Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Batman, Vol. 1: I Am Gotham by Tom King, David Finch, Scott Snyder, Mikel Janin, Matt Banning, Danny Miki, June Chung, Jordi Bellaire, Deron Bennett, John Workman  | Rating: ★★★☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I'm going to be upfront about it all: I enjoy a lot of works from DC. Batman is not, typically, one of them. So my review may be--a bit--biased on the matter of whether or not this release is good or bad. I thought the summary of it all seemed promising; a good mismatch of various runs for Batman and had hoped it would be something bigger, better than it was. The truth is that despite the artwork and solid dialogue, the tone was vastly underwhelming for me and I just felt it could have done so much more than what it did.

This isn't to say it lacked action or that gritty tone that it promises. It was neither here nor there in my opinion and by the end I felt rather indifferent toward the volume. For the most part, it had that familiar DC/Batman vibe to it but then there were moments where it took a turn into something that just didn't feel quite right. Again, this could perhaps be due to my relative indifference towards Batman. But the indifference felt even stronger than usual--very nearly at dislike--as I couldn't help but to feel this wasn't, well, right. 


The Flash, Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ivan Plascencia, Steve Wands, Karl Kerschl | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

When I first saw the descriptions on these rebirth issues of the DC universe I was both a bit skeptical and a little hopeful. Taking on iconic characters, keeping what makes them beloved and maybe a little timeless, and then turning them into something new and refreshed is difficult. It's not an easy task and can often translate poorly. The last thing that you want is to ring a series dry and not do it justice, but this take on The Flash is true to tone and spices up a tried formula in ways that will impress old readers and draw in some new fans. 

The bad news is that, despite the good in it, it's not going to be for everyone and it certainly isn't my favourite comic to date. It has a lot of slow moments and a whole lot of repetitive things to it that will put a lot of us off but if you stick it out, it does have its more genuine moments. If you don't like The Flash--if his brand of superhero and story lines aren't your cup of tea, then don't pick it up. You won't like it if you already dislike the vast catalogue of stories that have been around for decades. Simple as that.


Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook | Rating: ★★★★★  

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I am going to be the woman you fear.

As of late, I've been expanding my poetry shelves and when I came upon Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately, I knew I had to give it a read. Something about the format is appealing to me and I had a feeling I'd love it. I didn't know just how much I would. Not only is the format told in a way that sparks my interest (mix tapes and poetry?!) the prose is so full of life that I found myself short of breath on more than one occasion. I kept saying this, this collection is modern poetry at its finest.

Alicia Cook has a way to her words that leads us readers to her thoughts. Straightaway, what she writes is what we feel. It's so easy to connect with her and there's this sense of honesty to every word that is impossible to describe. Poetry is all about connecting us to a person's heart and soul and Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately is a total nod to this. You're embraced by this intimate look at her life. The good, the bad, the everything. I loved exploring every minute of it and finished it in one sitting because it's just so good.


Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn't Ask For by Sara Pascoe | Rating: ★★★☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I have this itching desire to read everything witch related that I can get my hands on, so upon reading the brief summary of Sara Pascoe's charming novel Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn't Ask For it's not surprising to hear that I had to read it. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first (perhaps I am out of its targeted age range) and there were times I felt like it was all over the place, but for the most part it was a fun read.

The first thing I need to say is that you should give it a bit of time to get into its groove. Because once it gets there, it really gets things moving. Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn't Ask For has its flaws and will certainly not be for everyone, but it's such a solid read that I see it being one of those books. The sort of novel that gets preteens/teens reading for real. I felt out of touch with the way it was written/portrayed sometimes but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.


Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon | Rating: ★★★★★   

“I talk to you as I talk to my own soul," he said, turning me to face him. He reached up and cupped my cheek, fingers light on my temple. "And Sassenach," he whispered, "Your face is my heart.” 

Some types of love are stronger than you can imagine. And if there is one thing I've learned from reading Diana Gabaldon's incredible series Outlander, it's that love can endure almost anything. What strikes me most about this series is how it takes all its archetypes and throws them out the window. Gabaldon blends more than a few genres together and comes out with an intelligent story of love, loss, war and time travel. In Dragonfly in Amber we pick up quite quickly where we ended in Outlander and in this novel, we explore far more than we did in its predecessor.

If you thought the first of the series was breathtaking and full of romance, action and heartbreak, you're in for a new level with Dragonfly in Amber. Armed with the same bits of love, charm, soul and heartache that we'd come to see before, things are kicked up a notch. I am not altogether certain how to describe the sway of emotions readers will ride out during the novel. If I had to describe it, though, I'd say that this story is equal parts a warm embrace and a kick in the chest.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey | Rating: ★★★☆☆

A copy of this novel was provided through NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I wasn't sure what to expect from The Saturday Evening Girls Club even at the start. But as someone who loves period pieces and constantly longs for more novels that are based around the friendships between women, with other things sprinkled in for good measure, Jane Healey intrigued me from the moment I read the novels premise. The novel itself wasn't quite what I was expecting in a lot of ways but it was still a read that kept me focused well enough. 

Where the connections--the families, the friendships and all the in betweens--soared and made the novel an engaging story; the dialogue, at times, felt stiff and a mixture of the past and the present.  A lot of it felt like a mismatched series of events and conversations. Which isn't that big of a deal but it did bring down my reading experience by at least a star. Something about it, despite this, remained appealing and in terms of a lot of women's fiction, The Saturday Evening Girls Club sets an example of how human connections should be explored in any timeline. 


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie | Rating: ★★★★★  

We speak of moving mountains, but sometimes people can completely rotate the world, just so someone else can land upright on their feet.

Every once and a while it is our pleasure as readers to find a series we feel so connected to. We live in the pages of these stories and watch as the characters move through their own lives; growing, growing, growing, until we have to say goodbye. Upon completing the series we know we can return at any time but still, somehow, feels like we've said goodbye to our very best friend. Krista and Becca Ritchie have created this within the characters we meet in Addicted and Calloway Sisters. I feel as though I've spent my 20s living side by side with Lily, Rose, Daisy, Lo, Connor and Ryke. In a lot of ways I have--and that isn't a feeling I thought I could have replicated beyond Harry Potter.

In the finale of a wonderful series, Some Kind of Perfect is a delight to start from finish. At first, I was concerned about the concept of an epilogue novel but there's something about Ritchie Squared and the way they develop their characters. It's a breath of fresh air in romance/new adult novels and their novels are truly one of a kind. They've set the bar high for other releases that are to come. And this isn't the first time I've said it, but they write their characters so beautifully it's impossible to not think of them as friends by the end of their stories.