Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol 1


Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol 1

author : jess lemire

illustrator : terry dodson

pages : [hardcover] 144

favorite character : raven

summary :

A new original graphic novel in DC’s popular “Earth One” series, TEEN TITANS: EARTH ONE follows in the tradition of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE and BATMAN: EARTH ONE, both of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers.

The Teen Titans never felt like normal kids… but they had no idea how right they were. Their seemingly idyllic Oregon upbringing hides a secret — one that will bring killers, shamans, and extraterrestrials down on their heads, and force them into an alliance that could shake the planet to its foundations!
Superstars Jeff Lemire (ANIMAL MAN, GREEN ARROW) and Terry Dodson (WONDER WOMAN) reinvent DC’s youngest heroes, with an all-new mythos in an all-new world!

review :

I absolutely loved this take on the Teen Titans! Most of my previous experience has admittedly come from the TV cartoon, and a few random appearances in other comics, but I loved this presentation and honestly can’t wait to get to more.

Teen Titans: Earth One starts out like a normal coming of age story. It’s the beginning of the school year, all of these teens are dealing with bullies, angst, parent drama, and making new friends. Until things start getting weird. Something is drawing all of these kids together and isn’t about to let go until they join forces, solve a few clues, get into trouble–to put it mildly.

I loved seeing the different take on how the teens get their abilities and deal with them. How they’ve become a part of them and their personalities. It was very unique, with some elements that I’ve never seen before, which is always refreshing in the superhero realm. The artwork was fantastic, too. It really captured the feel for the story and made me feel more connected with all of the characters.

Honestly, as soon as I finished this, I was so angry to find out that the next volume doesn’t come out until August. I’d prefer to have it now, thanks. It wasn’t like this first volume wasn’t good, but now that the background and characters are established I’m ready for everything to get even crazier. This was a great set-up for what’s to come and I can only imagine what adventures the characters will go on next now that they have their powers and purpose.

I loved this so much!

5/5 stars


DNF Review: Somebody Else’s Business by Charlton James


Somebody Else’s Business

author : charlton james

pages : [paperback] 400

summary :

Somebody Else’s Business, embarks on the lives of everyday people facing dilemmas of circumstance and fate. The fascinating journey begins with John and Kelly’s wholesome love affair and their expectant wedding date. Circumstance begins with the deployment of John, and the acceptance and trust with Tiffany. John sends Tiffany a letter of reassurance on his love, drizzling from one relationship to another, snowballing the lives of others bringing guilt, destroying trust, honor and relationships. How do we handle somebody Else’s Business? Whether measured with the soft touch or the hard hand, prepare for the circumstances that follow when dealing with Somebody Else’s Business.

review :

I think that this book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the way that the story was taken, it just wasn’t for me.

The book begins with an “about the author” that details how this manuscript caught the attention of an unnamed production company and, for some reason, James decided to self-publish the manuscript instead. It’s a little confusing to me that something that could potentially have been made into a film wasn’t picked up by a mainstream publisher. I feel like this novel might have been better off in some other form.

I read over fifty pages of this book and gave up before I’d gotten to any of the premise. This is the kind of book that you will enjoy if you like to hear every detail of the characters’ lives, but they seem much too perfect, perky, and unrealistic in these beginning pages. Everyone seems to love them. The other characters they meet are stereotypes of people that seem to be placed into random roles surrounding them.

There are also some basic typos in this book that are disappointing because they appear so often I feel like they should have been caught. The characters’ dialogue is also stranger, stilted, and doesn’t flow well. It’s hard to say much more because I’m not sure when in the book the basic plot structure was set to begin.

I feel like someone out there would probably enjoy Somebody Else’s Business, but that just wasn’t me.

1/5 stars



Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead


Goodbye Stranger

author : rebecca stead

pages : [hardcover] 289

favorite character : bridge

summary :

Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

review :

I really, really liked this book and was so surprised that I did. When I first opened it, I’d forgotten most of the premise so dove right into it and was a little disappointed to see how young the characters were supposed to be. Lately I haven’t had any luck with middle grades. But, here, Rebecca Stead has created a beautiful book that I feel will be enjoyed by people of several age groups. At 22, I certainly enjoyed this one.

It speaks about so many important issues faced by students today. Betrayal in friendships. Peer pressure. Fighting to let go of the past. Sometimes these things are more intense–like Bridge getting hit by a car and nearly dying at the start of the book, or Emily being pressured by a fellow seventh grader to send her pictures in her underwear. It’s scary just because I know these things really happen and, looking back, seventh grade seems so young. But I know that girls will do so many things just to feel accepted, or to please a boy they like, or just because they’re confident about themselves. Which leads me to another thing I really loved about the subplot of Emily’s dilemma: she discussed how adults wanted her to feel ashamed of herself, when really she still loved herself. Which is perfect.

Even though this book kind of has a little bit of everything, with two different storylines going on, it worked. I was slightly confused about why the “high school girl”  narrator needed to remain anonymous. I wanted to know who she was, but because of the age difference it was obvious that her situation was removed from the three middle school girls. It was interesting to see those chapters written in second person, though, and the writing was beautiful here too.

I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone. I feel like it stretches across such a wide age group that a lot of people could enjoy it. This also brings up important issues, so it could bring some awareness or discussion to them.

5/5 stars


DNF Review: Username: Evie was a hot mess of a graphic novel


Username: Evie

author : joe sugg

pages : [paperback] 192

summary :

Like anyone who feels as though they just don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie’s father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it’s finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app… and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

review :

DNF 55 pages in.

Well. This was so disappointing. I picked this book up because I’ve been really into graphic novels and comics lately and this looked like a cool concept. Evie basically doesn’t fit into her real world so, before her father dies of a fatal illness, he creates a virtual world for her to live in where she can essentially make everyone positive and affect things around her.

To start, I’d like to say that I had no idea who Joe Sugg was or why he was creating a graphic novel. Apparently he’s a YouTube creator, which is cool. I love watching YouTube, but I’ve never watched him. I was thrown off, however, when I opened this graphic novel and the first thing it lists on the inside cover is the rest of the team behind Username: Evie. This is where I became really confused as to why Sugg’s name was the only one on the cover. He isn’t the illustrator or the writer. He’s merely the person who came up with the idea and characters and then let other people run with it to make it into a cohesive narrative. I think that’s probably why it turned out to be a bit of a mess. Knowing nothing about Sugg, I can assume that he’s passionate about the storyline, because he’s the one who thought up this world and Evie. But he isn’t the one who translated that world to words, or artwork, or even the coloring in the panels. This left everything feeling stiff and wrong. None of the characters speak the way that people would–I mean, even for a graphic novel. I know there’s some leeway. But these voices were so cardboard and awkward.

Also, for some reason Evie climbs into her fridge every time she’s anxious and throws all of the stuff (shelves included) onto the floor of the kitchen when she does this. And her dad does nothing about this? I mean, they must waste a lot of food.

I barely got into the part where Evie explores the world her father has created for her. I just wasn’t interested. I doubt that even a world like that could have gripped me.

I was also extremely confused about why everyone was so terrible to Evie even after she experiences personal tragedy because, y’know, her own cousin doesn’t even like her. And it seems like Evie has done nothing wrong? I can’t tell. I couldn’t tell most of her personality apart from her being “different”. A loner for . . . no real reason.

I won’t end up recommending this book to anyone.

1/5 stars


I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh WAS INSANE


I Let You Go

author : clare mackintosh

pages : [hardcover] 369

favorite character : patrick

summary :

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl...a novel with “an astonishing intensity that drags you in and never—ever—lets you go.” (Daily Mail, UK)
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

review :

I received this book as my May Book of the Month from the Book of the Month Club (yes, I’m way behind in my reading, but it’s in no way a reflection of how amazing this book is).

I picked this book because it looked like a very emotional thriller or mystery. I knew that it involved the accidental death of a child, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in a rainstorm. What I didn’t know was how many other layers this book would have or how devastatingly beautiful it would be. There are so many clever twists in this book that I couldn’t hope to describe without giving away; you’ll just need to read it for yourself. There are things that you’ll never see coming, even in what seems like a simple case like this.

This book follows several years as the case is being investigated. It tracks Jenna, who has isolated herself after the accident in hopes that no one from her past will find her and that she can begin to forget. It also focuses on the detective who leads the case, which is cold almost as soon as it begins. Through the years, he and his rookie partner are convinced that there is more to this story, that more can still be done, so they gradually begin to undercover clues even years after the incident. Even when everyone else, including the mother of the killed boy, has given up hope that the crime will ever be solved.

It was gruesome, terrifying, and all too realistic, but I loved it. Another voice enters the book about halfway through and it was actually so terrifying that I had trouble falling asleep after reading those chapters. Because it felt too real. The author really has a gift, not only in crafting the story but truly finding the voices of her characters. While the chapters about the police investigation weren’t my favorite, it held a completely different tone and style from Jenna’s chapters, which were completely different from this third voice’s. Switching between them didn’t feel jarring at all because you know immediately who and what you’re reading about. I can’t wait to read more by Clare Mackintosh. I’m sure that whatever else she writes, I’ll love it.

I can’t emphasize how much I love this book–and it’s completely different from most things I’ve read. I don’t think I could compare this accurately to anything because it’s just so special. Go out and get a copy yourself!

5/5 stars


Brother Bear: A Transformation Tale


Brother Bear: A Transformative Tale

author : hiro clark wakabayashi

pages : [hardcover] 124

summary :

Rooted in the lore of Pacific Northwest culture, Brother Bear is a tale of the strong brotherhood between all living creatures. It is also about discovering the power of change in our world, whether it be the change from winter to spring, or from small to large, or the transformation of a boy to a man. This epic story combines humor and emotion with breathtaking images of nature and wildlife from a time long forgotten.

review :

I absolutely love to read the Disney art books, not only because there’s awesome artwork and even concept art included but because it’s always extremely fascinating to see the stories behind the final product. With Brother Bear, apparently, there was so much more of a struggle to get the film complete and epic than I ever would have realized.

This book was a little inspiring, too. Right in the first section it talks about the director’s career and how he got his start at Disney. He was an intern! It’s so awesome to see someone climb up the ladder like that, to really–eventually–make all of their dreams come true and create something that is such a classic.

It’s also inspiring to see what can come out of such hard word. This book details three other full scripts–full scripts–they had to use before Brother Bear settled into its final form. Can you imagine putting all of that time, love, and effort into something that just doesn’t quite end up working in the end and needing to rewrite it entirely? The important message her, however, was that the basic theme and heart of the movie remained the same throughout this process. It was just a journey needed to explore the characters that would be presented and how the story would unfold.

And it’s absolutely hilarious that they had the idea of the moose brothers early on and even when they weren’t working they were basically like “okay they’re going to end up being funny so we’re keeping them”. Author problems. And they ended up tying into the movie so well in the end, so it just goes to show that you can be stubborn about parts of the story you relentlessly love.

I’d recommend this book so, so much. It’s so inspirational and beautiful.

4/5 stars


Ten facts about me you never knew you wanted to know


1. I did the Disney College Program, Spring 2015, and I’m going back for another DCP this fall.

2. I’m actually starting a vlog channel for my Disney adventures (and probably for bookish videos too).

3. I have another blog devoted to the DCP. (don’t worry, not all of my facts are Disney related!)

4. I won NaNoWriMo in 2014 and actually have the manuscript up on SwoonReads now.

5. I’m in the middle of completing the first book in a trilogy that’s an intense retelling of Rapunzel. Witches and humans are at war. Rapunzel’s an assassin. It’s amazing. (And if you’re interested in being critique partners, let me know!)

6. I just graduated from college in May with a bachelor’s in English.

7. I love to play tennis and was captain of my high school’s varsity tennis team.

8. My favorite book of all time is Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I’m SO EXCITED for Laini Taylor’s new book this fall.

9. My favorite movie superhero is Captain America but in comics I love the new Ms. Marvel.

10. Last but not least . . grilled cheese is my ultimate weakness.