Review of Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

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Title:
 Comics Will Break Your Heart
Author:  Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love). 

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Filled with laughs, swoons, and comic book culture, book nerdigans are going to love Comics Will Break Your Heart. Set up as a mild enemies-to-lovers story, this book builds a story around multiple generations caught in an emotional and legal battle involving a comic book franchise. As the newer generation, in this case Miriam and Weldon, get the brunt gossip of the past, both teenagers try to build a friendship without being pelted with bitter feelings from various familial perspectives.

Comics Will Break Your Heart 
takes a realistic approach in describing the vulnerability and anger that often encompasses situations that teenagers experience, such as friendships growing apart, college worries, first love, and financial problems. All of these situations are not sugar-coated, but fully unravel as the story progresses. There are tears, heartache, and throwing coffee cups at windows, but there is also comfort, much-needed hugs, and wide-open communication. Additionally, I really enjoyed the family dynamics in this book. Miriam’s parents are so heartwarming and funny. And her father has the best sense of humor…he’s the typical father that has so many “dad jokes” that had me laughing out loud throughout the book.

If you are fan of comic books and comic conventions, the nerdy side of this book is so welcoming. These characters have a passion for creativity and respect for one another. As a quirky and quick read, Comics Will Break Your Heart provides a realistic understanding of life’s woes and unpredictability. Add in a dash of romance and “POW,” the story unfolds with compassion and forgiveness in the mix. Comics Will Break Your Heart is not a full-on rom-com but it is very sweet and funny at times.

 

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Note: Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing me an early copy of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.
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Raving Review of Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

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Title:
 Bloodleaf
Author:  Crystal Smith
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her.

But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

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Crystal Smith’s debut novel Bloodleaf is a unique fantasy that integrates an intricate magic system, familial bonds, a root-worthy romance, and a story of survival and sacrifice. From the first chapter, the story sucks you in with forbidden magic that has been bombarded by politics and a full-out witchhunt. 

Aurelia, the main character, is not only a fierce and determined heroine in the novel, but her constant ability to analyze every situation she is thrown in allows her to mature throughout the chapters. I love that she wears her heart on her sleeve and is always protecting the people she deeply cares about. She is cautious but friendly. Aurelia is a protector, a fighter for justice, and a survivor. She is so straightforward and honest with everyone she encounters. Additionally, I love her interactions with the other well-developed side characters. 

As Aurelia explores her magical abilities, she is thrown into many twists and turns. Her journey throughout the novel is to survive multiple assassination attempts and save her kingdom, which all leads to some surprising secrets. However, as her well-paced story unfolds, I found some of the plot twists to be predictable (or I’m just really good at picking up on very subtle clues). 

Overall, if you are in the mood for a new fantasy trilogy filled with royal politics, a slow-burn romance, and NO CLIFFHANGER (that’s right, there’s no cliffhanger . . . YASS), then definitely pick up Bloodleaf. You will gasp, laugh, cry, and cheer throughout Aurelia’s story as she learns to control her magic and help those that she loves. 

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Note: Thank you to HMH for providing me an e-arc of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Blog Tour : Review of White Stag by Kara Barbieri

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Title:
White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Published by: Wednesday Books
Publication date: January 8th 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  / Book Depository


• • • REVIEW • • •

As a goblin-infested novel, White Stag is filled with chilling thrills and the gruesome politics of the goblin world. As a human living in the goblin realm (Permafrost) for over 100 years, the main character, Janneke, is hardened by the brutality she encounters in this cruel world. Janneke is always in a fight instead of flight mode in order to survive the monstrous acts of the powerful goblins that surround her. 

At the beginning of the book, the pacing of White Stag was very choppy and abrupt, but once Janneke joins the White Stag hunt, I was ingrained in her mindset to fight, survive, and escape. The reader is often thrown into Janneke’s memories and flashbacks of being tortured, mutilated, and raped, which triggers unsettling emotions and fear, so be aware that this novel may be upsetting, triggering, and too graphic for some audiences.

Overall, White Stag is a very unique fantasy that brings a new story to goblin lore. As imagined in one of my favorite goblin-narrative poems “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, goblins are also brutal creatures in White Stag. But through Janneke’s experiences, she notices that humans can be monsters too. Beyond the abrupt flashbacks that provide Janneke’s distressing backstory, the novel is littered with action-packed fight scenes and the hint of a possible lovestory brewing. 

about the author

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Author Bio:

Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith

Title: Match Me If You Can
Author: Tiana Smith
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 8th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Mia’s best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn’s matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.

Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn’t count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince – the guy she knows is right for her – and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn’t find out that Mia’s been matchmaking behind her back.

Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


REVIEW

Match Me If You Can is a drama-filled pageturner. This romantic, fast-paced story is driven by a pure drama-llama high schooler by the name of Mia. Mia is a good student and a cautious person, but when it comes to crushes and finding the “perfect” homecoming date, Mia makes some life-changing decisions that creates a pile-up of white lies and messy hearts.

I found Match Me if You Can to be very reminiscent of 90s romance movies, so obviously I couldn’t stop turning the page to see how the story ends. And once the main character starts creating a mess of her love and social life, friendships start to falter, emotions become tangled, and Mia begins questioning her feelings between two guys. I thought the frenzy that Mia causes would sway me away from the story, but actually I was enamored by her narrative and finding out how everything would unfold. 

If you are a fan of goofy guys, dating shenanigans, and 90s romcoms, I highly recommend that you read Match Me if You Can. And for more reasons on why you should read this book, check out my moodboard below, which was inspired by some of the book’s most swooniest moments. 

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about the author


Author Bio:

Tiana Smith is a copywriter turned novelist who grew up in the Wild West of Montana. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her ninja boy, reading, or binging the Disney Channel. She’d love to be fluent in sign language, but for now she gets by with awkward hand gestures and even more awkward French. She has double degrees in Honors and English from Westminster College but wants to go back to school to be a lion tamer.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Book Review: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller 

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Title:
 Warrior of the Wild

Author: Tricia Levenseller 
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.


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It saddens me that I did not love Warrior of the Wild as much as I hoped. I had very high expectations for this book because I loved the humor, smart wit, and female empowerment of the author’s first action-packed series, a pirate-themed duology called Daughter of the Pirate King. However, even though I know many readers will enjoy Warrior of the Wild, I personally found the character development very static and the story predictable at times.

In regards to the main character, I had a really hard time connecting with Rasmira because she stays very guarded and stasis throughout her journey in the book. She is very determined and goal-oriented, but I felt like she lacked the capabilities to learn and mature. It’s at the very end of the book that she finally opens up and allows herself to accept change, new friendships, and experiences. 

As for the predictability of the storyline, there were a few twists in the book and some epiphany scientific discoveries. But overall I seemed to pick up on the betrayals and surprises before they occurred, which unfortunately stilled the story for me. 

Although this book did not work for me, I can definitely see it being an amazing read for people who love slow-burn romances and Vikings. The main character Rasmira is a female warrior who physically guards herself and her emotions very well. She wants to make her father and her village proud. She is fierce and determined, which are not favorable attributes with her male peers so she makes enemies really quick. In the beginning, Rasmira has her life carefully planned out, but after experiencing betrayal on multiple fronts and then banishment, her main goals are survival and killing a god. 

Warrior of the Wild is a very well-written book sprinkled with action-packed scenes and complex friendships. Add in some ax fighting  with a dash of romance and you have a recipe for an engaging Viking-inspired novel.

1 star rating

Note: Thank you to Macmillan/Fierce Reads for providing me an e-arc of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Book Review: Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills

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Title:
 Famous in A Small Town

Author: Emma Mills
Publisher:  Henry Holt
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for. 

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm’s length. Sophie in particular. 

Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.


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I’m not much for country music, but the small-town feel of Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills won me over. If I could count how many times I laughed out loud on my fingers, I would need more fingers. But even though I found myself laughing throughout the story, I did find this book to have a more serious tone than past Emma Mills’ books that I enjoyed.

I love the friendships that Emma creates in her books, and Famous In a Small Town has A LOT of them…A LOT! The numerous amount of friends in this book overwhelmed me at first, but that did not falter me from staying focused on the story at hand. I had a hard time relating to the main character (Sophie) and her friends and family, but this doesn’t mean that other readers won’t connect to her. Sophie’s story broke my heart and then carefully pieced it back together with love, laughter, and macaroni and cheese (the good kind, that you make on the stove, not that gross kind that you make in the microwave). 

If you are already an Emma Mills fanatic, and even if you are not, this book will make your heart ache like a country song that you tell everyone that you hate, but you actually might love because it’s so damn catchy! Plus there are some swoons! I love me some good “Emma Mills” swoons!

3 star rating

Note: Thank you to Henry Holt and Fierce Reads for providing me an early copy of this book to read and review. I was not compensated for this review. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

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Title:
 The Prince and the Dressmaker
Author:  Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBT, Historical

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Synopsis:

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.


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The Prince and the Dressmaker
is a heartwarming graphic novel about hope and being yourself. I didn’t know what to expect from this book but I am so glad I read it. The positive message to be proud and happy with who you are and always shoot for your dreams will make your heart ache (in a good way). I loved watching the dynamics grow between Sebastian and his dressmaker Frances, the two main characters. Their friendship is so adorable and heartwarming. Additionally, 
the illustrations in The Prince and the Dressmaker are so gorgeous and match perfectly with the style of the Sebastian’s alter ego, Lady Crystallia, a true fashionista. Definitely give this graphic novel a read for both the colorful illustrations and the cute, positive story. 

4 star rating
Note: Thank you to First Second for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange of an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.