[tired noises of frustration ensue]

Yeah, sorry, I forgot this week’s Book Review Tuesday. Apologies.

 

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I just had a really busy day yesterday, and I didn’t have too much time at home, so I was unable to crank out a proper review.

Anway, I’ll try to post some more stuff soon.  I’m debating whether or not to review Hellboy (2019) because I’ve got some rather mixed feelings, and I’ve been thinking about a few more Hellboy/Mignolaverse related posts, so hopefully I’ll make up my mind before next week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Again, sorry. Have a great day, and please take care of yourselves. 😉

 

 

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Book Review Tuesday (4/9/19)-Last of Her Name

Hello, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

I’ve begun to notice that I’m a bit of a sucker for retellings. Most of my library “hauls” include at least one retelling them. Sometimes I read them consciously, sometimes I don’t know that they’re retellings until I read somebody’s review on Goodreads. Some I absolutely adore, some I loathe with a passion. Some are very well executed, and some fall embarassingly flat. You get the idea.

I’ve also begun to notice that I’m immediately attracted to sci-fi retellings of the story of Anastasia. (*coughcough*HEART OF IRON*coughcough*) As far as retellings go, these ones are few and far between, but when they’re good, they’re good. Heart of Iron might just be my favorite book of all time (coming close with Frankenstein, Carry On, A Monster Calls, Neverwhere, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others), and Last of Her Name was no exception. Beautifully crafted and action packed, this one left me on the edge of my seat, grinning from ear to ear.

Enjoy the review!

 

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Last of Her Name

 

Stacia has heard the stories many times over; sixteen years ago, the ruling family of the Belt of Jewels were all assassinated, and from the ashes rose the tyrannical government that still stands to this day. Stacia has led a quiet, peaceful life in her parent’s vineyard, with her two childhood friends, Pol and Clio. But that quiet life is soon disrupted when the director of the cruel Union government arrives on her planet, intending to snuff out the loyalists-those who still support the murdered empire. What’s more is that the director claims that the princess of the empire is still alive, and she has gone by Stacia ever since.

Now on the run from the Union, Stacia and Pol mount a daring mission across the galaxy to save Clio–and to discover Stacia’s true identity.

 

 

Oh, where do I begin?

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First off, I ADORED the world-building. The Belt of Jewels is such an intricately-crafted galaxy, with a rich history, and…alright, not quite aliens, but we’ve got a pretty fantastic myriad of “adapted humans”. Although I wish that we’d gotten a more in-depth look at the various species, I loved seeing their individual cultures, planets, and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Belt of Jewels.

Plus, there’s an aquatic species of adapted humans that…okay, yeah, I imagined them all looking like Abe Sapien.

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The characters were all so lovable, and I found myself nearly crying for them-on multiple occasions. I didn’t love some of them at first, but almost every one of them grew on me quickly. The plot was wonderfully fast-paced, intricate, and engaging, with a perfect ending that tied everything together quite nicely, I’ll say. All in all, a solid 4.25/5, which lands at about an 8.5 to a 9 on my book rating scale. Highly recommend it!

Last of Her Name is a standalone (*single tear slides down cheek*), but I think that the ending is satisfying enough. It’s a shame that the galaxy probably won’t be explained in more detail, but I’m happy with what we’ve got.

 

Thanks so much for reading this review, and have a great rest of your day! And for those of you in the path of winter storm Wesley…please stay warm and take care of yourselves.

 

And for those of you who want another retelling and haven’t read this book/review, check out my review for Heart of Iron (see 8/14/18)!

Book Review Tuesday (4/2/19)-Ink, Iron and Glass

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of April 2019! No jokes, that was all yesterday.

 

Anyway, this was one of the (many) library books that I devoured in…about a day.

I had too much time on my hands.

This was one of those books where I just glanced on my Goodreads to-read list, saw the pretty cover (aDORE those watercolors), and put it on hold at the library, with absolutely zero expectations. But I must say, Ink, Iron, and Glass was an inventive, unputdownable book!

 

Enjoy the review!

 

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Ink, Iron, and Glass

In an alternate version or our own world, a pen, armed with the right people, words, books, and intellect, can create an entirely new world. These worlds are created with the power of scriptology, and can house bizarre ecosystems, and even populations of unique people. Elsa and her scriptologist mother Jumi are not of this world; they dwell in a world created by other scriptologists; Jumi and Elsa are in charge of making sure their world is a well-oiled machine, with no faults, glitches, or catastrophes. But in a startling turn of events, Jumi is kidnapped, their house is ransacked and destroyed, and Elsa is forced to flee to Earth for answers. Her path of revenge leads her into 19th century Italy, where she teams up with a group of teenage alchemists and mechanists to track down her mother’s kidnapper. Will her mother–and the world that they lived in–be saved before her secrets are uncovered?

 

 

It’s difficult to place a genre on this book. At first glance, it seems as though it might be fantasy. I mean, that’s what the library labeled it as, so I’m not really gonna argue with that…

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But as I got further and further into the book, it seemed to be a mix of science fiction, fantasy, with a little bit of historical steampunk thrown in.

And I know what you’re thinking, oh, dear lord, STEAMPUNK…yeah, those sort of elements were present, but they were a small fraction, and didn’t dominate the book. Don’t worry, no top-hats-gears-and-goggles overload.

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All things considered, I think that’s a really good quality for a book to have. To have a book that can’t automatically be shoved into one genre is to have something made up of many different parts, working well in sync. It is to be something new, something original. And Ink, Iron, and Glass certainly was all of those things–wildly inventive, with fantastic world-building and lovable characters to work with all of the crazy and wondrous inventions and details.

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Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or something else entirely, I’d most definitely recommend this read. No matter what genre you hail from, you’re sure to enjoy at least something about this book.

 

I just found out, like…ten minutes ago when I googled the cover that yes, there is a sequel! It’s called Mist, Metal, and Ash and it came out in late February of this year. I’ll have to get to that pretty soon. And it seems as though the author has intended for this series to be a duology, so this may be it. Huh.

 

Well, thank you so much for reading, and have a great rest of your day!

 

 

 

Book Review Tuesday (3/26/19)-The Black Coats

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of March 2019! I know I’ve said this…oh, thousands of times already, but it feels like this year’s gone by so fast. It feels like yesterday that it was the middle of January, and I was ankle-deep in snow as the wind bit at my cheeks.

Alright, that was an admittedly dramatic description, but that’s Colorado January in a nutshell. Cold, bitter, borderline brutal.

 

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’m beginning to realize the treasure trove of feminist YA literature I’ve stumbled upon lately. I’m pretty sure I read this one on International Women’s Day, and boy, it was the PERFECT book for the occasion. Contemporary, with a slight fantasy twist, exploring all sides of feminism in a way that is perfectly suited to this day and age. The Black Coats eternally kept me on the edge of my seat, and I hope that all who read this feel the same way.

 

Enjoy the review! 🙂

 

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The Black Coats

Ever since her cousin, Natalie, was murdered, Thea has been eager to exact her revenge. But with the killer having gone free and the case gone unnoticed, she struggles to find a way to come to terms with it.

But she isn’t alone.

Months after the death of her cousin, Thea discovers a black envelope with an invitation from a mysterious society that call themselves the Black Coats. They are a highly reclusive organization of women, all of whom have been hurt by men, that bring killers to justice and make the guilty answer for their crimes. At first, Thea is eager to join, intent on bringing her cousin’s killer to justice. But the more she delves into the history of the Black Coats, the more she realizes that the line between justice and needless revenge is thinner than ever. Can Thea avenge Natalie’s death without getting herself in too deep?

 

 

I’m really ashamed of how average my expectations were of this book. I expected it to be at least halfway-decent, a nice mystery to satiate myself after my continuous sci-fi/fantasy binge.

In the end, this is what my brain said to me about my assumptions:

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WOW. The Black Coats really has it all–phenomal and heart wrenching  writing, startlingly real characters with heart and emotion, a plot that kept me on my toes, absolutely perfect chemistry, and a relevant theme that not only was necessary to touch on, but wasn’t delivered in a way that was preachy. Whether you’re looking for fiction, mystery, feminism, or even a little romance, The Black Coats is an essential for all of you bookworms out there. Every single one of you. 9/10 on my rating scale, and probably a solid A. Incredible job, Mrs. Oakes, this one’s a gem.

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Well, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and a lovely spring break!  I promise to post more than BRTs in the time that is to come–I’ve got a few ideas, and I’ll probably come back after Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with some good stories and pictures. See you soon, fellow bibliophiles! 😉

Book Review Tuesday (3/12/19)-King of Scars

Alright, I know it’s been a little while, but finally welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of March 2019!

 

This book is/was easily one of the most anticipated books of the year, and it only released in JANUARY. Understandably, of course; I mean, who wouldn’t want a book centered around NIKOLAI LANTSOV? C’mon…

Aaaaanyway, I was surprised to find it already available at the library, just shy of a month after it had been released. So, naturally, I IMMEDIATELY put it on hold. I’d been waiting for this book for at least…hmm, probably a good six months, so I was beyond excited. I expected classic Leigh Bardugo fantasticness, but…

MAN, KING OF SCARS TRULY BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER. 5 stars on Goodreads, 10 stars on my personal rating scale. No rounding down to 4.75 or anything. Just a solid 5.

 

If you do read it (which I HIGHLY recommend), I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Enjoy this week’s review!

 

NOTE: If you’re interested in reading this book, it occurs after the events of the Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows duology; both are also referenced throughout the book. Read both series before you read this.

 

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King of Scars

In the blink of an eye, Nikolai Lantsov has risen from an infamous privateer to the king of Ravka. On the outside, he seems to have it made; he’s popular among the people of Ravka, and after the war to conquer the Darkling and his armies, Ravka seems to be at peace. But Nikolai is struggling with both internal and external forces that threaten to topple not just his reputation, but his country as well. The demonic entity inside him possesses him more and more, and the results grow more catastrophic with each day. Additionally, a threat that Ravka thought was gone for good threatens to rise once more, and if it does, it may mean the end of the country as they know it. Will Nikolai be able to juggle his personal conflict and the future of his country all at once?

 

 

Nikolai was always one of my favorite characters in the original Grisha trilogy (for my reviews on those three, see 7/3/18, 7/24/18, 8/21/18), and I was ecstatic when I found out that there would be an entire book dedicated to him. (Who wouldn’t be, though?)

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I was not disappointed in the least. Jumping back into Leigh Bardugo’s carefully crafted book felt warm and fuzzy, almost like reuniting with an old friend. The beautiful world, the simultaneously heartbreaking and magical prose, the crackling chemistry of the characters,  and especially the witty, absolutely gut-busting banter. OH MY GOD, through all of the generally disturbing action scenes, there was always a truckload of hysterical one-liners throughout. (Mostly from the likes of Nikolai, of course.) In short, everything you could ever want in a book, period.

It has been confirmed that this will be part of a duology (!!!!!!!!), but we don’t have any details other than that. (Naturally, as the book just came out a little over two months ago…) In the meantime, we’ll just have to…re-read every single book in the Grishaverse to satiate ourselves while we wait for that…and the Netflix adaptation, whenever that’s coming out. Should be interesting, at the very least.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Thank you for stopping by, and have a great rest of your day/week!

I know the expression is usually the other way around, but this is basically a sheep in wolf’s clothing

Alright. First off, here’s the “wolf” part, if we’re sticking to my pitiful excuse for a flipped metaphor.

As you’ve probably gathered, I forgot to do a Book Review Tuesday yesterday. I got home a little later from a doctor’s appointment, and I was REALLY tired. So, I just spent the rest of the night drawing, re-reading The Hazel Wood, and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. So, sorry about that. I promise I’ll get around to making a review next Tuesday. 😉

Now, for the “sheep”.

Instead of a lame excuse/apology, I’ve got something for you…MORE FAN ARTS! (Because you know I was never going to come up with a creative name for a fan art post anytime soon, riiiiiight?) So, we have one kind of post disguised as another, and a little art dump. Enjoy…?

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Rumor (comic version), Umbrella Academy

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Jubilee (X-Men: Apocalypse)

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Mystique/Raven Darkholme (X-Men)

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Forager (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Lenny Busker/what my hair kind of looked like in Florida (Legion)

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Halo (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Number Five (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

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Pogo (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

 

So, I hope this post was a pleasant surprise. Again, I promise I’ll get to another book review next week, if conditions are favorable. Thanks so much for reading, and have a great rest of your day! 🙂

 

Book Review Tuesday (2/26/19)-Navigating the Stars

Hello, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of February 2019! (MAN…this year has already gone by so fast…but hey, it’s almost March, BRING ON THE WARM WEATHER!)

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Anyway.

I bought this book on my Kindle to tide me over during my trip to Florida recently (which I promise I’ll post about soon). I feel like it came to me from Goodreads in one of the recent boatloads of recommendations I’ve been getting (DOUBLE WHOA). As you’ve…probably figured out, I’m always hungry for exciting sci-fi, so it was a quick (and…well, rather lacking in forethought) buy.

Though my appetite for science fiction was not quite satiated, I will say that this was definitely and interesting and compelling novel. A tad bit of a slow read for me (then again, I read it in chunks while rather tired), but I doubt you guys will have the same experience as I did.

Whoops. Guess I’m not selling the book very much. Well, you can tell for yourselves if you’d like it or not right about now, because I come bearing a review!

Enjoy!

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Navigating the Stars

Lyra Daniels lives in a constant cycle of moving from planet to planet, dragged along by her archaeologist parents. For them, it’s a chance to delve into the mystery of the Terra Cotta Warriors, which are showing up on countless planets across the galaxy. For Lyra, it’s a tragic circle of making friends, growing close, and having to leave them behind, never to see them again, and, thanks to the complications of interstellar travel, leaping forward many years, leaving her friends to age while she stays seventeen. After another planet housing the Warriors is discovered, Lyra tags along on the latest mission, spending her days worming her way through the Quantum-Net, and trying to cozy up to Niall, the only other crew member who’s close to her age. But when Lyra and the rest of the crew realize that they aren’t the only ones searching for the Warriors, they must work together to unravel a conspiracy like no other.

 

Alright, let me get one stupid joke out of the way before I get to my relevant opinions. The premise of Navigating the Stars was definitely original and captivating (unknown lifeforms creating Terra Cotta Warriors identical to the ones here on Earth) but it immediately made me think of this…

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ALIENS. 

Alright, here we go.

Navigating the Stars, though a bit slow at certain points (mostly when Lyra was travelling through space), was certainly an inventive and creative novel. LOTS of attention to detail and science, with relatable characters, and an intriguing plot to match. And though it wasn’t necessarily “action-packed” (not a bad thing, in the case of this book), the last third to quarter (or thereabouts) of the book was definitely creepy and very high-stakes. And yes, we do eventually get…ALIENS. 

A must-read for anyone who loves a well-crafted sci-fi mystery.

 

Well, thanks so much for reading the review! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! 🙂