Mini Reviews: Saga, Vol. 6 and Vol. 7

For those of you who’ve read my previous raves about this series, LET IT BE KNOWN IT HASN’T STOPPED.

I’ve fallen in and out of love of comic series, but there are just some I could read forevermore. Saga is one of them.

Seriously, though. Read this series.

Have you read this series? What do you think?


Mini Reviews: The Wicked + The Divine, Vols. 6 and 7

I had the fortune of having a friend who’s got many graphic novels handy, and so I get to read these babies all in one go! I am absolutely entertained by this series, even though half the time I still have no idea what’s going on. But onward and upward, they say!

Vol. 7 joins the ranks of one of my favorites in this series. I think most of my bias comes from the flashback that took over most of this volume. No complaints! I loved seeing things finally get clearer.

Have you read this series? What did you think?

More Virtual Reality Hijinks || Wildcard Review

Initial Thoughts:

You know what, as problematic as some things were for me in this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But the bias comes from what made me love Warcross in the first place, which was HOLY HELL I WANT THIS VIRTUAL IMMERSION NOW. I mean…the book’s plot has no perfect solution to the major problem that came up in Warcross, but still. It was entertaining to read.

Also. I ship R+T real hard, you guys. They were adorable.


by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books, September 2018
YA, science fiction

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems—and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

I went into this book girding my loins because either I was going to read it and hate how things end, or continue to fangirl because I enjoyed the first book. And despite the problems that show up in both books, and my misgivings about the whole Zero problem, I actually kind of liked this book as well.

I could attribute this to my wanting to get back into the YA reading zone, after having read so many non-YA books lately. Even the YA tropes didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would.

In any case, I went into reading Wildcard and I had several Ghost in the Shell meets Ergo Proxy moments halfway through, and I absolutely adored that kind of feel, as far as the science fiction went.

Honestly, this is kind of how I see most of what’s happening in the Warcross game. Though style Motoko’s hair silver and this could very easily be Jax swooping in to save Emika’s ass. Again. XD

The book itself did go a little slow, which is ironic because the first two chapters quite literally dealt with someone trying to assassinate Emika for the crazy stunts she’d pulled in the previous book. Lots of shots fired in the streets of Japan, a silver-haired assassin/mercenary comes to the rescue, and we finally get an encounter with Zero in the flesh. Sort of. But I won’t get into that too much.

I really liked Emika in Warcross, though Wildcard had me on the fence with her from time to time. Warcross painted her out to be this pretty cool bounty hunter who kind of knows how to navigate the inner workings of the virtual reality world. I mean, she delves into the Dark World often just to get the unsavory bad guys for a nifty fee. She’s seen shit, including the assassination roster. The Dark World is where most of the criminals go to party, right?

So why does she act like a child at times?

…the walls are covered with glowing screens featuring the services of beautiful girls and handsome, spiky-haired boys, along with shadier banners I don’t want to understand.

Sigh. Oh, Emika.

There’s the question of morality somewhere in the mix, and maybe it’s because I’ve read too much Schwab and Bardugo, but I didn’t have as much problem with Hideo as I thought I should. The guy’s a major tool, let’s be honest, but he did sorta kinda remind me of all the other baddies with anger issues and deeper, not-so-menacing goals.

I refuse to believe that he’s nothing more than a monster. I can’t watch him sink like this. I keep going because I need to find that boy again, the beating heart buried underneath his lie. I have to stop him in order to save him.

He was once the hand that pulled me up. Now I have to be his.

Cheesy as that sounds, I actually liked it. Doesn’t exactly excuse him for his mind control shtick–and the fact that he does break bad much later in the book–but I’m with Emika on this one. I feel like the guy really is still redeemable. (That being said, I’m not quite sure how I felt about the end, to be honest. I mean…I’m sorta kinda happy, but it was a little anticlimatic?)

Characters aside, I totally loved getting to know the Phoenix Riders a bit. I loved that scene where we got glimpses of memory from each of Emika’s team. I loved the interaction between Tremaine and Roshan (like, can these two get any cuter?!).

4 out of 5 cookies! Anyway, as I said, I did enjoy the book. It could have used a lot more Warcross playing, though, but hey, there’s the first book for that, right?

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: I Am Malala, Akata Witch

Squeezing these reviews in before I forget again to write about these.

Celebrating some diverse books here!

The first one was on my list for a while, and I finally managed to get a copy of this as an audiobook from the library.

This sounded really good, and it reminded me of a Nigerian Harry Potter vibe. Wasn’t a big fan, to be honest, but it is what it is.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

A Dolly Parton Extravaganza || Dumplin’ Review

Initial Thoughts 

I don’t know what it is I’m doing wrong lately, but I’ve been feeling like the movie adaptations to the past books I’ve picked up got their messages across a but better. It’s no different for Dumplin’.


by Julie Murphy
Balzer + Bray, September 2015
YA romance, contemporary

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if not for the movie, which was actually adorable in its delivery. I also probably wouldn’t have watched the movie until I saw the trailer, which promised me a healthy dosage of drag queens and Dolly Parton.

Between the novel and the movie? The movie delivered on my expectations. The novel itself probably delivered on the young adult romance expectation, which was everything I’ve been trying to avoid.

I think one of the biggest differences between the book and the movie was how the issue of body image played out in the story. The novel itself follows Willowdean and the drama happening in her life. This includes problems with her best friend since forever, Ellen, to her love life, to the pageant she eventually enters as a “middle finger to the world.” The problems continue to escalate, too, but the driving message by the end of it was the mentality to accept and love the person you are, regardless of your shape or size.

It’s a really nice message, and I applaud Murphy for it.

Also, I’m not a big Jennifer Aniston fan, but I loved her in this role, and she killed it XD.

So I’m a little taken aback by how secondary the Bluebonnet pageant was in the book. I mean, it’s the main reason for a lot of how the characters interact and where they develop, but at the end of the day, a lot of Willowdean’s development did not owe itself to her immersion in the pageant.

“Kind of like a protest in heels?”

“Exactly. Like a protest in heels.”

The movie, on the other hand, streamlines all the drama and focuses on one major plot point, putting everything else as secondary. In this case, the pageant is the thing.

And I loved how it played out, and the message is loud and clear.

That said, the book was good in its own way. I will admit a lot of the things I disliked about the book had to do with the love triangle (which doesn’t show up at all in the movie, thank goodness!). Willowdean also spends a whole lot of time in the novel whingeing about the fact that Ellen hates her. Which, frankly, was mostly Willowdean’s fault for not even trying to understand Ellen’s point of view. It mostly got on my nerves that Ellen didn’t even try to keep her frenemies like Callie from fat-shaming Willowdean–yes, your friendship was a bit rocky, but that’s YEARS of friendship, and it had to count for something, like, oh, having your friend BACK OFF.

The novel also has a love triangle, which, on a normal basis, drives me absolutely bonkers. A lot of the love triangle wouldn’t have been a triangle if Willowdean didn’t STRING poor Mitch along! The guy was great, but she went about and kept him hanging while she pined for Bo, who she broke up with because for SOME reason, she didn’t think she was the type of girl he’d like (but, I mean, WHY are you dictating who Bo wants to date when it’s clearly he genuinely LIKED you?! GET IT TOGETHER WILLOWDEAN).

Not to say I hated everything in the book. Again, I thought the secondary characters–especially Hannah—were fleshed out. I really loved the conversation between the girls during the sleepover scene, and I did like the relationship the mom had with Willowdean. It wasn’t as tear-worthy good as the one in the movie, but it was still fabulous.

Hannah was also a hoot in the movie.

Still…not enough drag queens singing to Dolly Parton in the book.

3 out of 5 cookies! It was a good book, I just…liked the movie better?

Have you read this book? What did you think?