Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2019

July 2

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for July. I read 6 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in July!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. The Rest of the Story by: Sarah Dessen

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. Collateral Damage by: Taylor Simonds-Wordpress review
  2. The Black Veins by: Ashia Monet-Wordpress review

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

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  1. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 5-7 by: Izumi Tsubaki-Series link
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Book Haul: July 2019

July 1

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my book haul for July. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in July!

Library:

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  1. The Rest of the Story by: Sarah Dessen

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. Unsung Heroine by: Sarah Kuhn
  2. Sweep of the Blade by: Ilona Andrews

Netgalley/Publisher/Author:

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  1. All American Muslim Girl by: Nadine Jolie Courtney

Expert: Blackwood Chronicles: Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins

Expert

Hello everyone! Today I will be sharing an expert of the Blackwood Chronicles: Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins by A. A. Wise. Scroll down to read the expert. Hope you all enjoy it!

Expert:

‘You charge way too much for lessons here at your school,’ argued Laden, pointing a finger at Inock’s big brother.
‘Look, I’m not the one who sets the prices,’ Torend retorted. ‘You’ll have to come back when my father isn’t busy. He sets the prices!’
‘Every time we come here he’s busy,’ said Laden, laying a hand on his little sister’s shoulder. ‘And you always tell us to come back later.’
‘I wouldn’t lie about…’
‘Look, Torend,’ Laden interrupted, ‘my little sister recently came into her powers and she needs to see a power-trainer. Her powers keep going out of control. And they’ll only get worse if she doesn’t see the power-trainer right away.’
‘I understand what you’re saying but I can’t book you in,’ said Torend. ‘My mother said no. Why don’t you just go and see another power-trainer?’
‘Oh, come on, Torend. You know there isn’t another power-trainer for miles. And I can’t afford to send her to the Secilia Power Academy; they charge a fortune!’
(The Secilia Power Academy was a very famous school for demons and witches. It was in a faraway city.)
Torend was about to reply when he was interrupted by a pair of angry-looking men accompanied by two vile creatures; these were venators with their ghastly onis!
Venators were the police of Inock’s world. They were bald, black men with green eyebrows and they always looked angry. They wore a uniform of dark green, knee-length silk jackets with long black sleeves, black trousers and black boots and they always had black whips hanging from their waists. They also wore a green metallic brace around their necks. Venators were invariably accompanied by onis – large black creatures that came up to a man’s waist. They looked like gigantic dogs – like a bull terrier with large red eyes, no ears and two very long, scaly tails that writhed like serpents behind them. They had long jaws that resembled a crocodile’s, packed with lots of sharp, stained teeth.
Venators always used these horrible creatures to help them patrol the streets. You’d never see a venator without an onis.
‘What’s the commotion here?’ one of the venators snapped.
‘Nothing’s wrong,’ replied Torend.
‘Who asked you guys to butt in?’ spat Laden.
‘You’re causing a scene,’ hissed one of the venators, reaching for the black whip at his waist.
The two onis snarled at Laden, their four tails thrashing about behind them.
Seeing the two vicious creatures snarl like that reminded little Inock of something – the Onis flute. He reached into his pocket, took it out and stared at it. It looked exactly like the little flute one of the angry venators was holding. He wondered if the dog-like creatures would do what he wanted if he blew into it. Would they come and stand by his side? Could he make them chase the angry venators away from his brother?
Inock just had to find out. He raised the green flute to his mouth and was about to blow into it when Rozanthia screamed out, ‘No, Inock! Don’t!’


About the Author:

Allan Andrew Wise (A. A. Wise), born in Uganda, East Africa, moved to England as a young boy. His interest in fantasy literature appeared at a young age and he has been devouring fantasy novels ever since.
Allan’s first book, Inock Tehan and the Phantom of the Ruins, was published by Austin Macauley in 2017. His second novel in that series, Inock Tehan and the Forbidden Clan was published by Austin Macauley in May this year. The books are available on Amazon and in bookstores.
The first book is centred around a thirteen-year-old boy called Inock Tehan. Inock lives in a different world to ours. A world full of witches, demons and many magical creatures.
Allan designed Inock to be a bit mischievous and fun loving because he was a little like this as a child. He designed Inock’s best friend as a friendly, knowledgeable ghost to add wisdom and balance. Inock later meets his other friends Lalita and Andre as the story progresses. Andre is black and they are all around the same age.
Allan wrote this story because he enjoys fantasy stories and so wanted to create a story of his own that others could enjoy.
Allan takes inspiration from books he’s read, the television, movies, animation, and stories told to him in Uganda when he was young.
 

Review: Collateral Damage

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Collateral Damage by: Taylor Simonds

My Rating: 4 Stars

Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.

Meg Sawyer has none of these things.

Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted evil for years.

For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.

But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground of a story she never wanted to be part of-one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Grief and gun violence. 

Rep: Oliver is Korean. Sanjeet is an Indian. Penny is a Latina.

My Synopsis: Meg lives a regular life. She works at a coffee shop and lives on her own. She also has her GED. Meg doesn’t really have any hobbies. Her primary concern is putting food on the table and protecting herself from various superhero fights.

To please her boss Meg agrees to deliver some paperwork. Though Meg forgets to do it in the daytime and has to do it at night. After sending in the paperwork she crosses paths with one of the Supers. Much to Megs surprise the two of them get along. Said Super even agrees to help her financially. 

The day after Meg’s building is set on fire and on her way to safety, she gets into a minor accident. Fearing someone may be hurt she moves around the wreckage only to find the Super dead.

Confused and in shock Meg decides to go to the police and report what she saw. On the way she runs into her former neighbor Juniper, who is the Super’s ex-girlfriend. The fireman produce the Super’s dead body making Juniper believe he died in the fire. Meg tells her otherwise. And thus gets dragged into a conspiracy along with her best friend Oliver.

Book Format: Collateral Damage is written in first person limited following Meg. There is one chapter that is narrated in third person limited following Oliver. There are table of contents and chapter numbers. 

Where I Heard About This Book: I found the author through Twitter sharing her arc copies. The cover drew me in and I decided to read the synopsis. When I saw that it was a superhero book I knew I had to read it!

My Thoughts Before Reading: I was so excited to read Collateral Damage!

I was really hoping that I would enjoy it because I usually don’t like characters like Meg. I’m not a big fan of cynics in real life and I wasn’t sure what I would think. It didn’t help that most reviewers were comparing Renegades to Collateral Damage. Which I DNFed

I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

What I Liked: I absolutely adored Meg! Her snark was so good and I found her to be relatable. While not always the most kind, Meg was compassionate and brave. I’m really surprised that there aren’t more characters like her. Especially in Superhero media.

I felt that her reactions to situations were realistic. Not everyone will faun over the hero and will in some cases be frustrated. Also no one likes getting dragged into something they didn’t ask for.

Meg and Oliver’s friendship was so cute! I loved how close they were. And it was nice that there weren’t any romantic feelings between the two of them. Their relationship was strictly platonic.

Juniper was so brilliant! When I read the synopsis I was expecting a normal person with a typical office job. Juniper actually works for the police. In the Super department. After Meg tells her about her boyfriends murder Juniper forces Meg to help her. As Meg is also apart of the whole situation and the only witness.

It took sometime for Juniper and Meg to be on the same page. Juniper spends a majority of the book talking over and bossing Meg around. Despite all of this the two become close friends.

Sanjeet was so much fun to read about! I liked that he was a hardworking nerd and compassionate towards others. Specifically Meg in the beginning. Penny was a little rough around the edges but she grew on me.

The world building was unique! And very much rooted in real society. I thought it was cool that the Super’s were switched around in intervals. And the whole concept of specific serums giving those powers.

There is no romance whatsoever. The only character that had any romantic feelings was Juniper. And unfortunately her boyfriend is found dead in the beginning. Instead Collateral Damage focused on the friendship between all the characters.

The humor was on point! Initially I thought that Meg would be the only source of humor. When I started reading I found out that it wasn’t just Meg but most of the characters and situations. I laughed out loud at several points!

The thing I appreciated the most after reading was how character driven Collateral Damage was. I find that a lot of superhero stories fail because they are plot driven rather than character driven. And considering how most of the science is made up to fit those stories, it makes more sense to have them be character driven instead.

My Criticism(s): Collateral Damage was very predictable. I saw most of the plot coming. Which isn’t bad and was most likely the intention. I think you can still enjoy the story regardless.

What I’m Looking Forward To: I’m assuming because of number 1 on the cover we might be getting a sequel. Which I would definitely read! I’d love to see where all the characters are and how their coping with the entire city being Supers.

Conclusion: Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Collateral Damage! I highly recommend it.              

Review: The Black Veins

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The Black Veins by: Ashia Monet

My Rating: 4 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?

She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.

Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning(s): Content warnings are included in the book.

Rep: Blythe is Black and bisexual. Cordelia is British Chinese and will soon identify as queer and questioning. Daniel is white and cishetallo. Antonio is Puerto Rican and will soon identify as demiromantic, demisexual, and only attracted to boys. Storm is Black and straight. Caspian is trans and asexual. Jay is Black and bisexual. Katia is described as Middle Eastern. Jamie is white, non-binary, agender, and is attracted to females.

Disclaimer: I received this E-ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review. When Ashia put the E-ARC request form on Twitter, I was ecstatic! I wasn’t chosen as a part of the blog tour and saw this as an opportunity to read the arc. I am happy to say that not only was I chosen and I also really enjoyed The Black Veins!

My Synopsis: Blythe lives an ordinary life. Her parents own a coffee shop, which she also works at. Her twin sisters Lily and Lena keep the family on their toes. Her sort of friend Jamie keeps her company. This all changes the night Blythe and two other Guardians are spelled to walk off their roofs.

Her family calls their magical government and come to an agreement. In a few days Blythe will be leaving her family to go to Frost Glade. Blythe wants to spend more time with her family and Jamie. 

Two days before her scheduled departure a mysterious man attacks the coffee shop, kidnaps Blythe’s family and critically injures Jamie. Blythe finds herself caught up in a war that she wants nothing to do with. Upon Jamie’s suggestion, Blythe decides to take a road trip to gather the rest of the guardians. The end goal being to rescue her family.

Book Format: The Black Veins is written third person limited following Blythe. Before the actual story there is a table of contents and content warnings. There are also chapter numbers.

Where I Heard About This Book: I came across Ashia advertising The Black Veins. I was hooked when she promised a road trip story with no romance! And instead a large focus on family. 

I kept on eye out on Twitter for more information and came across the blog tour form and the E-ARC request form.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I remained ecstatic for The Black Veins! I had no doubt that I would really like it. I am happy to say that I was proven right! 

What I Liked: I loved the family aspect! Both blood and found. Blythe’s family was such a joy to read about! I loved how close they were. Blythe’s whole world is ripped apart when her family was kidnapped. You can really feel for and her situation. 

I really liked Jamie! They were awesome and so supportive of Blythe. You did get to learn some more information regarding the world building through Blythe explaining everything to Jamie. I hope that Jamie will make an appearance in the other books.

I admire Blythe! I have no idea how she managed to have a good head on her shoulders, while searching for her family. I loved how she was a photographer and has a very large appreciation for the arts. And that Blythe actually read like a teenager. She made some really dumb mistakes but owned up to them. Unlike so many YA books that have the adult mentality in the body of a teenager. Ashia really did an excellent job fleshing Blythe out!  

The guardians surprised me. To be honest I didn’t really have any expectations or any assumptions off what they would be like. Still I was not expecting them to be so unique or that diverse! I thoroughly enjoyed each guardian and their relationship to one-another.

Cordelia is the first guardian you meet. She’s very rude and a hacker, whose only goal is to get away from magic. While I really didn’t like her in the beginning, she grew on me. And had some of best character development I’ve ever seen! I loved her friendship with Blythe. 

Daniel is the second guardian, and he is a super magical genius. The only thing he lacks is social skills and knowledge about the world. I loved reading about his knowledge! And it was so much fun to read about the rest of the characters educating Daniel on the world/technology.

Antonio is a wonderful cook and the most supportive guardian. He’s extremely nice and can make friends with anyone! All the food that he made sounded amazing. I got hungry every now and then. I especially loved reading his interactions with Blythe. 

Storm is tough as nails and speaks her mind without holding back. Which I really appreciated. It was nice that she asked all the important questions. She’s quite secretive and is very caring.

Caspian is a ghost. He can easily move in and out of other places without getting caught. He’s very sarcastic and doesn’t like it when the characters don’t laugh at his jokes. I really liked reading about his development! And how he became more open.

Jay is definitely the most fun out of all the guardians. He is a flirt and spends most of the time denying magic. You know the least about him. I really liked how Ashia described him! I’ve never read about a Black character being called ‘Angelic’. It was so nice to read that! 

There is no romance! Instead a large focus on the slow burn friendship with the guardians. The road trip to Electric City takes up most of the book. While the guardians do still learn new information and continue searching for Blythe’s family, the characters spend a long time on the road. Just in case anyone doesn’t like journey books.

The world building is so cool! I love how the magic system is rooted within our world. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Tempore. A magical time warped forest. It was interesting to learn about the differences between The Black Veins and the Trident Republic. 

I particularly loved how humor! I didn’t know that there was a comedic aspect before I started reading. Considering the plot I didn’t think it would work, but it did. 

My Criticism(s)I found the pacing to be all over the place. Sometimes it was really fast, other times it was quite slow. It might’ve been better had I actually taken my time reading. The world building could sometimes get info dumpy. And I had a hard time remembering everything. 

What I’m Looking Forward To: The ending is a very brutal cliffhanger. I am excited to read the sequel. And learn more information about the characters and the political system.

I’m particularly anxious for information regarding the Trident Republic and the stone The Black Veins forcefully took. I’m curious to see how Katia and Oliver Walden are linked. 

Conclusion: Overall I thorough enjoyed The Black Veins! I highly recommend it. 

Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2019

June 2

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for June. I read 6 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in June!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. Seeker by: Kim Chance
  2. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by: Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 37 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. The Candle and the Flame by: Nafiza Azad-Wordpress review
  3. Blackbird by: Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel (Artist)

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

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  1. Ms. Marvel Vol. 10: Time and Again by: G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon (Illustrator), Ian Herring (Colorist) 

 

Book Haul: June 2019

June 1

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my book haul for June. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in June!

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 37 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. Collateral Damage by: Taylor Simonds 

Netgalley/Publisher/Author:

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  1. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by: Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
  2. The Black Veins by: Ashia Monet

Bookstore:

June books

  1. My Hero Academia Vol. 19 by: Kohei Horikoshi
  2. The Paper & Hearts Society by: Lucy Powrie
  3. Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-, Vol. 10 by: Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou (Illustrator)