Friday, June 26, 2020

5 Fandom Friday-Favorite DC Characters

Hello, all!

I always have trouble choosing my favorite comic book characters, so I usually go with whatever the first ones to pop into my head are. I’m sure I’m leaving out tons of amazing characters, but here’s who I’m going with for this week.

1. Wonder Woman: You should all know by now how I love a strong female badass, so how could I not include Diana Prince? I grew up reading Wonder Woman comics and she’s really such an icon for Girl Power. Still to this day, I wish I could pull a Lynda Carter and transform into her whenever I spin around.

2. Harley Quinn: It’s no secret that Harley is my hands down favorite Batman character, probably my favorite DC character all together. From the moment I first saw her on Batman: The Animated Series, I was hooked. She’s so kooky and out there, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. I love the way she’s grown from being Joker’s girlfriend to a formidable character in her own right.

3. Catwoman: Are you sensing the theme of badass women yet? Catwoman is another one of those characters who sort of toe the line between good and evil and I’m always a fan of those. Plus, I also just absolutely love Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns.

4. Batman: Obviously, I have to give props to the one who started it all for me. I can vividly remember me creeping into my brother’s room when I was younger to steal his comics and rush to read them before he knew they were missing. I also judge people based on who their favorite Batman is. (The only correct answer is Michael Keaton, but Kevin Conroy is also acceptable.)

5. John Constantine: Like Catwoman, John’s moral compass is a bit blurred at times. Despite that, and his excessive cigarette usage, he’s saved the world multiple times. I like how he seems to have gotten more love and screen time over the last few years. He also has a fancy schmancy trench coat.

Lemme know some of your favorite characters!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Blog Tour: She's Faking It Review

Hello, all!

It's summertime which means it's contemporary time! I love a quick, fun rom-com especially during this time of year, so I'm very happy to be a part of the blog tour for She's Faking It by Kristin Rockaway. Big thanks to Graydon House for having me!

Pub Date: 6-30-20
Adult - Contemporary

Bree Bozeman's life didn't turn out the way she had hoped it would. She dropped out of college and became a food delivery girl, then her car broke down leaving her with no transportation, no job, and not a whole lot of prospects. When her sister gives her a self-help book, she vows to put the effort in to try and turn her life around. Bree decides to start an Instagram account as a way of planning out the dream life she's aspiring to have, but when one of her posts gets a huge boost from none other than the author of that same self-help book, Bree's suddenly thrust into the life of a nano-influencer.

Soon, everything starts falling into place. Brands want to collaborate with her, she's receiving free things in the mail (even if they are a little shady or ugly), and Bree finally starts believing she's going somewhere and making something out of her life. The best part about all this new found confidence? Her romance with the hot pro-surfer next door. But things start to go downhill fast, and Bree realizes this may not be the life she was imagining.

This is a weird one for me. I liked it, but at the same time didn't. I didn't fully love Bree as a character, I found a lot about her personality to be very frustrating, but her intentions were always good. I enjoyed her relationship with her sister and friend, Mari. I don't think the relationship between her and Trey worked for me, I just didn't feel any real chemistry between them. Obviously, everything with Instagram and valuing your life and success over how many likes or followers you have was spot on for this day and age, but it was refreshing to see Bree sort of realize that there's more to life than what strangers on the internet think of you. So, while I didn't fully love this, I'd still recommend if you're looking for a quick contemporary.

Rating: 3/5

More info about the book can be found below!


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Head Over Heels Review

Hello, all!

I'm not an athletic person. Like, at all. Because of that, I much prefer to watch my sports. I've always been a bit in awe by gymnastics, so a rom-com set in that world? I'm sold! Big thanks to Netgalley and Atria books for the copy of Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein.

Pub Date: 6-23-20
Adult - Contemporary

Avery Abrams was once an elite gymnast who's Olympic dreams were shattered after an injury at a qualifying meet forced her into early retirement. In the almost decade since the incident, Avery has had to watch her ex-best friend Jasmine reach all the goals she trained her whole life for. Now, with no motivation or prospects on the horizon and a recent break-up, Avery has no choice left but to move back in with her parents in her Massachusetts hometown. When she gets a call from Ryan, another athlete she used to compete with, with a position helping coach a young gymnast with Olympic aspirations, she hesitantly agrees.

Despite her worries and bad memories of her own abusive coach, Avery finds a renewed energy the moment she walks back into Summit gym. She's also surprised to find that the more she helps Ryan train Hallie, the more her confidence seems to flourish and her self-esteem grows. The old emotional wounds she had from the sport she once loved begin to heal, and being around Ryan isn't so bad either. But when a shocking scandal wracks the gymnastics world, the ripples not only affect the sport itself, but Avery and her old friend Jasmine as well.

I enjoyed this, but I didn't fully love it. All I really knew of the gymnastics world, I learned from watching the movie Stick It, so reading all about the tricks and intense training/conditioning that these athletes go through was really fascinating. It was interesting seeing this world through Avery's perspective, and seeing the differences in her training versus how Ryan was brought up in the sport. The story itself I thought was okay. I did expect the actual scandal to be a bigger part than it turned out to be, but overall I appreciated how it wrapped up. As for the relationship between Avery and Ryan, I found it a bit meh. I did also find this slightly clunky and the pacing to be off a bit in places. With that in mind, I'd still recommend if you're a fan of sports centered rom-coms.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, June 19, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite DC Villains

Hello, all!

There are so many great villains in comics. Here are just a few DC ones I enjoy.

1. Ra’s al Ghul: There are a ton of formidable villains in Batman’s rogue gallery, but I’ve always thought Ra’s was one of the top contenders. He’s one of the few who are at Batman’s level, be it mentally or physically. Ra’s is ancient, and as the leader of the League of Assassins, he’s a master manipulator (just ask Damian Wayne.)

2. Bane: I know most people pick the Joker as their favorite Batman bad guy, and while I do enjoy him, Bane was always a step up in my opinion. He’s the man who broke the Bat, for cryin’ out loud! He completely shattered both Batman’s body and mind, and that panel of him breaking the Bat’s back is forever imprinted in my mind.

3. Deathstroke: I always find characters who straddle the line between good and evil to be the most fascinating of all, and Deathstroke is definitely one of those types. Even though he’s teamed up with heroes like the Teen Titans before, he can’t deny what his true nature is: he’s a killer with no remorse and never hesitates to take out a mark.

4. Sinestro: Ego is usually a running theme in the personality of villains, and no one has as much ego as Sinestro. He used his yellow power ring to enslave his home world and wield fear way before his fall from grace in the Lantern Corps. He also joined Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom, so obviously he’s not that great a guy.

5. Lex Luthor: Speaking of the devil. In the most layman’s terms: this guy just sucks and he's the one everyone loves to hate.

Lemme know some of your picks!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for these copies!

Pub Date: 6-6-20
Graphic Novel

Happily Ever After & Everything in Between- Debbie Tung:
I became obsessed with Debbie Tung's art style after binge reading Book Love and Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, and her latest release did not disappoint. She has such an lovely outlook on life and it really shines through in each of her panels. She's not afraid to showcase the more vulnerable side of her anxieties, but balances them with the more lighthearted and sweet aspects of her life. Her work never fails to put a smile on my face and I always connect to some part of it. I simply adored her take on marriage and relationships, and I flew through this in one sitting because I loved it so much. If you're a fan of heartwarming comics, this'll be perfect for you.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 6-19-20
Adult - Contemporary

The Little Teashop in Tokyo- Julie Caplin:
Travel blogger Fiona has always dreamt of going to Japan, so she jumps at the chance to enter a contest for an all-expense paid photography mentorship there. To her surprise she wins and she believes she's headed for the trip of a lifetime, that is until she arrives and finds her mentor for the two weeks is none other than Gabe, the man who broke her heart and made her life miserable ten years prior. And the worst part? He doesn't even remember her. As the pair make amends, they find that the cherry blossoms aren't the only things blooming. I wanted to like this, but it just really wasn't for me. The plot felt clunky and the dialogue unbelievable. I didn't like Caplin's writing style and didn't connect with any of the characters. Fiona was so insecure and not in a charming modest way, more in an eye-rollingly annoying way. I really felt her grudge against Gabe was so blown out of proportion and childish as well. The only thing I will say I liked was all the Japanese culture woven throughout. Other than that, I'd pass on this.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 6-25-20
YA - Fantasy

Such Big Teeth- Gabby Hutchinson Crouch:
This is the second installment in the Darkwood series, and it picks up right after the events in the first book (you can read my review of that one here.) The Battle of Nearby Village may be over and the Huntsmen waylaid by Gretel and her band of magical misfits, but the war is far from over. Knowing they'll need a lot more forces to join their cause, the group journey to the hostile lands of the north forest seeking help from whoever they can. Along the way, they meet a grumpy old Bear Witch, a werewolf and a cursed raven man. As Gretel and gang try to persuade them to their side, her brother Hansel and best friend Daisy head off on their own dangerous quest to the Citadel, where they stumble upon an election that's sure to shake the entire country to its core. Just like the first book, this was a hilarious magical romp. Crouch's writing is so clever and quick witted, I found myself chuckling the entire time. It still gives off all the Monty Python/Terry Pratchett vibes which I loved. I did find some parts of this a little slower than the first, but still really enjoyed it. If you're in the mood for a funny take on the fairytale trope, check this series out.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Star Wars Queen's Peril Review

Hello, all!

I recently read E.K. Johnston's gorgeous take on Padmé Amidala, Queen's Shadow, and loved it. So, naturally, when I saw its follow up, Queen's Peril, on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. Big thanks to them and Disney books for the copy!

Pub Date: 6-2-20
YA - Sci-Fi

Padmé Naberrie is fourteen-years old and the new Queen of Naboo. After she wins the election, she takes on the name Amidala and leaves her family and her old life behind in order to rule from the royal palace. As another means of protection, Padmé and her advisors devise a plan to recruit a group of girls who slightly resemble the new Queen to serve as handmaidens, personal guards, and if the occasion calls for it, decoys.

Each girl brings their own special set of skills to the table, and have a particular talent that Padmé could benefit from. Whether that is lock picking, engineering, or breathing tactics that hide her true feelings. Though the girls were brought together as separate entities, it'll be up to Padmé to unite them as one. While trust is slowly building within the group, Naboo is invaded by forces from the Trade Federation. Queen Amidala and her handmaidens have no choice but to face the attack head on, or else let Naboo fall.

If you're a fan of the prequels, namely The Phantom Menace, than this is a book for you. Although, this came out after Queen's Shadow, the events in this one actually happen before that. Queen's Peril highlights how Padmé came into her power and the formation of her handmaiden security detail. You really get a feel for how much love Padmé has for her people and world in this. I loved seeing the backstory for all the handmaids, and how they got recruited to Padmé's cause. Every single one is so strong on their own, but when you put them together it takes it to a whole other level. I also liked all the little foreshadowing sprinkled throughout in regards to Palpatine. I loved seeing the events of TPM play out through Padmé/the handmaid's perspectives. I did get slightly confused at times with the different perspectives, but other than that I thought this was very solid.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, June 12, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Top DC Tv Shows

Hello, all!

So, I have this weird thing where I don't particularly liked DC movies, but I really enjoy their TV shows. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Green Arrow: I have to pay respects to the one that kicked off the Arrowverse. I thought this one was so well done, and Stephen Amell really embodied Oliver Queen. I'll also just forever love Felicity Smoak, and really enjoyed watching her and Oliver's relationship flourish throughout the series.

2. The Flash: Whereas Stephen Amell really grew to become Oliver Queen, Grant Gustin was born to play Barry Allen. He has such a goofy, warm, caring personality that really lends really well to the character. This is probably my favorite of the CW shows because I just love all the characters, especially Cisco. They all bring something different and valuable to the table, and complement each other so well.

3. Supergirl: I'll be the first to admit that I don't really care much for the Supers. I was never really into Superman, so then I never really looked twice at Supergirl or Superboy. When this one came out, I figured I'd give it a shot since I like Melissa Benoist, and I wasn't impressed. Then it moved networks to the CW and that's when I actually started to enjoy it. Like the rest, she really brings her character to life and I really enjoy the growth she's had each season.

4. Swamp Thing: I've always liked Swamp Thing and was so pumped he had gotten his own series. I really wish this wouldn't have gotten cancelled because I enjoyed the darker feel it had. Part of me hopes the CW will pick it up, but another part thinks if they did it would be toned down to fit more of a family friendly audience, and I worry that might make it lose its appeal.

5. Birds of Prey: Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who remembers/loved this criminally underrated early '00s show, and it's a crying shame! Like most shows in that time, it was hilariously over the top and cheesy at times, but I just loved it so much.

Lemme know some of your picks!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Beach Read Review

Hello, all!

Have you ever saw a book and thought, "Nah, this doesn't look interesting" and then you actually pick it up and realize you were so wrong? That's how I feel about Beach Read by Emily Henry. I can't believe I almost passed this one up!

Pub Date: 5-19-20
Adult - Contemporary

January Andrews has always been an optimist. She's always looked on the bright side of things, and truly believed that love could conquer all. Even when her mother was battling cancer for the second time, she believed her family would make it through based on the love they had for one another. Then, at her father's funeral, she learns it was all a lie. Her father had been cheating on her mother, and had another home in Michigan with That Woman. Needing to get away from reality, January goes to her father's beach house to try and write the newest romance novel she's been putting off. What she wasn't expecting was to become neighbors with her college rival, the frustratingly handsome author, Augustus Everett.

The pair could not be more different. January writes novels with HEAs, and Gus typically kills his characters off. But besides being stuck as neighbors, they both have writer's block as well. One night, they come to a deal to get over their respective ruts: January will write a hard hitting literary fiction and Gus will write a happy romance. They each take turns taking the other out on "research trips" to help the other get a feel for their genre, but it doesn't take long before these trips spark more than just creativity for the pair.

I loooved this. Right from the very start, I was fully invested in this story. I really admired January's outlook on the world, I tend to lean more towards Gus's pessimistic approach, but seeing them both interact and better one another was so lovely. They each had something big in their lives to come to terms with, and helped the other overcome it, and it made their relationship that much better. My favorite part of the whole thing though was the banter, it was just so so good. It was snarky and adorable, and I loved every second of it. Overall, if you're looking for something fun with characters and a story line that feels real and believable, definitely pick this one up.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

May OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for May's box was "Rebels with a Cause", and let's get right to it.

First we had this little canvas pouch with a quote from An Ember in the Ashes with stainless steel reusable straws. These were designed by @paperbackbones, and while I really do love how many different types of straws we have, the pouch opening is slightly too narrow, so it's hard to actually get them out.

Then we had these Heart of Iron inspired pot holders by Little Inkling Design. I love when we get useful items like these in boxes, and I really like the design and the typography.

We all know how much I love stickers, so I'm super happy to include this sheet by Nerdy Ink to my collection. They're all rebellious quotes from literature, and I really dig it.

The last item was this wooden magnet by Juniper and Ivy Design inspired by The Bone Season. I've never gotten a wooden magnet before, usually it's bookmarks, and I really like it. The design is very pretty, and the quote is nice, so I can't wait to add this to my fridge.

We got two books this month which is always exciting. The first one was this graphic novel, Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries. This is a story about finding your own destiny and coming into your own power even when an entire kingdom is against you. I've never heard of this one before, but it sounds like it'll be up my alley.

The main book for the month was Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. This lush fantasy takes place in a world inspired by Inquisition-era Spain. When she was a young child, Renata Convida was taken by the King's Justice and brought to live at the palace of Andalucia. Renata is a Robari, meaning she has the power to steal memories and does so against the King's enemies. In doing so, she led to the deaths of millions of her people. When Renata finally escapes the palace, she's taken in by the Whispers, a group of rebels spies working against the crown, but just because they helped save her doesn't mean the trust her. After one of her commanders in the Whispers gets captured, Renata takes it upon herself to prove her loyalty to the cause by planning a rescue operation. What she doesn't count on is old feelings and memories stirring up when she's back at court. With secrets coming to the surface, Renata must decided which side she's truly on or else there'll be dire consequences for all of the kingdom.

I had never heard of this one either, so I'm looking forward to diving into this as well. Lemme know what you thought of this box!

Friday, June 5, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Members of the Bat-Family

Hello, all!

Batman was one of the first comic book characters I picked up, and still remains one of my favorites. There's so many great characters running around Gotham, here are just a few I enjoy.

1. Alfred Pennyworth: How can you not love Alfred? He's a constant support system and companion to Bruce. He always has Bruce's best interest at heart and cares for him as if he were his own son. Aside from that, he's also got a sassy side which I love.

2. Dick Grayson: Some people think there are way better Robin's than Dick, but he was the first so he'll always have a slight edge in my opinion. He grew so much in the comics and really came into his own as Nightwing, and I respect that. I also respect how fiiiione he is in his suit.

3. Helena Bertinelli: This one might be controversial as well since Helena can be a wildcard. Her moral compass is a bit murky at times, but I just think she's such a badass.

4. Kate Kane: Talking about badasses, Kate Kane is way up there. Aside from her actual military training, she added some much needed diversity to the Bat-family. She and Bruce have had their differences occasionally when it comes to taking care of business, but it always makes for a good story line.

5. Barbara Gordon: I had to pay respects to the OG Batgirl. Barbara had an incredibly tough time to say the least after she was paralyzed by the Joker, but she never gave up hope. She was able to persevere and became Oracle, helping the team with surveillance, information, etc, before she was able to regain the use of her legs and retake the Bat-mantle.

Do you have any favorites? Lemme know!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Blog Tour: Red Sky Over Hawaii Review

Hello, all!

You all know I love historical fiction, so I'm very excited to be a part of the blog tour for Red Sky Over Hawaii by Sara Ackerman. Big thank you to Mira Books!

Pub Date: 6-9-20
Historical Fiction

Lana Hitchcock's life has been turned upside down in a matter of days. First, she arrived back home too late to reconcile with her estranged father, and then an attack at Pearl Harbor leaves her stranded. Once her neighbors start being taken by the government as suspected sympathizers, Lana takes it upon herself to shelter two young German girls, a Japanese fisherman and his son. Lana discovers a secret property her father had tucked away, and the group hides away hoping for everything to blow over. They soon learn that this hideaway is more than meets the eye.

When a detainment camp sets up shop right near their secret house, Lana finds it increasingly difficult to keep those in her care safe. Especially when she strikes up a flirtation with one of the soldiers. As the days go by, Lana begins to understand a new meaning to the word family, and how trust and love will get you through even the darkest of times.

I love historical fiction, especially when it's inspired by true events, so I was hoping to really enjoy this. Overall, while I did like it, I felt like it was missing something. I did enjoy Ackerman's lush writing and all the imagery which really captures the wild beauty of the island. The found family aspect was lovely and heartwarming. That being said, I did find the beginning to be a little confusing with jumping between days, and I felt for the length of the book, not a lot happened. If it focused more on the actual history of Pearl Harbor and less on the romance, which didn't feel very real to me, I may have liked it a bit more. While I didn't love this, I'd still recommend if you're a fan of the genre.

Rating: 3/5

More info about the book can be found below!