Posted in General Books, Sundays In Bed With..., Weekly Wrap Up

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I spent this Sunday in bed finishing up both Malamander and Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven!

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy’s death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer — the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew — Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy’s death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer — the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew — Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

What are you currently reading?

It’s been such a stressful Sunday, friends and I’m so over it. Although I haven’t been feeling the best over the last two days, the day started off well enough. I got a few hours of sleep, finished a couple of books, and I watched the adorable movie on Netflix called Klaus! I love a good animated film and this was no exception; it was touching, sweet and funny and I’m so glad it popped up on my suggestions today! It’s the well-imagined backstory of how Santa Claus came to be and I thought it was inventive and entertaining! I’ve possibly been feeling a little more emotional than usual lately but it definitely had me shedding a couple of sad-happy tears and I loved it! Would 100% recommend it if you’re looking for a cute holiday movie to watch, whether alone or with family!

Aside from that it was a relatively chilled out weekend until late this afternoon when there were some work things that came up and stressed me out big time. I’m leaving on a very short work trip tomorrow but it’s so disorganized, everything is feeling a little too last minute and chaotic for my tastes and it’s making me feel extremely anxious. I especially hate that it’s put a damper in my evening as I scramble to do last minute things that people request of me. I really should learn how to say no… That said, I’m going to put on How the Grinch Stole Christmas after this because that black heart is a mood right now ๐Ÿ˜…

Reading & Blogging Recap

I finished four books this week which isn’t bad considering how busy and stressful it was. I managed to read my first Nonfiction November read and I also finished my first successful week of the Triwizardathon! I had originally set out to read three books to complete the challenges, but in the end, I completed four prompts for the two challenges in my first task! The graphic novel that I listed in my Triwizard post wasn’t the one I ended up reading in the end, but it still counts towards completing the challenge. Not off to a bad start, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’ve been doing pretty well on the blogging front as well, although I only posted one review and I’ve still got tons to write for books I read last month ๐Ÿ™ˆ Slowly, though, right? As usual, in case you missed any of my posts from this week, you can find them all listed below:

Top 5 Saturday: Books by Unread Authors!
Friday Favorites: Hyped Books!
First Lines Friday: 15 November
Review: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
The Book Snob Tag!
Thursday Discussion: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud!
This or That Book Tag!
#WWWWednesday: 13 November
Triwizard Tournament Readathon: Task 1 Possibility Pile
#TopTenTuesday: Favorite Bookmarks!
Down the TBR Hole – 07
Goodreads Monday: 11 November

I’ve been listening to a lot of throwback tunes this week and it’s all thanks to discovering that there’s a musical inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album! I’m sharing the video that set me off on this jaunt down the 90s to early 00s music memory lane below. This is the cast of the musical singing one of my favorite songs off Morissette’s album: You Learn.

How has your week been? Hope everyone has/had a great weekend!

Posted in General Books, WWW Wednesday

#WWWWednesday: 13 November

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

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

What did you read last?

It’s once again been a pretty slow reading week. Since last week I’ve only managed to finish two books–although technically I’m on the last few pages of The Stranger Beside Me, so I’ve only managed to finish one read! I don’t know why reading has been going so slowly? Maybe it’s the books I’ve been picking up? Either way, here’s what I’ve managed to read:

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
Yeah, this one was pretty disappointing because I had such high hopes for it and it was one of the reads I’d been most excited to receive in my Owlcrate this year. That said, I felt there was a lot of potential with the story and characters but the execution let me down. Read my full review!

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜… ยฝ
So I’m actually just finishing up the second afterword by the author (a few pages left to go) but I thought I’d put this up already. This book… Holy hell, this book, friends! I don’t even know what to say about it? Literally still processing how I felt because I went through a whole spectrum of emotions. For sure there was total disgust, as well as deep and intense fear, but oddly I also felt sympathy and quite a lot of sadness. I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been like being in Ann Rules’ shoes when it comes to her odd, almost sibling-like relationship with Bundy, but that she was able to write a book like this is incredible. My full review will hopefully be posted sometime this week after digesting this read further.

What are you currently reading?

Having just finished an intensely disturbing and dark read, I NEED some feel good, fluffy and happy reads in my system right now. So I’m picking up my favorite Pumpkinheads again for that quick shot of happiness to my system, plus it’s one of my picks for the Triwizardathon! Since that’s going to be a quick read, I’m also picking up Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob and Well Met by Jen DeLuca. I’ve heard amazing things about both of these reads, especially Well Met, so I’m excited to finally get to it!

What will you read next?

Malamander by Thomas Taylor is the third book that I’ve picked for Week 1 of my Triwizardathon challenge; I’ll be reading this only in bed as per the prompt and I’m hoping to do that this weekend because I don’t have any plans until Sunday! I adore this cover and have heard really positive reviews about this MG read, so I’m definitely looking forward to it!

What are you currently reading? How’s your week and reading going?

Posted in Challenges, General Books, Triwizardathon

Triwizard Tournament Readathon: Task 1 Possibility Pile

*GASP*

Is it true?

Can it be?

Am I really participating in another readathon when I already struggle hard enough to stick to a monthly possibility pile?!

It’s true, gentlefriends. It’s true. I’m a masochist and like to torture myself whenever possible. I just read about the Triwizard Tournament readathon on Holly’s page yesterday and I couldn’t resist. I thought it was pretty great timing considering the challenge starts this week! I took that as a sign to participate and I’M SO EXCITED for it!

This amazing readathon is hosted by Jessica @ Chapter Charms.

Have you ever wanted to compete in the Triwizard Tournament?
Do you like reading?
Then why not join us for this epic reading event!
It will be split into three week-long rounds, each themed around and representing one of the tasks from the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Everyone taking part will be selected as a champion for one of the three schools and will be given reading challenges to complete in order to compete to win the Triwizard Cup.

Triwizard Tournament Readathon, Chapter Charms

Each participant is sorted into a school based on your birth month and that means I’m a champion for Durmstrang. I’m probably going to forget to share some key information so you can find out more about the challenge and submit your name into the Goblet of Fire to sign up for the challenge on THIS PAGE! There’s also an official Twitter page where you can find and follow other participants: @triwizardathon

This week marks week one of the challenge and the FIRST TASK IS DRAGONS! The dates for the first task are from: Monday 11th November โ€“ Sunday 17th November 2019

CHALLENGE ONE โ€“ THE DRAGON

For this task you must retrieve the golden egg that your dragon is guarding and you will have two challenges to complete. You school will be assigned a dragon and you must choose a method for facing this dragon in order to retrieve the golden egg.

First Task, Triwizard Tournament Readathon, Chapter Charms

Each school will battle a certain dragon. As I’m from Durmstrang, I will have to defeat the Swedish Short-Snout.

Swedish Short-Snout:ย These dragons are sought after to use their skin to make shields and gloves, re-read a favourite that makes you feel protected.

For this challenge I’m going to choose to re-read Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Erin Faith Hicks. I’m currently reading The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule and if you didn’t know, it’s about serial killer Ted Bundy. While I’m getting through it faster (and also slower) than I thought I would, it’s an intense AF read. I need a fast read that will bring back all the warm feels ASAP and there ain’t no better read than this favorite o’mine.

CHALLENGE TWO โ€“ THE METHOD

There are several methods we can choose from to face the dragon. We can pick one method or choose more to get extra skill points.

  • Conjunctivitis Curse: Temporarily blind your dragon by reading a book with eyes on the cover.
  • Bewitched Sleep: Send your dragon to sleep by reading a whole book in bed.
  • Speed: Race past your dragon to retrieve the egg by reading a graphic novel.
  • Distraction: Distract your dragon by transfiguring a rock into an animal, read a book with an animal on the cover.

I’m not going to overwhelm myself by trying to get all the extra skill points, especially since a different book should be read for each challenge, so I’m going to only choose two methods:

Bewitched Sleep: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Speed: Good Talk by Mira Jacob

That’s it for the first task! I’m really excited to get the ball rolling on this readathon after I finish The Stranger Beside Me (which should be very soon). I’m not sure if I’ll try to use more methods to defeat the dragon but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and I’m just rolling with it!

Are you participating in the Triwizard Tournament Readathon too?!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction

The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes & DJ Kirkland – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: The Black Mage
Publish date: 29 October 2019
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜….5โ˜†โ˜†

When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school’s “Magical Minority Initiative,” begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.

Wow, this was a cool concept for a story: Harry Potter meets American Civil War history and the KKK. I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy novel that incorporates deep elements of racism in it! This artwork isn’t the type that I usually like, but I think it suited the story and I especially liked the use of all the colors. I really enjoyed the HP setting of the school! Honestly, it was a little terrifying to see all the KKK outfits being worn by children in school (even if it’s just fiction) and the thought of them having ‘magical powers’ in a fantasy world where they are still the oppressors, was also a terrifying thought.

One aspect that I didn’t enjoy so much at the start was that there’s a lot of text in the speech bubbles and I felt like I had to really zoom in to be able to read it all properly (so that broke up the panels a bit weirdly). As the story progressed there was still a lot of text in certain speech bubbles but for the most part it lessened. Since this is a standalone(?) the story progressed very quickly and it also wrapped up very quickly and neatly, which was kind of “eh”. I honestly would’ve liked to have the story be longer so that we get to learn more about the characters, and to get some character development in the story as well. The ending while “happy” not only felt too abrupt but also a little unresolved — I mean, how does the school still exist? I want to know more. Overall though, I’m glad that I decided to pick this up. It was an interesting read!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy in exchange for an honest review! This graphic novel is out 29 October 2019.

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, General Books, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu – #ARC #GraphicNovel #Review

Goodreads: Mooncakes
Publish date: 15 October 2019
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy
Rating:

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods.

As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

How cute can a graphic novel be?! I’ve seen Mooncakes making the rounds on a few blogs and it sounded so cute I just had to pick it up asap. It’s a very quick and enjoyable read that is full of representation and diversity. We have queer grandmas, a queer young witch that wears hearing-aids, and a nonbinary young werewolf. We also have lots of magic, books and cute little forest creatures! Not to mention a demon and a cultโ€ฆ This fantasy graphic novel really has it all! The artwork was rich and full of vibrant autumn colors that leant a cozy but also a darker mood to the story. The art style reminded me of the late 90s-early 00s comics that I’d always read.

Tam and Nova are lovely main characters and the relationship that blossomed between them was sweet. The grandmas were also great and extremely supportive–I loved the little grandma jokes and banter! I do wish that we got more backstory to the characters. Nova and Tam got together pretty early on and while they were ‘picking up where they left off’ as the reader, I found their chemistry lacking at that point and I would’ve liked to know more about their history together as kids and how their friendship grew, and had the potential for romance. I still enjoyed their relationship and how they learned to grow together and as individuals. Everyone was heartwarmingly supportive in this comic!

Another issue I had was that it initially felt like we were jumping into the middle of a story that was already almost finished because there was very little backstory and world building. I wanted to know more about the place and the history! I also found it a little unbelievable that they could get away with carting a demon in a floating magical cage and there were still zero people around? Where were the townspeople that they’d occasionally mention? Unless they actually live in seclusion but that wasn’t the impression I got!

Overall, a quick, witchy and heartwarming read. I can’t wait to see the finished product and the bonus material that will be included. I would definitely recommend it to those who love cute, magical, and queer comics!

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Have you read Mooncakes or is it on your TBR?
This is out in October 2019 so be on the look out!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, General Books, Graphic Novel, Humor, Non Fiction

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell – #ARC #GraphicNovel #BookReview

Goodreads: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better
Publish Date: 10 January 2017
Publisher: Animal Media Group LLC
Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Graphic Novel
Panda Rating:

Anonymous break up stories from men and women, old and young, serious and silly and the cartoons that inspired them. Author and artist Hilary Campbell turns the painful into the hilarious, validating emotions from forgotten middle school tragedies to relationships that ended only hours ago.
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbellย is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cartoonist. Her films have won top prizes at Slamdance, SF IndieFest, and more. She was the co-illustrator of Jessica Bennettโ€™s critically acclaimedย Feminist Fight Club.Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Betterย is her first book of cartoons.

As the author states repeatedly in her introduction (and also at the end) of the book, people can be pretty terrible. Some of these had me cracking up (mostly in shock) at how awkward and terrible a break up went. Some had me exclaiming out loud at how awful people could be. I’ve had my fair share of awful relationships and break ups and so many of these instances and feelings were absolutely relatable (as cringeworthy as many of them are). Reading these stories and having that peek into other peoples’ lives brings me a weird kind of satisfaction. Lol not that I take pleasure in other people’s unfortunate situations, but it’s honestly comforting to know that you’re not the only one who goes through some crazy heartbreaking things, and also crazy awful things you never want to repeat. Some people are seriously twisted though. Yikes!

I enjoyed most of the graphics that illustrated and complemented all the stories but I also thought that they weren’t anything spectacular. Some did make me chuckle. I guess I misunderstood the blurb and thought that the stories would be illustrated in comic format, but it was still enjoyable the way it was. Needless to say, this was a very fast, mostly fun read! The author ends the book with a note saying that she’s still accepting these break up stories over on her website, but as I just realized this book was published two years ago, I don’t know if she’s still taking any. If she is, I might go ahead and share some stories myself! Lol

Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! Have you read Breaking Up Is Hard…But You Could’ve Done Better? What did you think?

Posted in Book Reviews, General Books, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)

Goodreads: Pumpkinheads
Genre: Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Romance
Rating:

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.
Every autumn, all through high school, theyโ€™ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and theyโ€™re reunited every September 1.
But this Halloween is differentโ€”Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.
Josiahโ€™s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isnโ€™t ready to let him. Sheโ€™s got aย plan: What ifโ€”instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hutโ€”they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl heโ€™s been mooning over for three years… What if their last shift was an adventure?

PUMPKINHEADS WAS JUST SOOO CUTE. If you’re excited for fall, you’ll love this book! I just want more of Deja & Josie. I loved their friendship and their chemistry–they were so sweet! I also need to go to this pumpkin patch ASAP. I’ve never wanted four seasons more than after this!

I did not want Pumpkinheads to end. Ever since stumbling across the title earlier this year, I knew that I’d need to get my hands on it ASAP! So when I walked into the bookstore on Friday evening, I was shocked but super happy to see it on the shelves. I didn’t expect it to be available here already, especially since it wasn’t that long ago since it was released. You can bet your ass that I scooped it up without a second thought!

The Artwork

I adored the artwork in Pumpkinheads and it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of Faith’s work. The colors were so vibrant and perfectly suited to the fall vibes of the story. The art style is exactly the kind that I love to find in graphic novels and I felt that the illustrations really brought the whole pumpkin patch to life. I felt as if I could taste the food (omg it just looked so good!), feel the fire and smell the changing weather in the air. I also loved how Faith illustrated the expressions of the characters in the story! Josie’s expressions always had me cracking up and the longing and sadness in Deja’s face really felt like a punch to the gut sometimes. It was honestly all so perfectly done. Since finishing the book, I’ve been flipping through it again and again just to look at the art.

The Storyline

Deja and Josiah have been best friends ever since they met at the pumpkin patch three years ago. They’re opposites in so many ways, but they complement each other well. Deja is beautiful and outgoing. She talks to and knows everyone and is loved by pretty much all. She’s also dated a few of the guys and girls while she’s worked there. On the other hand, Josie is a bit of a shy nerd and has had a huge crush on ‘The Fudge’ girl for the last three years, despite never speaking to her in all that time. But that changes tonight because Deja has made it her mission to make sure they both enjoy their last night to the full and to have a ‘last adventure’ at the pumpkin patch that they’ll never forget!

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know what I DIDN’T love about this story! Pumpkinheads is the perfect read to transition into the autumn season! It is fall all over and I want to immerse myself in it repeatedly. Deja & Josie were great characters and their experience dealing with the big changes coming their way was very relatable and so very real. They were both loveable characters and it was nostalgic to watch them reminisce about their days working at the patch, and about their worries for the things to come now that high school is over. It’s something that we’ve all been through and it made me think about myself all those (very many) years ago! While there were plenty of serious and heartfelt conversations, there was also a lot of fun and adventure as their mission took them all over the park, with its fun games and very delicious foods. While the story might not have been something completely new or life changing, I loved it for its simplicity, and that it was still able to evoke a range of emotions from me. It’s about dealing with change and taking hold of those simple moments and living for it. It was sweet, nostalgic and relatable. It was a heartwarming story and the ending is the kind that leaves me with good, happy feels all around!

Have you read Pumpkinheads? What’d you think?
Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat!