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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Backlist Love (1): Cold Fish Favorites...

I want to start highlighting more titles that have been out for awhile, and have maybe fallen off your radar, but are still really worth a read, so welcome to the first edition of BACKLIST LOVE!
There won't always be a theme, but today there sort of is.

Enjoy, and if you've read these books (or have more you think I'd like, or should be highlighted), let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Tin Star series:
Tin Star
Stone in the Sky
Coverage of the series

Birthright series:
All These Things I've Done
Because It Is My Blood
In the Age of Love and Chocolate
Coverage of the series

Seraphina series:
Shadow Scale
Tess of the Road
Coverage of the series

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Prince & the Dressmaker by Jen Wang | Review & Blog Tour

Visit more stops on the Prince and the Dressmaker blog tour here!

The Prince & the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Graphic Novel, 288 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by First Second
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker came out last week, and to celebrate, FirstSecond Books has invited bloggers to share their favorite panel from the story, which I think is a fantastic way to approach a blog tour for a graphic novel. Before I get into my favorite panel, I want to briefly give you my thoughts on the story as a whole. So:

Oh, this is just lovely. Seriously, lovely. Right from the very beginning, I was charmed by the warmth of the characters, and the expression evoked in the art. Frances especially is drawn so expressive and open that you feel the story through her in a way that you don't often get in comics, but that I prize perhaps more than any other element of comics visuals -- not to knock all of the many talented artists working in comics at the moment, but it is so rare to find real emotion being conveyed on a character's face, and for that to stand on its own, sans words. And I love love love it when it happens. Seriously, instant-favorite status, it makes me so happy.

Beyond the expressiveness of the art, though, and how that instantly enamors me with a thing, this was just a solidly sweet, charming story. There's a fiercely loving, welcoming streak to it. I'm not sure how to phrase it other than that -- it just feels very inviting and... friendly? It's non-conformist, but not heavy-handed about it. It's sweet but not saccharine. It just strikes this perfect balance in tone and overall approach that I really enjoyed, and that I think will appeal to a lot of readers, young and old. And it goes beyond that. My initial comments on Goodreads when I finished it was that it was "unexpected" and in some ways, it really was. Beyond some moments that truly were just unexpected, there's surprising depth for what could be a fluffy, cutesy story, and a surety that really surprised me. All in all, it was an easy 5 stars for me, and I recommend it across the board!
(And I'm not the only one -- it's a sea of 5-star ratings on Goodreads.)

Now, on to my favorite panel. This was much harder than I would have anticipated. I basically spent the first quarter of the book screenshotting and bookmarking panels and telling myself, "This is my favorite; no, this is my favorite!" before I finally gave up and admitted to myself that I couldn't really pick A favorite.
(I've never been much of a 'favorite' person; I love too much and too broadly for such a concept as Only One.)

I coulda just done this:

and called it a day.

There were so many things I wanted to highlight.
But I kept coming back to this one scene, this one perfect snippet, that captured the joy and life of the style, and the character of Frances:

This scene really encapsulates so much of what I like about the book: the color palette, the characters, the scenery and the sense of pacing and sequence. All are just so well done, and worth highlighting.

But as I said, there are SO. MANY. I could have shared, that would have showcased the warmth and heart of this story -- but I didn't want to give away any of the surprises.
You really should pick it up for yourself. I'd love to know what some of your favorite panels are!

Also: FS made the cutest valentine's day cards to go along with the book, so from me to you: here are a couple of my favorites:

Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache. Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second. jenwang.net

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BAD ROMANCE TROPES and Amid Stars And Darkness | Lunch Chat

(ps sorry if you hate this, I love you anyway!)

Also, I talk about my review for The Traitor's Game a lot in this, so... here ya go!

Amid Stars and Darkness, Chani Lynn Feener, book review, Swoon ReadsAMID STARS AND DARKNESS by Chani Lynn Feener
Sci Fi / Romance, 368 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Swoon Reads
Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though I was sent this book for potential review consideration aaaages ago. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
Avocado toast is delicious.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Review: the AUDIBLE ROMANCE Package

I've been teasing this vid for a few weeks, but behind the scenes, I've been playing around with the Audible Romance Package for a few months!
Here are the conclusions I've come to, both good and bad.
Sign up or check it out here: https://www.audible.com/ep/Romance-Package-Signup

(I think you can get a free trial? Not sure.)

Some things I forgot to mention:

* Even though the service IS unlimited in the amount of books you can listen to /month, you can only have 10 "checked out" at any given time, so keep that in mind.

* I wish I would have talked about browsability more! That could definitely be improved, the the splash pages and highlights are a nice start.

* There really is a glut of indy/self-pubbed (?) authors to wade through, and I REALLY wish there was a way to mark things as not interested, to tailor recommendations.

* You can add this -- and the regular Audible package -- on to Kindle Unlimited for a further discount, which is a pretty damn good deal, if you ask me.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though I was gifted a trial to the ARP, as well as a box of goodies of the pampering variety, to get hyped and what not. All opinions are honest and my own!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Blind Date with a Book: Dating Game Edition!

This is a very silly video.

Have fun on your date!

Booklorette #1 here
Booklorette #2 here
Booklorette #3 here

Try out more BLIND DATES:
BDwaB round 1
Cootie Catcher Books

Disclaimer: I'm not liable for any bookish murders or papercuts you may incur while on your blind date.
Read at your own risk!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Recent Listenables: The Last Namsara and Fiendish

I am having a serious love affair with audiobooks lately.
Recommend me your favorites in the comments!!
The bonus review mentioned at the end of the video can be found here.

Reviews start at: 
The Last Namsara: 0:38
Fiendish: 6:58

about THE LAST NAMSARA by Kristen Ciccarelli:
Print  |  Audio 
432 pages, Published October 3rd 2017 by HarperTeen
audio narrated by Pearl Mackie

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

about FIENDISH by Brenna Yovanoff:
Print  |  Audio
341 pages, Published August 14th 2014 by Razorbill
audio narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

Friday, February 2, 2018

#GOALS: 2018 Book & Life Resolutions and Thoughts.

I have some thoughts, goals and things I want to focus on for 2018, both bookish and life-ish. Some may call them "resolutions"...

If you're resolving to Do A Thing this year, let me know in the comments!


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