton, who make her feel something besides lost and confused. She must battle ghosts, zombies, and monsters in order to learn where she came from and who her real "mother" is. But will she do it alone, or will she have help from her new friends and unexpected crushes?

Book Review

This book had so much potential. A fun quirky graphic novel (e-arc) from the Read Now section of Netgalley that I decided to try. Sadly this one falls into the middle road barely escaping awful because of one thing. The horrendous writing structure. In fact, there is no structure. Crimson started off confused and you end up even more so than she is. I thought this was the story about a girl stitched from different girls trying to find herself. Oh no, it's also about going to bed and waking up to meet random people each night, suddenly get random gifts, change personalities on a dime, start crushing on boys out of nowhere, making enemies turn friends with no explanation or build up...the story was just so poor and the story version of a head hopping nightmare. And for the record, I'm fine with head hopping in books. So imagine my chagrin of finding a book that shows why others are against it?

There are some positives things, though. The characters are cool and quirky, although in under a hundred pages they're crammed in and never fully explored. The art is top notch without a doubt and I must say was a huge reason I could slowly read through this painstaking headache of a story. Sending huge props to Aaron the illustrator. The friendship between girls and boys are explored and the abilities of these characters are fun to see. At the end, you do want to find out more and a character biography after the story gives you some greatly needed insight into these characters.

However at the end of the day. I am disappointed the author couldn't have written a coherent storyline. With all the differents parts crammed in, this should have been a three hundred page book at least. Instead, you have an overstuffed story with so much potential and amazing artwork undone by writing that feels like the death of a thousand cuts minus the dying part. I do want to get this book strange enough, but only because the characters and art speak to me. The rest I just wish was so much better than the end result. Marginally recommend but not for little kids unless they really just love pictures or quirky stories. This Middle-Grade graphic novel is just too darn confusing.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thanks for stopping by and see you tomorrow.

Monday 3 April 2017

Book Review: The Little Mermaid and Goal Hop Update

Hey guys. Today I have a lovely graphic novel to share with you. I believe it will entertain both children and adults alike. It takes an old tale and turns it into a true wonderland of imagery. I have decided to not go on hiatus. But I will not be taking part in any hops or promos (unless already arranged) this month including no Insecure Hop post. I will be back to IWSG and everything else in May. This week I'll be posting a book review every day (minus weekends).

Title: The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Purchase: Amazon, The Book Depository

Summary: The Little Mermaid is Hans Christian Andersen's most celebrated tale and is beautifully adapted here as a graphic novel by the Eisner award nominated duo Metaphrog (Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers), winners of the Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards Best Visual Artist 2016, and authors of the acclaimed The Red Shoes and Other Tales.

The Little Mermaid lives deep under the ocean and longs to see the world above. When at last she is allowed to rise to the surface at age fifteen, she falls in love with a young prince. In order to become a human and to be with him, she makes a dangerous pact with the Sea Witch.

Book Review

This version of The Little Mermaid is perfect for both kids and adults. The imagery alone is breathtaking and you will want to turn the page to read the story but also not because of all this spectacular eye candy. The sad tale of the mermaid (yes this is the original, not the Disney version) is told in under a hundred pages but masterfully so. The words are somewhat eclipsed by the beautiful art but only because it has been done so perfectly. The duo who created this masterpiece are award winners and I can see why. If you have heard of the tale of the little mermaid, then you know how it ends with the sea foam. But I truly believe the way that it's done here really emphasizes the heart of the story and this ill-fated mermaid. The themes of love, family, and sacrifice are well explored in a way appropriate for both children to read and adults to understand the deeper meaning. I highly recommend this book both for it's touching take on this old tale and for the captivating artwork. I got this e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

Goal Hop Update

The Goal Bloghop is a hop where you sign up with the goal you have in mind. It can be a small or big goal. Either way after joining you share your progress the last Friday of each month. Started by Misha, it is now co-hosted along with Jen and Brittney.

I had decided to go with a new goal for the new year. One hundred submissions a year. Well, I can say that so far that I have made one submission. It was for a small online contest for flash fiction under 100 words. Don't know the results yet but I'm hopeful. Admittedly I've been procrastinating on my poetry submissions. Perhaps I'm just nervous since I haven't sent in poetry for a long while. Either way this month I'm determined to get my numbers up. I am excited to see where this new goal takes me by the end of the year.

99 more submissions to go.

Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Waiting on Wednesday: Reconnected

Please Note: The final WOW on this blog as I take my final bow this month. I want to thank all readers of this post and all my blogging. I r...