April Book Reviews

A wee bit late, but here’s my April wrap-up! Every month I say time has gone by too quickly, but April in particular just disappeared. Seriously, where’d it go? This has been an interesting month for me. Injuries and lots of life changes have kept me rather preoccupied so I haven’t been posting or reading very much lately. I only got through two books this month, but they’ve been waiting on the TBR shelf for a while. So feeling rather satisfied to check them off the list.

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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Read it? Dear Lord, yes.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic to pieces. Really, really loved it. I was worried AGOS would let me down. The plot pacing was much slower in this one. So much time was spent on the Essen Tasch and various romantic side stories in this one, while the real dangers brewed and festered slowly in the background. Not to say there weren’t some epic moments along the way, but we don’t get much real excitement related to the central plotline until right at the very end when we’re left with an excruciating cliff-hanger. Nonetheless, I was still drowning in feels and I very much enjoyed this sequel. Schwab has a way of writing such brilliant, real, lovable characters that it really makes up for any of the other issues for me. I’ve already started reading A Conjuring of Light and am already sad because this series is coming to an end all too quickly. Please stoooooop.

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Mergenstern

Read it? Sure, why not.

Whimsical, but unsubstantial. The Night Circus is full of vivid imagery, unique ideas and rather curious circumstances. But underneath all the flowery writing and mysterious characters, we just don’t get a lot. I expected a “duel” similar to the Prestige, if you’ve seen that movie. Intense, and obsessive, but it’s all very mild. There’s really hardly a sense of competition at all and the conflict seems kind of forced, the ultimatums full of loopholes.  That combined with all the time skips,  perspective shifts, and various sub-stories, The Night Circus can be difficult to follow and fully grasp sometimes. I’m somewhat tempted to re-read it and see if it changes anything. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining read. Discovering the world of the circus is definitely enchanting, but there’s nothing to invest in here really. You don’t get to intimately meet your protagonists or feel the tension of their struggle. Fun ideas, but it read one-dimensionally to me.

March Read List

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

You don’t find a ton of magical realism in young adult novels. Or maybe just not in the ones I’ve been reading. Either way Bone Gap was a refreshing visit back to that genre. I found Finn and Petey to be incredibly endearing and Roza to be an empowering heroine to root for. This book says a lot in a little and really portrays every kind of person through the small town of Bone Gap. I’d recommend this one pretty strongly to just about anyone.

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This took me a little bit to get into. I almost stopped reading the book altogether when I was twenty pages in because of all the pop culture references and just how heavily teen it felt sometimes if that makes any sense. Like in a way, it was trying too hard to be young and relevant like the cool mom. But then you keep going and you realize that’s kind of the charm of it. It very much so is about the essence of those awkward teenage years and the struggle behind all the tropes. Didn’t love it, but it was a nostalgic read that reminded me quite a bit of this book I read in highschool years ago.

If you liked this, read: M or F by Lisa Papademetriou

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Legend by Marie Lu

I enjoyed the Young Elites when I read it earlier this year in January and all the buzz was  about Lu’s other series, Legend. Overall, I thought it was entertaining, but underwhelming. I didn’t fall in love with either of the lead characters. Nonetheless, I’ll probably finish the series out just to see where she takes it. I do appreciate the ethnic diversity of her characters and I hope that’s something the producers stay true to in the movie adaptation. You don’t always get to see Asian-Americans in major pictures, let only as leads. So crossing my fingers for that!

That’s about it for March! I’m on-track so far for my 2016 Reading Challenge goal of 35 books. If any of you want to follow me along my challenge, you can do so on Goodreads! Feel free to drop your link below too!

Comics Lately

When I was in highschool, I worked at a tutoring center during the summers. Right across the street was a small Mom n’ Pop comicbook shop and Wednesdays meant 1) paycheck and 2) new releases. It used to be the highlight of my week. College made it a little more difficult to keep up with new releases so I fell behind on my series and eventually fell out of reading comic books altogether. But the dark ages are over! Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

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1. All-New Hawkeye

Jeff Lemire is a stellar writer. Stellar. This take on Hawkeye follows Clint and Kate as they fumble their way through a S.H.I.E.L.D mission. Along the way, we get gorgeous flashbacks of Clint’s childhood and backstory, which keeps the story equal parts dark and endearing. Lemire’s dialogue and storytelling is so natural and fluid especially when combined with art from Ramon Perez and Ian Herring.

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2. FABLES

Fables is a pretty popular series at this point and is far into its run with around 150 issues currently. It’s Once Upon a Time but with a much more imaginative interpretation of characters and overlap of stories. Not to mention, darker and more violent. It’s always satisfying to see old fairy tales brought to new life. But even without that, Buckingham creates a killer story. All the amazing covers by James Jean are an added bonus.

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3. Saga

I fell in love with Fiona Staples’ characters and art before I ever realized it was a comic book. Brian K. Vaughan’s writing is no disappointment either. Saga is so loved at this point, it doesn’t need much advertising on my part. Two soldiers accidentally fall in love and have a baby in a world that is equal parts fantasy and western. Star Wars-esque environments but with scenes and characters that are far from PG.

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4. Rat Queens

This one I didn’t love so much. I picked up the first volume and while quirky and funny, it didn’t really suck me in. The characters and their relationships weren’t that interesting. Maybe I just can’t handle the sass. It wasn’t a bad book by any means though. I’m just still on the fence as to whether I’ll be going back for more.

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5. Descender

Like I said Jeff Lemire = A+. Descender is a sci-fi pinocchio in a universe that is reminiscent of the Guardians of the Galaxy world, but distinct in its own ways. TIM-21 is the last robot of his kind and may hold the key to solving the mystery of the Harvesters (giant robots that attacked the universe then disappeared). The storyline, characters and writing are already worth picking up the book. But add that to Dustin Nguyen’s beautiful watercolor pages and you’ve got a winning recipe.

Overall, I feel like image has really been turning out great works recently.  Not being tied to the superhero genre or a single comprehensive universe allows them to experiment with different kinds of stories. I’m a fan. Though I have heard great things about Ms.Marvel, Thor and the new Hawkeye series. They’re somewhere on my hitlist. So many comics, so little time…and money. (Insert quiet sobbing here).