Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (7/21/20)–The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

[sigh] I wish this review was different…after how much I enjoyed The Invisible Library, I’m saddened to see the direction that the series is going in. I could deal with The Masked City–maybe it was just a momentary lull–but for me, the series has gone from an inventive, inter-dimensional tale to something so much weaker. And while Cogman’s third installment in the Invisible Library was entertaining, it marks a disappointing turn in the series.

Enjoy this week’s review!

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The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)–Genevieve Cogman

Even though her apprentice Kai is out of harm’s way, Irene the Librarian has a far greater task on her hands–the salvation of the Library itself. Alberich, the dimension-swallowing entity that terrorized her not long ago, is on the hunt once more, and he’s out for blood. Meanwhile, the gateways that the Library uses to traverse across dimensions are malfunctioning rapidly, sometimes at the cost of the Librarian’s lives. Bent on saving their home, Irene, Kai, and Detective Vale travel to an alternate Russia, where all is not as it seems. Will they be able to save their beloved library?

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[Thom Yorke voice] (I’ve been) LEEEEEEEEEEEET DOOOOOOOWN—

Where to begin…

Compared to the genre-bending, adventurous thrill-ride of the first book, The Burning Page feels incredibly watered down. If The Masked City was the (possible) result of Cogman having used up her ideas, then this was the unfortunate after-product.

The plot felt tragically weak. It fell into the tragic trap of having a villain so powerful that…the readers don’t seem to care. Yes, he’s toyed with Irene and company before with some disastrous results, but there don’t seem to be any stakes. As much as I love Marvel, Alberich feels like some of the MCU’s worst villains (ex. Dormammu above)–they’re all powerful, but there’s hardly any stakes behind them, other than the possibility of tearing the fabric of the world(s) apart. Though Alberich did make some extended appearances in The Burning Page, he only served to make the stakes feel much lower.

Additionally, this book relied heavily on the reader’s enjoyment of the previous elements of the books. There weren’t any sort of new threats–we have the usual werewolves, fae, and dragons, but hardly anything novel (no pun intended) to grab the reader’s attention. Even The Masked City introduced the societal structure and politics of the dragons, but The Burning Page didn’t have much to offer. You’d think that with the possibility of alternate dimensions, there are INFINITE worlds and creatures that dwell in them that Cogman could have used, but sadly, it seems that she’s playing it very safe. Very safe.

But, this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book somewhat. I appreciated the extended look into the structure of the Library and some of the other librarians, so that was a good bit of world-building on Cogman’s part. And although the fact that every dimension seems to be fantasy/steampunk versions of historical places (England, Italy, France, etc.), I enjoyed the new setting of St. Petersburg, and all of the details that went into it. The flying sleighs were especially entertaining, and the new setting was a nice reprieve from the dullness of the first half of the book.

Overall, a disappointing addition to the Invisible Library series, but one that at least merited a few entertaining elements. I don’t think I have the will to finish the series now, but it was fun while it lasted. 3.5 sad little stars.

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The Burning Page is the third book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, preceded by The Invisible Library and The Masked City, and followed by The Lost Plot, The Mortal Word, The Secret Chapter, and the forthcoming The Dark Archive.

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for AGES, and I rediscovered it a few days ago…needless to say, I’ve had it on repeat for…[ahem] a while…

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (🍀3/17/20🍀)–Loki: Where Mischief Lies

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and a happy St. Patrick’s Day as well! I don’t/haven’t had anything planned to celebrate on here [ahem], but…I suppose we’ve got a green book cover here? I hope that counts for something…sorry…

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Hey, since I’m reviewing Loki, why not throw in a Tom Hiddleston gif while I’m at it?

Anyway, I also had my first day of online school today. It’s been…an experience. Most of my teachers have been fairly organized in their lesson plans, but my Spanish class was absolutely chaotic, so that was…interesting, to say the least. My AP US History teacher showed us her cat in one of the videos she put up, so that was a major plus. Cats. Always cats.

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Now, back to our main program…

I bought Loki about a month ago, along with Sky Without StarsThough I was a tad hesitant going into it (I’m not sure why, come to think of it), Lee delivers an absolute joyride of a historical fiction/Norse mythology/Marvel comics mashup!

 

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Loki: Where Mischief Lies 

Pushed aside in favor of his brother Thor more often than not, young Loki is tired of his sibling having all of the limelight and the unwarranted scorn he garners from his father Odin. His only friend–and partner in crime–is Amora, a budding sorceress. When they cause the obliteration of a vital artifact, Amora is banished to the realms of Midgard, where she is cursed to watch her magic slowly fade away.

Distraught after his best friend’s banishment, Loki’s scorn for the people of Asgard only grows. But soon after her absence begins, a series of horrendous crimes begin to crop up, Loki and Thor are split up and sent to a sprawling, 19th century London, where nothing is as it seems. Can Loki crawl out from under the shadow of his older brother–and not spell ruination for the human city, while he’s at it?

 

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Despite my expectations, Loki pulled out nearly all the necessary stops to make for a fun, twisty, and whimsical adaptation of Marvel Studios’ younger Loki.

I haven’t read as much by Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, and a few short stories scattered across some YA anthologies), but she deftly weaves in her love of history–specifically, London in the 1800s–seamlessly into Loki’s mythological heritage, even tying in an early version of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the dark, mysterious world. Loki and the rest of the varied cast of characters fit snugly into the historical setting, despite their magical backgrounds.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a huge fan of Loki since I started watching most of the MCU movies, so at this point, I’m primed to like him as a character. But someone like him can easily be poorly-executed, and Lee perfectly balances his trademark mischief and the deep envy festering inside of him. The other characters, though a few seemed a tad interchangeable and difficult to keep up with, were well-written, and generated palpable emotion and chemistry. Oh, and I *kind of* imagined Amora looking similar to Princess Nuala from Hellboy II: The Golden Army, so that’s always a plus.

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My only major complaint was the dialogue; I get that the various denizens of Asgard and beyond are supposed to be overtly formal in their mannerisms, but even so, some of the exchanges between Thor and Loki in the early parts of the novel felt unnecessarily stilted. There was a lot of potential for some good banter from those two.

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And finally, another wonderful given from Lee’s works…LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION, EVERYBODY! Besides Loki (who is now canonically genderfluid and pansexual), we do have a gay side character, and a romantic subplot between him and…okay, I won’t spoil it, but you can probably guess. 🏳️‍🌈

All in all, a wonderful imagining of Marvel’s Loki that’s just as mischievous and mysterious as he is. Four stars for me! 

 

Today’s song:

I can always count on this one for an atmospheric song to write to. 💙

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day, if you’re celebrating, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 9-15, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

YIKES, what a week this has been…

It started out fairly mediocre, but on Thursday night, we got the announcement that my school would be closing for a week due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s absolutely surreal, really. We’re living through history, like it or not. We’re having online school, so it’ll be nice to be able to wake up at a more reasonable hour and have fewer classes each day. I’m just trying to look on the bright side here. In the meantime, everybody, PLEASE take care of yourselves, stay safe and healthy, and don’t be xenophobic jerks, because the world doesn’t need any more of those. 💗

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (re-read)–Alexander Freed (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)–Natasha Ngan (⭐️⭐️.5)

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The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried–Shaun David Hutchinson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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Strange Academy #1–Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos (⭐️⭐️)

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The Secret Side of Empty–Maria E. Andreu (⭐️⭐️)

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POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS: 

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said–Philip K. Dick

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Cadaver and Queen–Alisa Kwitney

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Crown of Coral and Pearl–Mara Rutherford

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Today’s song:

 

That just about wraps up this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and keep on going, because this too shall pass. 💗

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

A few updates

Hi, everyone. I thought I’d take the time to notify you of a few things:

 

  1. I’m not going to be able to do a Book Review Tuesday this week. 😦  My afternoon/night is going to be pretty busy, and I won’t have any free time. (Hey, I’m seeing Santigold in concert, though, so that’ll be really fun!) 5o1.gif
  2. I saw Avengers: Endgame last night, and I must say, it was INCREDIBLE! No spoilers, but it’s probably my favorite movie in the MCU now. I definitely want to review it soon, but I probably won’t for another few weeks so I don’t spoil anything for you guys. DON’T 👏 SPOIL👏 THE 👏 ENDGAME 👏 giphy.gif
  3. It’s that time of year again…finals. [cue “The Sounds of Silence”] Mine are in about a month, and I’ll have to study pretty hard for them, so I won’t be able to do as many Book Review Tuesdays this May. But then it’ll be summer again, so at least I’ll have that to look forward to. giphy-1.gif

Just thought that I’d let you know. I probably won’t be as active in the next few weeks, but I’ll probably have some good content in store come summertime.

As always, have a great rest of your day, stay safe, and take care of yourselves! 😉

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies, Music

Higher, Further, Faster…FANTASTIC! (Captain Marvel review)

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news–the roads around Black Canyon of the Gunnison were too snowy, so they closed down the park yesterday, when we had planned to go. 😦

VERY good news–I saw Captain Marvel instead!

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My expectations were…slightly above average for this movie. It looked fun, at least–not as great as Black Panther or Infinity War, but not as much of a disappointment as Thor: Ragnarok (Unpopular opinion, I know). But man, my expectations were GREATLY exceeded! A healthy balance of action, heart, and pure fun that made for some much-needed levity in the MCU, especially after Infinity War. Also…first female-led MCU movie? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. COUNT ME IN!

 

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I was a little nervous for how Captain Marvel would turn out. Some of her lines in the trailer were…yes, I’ll admit, they made me cringe. (Namely, her tone of voice when she said “I’m gonna end it.” Oof.) But, lo and behold, overall, Brie Larson did a great job of capturing the ferocity, heart, and independent spirit of the iconic hero. Her chemistry with the other characters (Nick Fury, Maria, the Kree, among others) was obvious and very well-done, and the cast seemed to work very well together as a whole. (Also, no spoilers, but…I’m wholeheartedly shipping Maria and Carol. Couple of the year.) The characters were all very unique, and many of them had pivotal–and sometimes very unexpected–roles in the unfolding of the plot.

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This might have just been me, but I LOVED seeing this suit as well. After seeing it a few times in the comics (and thinking about how AWESOME it looked), I was so happy to see that they pulled it off very well in the movies. Captain Marvel’s Kree suit was also very sleek and well-designed, and–joy of joys–she’s not super scantily clad, either!

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The plot was also very well executed and put-together–unpredictable, detailed, but not so complicated and convoluted that it was difficult to understand. Every little detail had a purpose, many of which factor into the later Avengers films, as well as Endgame, which is coming out…shall I say frighteningly soon. I’m prepared to come out of the theater sobbing again, a la Infinity War…sheeeeeeesh, that was a rough ride.

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Another element that I really loved was the music–both score-wise and soundtrack-wise. The score was very modern and synth-y, reminiscent of the Stranger Things score. It was balanced perfectly, with a fair amount of electronic elements, but not so much that you’d think the movie was an EDM rave. The soundtrack was SPECTACULAR as well; because the movie is set in the 90s, we get to hear everything from Nirvana to No Doubt. I’ll admit that I was bopping my head through some of the fight scenes. 🤘

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And one more thing–can we all take a moment to appreciate this adorable furball that is GOOSE??? What a CUTE KITTY!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! This guy honestly stole the show, and I’m 100% here for it. Also, you’ve probably heard some rumors about what Goose really is…no spoilers, but I’ve got a little hint:

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…just wait for it…

 

Anyway, an INCREDIBLE film, perfect for old and new Marvel fans, or for anyone who’d like a little fun. PLEASE go see it.

Have a great rest of your day–and, in some cases, your Spring Break! Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/13/18)-To Kill a Kingdom

Hi there, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

Before I get into today’s review, though, I have a little something to say.

I was devastated yesterday afternoon when I heard that Stan Lee had passed on. Marvel has and will always be a big and meaningul part of my life, so thank you, Mr. Lee, for all of your wonderful contributions to this world. Excelsior. 💔

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Now for the review.

I recently checked this book out at the library, convinced by many months of seemingly endless praise. (It’s already been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award, so awesome job, Mrs. Christo!) And though it didn’t quite live up to the massive amount of hype, it was definitely a  thrilling novel. To Kill a Kingdom is a rich and dark retelling of “The Little Mermaid”, where the main character still wants the prince’s heart, but…in a different sort of way. Let’s leave it at that for now. 😏

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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To Kill a Kingdom

Lira, princess of the Sirens, is a formidable foe, with a collection of many human hearts and a bloody appetite to match. On a quest for another heart, she accidentally kills a fellow siren instead of the human prince she’s after, and her mother, the infamous Sea Queen, gives her a punishment and a task. By the time the Winter Solstice comes, she must kill the human Prince Elian and take his heart. But it’s easier said than done-she’s trapped in the form of a human until she can complete her mission.

With her new human body, she tricks her way into the ranks of the prince’s siren-hunting crew. Elian takes Lira in as one of his own, but is still suspicious of her origins and intentions. As the Winter Solstice draws nearer, Lira becomes entangled in the affairs of the human world, but is still determined to complete her task. Will Elian’s heart be hers before time runs out?

 

 

I’ll admit, I’ve never read the original version of “The Little Mermaid”, nor seen the 1989 Disney version in full (I have hazy memories of seeing a few clips when I was a little kid), but I know the basic gist of the story. And I must say, this an incredibly well-done retelling! Alexandra Christo does an excellent job of simultaneously staying true to the original tale and giving it a twist all her own. A truly enchanting, dark, and action-packed novel. Even if you aren’t familiar with the original works, I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves a well-crafted fantasy novel.

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I know I’ve been saying this for at least a month now, but I PROMISE that I have more than just book reviews coming in the next few days (or weeks) or so. I’ve been a little bit busier, but Thanksgiving break is coming up, so I’ll probably have some time this week and next week for some new content. I PROMISE, GUYS! SORRY!!!

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Well, I hope you have a great rest of your day, and stay warm! (Or, just…maintain a decent body temperature, depending on what the weather is where you are. Sound good?)

 

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (9/4/18)-The Rose Society

Hi there, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of September 2018!

 

To be honest, I should have reviewed this books sooner. Like, a few months sooner. I mean, my review for book one in this series (see 7/17/18) was almost two months ago, so…

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…more like all summer. 

Anyway, I bought this lovely little novel at my favorite bookstore of all time. It was a hard decision between it and at least three other hardcovers of books I’d gotten from the library. But in the end, The Rose Society was a paperback, and I hadn’t read it before. But thank goodness I bought it, because MAN, it was THRILLING! Five big fat stars for this one!

Enjoy the review!

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The Rose Society

Broken by the betrayal of her father and the Young Elites, Adelian Amouteru decides to go rogue. Now under the alias of the White Wolf, she joins her younger sister Violetta and run away from their former home of Kenettra, in search of like-minded souls from which to build an army of their own. With a deadly grudge against the Inquisition Axis, Adelina will stop at nothing to bring justice to the Marked. But will her quest of anger and grief bring her success, or only misery?

 

Well OH MY GOD, that had to be one of the best books I’ve read all summer. No joke.

Not only was this book absolutely riveting and action-packed, but it’s the best out of the Young Elites trilogy. It truly packed a punch, all the way from start to finish. There’s hardly anything not to like about this book. 10/10. 👌

Also, remember how I was thinking about comparing the Young Elites characters to X-Men? Well, I’ve got some more comparisons today as well. 😉

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First off, I feel that Adelina is now more of a combination of Jean Grey and Magneto. Now that *spoiler for Young Elites* Enzo’s been offed, Adelina’s taken on the role of  “Marked bent on the destruction of the Inquisition Axis and all who support them”. Pretty rough ride for her.

 

giphy.gifSecond of all, the Nightcrawler-like character I hinted at in the Young Elites review was…drumroll please…Magiano.

He’s probably one of my favorites out of the cast of characters. Definitely something of a trickster, but he still retains a good heart deep down. Somewhere. If you look hard enough…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

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Violetta was most similar to Rogue in terms of powers. From what I remember, they have somewhat like views on their own powers as well.

 

Oh, and speaking of Marvel…

…let’s not confuse Adelina with Bucky Barnes, guys. Just for future reference.

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Get it? White Wolf? Ha ha ha…nobody gets my jokes. Welp. 

Have a happy rest of your day, and keep on reading!