Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, General Books, Graphic Novel, Kid Fiction, Middle Grade

Elma: A Bear’s Life: The Great Journey (Vol 1) by Ingrid Chabbert – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Elma: A Bear’s Life: The Great Journey (Vol. 1)
Publish date: 17 July 2019
Publisher: Europe Comics
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Comic, Graphic Novel
Rating:

Elma is a joyful, free-spirited child who is being raised by her father. But Papa Bear is hiding a secret, and the close-knit duo must make a long and perilous journey to begin a mysterious new life beyond the forest. Adventure and danger are in store as they discover the secrets of Elma’s past and future.

Um, OKAY. How dare this graphic novel end on such a cliffhanger!? Nooo… I want to know what happens to Elma and Papa Bear! Do they make it?! Where are they going? Is he bringing her back home? Why is the fores seemingly conspiring to take Elma away from Papa Bear? SO MANY QUESTIONS! I kind of feel a little bit like Elma right now because the curiosity and need for answers is strong!

I adored this graphic novel. First of all, that cover is a wonderful representation of the stunning art work that you’ll find inside the pages. The colours are autumnal, so they’re warm and very comforting. I could seriously just look at the pages all day because the work is beautiful, and I enjoyed that there was limited dialogue so it didn’t detract from the art. This is targeted at children, however, at one point Elma does lose all her clothes and her full body (including genitalia) can be seen. It’s one scene and then she’s covered up again in the next. I don’t think it was done distastefully, but I just thought I’d leave a warning anyway.

I found the start of the storyline just as enjoyable as the art. It obviously has “Jungle Book” vibes (of course, abandoned child in forest raised by an animal that’s meant to be a predator) and although I admittedly am not the biggest fan of that story (don’t hate me), I really enjoyed this one! I’m a little sad this was only the first volume/chapter, as reading the blurb led me to think it might be the full story. Still, I’m glad I stumbled across it because so far it’s a sweet story, although it does raise many questions I hope will be answered in the next volume!

The relationship between Elma and Papa Bear was very sweet, and you can feel through their dialogue, interactions and the art that they really care for and love each other like father/daughter. Elma is full of life and so much sass and Papa Bear is this big calming force looking out for her. I love a story where animals can talk and this was definitely no exception! I thought their story really fit with the art work because it effused the same warmth the colours in the art work gave me. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on more of this graphic novel and I would 100% add this to my physical shelf because it’s beautiful book and the story is shaping up to be too!

Thanks to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing the e-ARC for an honest review. This book is out now! Have you read Elma: A Bear’s Life? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat!

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Posted in Friday Favorites, General Books

Friday Favorites: Underrated Books

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favorites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: favorite underrated books. So, I think this is a pretty interesting topic because before joining the book community towards the end of 2018, I never paid much attention to book ratings or reviews. I kind of find that hard to believe now since I rely so much on them, reviews especially, to help me pick my next read or which book to add to my shelf next! Admittedly, it was a bit tough to come up with a list (even a short one as this!) because my memory is truly the most awful thing 😅That said, here’s a quick Top 5 of some of my favorites that I think are underrated! HAPPY FRIDAY BOOK FRIENDS!

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse
This is a dystopian fantasy based on Native American mythology. It’s a world where humans live alongside Gods and monsters. It’s a dark and raw world that only the toughest can survive in and all of it blew me away! Before I read this last year I don’t think I’ve ever read anything based on Native American mythology and I honestly wanted to smack myself over it because it’s INSANE (in the best way)! Both this book and author are so underrated and I think more people need to read it!

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
I honestly don’t even remember how, when or where I first heard about this book but I’m really glad that I did because it’s a really creepy YA space thriller that had me gripping the edge of my cushion seats and made me want to tuck my feet up tight under me. As if the vastness of space isn’t already creepy (but mind-blowing) enough, imagine being a teenager stuck in space, completely alone and lightyears away from Earth or any kind of help, and you’ve just found out (too late!) that you’re deep in some creepy shit. Are you trapped? How do you escape? IT WAS THRILLING in the best worst way possible. The tension was so real. You can read my review here.

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown
When I started uni I basically stopped reading because I was too busy being the worst student the world has ever seen™️ but on days when I was too hungover to do much of anything else, I did manage to pick up a few books; one of which was A Piece of Cake (the other was Twilight LOL)! I also don’t remember how I first heard about this book but ugh, it was heartbreaking and so so disturbing! It’s the story about a young woman’s journey through addiction, sexual abuse, and ultimately of survival.

Natchez Burning (Penn Cage #4) by Greg Iles
I don’t know if this would be considered ‘underrated’ because it has a fair few thousand ratings on Goodreads but I also never actually see Greg Iles mentioned much (or at all) in the book community. Natchez Burning is a thrilling historical fiction set in the south (Mississippi) that goes back between the present day and the past (1960s). There’s a big focus on the KKK faction the Double Eagles, their history in Natchez, and race relations in the south. This one really sucked me in and fast too!

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
I’ve mentioned a few times now that I’m not a big NF reader but last year I picked this up on a whim and it’s the fastest I’ve devoured a NF. I finished it in one night (hello 7am sleeping time!) but it was so worth it because my mind was blown with how much I learned. It’s disheartening and maddening how history can so easily get swept under the rug! This read like fiction and I think Grann did a fantastic job writing it! Unfortunately, I don’t see many mentions of this book, but I absolutely believe this deserves more attention!

What are some of your favorite books that define you? Would any of these make your list? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, General Books, Memoir, Non Fiction

A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: A Random Act of Kindness
Publish date: 13 June 2019
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit
Panda Rating:

It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…
Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her. Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing. But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life. Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?

This was a fairly easy, fast and fluffy read. It’s a heartwarming romance about finding yourself, learning to stand on your own two feet, letting go of fears and opening up your heart. It was an enjoyable, sometimes funny read that left me feeling content when I finished it.

I liked Fern’s character and her passion for fashion (specifically her vintage wear). She’s very focused on making other people happy by finding them the perfect fit to ‘lift’ them as she’s a strong believer that how you dress yourself can change how you think and feel. However, she faces a lot of insecurities and really puts herself down mostly because of her parents (particularly her mother who, frankly, was really awful). While she was very tolerant and understanding of her mother who treated her so badly, I do wish that Fern had the strength to stand up for herself.

I wish that we got to learn more about David. As Fern’s love interest, I felt he fell a bit flat. We don’t really get to know him other than he’s quirky, quite serious and maybe even boring, and that he’s got model handsome good looks. I liked his character but wished that he was given more dimension.

There are a lot of characters and I sometimes felt myself getting confused at how they were being introduced and how they’d suddenly appear in Fern’s life, however, I ended up really looking the eclectic bunch and I think Jenkins did a good job of including characters of all ages, genders and sexualities. For the most part everyone was also friendly, maybe sometimes almost perfectly so, but it really added to the ‘feel-good’ quality of the story. I also really enjoyed how the fashion was mixed into the story, although it was difficult for me to picture the clothes because I’m not that big on fashion; so I will say if you’re not interested in the stuff, it might not be for you.

[MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD]

One thing that I didn’t particularly understand was why we got Kim’s POV instead of Dinah’s. I understand that Fern really made a big impact on Kim’s life and that he was the reason the big show happened at the end. However, it felt a little bit random to me because so much of the story revolved around Dinah and Fern. I liked how everyone came together and became friends because of Fern, however, I felt a little unsure about Kim’s chapters and (sorry but) I didn’t feel it really added a whole lot to the story. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is now available in stores!
Have you read A Random Act of Kindness? What’d you think of it?

Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Middle Grade

Sparrowhawk #1 by Delilah S. Dawson – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Sparrowhawk #1
Publish date: 20 August 2019
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Comic
Rating:

Teen Victorian fairy fight club! As the illegitimate daughter of a Naval Captain, Artemesia has never fit in with her father’s family, nor the high class world to which they belong. However, when she is targeted by the Faerie Queen and pulled into another realm, she has no choice but to try and save the world that has always hated her. Writer Delilah S. Dawson (Hellboy: An Assortment of Horror, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny) and artist Matias Basla (The Claw and Fang) present a beautiful, gripping tale perfect for fans of Labyrinth and Princeless. 

Sparrowhawk is a fast paced, well drawn comic. The artwork is full of bold colors although the style itself is not one that I’m usually drawn to or prefer. That said, I thought it suited the strangeness of this story. I liked the artwork on the chapter/title pages more than I did the artwork throughout the comic, but I loved the contrast of the colorful against the brutal, gruesome and dark faerie world story. The plot itself reminded me of elements of Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, which the author also mentioned as her inspiration in the afterword.

I found the story interesting. Artemesia is the daughter of a colonizer and a slave woman who grew up in a family that was cruel and didn’t want her. After being forced into a situation she doesn’t want to be in, Art finds herself being pulled into the faerie realm, having been replaced by the Faerie Queen in her world. In faerie, Art meets a demonic bunny (reminiscent of the cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland) who makes a pact to help her get back home, in exchange for one of Art’s memories. Art must go through faerie slaying monstrosities in order to get back home, and along the way she encounters both the good and evil creatures of faerie, including the gentle faerie prince, whom she falls in love with. How far will she go to get back home?

Art was a strong willed character who was fiercely determined to go home. Her transformation from a thoughtful human, to a monster who enjoys killing as much as any unseelie, was disturbing. It begs the question: how far would you go to do what you think is right, even if it turns you into someone who you don’t like. The side characters were all very interesting as well and although he was an evil, twisted thing I really enjoyed the demonic bunny’s character.

I liked the sinister vibes of the ending and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next and how Art will deal with the repercussions of her actions.

Thanks to NetGalley and BOOM! Studios for providing the e-ARC for an honest review.
Have you read Sparrowhawk? Loved it? Hated it? Meh about it? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in General Books, WWW Wednesday

#WWWWednesday: 14 August

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be talking about:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

So… I did manage to finish reading two books: Party Weekend (Sweet Valley High #143) by Francine Pascal and A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins. SVH was short and I read it pretty quickly, and while A Random Act of Kindness wasn’t particularly long, it took me a good four days to finish! This book slump though, am I right?! BUT two books is definitely better than no books, so I’m just going to keep pushing my way through this! Reviews for both coming soon(ish).

What are you currently reading?

I’M READING NOTHING!!!

Well, I’m still trying to find the next book that’ll stick for me after finishing A Random Act two days ago… It’s not going so well, but there’s one thing I haven’t tried yet and that’s switching genres. So I’m going to be attempting to read a few thrillers. I’m hoping one will stick! I’m looking at: Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus, Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson and TH1RT3EN (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh (because YAY for finishing another overdue ARC)!

What will you read next?

I’m hoping that in the spirit of ARC August I’ll be able to get to a few more of these overdue ARCs before the month passes me by! I mean, how are we already in the double digits of this month?! I mean, what? 😒

What are you currently reading? Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

Posted in General Books, Top Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday: Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: book characters I’d love to be besties with (submitted by Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Blog). Fun! There are so many bookish characters that I’d love to be besties with, but these are the first ones that popped into my head!

Tanner Scott from Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Tanner is one of the ultimate cinnamon rolls and I think being besties with him would be so awesome. Not only is he a reader (and a writer, duh), but he’s funny, sweet and so caring.

Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I know I should probably just pick one of these characters, but honestly, they’re like the Three Musketeers and I can’t imagine being besties with one without expecting to become besties with the others too! I love these characters so much!

Hannah Martin from Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Hannah Martin is just like me in so many ways. I think we’d be able to relate on so many levels.

Jessica Pan, author of Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come
Jessica Pan is a real person but she’s featured in her memoir, which I loved, so this totally counts, right? Honestly, I’d love to be besties with Jessica Pan because not only is she absolutely hilarious but I feel like we’d get on well because we’re both (sh)introverts and going through a lot of similar things people in their early 30s go through? Lol I’m not tryna be creepy though 🙈

Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Hazel is hands down one of the most hilarious and unapologetic characters I’ve had the pleasure to read. She’s loud, she’s clumsy, she’s always into doing her own thing, even when everyone else thinks it’s weird, but she does it anyway. I think we’d have the best time hanging out!

Mateo Torrez from They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera
Mateo is so freaking pure. He’s so selfless and I just want to protect him at all costs. What better way to do that than by being his bestie!?

Knightly Brothers from That Second Chance (Getting Lucky #1) by Meghan Quinn
As much as I’d love to find myself in a relationship with either one of these amazing brothers who believe in a crazy love curse, I also really love their very different personalities and their hilarious banter. Although I’d probably get teased and pranked to no end, they’d be so much fun to hang with!

Lois Clary from Sourdough by Robin Sloan
I really love how passionate Lois is about everything and I admire how she dives into even the most unprecedented things and fights her way through to the other side. She’s so full of life and energy, plus she makes a really mean sourdough! We’d have awesome adventures in San Francisco!

The Illuminae Files Gang from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Um, do I really need to have a reason why being besties with ALL OF THEM would be so fun? I love all their personalities and I mean, tbh, if I were going to be living in space, and finding myself fighting crazy battles for survival, these are the people I’d trust to keep me safe lol

Raymond from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I loved Raymond so much. He has the biggest heart and to be honest, he kind of reminds me of a bestie I lost several years ago to a horrible freak accident. I think being besties with Raymond would bring so much warmth and comfort into my life.

What characters would you want to be besties with? Would you wanna be friends with any of these characters? If you’ve also done a TTT for today, don’t forget to leave your links in the comment and let’s chat 🙂

Posted in Book Tags, General Books

Who Am I Book Tag

A few weeks ago, Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads tagged me to do this fun tag and I’m just now getting around to answering it! I love tags (y’all can tag me in all the tags!) but I’m quite horrible at making time to answer them (and it always takes me a while to think of the answers, I’m slow like that)! I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to answering this one.


If you were a book genre, what would it be?

I’d probably be a contemporary, and most probably a contemporary romance because I’m a hopeless romantic. A big one! Despite going through the wringer and having all the bad luck when it comes to love myself, I’m still a fan of the mushy, gushy stuff and I’m one of those people that normally don’t mind having romance storylines in whatever I read (most of the time). I live for unrealistic expectations and being swept off my metaphorical feet!

What villain from a book do you identify with the most?

I always have such a hard time answering these types of questions. I’m going to go and say Victor Vale from Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab, but also, Holland Vosijk from Schwab’s Shades of Magic series.

What protagonist are you most similar to?

It’d be too difficult to choose just one character I’m most similar to, but the first one that pops into my head is Hannah Martin from Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I resonated with so much of what Hannah felt, thought and experienced.

“I think I have to believe that life will work out the way it needs to. If everything that happens in the world is just a result of chance and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it, that’s just too chaotic for me to handle. I’d have to go around questioning every decision I’ve ever made, every decision I will ever make. If our fate is determined with every step we take . . . it’s too exhausting. I’d prefer to believe that things happen as they are meant to happen.” 

Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?

There are actually a lot that I don’t connect with anymore but I think the biggest ones might be Twilight and Divergent. To be honest, my disconnect with Twilight really happened with all the movies. I mean no offense to anyone who loved the movie(s), but that was the first and only movie that caused me to walk out of the cinema LOL 🙈it just really wasn’t my jam. I never watched the Divergent movies for that reason. There are also a lot of romances that I used to read and love with all the angst in my 5’1″ body, but when I think of them now I cringe so hard!

What recent book would you love to be a character in?

I would love to experience the magic of the grimoires and the Great Libraries from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. Also, I’d just totally love to meet Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas. I’d be terrified but simultaneously excited by the prospect of stepping into one of these places. Knowing my luck though, I’d probably be hypnotised and lured in by some Class 8 grimoire that gruesomely kills me, but you know, I just want to have the experience of seeing and feeling these books come to life! 🤷🏻‍♀️

How do your reading habits show off in your personality?

I tend to get intensely stuck in the zone when I’m reading and I think that definitely shows off in my personality. Also, even though I tend to gravitate towards certain genres because they’re in my comfort zone, I’m also not averse to trying a wide variety or something completely new, and I think that’s similar to how approach most of the things in life!

What book taught you something about yourself?

There’s really not one book that I can pinpoint for this answer. I think that I take something away from all the books that I read, including the fantasy ones! There are just too many books that I’ve read in my lifetime that have taught me something for me to choose one. Shameless self-promotion: I did post about books that have shaped me the other day, so you can check that out here if you’re curious to see it!


I’m tagging a few friends (no pressure if you don’t do tags by the way, just ignore me!) but to whoever is reading this, if you want to do it too, feel free to join!
Amanda | Emer | Joanna | Sammie | YOU!