Taproot | ARC Review

Taproot by Keezy Young

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What initially drew me to this ARC (also what draws me to most comics) was the cover. I love those colors. Love, love, love the palette and the sketchy, almost unfinished-looking lines. Then I read the tagline and description and honestly was pretty excited for what looked to be some heartwarming stuff. Taproot is about Blue, a ghost who happens to be in love with Hamal, your average gardener who can see the dead.

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What I Liked:

  • Characters | Blue, Hamal, the ghosts surrounding them and most of all the reaper. There’s a diverse and humorous cast of characters to be found here.
  • Art | Gorgeous panels! The style, tone and visual storytelling is just lovely.
  • Story | The premise and overall plot felt sweet, but also fresh and unique.

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What didn’t work:

  • Pacing | This arc could easily have filled up three volumes. I would have preferred it if it did. The mystery got resolved too quickly. The love and relationships developed too suddenly. I didn’t have time to fall enough in love with Blue and Hamal before the story reached its ending. I barely understood the problem or where the solution came from when suddenly things were fine again. Everything just happened too fast.

Overall, beautiful story. I just wish it was given the time and space to really expand and pace itself properly. If the problem was allowed to fester and manifest gradually, it would have held more weight. We could have seen more of what was at risk and had time to see the dynamic between Blue and Hamal grow.  I would have been totally engrossed in a whole series of that supernatural mystery. End of the day though, this quick 127 pager is still a beautiful collection of illustrations featuring two queer leads, all sorts of supernatural fun and a very sassy grim reaper.

TL;DR: Keezy Young, moar pls.

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Taproot: A Story About A Gardener and A Ghost by Keezy Young will be available September 26th, 2017 from Lion Forge.

I received this ARC free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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3 Bookish Pet Peeves

There are book tropes I think everyone’s tired of – i.e. the chosen one or the love triangle or the insta-love. These pet peeves I think are a little less talked about but they drive me nuts all the same.

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1. Hot people doing stuff

It torments me to no end when you open a book expecting an actual plot and all you get is 500 hundred pages mentioning how attractive each character is as they do stuff. Don’t bullshit me with your thrilling backcover synopsis. This is just hot people doing stuff. (Looking at you Paper Princess). It also bothers me when everyone in a book is good-looking and it’s a common talking point. I felt like the ACOMAF series did that quite frequently. How dull. Honestly, aside from basic descriptions, I don’t really give a flying rat’s ass what your character looks like. If describing their appearance isn’t a vehicle for some backstory, world-building or character development, I don’t want it. 

The solution? Either create characters that are physically distinctive from each other or forget appearances all together. A Daughter of Smoke and Bones is guilty of occasional gratuitous descriptions, but we also get really imaginatively vivid characters descriptions. I remember hearing the appalling description of Razgut and Izil and picturing the whole scene so clearly. It made it all the more revolting when Razgut licks Karou. Not to mention all the incredible creatures she describes throughout the book. That’s about the only time appearance matters to me.

 

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2. Instant ramen fighters

You don’t get a week of fighting lessons and then go off to war. Hunting rabbits does not a warrior make. You take karate classes at your cool private high school? Nope, still not enough. I’ve been training for fights everyday for a year and a half now, which isn’t that long of a time. If it’s taught me anything, it’s that you don’t get to open a packet of seasoning, add hot water and pop a fighter out of the microwave. It takes years. Years. And even then, that may only give you the skills to hold your own against someone of your size and stature. Forget about fighting off monsters and men strong enough to have become esteemed warriors or evil villains.

The solution? Have characters out-smart or use their own personal strengths to get out of those situations. Example: Lila Bard from ADSOM. Constantly outpowered or outnumbered. She doesn’t always win, but when she does it’s because of her cleverness and willingness to bend the rules to her advantage.

 

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3. Pseudo-intellectual teenagers

AHEMjohngreenAHEM. Really, please see any John Green love interest to see what I’m talking about. It’s lazy characterization to me. Rather than placing your character(s) in situations that reveal their intelligence or maturity, we get ridiculously cheesy descriptions and pages of bad dialogue. This often falls in step with the manic pixie dream girl and hipsters. They’re all an attempt to be different from the mainstream, but are done in such a way that they become their own cliche. Plus, when I’m reading YA, I kind of expect to see immaturity. These are coming of age stories – immaturity and believable age are important.

WHAT KINDA KID TALKS LIKE THIS. 

The solution? Stop trying so damn hard and let kids be kids. See More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, where his characters play tag and behave entirely like teens but still have real, powerful struggles with identity, acceptance and love.

 

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Any of this stuff drive you bananas too? Or is it just me sipping on the haterade?

 

Happy Reading!

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Bookish Fanart

After seeing this fanart of Feyre here and this amazing Carry On cover by Kevin Wada here, I realized how much I absolutely love bookish fanart. The moment I finish a book, I find myself looking up fanart and fancasts just to see how others pictured the characters I just spent a week imagining. Maybe it’s because I’m a wanna-be artist myself, but I really think all this fanart is an underappreciated part of the bookish world. So here are some of my favorite pieces I’ve found recently. Who knows, maybe I’ll start making some too.

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Victoria Ying

 

Kell & Lila from A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Ya’ll are probably sick of hearing how much I love this series. But there’s not a ton of fanart out there for it. My favorites are from Victoria Ying. They’ve got a spunky illustration feel to them and I love it.

 

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Charlie Bowater

 

Rhys and Feyre from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I thought the Feyre illustration I saw on The Booknookae was exactly how I had always imagined Feyre. Turns out the artist, Charlie Bowater, has done a ton of A Court of Mist and Fury fanart and it’s all dead spot-on. Not only is her art just spectacular, but the characters are so true to how I imagined them in my head. I didn’t LOVE this series, mostly because of the writing I think rather than the characters, but it’s still so cool to see it come to life so perfectly.

My Goooooood, these paintings are so gorgeous. I can’t get over it.

 

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Hunter Severn Bonyun

 

Elend and Vin from Mistborn : The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn series reminded me of all the series that made me fall in love with Fantasy novels in the first place. Such epics and violence and heroes and really cool worlds with magical elements. The covers themselves are beautiful illustrations and so much of the fanart is even better. Some really incredible stuff out there, like this one by Hunter Bonyun of Vin and Elend.

 

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I wish there was more bookish fan art out there, or maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. Either way, they’ve given me an itch to sketch, so keep an eye out. Maybe I’ll be sharing some of my own in the near future.

Happy Reading!

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June Book Reviews

One week late? Oh wells. I’ve given up posting on time. Despite this being a crazy month with me training like mad for my third fight, I actually got a decent amount of reading in. Huzzah! Also seems like I was in a red book cover kind of mood. Totally not planned. Totally digging the aesthetic though.

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I can’t recommend this series enough. A Conjuring of Light was a heart-wrenching, action-packed, feels everywhere ending to a great fantasy trilogy. As much as I loved it, I think my favorite book in the series may still be the first one. There were moments of brevity and light-heartedness whereas A Conjuring of Light was heavy and dark – as all series climaxes should be. Regardless, I totally fell in love with all of these characters and the only reason I’m even remotely capable of talking about it reasonably is because I finished this book at the very beginning of the month. So I’ve had four weeks to mourn its end. Trust me, I was a wreck.

 

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Schwab comes up with the coolest premises and writes such believable fleshed out characters. Vicious was no different in that respect. I was disappointed though in the lack of scheming and complicated plotting particularly from a novel about two supposed geniuses. After reading the Shades of Magic series, I was expecting something a little less straight-forward. Either way, I’ll be picking up the sequel without a doubt!

 

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I actually wrote a full review for this one. TL;DR : I was super impressed with the world-building and creativity of the this book, but super disappointed to see it devolve into a story of star-crossed lovers.

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Yet another Schwab book! What can I say? I was trying to fill the void left by A Conjuring of Light. And yet again, cool world building, but I was left kinda of meh about this book. Even though I was left wanting more with Vicious, I still felt like her characters were unique and creative. What may have fell short for me here was that This Savage Song didn’t make me fall in love with its characters, nor did it have all those cool world-building details that the rest of her novels had. Maybe the fact that it was meant to be YA vs. an adult novel played a role. Idk. It reminded me a little bit of Legend by Marie Lu. 

 

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As usual, I’m also a bit behind on reading all of your posts too. Luckily, I’ve finally got a slow-paced weekend and I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been checking off your TBR’s!

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GIVEAWAY WINNER !

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Image Source : The Bandar Blog

As you all know, I started a giveaway for a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic along with a few other goodies a couple of weeks ago. Well, the giveaway has finally ended and the winner is… (drumroll please)

 

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Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books! 

 

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I actually featured her in my last featured follows post, but I swear this wasn’t rigged. I just pressed the little Rafflecopter button and it randomly selected a winner. Anyways, congrats Kristin! Please check your email and I’ll send you your package as soon as possible!

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Thank you so much to everyone who participated! I’m hoping to have more of these in the future so stay tuned.

 

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In other news, it’s been a crazy weekend for me, but I’ve got plenty of posts coming up in the next week. For those of you in the states, Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Reading!

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Daughter of Smoke and Bones | Review

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ARGH. Such mixed feelings about this book. I finally picked it up and finished it in a week, hopping between the audiobook and the ebook. First off, it was probably the best audiobook I’ve ever listened to. Christine Hvam’s narration brought the story to life in a way for me that was more intriguing than when I first attempted to read the book a few weeks ago.

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What I liked : 

The world is gorgeous. The chimaera and angels, their worlds, the whole idea behind Brimstone and the teeth…it was all vivid and surreal. From Zusana’s quirky charm to the pitiful, yet grotesque Razgut, Laini Taylor’s characters were equally captivating.  So imaginative, I felt like there was an immense amount of potential to the story.

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What I disliked :

Things started to fall apart for me when Akiva came into the story. I was hoping he would be our story’s villain, to be honest. But then our epic fantasy action mystery adventure slowly devolved into a romantic tale of star-crossed lovers. The world around it was still incredible, but I was disappointed at the romance being the central and driving factor for the story.

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Plus, I wish their backstory was revealed slowly throughout their journey through Elsewhere. Instead, we have this epic story set-up that kind of just grinds to a halt as the backstory becomes the whole second half of the book. It doesn’t feel like a climax, it feels like two separate stories, instead of that mysterious history unfolding along with the rest of the plot. Harry Potter, Shades of Magic and even The Mortal Instruments series does this pretty well – giving you nuggets of answers across a series of subplots. Also even the original romance felt kind of…rushed? All of sudden? Kind of beastiality-ish?

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TLDR :

Daughter of Smoke and Bones is chock full of gorgeous, inventive dark characters and worlds, but is ultimately let-down in the latter half of the book with an overdose of romance and cheese.

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By no means is it a bad book though, there’s definitely enough here for me to pick up the second book. I just wish there was more action and less heart fluttering. I’m impressed with Laini Taylor’s creativity though. It may have bumped Strange the Dreamer much higher on my TBR list than it used to be.

Happy Reading!

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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Happy Middle of June! Except not quite because I missed it by a few days. Meh, when am I ever on time with blog posts though? Anyways, I first peeped this tag over at Steff @ Little Booky Nook ! I love a blogger with a sense of humor and good taste in books. Don’t you? Check out all her reviews, collection of tags and – my personal favorite – all her book rants.

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Best book you have read so far in 2017

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Shades of Magic Series. This is tough ’cause I’ve read some good ones this year, but nothing stole my heart quite like V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Series. So much so that I’m giving away a copy of the first book in the series. 

Best Sequel of 2017 so far

A Gathering of Shadows. I’ve actually read more sequels than usual this year. Namely Prodigy, The Rose Society and now working through A Court of Mist and Fury. A Gathering of Shadows still tops the list for me though.

New release you haven’t read yet, but you want to

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Want by Cindy Pon

If a gorgeous cover and a diverse character/setting isn’t enough to intrigue you, perhaps this review by Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks will convince you. It sure as heck convinced me.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

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Not sure if there’s anything I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on right away. Maybe it’s because my TBR list is far too long already, but I haven’t kept an eye on what’s coming up lately.

Biggest disappointment

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

So much hype. So little plot.

This is our story by Ashley Elston

Actually came onto my radar as an under-hyped book. Turns out I agreed with the lack of hype. Wasn’t much here for me.

Biggest surprise

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Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. 

This did not go the way I thought it was going to go. Why did it go that way. *cries quietly*

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

Obvi V.E. Schwab. Even when I don’t love the plot or pacing of her novels, I really do enjoy her style and characterization. Also Laura Ruby though! Bone Gap was one of my favorites last year and I haven’t gotten too far with York yet, but I’m definitely already a fan of her writing.

Favourite new character

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Is it terrible to admit that I’m just too lazy to pick?

Book that made you cry

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. 

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I mean really, need I say more?

Book that made you happy

All the books I’ve read this year have broken my heart, which has made me happy in the sense that they’re great books. …But not too many happy ending reads so far. It’s all dark, stormy clouds over here.

Favourite book to movie adaption you’ve seen this year

Haven’t seen too many adaptations this year to be honest. I did really love Logan though, which was very loosely inspired by Old Man Logan, a comic arc which I also loved.

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Favourite review you’ve written this year

My reviews are more a collection of rapid-fire thoughts than actual reviews…so to be honest, I don’t think much of them ha! Here are two of my more popular sets of reviews this year though : March Book Reviews | April Book Reviews

Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Now this isn’t beautiful in the traditional sense, but I just started listening to the Daughter of Smoke and Bones audiobook. Oh my goooooooosh. 

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Christine Hvam does the most incredible voices. Her narration enriches the story so much for me that despite wanting to whip open the actual book to see what happens, I find myself just waiting for long car rides so I can listen to her read it instead. One of the rare instances in which I think I prefer the audiobook. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to her version of it (which is available on Overdrive), check. it. out.

I recently got my older sister back into reading (score!) by getting her a kindle and introducing her to audiobooks on apps like Overdrive. We both just happened to start this audiobook at the same time and it’s a glowing endorsement from her as well.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

I really want to get through ACOMAF and ACOWAR just to catch up with the rest of the book world, but they seem to take me forever to get through so we’ll see how that goes. There are also a bunch of new contemporary releases that have been pretty well received (i.e. When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hate U Give, etc.) but I have been on a pretty long fantasy binge lately. I’m not quite seeing a light at the end of that tunnel yet, so who knows if I’ll squeeze in any of those this year.

 

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Anywho. Like I said, I’m pretty late with this tag and don’t want to go about tagging folks that have already done this one, so if you haven’t…I tag you! Feel free to link your posts below if you have done this tag! I’d love to check them out.

Happy Reading!

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