Review | Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang

Xin is an ansible, using her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial Authority and its far-flung colonies— a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness”. When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really enjoyed the glimpse of the world that Waiting on a Bright Moon introduced us to, but I did find myself wishing there was backstory and more depth to some of the characters. As a snippet into another world this was a good taste and introduced integral characters to the main plot point. The writing style was really lyrical and immersive, which was beautiful to read. I just wanted more from this one and could see a whole novel built on some of these characters or their back stories.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

MacKenzie Dienes’s life isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as she could ever hope to get. Her marriage to Rhys, her best friend’s brother, is more friendship than true love. But passion is highly overrated, right? And she loves her job as the winemaker at Bel Apres, her in-laws’ vineyard. So what if it’s a family business and, even after decades of marriage and incredible professional success, she’s still barred from the family business meetings? It’s all enough…until one last night spent together leads to an incredibly honest—and painful—conversation. Rhys suggests that they divorce. They haven’t had a marriage in a long time and, while he wants her to keep her job at Bel Apres, he doesn’t think they should be married any longer. Shocked, MacKenzie reels at the prospect of losing the only family she’s ever really known…even though she knows deep in her heart that Rhys is right.

But when MacKenzie discovers she’s pregnant, walking away to begin a new life isn’t so easy. She never could have anticipated the changes it would bring to the relationships she cherishes most: her relationship with Barbara, her mother-in-law and partner at Bel Apres, Stephanie, her sister-in-law and best friend, and Bel Apres, the company she’s worked so hard to put on the map.

MacKenzie has always dreamed of creating a vineyard of her own, a chance to leave a legacy for her unborn child. So when the opportunity arises, she jumps at it and builds the Vineyard at Painted Moon. But following her dreams will come at a high price—one that MacKenzie isn’t so sure she’s willing to pay…

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro.fm | Books-A-Million | Target | Walmart | Kobo | AppleBooks | Google Play

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The more I read of Susan Mallery’s writing the more I enjoy it, I’m definitely thinking I’m going to need to pick up more of her books when I’m looking for chick lit. This book really covers the transitive nature of life and truly coming into your own when you discover that what you have may not really be what you need. Even though it was hard at times I really enjoyed Mackenzie’s journey as she found herself after the loss of her marriage and presumed place. It was interesting to see how relationships and actions towards her changed once her marriage ended, but also heartbreaking in some ways. This book will make you feel a wide range of emotions as you follow along with her story.

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Happy reading!

Review | The Secret Loves of Geeks

Cartoonists and professional geeks tell their intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories about love, sex and dating in this comics and prose anthology, a follow-up to 2016 best-seller The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (Hag-Seed), Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Cecil Castellucci (Soupy Leaves Home), Gabby Rivera (America), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), Amy Chu (Poison Ivy), Sfe R. Monster (Beyond: A queer comics anthology), Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers), and many more.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After reading previous books in this group, namely The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, I was excited to pick this one up. I did really enjoy the inclusivity and diversity included in this book and found many of the stories enlightening and interesting, while others were full of humor or deep thoughts. I did enjoy the other collections a little more, just because they did see more cohesive to me, but that’s not to say this one doesn’t belong with them. It includes stories and comics that are going to speak differently to different people and is an important inclusion in the ‘series’ (for lack of a better word). I do love collections like this because you get exposed to different writing styles, voices and in this case, art styles while also opening up conversations and sharing experiences.

Happy reading!

Review | Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh returns with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays.

Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features all-new material with more than 1,600 pieces of art.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve followed some of Brosh’s work for years and was excited to see that she came out with her second book. The way she tackles hard topics with her usual sense of reasoning and also humor. It’s exactly the brand of humor I like and is totally relateable. With this book there are definite trigger warnings for grief, depression, anxiety and death of a loved one. She rehashes what she went through during some traumatic events in her life, which happened in some of the years she was absent. She also recounts tales from her childhood and other parts of her adult life. It’s not always cheerful but is always brutally honest.

Solutions and Other Problems definitely tackles not only the traumatic experiences she went through but also the awkwardness that comes with being a human in general and not knowing how to cope or continue with everything, but knowing you have to find a way to.

Happy reading!

Review | Star-Crossed!! Vol 1 by Junko

From the creator of the hit manga and anime Kiss Him, Not Me! comes another off-the-wall, geeky shojo comedy! A series of mixups leads to God misplacing the souls of a girl and the handsome idol singer she adores–in each other’s bodies! And they can switch back and forth by…kissing?!

DIVINE INTERVENTION

Has a concert ever changed your life? Azusa adores Chika-kun, the cutest and most popular star in the idol group Prince 4 U, and she’s thrilled to get front-row seats to his latest show. She would do anything for him. So when a stage light falls, Azusa leaps onstage and…fails to save Chika’s life. The two are off to heaven, where God gives them a second chance—except a mixup resurrects Azusa in Chika’s body, and vice versa! What on Earth could be in store for this odd couple of pampered celeb and drooling fangirl?!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I won’t lie, as soon as I saw this contained the switched bodies trope, I wanted to check it out. When it was a fan and their idol, that was sure to add some hilarity. I have seen stories similar to this in the past, but this still had a lot of hilarious moments and mishaps. I feel it was a good introduction to the characters and snippets of their personalities, but I think it was just a surface layer in some ways. I hope that future volumes will expand more on their pasts and what has shaped their personalities, as well as a possible love story between them. I did find this first volume enjoyable and would be interested in checking out future volumes.

Happy reading!

Review | Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Nostalgic fans of the Miyazaki film and newcomers alike–soar into the modern classic about a young witch and her clever cat that started it all!

Half-witch Kiki never runsfrom a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.

Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since the movie is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies, I definitely wanted a copy of the source material so I could read it and I was not disappointed. There are definitely some differences between the book and movie, with the book being more a slice of life coming of age story. Some of the subplots that we see in the movie are not part of the book because the book really centers on finding your place and being content. I loved Kiki’s escapades and the relationships she built. Overall it was a really adorable story.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa | Review

Wicked faeries and fantastic danger… Welcome to book one of the new trilogy in New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey fantasy series, as infamous prankster Puck finally has a chance to tell his story and stand with allies new and old to save Faery and the world. 

“YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF ME…”

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten. Filled with myths and faery lore, romance and unfathomable dangers, The Iron Raven is book one of a new epic fantasy trilogy set in the world of The Iron Fey.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | AppleBooks | Google Play

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have not read the other books set in this world, but having loved some of Julie Kagawa’s other books I definitely wanted to pick this one up. It can definitely be read without reading the past books, but I’m sure having them as a foundation would give more oomph to it.

I really enjoyed how fast paced this was, I didn’t really feel like there were any sections that dragged. It was easy to get immersed in the quest that the characters went on and no one really felt superfluous to me. I will definitely be going back and reading the previous books in this world and look forward to any future installments that are coming in the future!

JULIE KAGAWA is the New York Times, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, The Talon Saga and the Shadow of the Fox series. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden and training in martial arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a plethora of pets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy reading!

Series Review | Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova

NIGHTSCHOOL answers the age-old question: Where do demons get their diplomas? Schools may close for the night and the lights may be off, but the classes still run. The Nightschool is education for a different crowd – vampires, demons and weirns, a special breed of witches. When Alex, a young weirn, enrolls in a Nightschool to learn what has become of her sister, will she be prepared for what she finds there?

Now that I’ve finished the four volumes of Nightschool, I wanted to kind of do a wrap up on my feelings about it. First things first, I really enjoy the world that Svetlana Chmakova has created here and would pick up anything else she writes in this world. At the end of this series I was definitely left wanting more but not because I felt there wasn’t enough, just because I felt like I just wanted more and more of this world. The art style is very manga-esque and I loved it as it was able to portray the characters and creatures well. I would love to learn more about some of the adults in the series, since it seems each of them could have amazing back stories on their own.

If you like paranormal worlds and mystical beings, I would definitely recommend picking up this series. They are quick and fun reads and will fly right by!

Happy reading!

Review | Ring the Bell by Josie Jaffrey

Scale the mountain. Ring the bell. Buy your freedom. Or trade the prize to change the world.

Mia’s life is defined by the Surge. The race comes every five years, and she’s determined to win it. She’ll make it to the top first, ring the bell and set her family free.

But victory comes at a price. The faster she runs, the more people she’ll condemn to death in the valley below.
In Unterstrom, only the strongest survive.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I went into this short story pretty blind, but really enjoyed the world that Jaffrey crafted in its whort length. It follows Mia as from when she is a small child, living through something in her community called The Surge. What that actually is is revealed slowly throughout the story. If you’re a fan of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, this certainly has some similar tones and themes to it, but in a different way. Jaffrey’s writing, even in this short length, is engaging and I look forward to reading more of her stories.

Happy reading!

Review | Living With Mochi by Gemma Gené

Gemma Gene’s adorable comics celebrate fur-parenthood and the extreme love you experience when you look into your dog’s eyes. If you are never alone when you go to the bathroom, are forced to share your food, and find your life ruled by a sassy fur ball, Living With Mochi is the perfect book for you.

When architect-turned-cartoonist Gemma Gené first met her pet pug, Mochi, she felt as if time stopped. This dramatic moment and her adoring relationship with the rambunctious pug led her to begin chronicling her adventures with Mochi in a series of incredibly cute webcomics that have gained a social media following of half a million loyal readers. The comics chronicle Mochi’s life from puppyhood to adulthood, featuring Mochi’s unrequited dog friendships, his jealousy of his two dog-brothers, and his love of food. Readers and dog parents will love this humorous tale of a sincerely loyal friendship between one grumpy pug and his adoring owner.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was so adorably cute! I’m not a pug owner and am pretty solidly in the cat camp, but as someone who loves pet in general and has owned both dogs and cats in the past, this was wonderful. It perfectly illustrates pet and owner personalities and interactions. If you’re a pet owner or love animals, you will likely enjoy these mostly single page comics about Mochi the pug and his humans. This is definitely a great read if you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face.

Happy reading!