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.


Escorted by Claire Kent | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

"With all the erotica in popular culture now, many women have unrealistic expectations about what sex should be like. So when their actual experiences don't match with the fictional fantasies, they think something's wrong with them. But the reality is it doesn't happen magically, and a lot of men don't know to please a woman's body--even if they genuinely want to."

There was just something about the entire premise behind Claire Kent's Escorted that intrigued me from the get-go. I have been slowly expanding my taste by exploring the romance genre and there was something undeniably hot and heavy about the plot-line in this one. While Escorted wasn't something I necessarily expected to like, I did enjoy the experience of reading it and seeing how the story developed between Lori and Ander.

At first glance Escorted promises to be a sexy romp in its pages--a love story with a twist. We can all appreciate these little ticks that come with a story like it and I really cannot stress how fun Kent's novel was once it got in its groove. Story-line wise, it's sex heavy. Obviously. Do I even need to say this? Beyond the hot and heavy smut, the story is genuinely good at offering us a dip in the warm and fuzzies.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thrifty Tuesdays: January-April, 2017



Most days I wonder how much of my time is spent on things like making music, reading and writing, and--gasp--thrifting. It suits me rather well not to know how much of my free-time is spent on certain things because I have a feeling if you were to write a chart/graph of where I spend my time (outside of work) most thrift stores and antique shops would be at a solid 75%. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. I love a good deal.

As of lately, I've been scoping out more thrift shops in a well off portion of my city and that's my big tip for anyone looking to score some serious steals when it comes to both new and secondhand goods. You see, the bigger the income of that area the more likely you are to find gems of all kinds. Books, shoes, clothing. Add in the fact that some big-time stores like Target donate unsold, new products and you've got the formula for an awesome spot. I fancy myself quite knowledgeable about thrifting and what makes a location good but perhaps that is just me tooting my own horn. Regardless, I've found a stellar selection from two specific locations over the span of four months and I'm here to share my finds with you.


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon | Rating: ★★★★★ 

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

No spoilers, please! If you read that in a "no pictures!" voice, you are going places my friend. Because this novel has yet to be released, my review will be to the point and free of spoilers. I'll try not to fangirl too hard but this novel is that kind of novel, if you know what I mean.


I'm calling it now: When Dimple Met Rishi is going to be *the* YA contemporary of the summer. I'm so impressed by this novel because it kept me reading without ever feeling slumped about the story--something that not many in its genre do. There is something irresistible about Menon's novel; the prose, the plots, the characters. It's sweet, humorous and generally touching. Reading it is the equivalent of a warm blanket and feel-good movie. A novel that will hold you in your seat until its final pages, not out of suspense but out of some inexplicable feeling of weightlessness and joy. I literally enjoyed every page of it and found myself smiling a good chunk of the time. 


Monday, April 3, 2017

Favourite Quotes: Addicted & Calloway Sisters

It's time for a celebration! Your girl finally has a working laptop, again.

My wallet is very unhappy with me due to the cost of it all but for the most part I'm beyond thrilled to be able to resume my blog and get back on a normal schedule. I've been thinking of something to do as a welcome-back for myself (is that lame?) and my first idea was to just revisit my favourite quotes from two of my favourite series: Addicted and Calloway Sisters by the ever-lovely Krista & Becca Ritchie. And then I thought, gee, Jessica? Why not do this as a weekly--or monthly--thing to show off your favourite quotes throughout time?

I didn't answer myself back, of course. Because, I am far too lazy to do so. But I felt like I was onto something; as mundane as it seems--and of course, where better to start than with the book series that has shaped my early-mid twenties? Krista and Becca Ritchie have worked their way into my heart with their words and characters, if you haven't checked out their work do so NOW. I am pretty sure that the first book in the Addicted series is free on all digital platforms so you really have no excuse in not checking out the eBook.

Thank me later.


The Masseuse by Kristine Robinson | Rating:  ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

As you can see, I've taken to heart my goal of reading more romance and erotica. It's taken a while but I've finally begun to put a dent in my to-read pile and The Masseuse was at the top of my list. WLW novels are so hard to come across and I was intrigued by the premise of this steamy release. But the problems I had with this short story were much of the same problems I had with Sylvia Day's Afterburn and Aftershock.

They were much too short to grow attached to, well, anything. Kristine Robinson did a lot with such a short timeline and I have to hand that to her. Besides this, the sex scenes were full of so much chemistry I am pretty sure I needed a cold shower by the end of the blossoming love (or lust) story between our two leading ladies, Sandra and Dominique. The Masseuse could have been pure fire if some of the scenes didn't feel recycled and tired--but that doesn't make it any less hot than it was.

I can't stress how off the charts the chemistry was. I think my face is still red.

There were a lot of negatives about The Masseuse beyond the shortness and overall similarities in all the sex scenes. I wanted to know more about Sandra and Dominique as individuals and for the plot to develop itself a bit more. Emotional charge could have been on high and sometimes this is more important that the sexually charged moments. I felt like a lot was left unresolved and there were more than a few moments that felt lackluster and descriptive.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie | Rating: ★★★★★  

“I am the biographer of my own life. And no one can take that away from me.” 

Since the day we were introduced to both Daisy and Ryke I have been waiting for them to get their own happily ever after. Since the day they got together. All the way to Long Way Down, I've been waiting patiently for luck to be on their side. So much of this time has been spent getting to know them as individuals, as a couple. If there were a pair of fictional characters so deserving of greatness it's them. All the way down the path to their destiny, it's been a pleasure watching them grow and seeing them navigate a sticky world.

One of the things that strikes me most about Long Way Down is that there are so many times that you just want to cry your eyes out. At good things. At bad things. Krista and Becca Ritchie have accomplished so much with their words throughout the course of Addicted and Calloway Sisters but their greatest feat, their biggest triumph, is how they tackle the complexities of life and human emotions. Every character we've met has struggled in different ways and their approach has always been honest in displaying various coping mechanisms.


Aftershock by Sylvia Day | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

“I’ve always seen white picket fences in your eyes when you look at me. I was positive I wasn’t that guy. I was wrong. One of these days, when you’re ready, I’ll give that dream to you. And you’re going to give me a gorgeous little girl or two with your dark curly hair and smiles that slay me.” 

Sylvia Day is one of my favourite authors, period, and owns me with the fact that she is the one of the only romance authors that I can stand. I loved the Crossfire series and naturally, I'd made it my mission to read as much as I can get my hands on from her. No one writes a steamy romance like her and I was more than ready to swoon and trip over myself for the sexual chemistry that would surely cut the air.

Afterburn was sadly underwhelming--it was decent enough, but still not the greatest. Day can do so much better than the underdeveloped story of Jax and Gia. Sure, it's a steamy short story but it lacks the quality of warmth and soul that Day is known for. Importantly, her novels are usually more than just lust-over-me sorts of gems. There are characters who have so much depth and life breathed into them, you can't help but to fall head over heels for them. Afterburn was not one of those and sadly Aftershock is worse. I couldn't believe this was written by Sylvia because it lacked so, so much of what I've come to love about her words and it just left me feeling a bit disgruntled and confused.