Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: Star Wars - Union (old canon)

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection: Union Volume 11Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection: Union Volume 11 by Michael A. Stackpole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, I want to say that I appreciate that this exists. Action, comedy, and romance have always been apart of Star Wars and I like the idea of a scifi fantasy comic focused on a wedding.

As a Star Wars obsessed chick that reads lots of romance novels, and plans weddings, I’m a great target for it.

I recall really wanting to read this as a tween. I probably should have back in the day. Nowadays, ‘Union’ is very much a product of its time. It feels like a 90s romcom with a laugh track. Although, in parts, it’s thought provoking and cutesy.

Again, the idea is awesome, but there were things that just didn’t work for me.

The comic assumes I have read all the old-canon up to that point. I know, second-hand, who Mara Jade is, but the comic itself didn’t help me to know her. I could have benefited from some relationship flashbacks or a conversation from Luke why Mara is the right woman for him other than just-that-he-loves-her.

Everyone feels mellow to me. Han and Leia have had their happily-ever-after and are tame, ho-hum parents now. War is over. Everything seems easy-going and normal. Although the main characters are worried about the wedding taking place, the threat doesn’t seem very high. I’m never concerned that the characters can’t handle whatever the few baddies are planning. About as threatening as rain or the caterer not arriving.

Plus, it’s been sixteen years since the Battle of Endor…and Han is still calling Luke “kid.” Gee, Han, Luke’s almost 40! And he’s a Jedi Master now, have some RESPECT. But then again, I guess it doesn’t help that Luke jokes that he’s going to have to stay with Han when Mara gets mad and kicks him out.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (A Medieval Fairy Tale, #1)The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For me, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest was a breezy, adorable female Robin Hood-esque tale. The main characters, Jorgen and Odette, are quickly drawn to one another at a Midsummer festival. Turns out, both are orphans with a heart for helping children. However, Odette has a deep secret. At night, she goes into the forest and poaches deer to feed the poor. It may be wrong, but she's doing it for the right reasons. When she learns Jorgen is the new margrave’s forester, it seems their attraction will never work. Jorgen is dedicated to catching the mysterious poacher.

I really enjoyed Jorgen's character. As an inspirational hero, he was perfect: steadfast and honorable. Not quick to anger.

Odette slightly frustrated me, but mostly because of the plot. For the huntress of Thornbeck Forest, she spent a lot of time in town and at home. As a farm girl trapped in the city, I wanted to "escape" to the forest, and Odette just wasn't in the forest enough. For me, it felt like her point-of-view started after she returned from the forest.

So, in summary, if you want a sweet, inspirational fairy-tale romance, yes! If you want to vicariously be in the forest, book a trip.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Romances (all time)

Top Ten Favorite Romances (all time)

Yay, another fun and easy TTT topic. Ah, I'm such a hopeless romantic.

Pride & Prejudice - On this blog, I feel that it goes without saying! After seeing the 2005 movie version, I've been obsessed with all things Austen!

Jane Eyre - Ditto. Being an Austen fan, I kept reading blog lists where Darcy and Rochester fought for first place, so I had to check it out. The drama! The banter!

Blackmoore - Amazing slow-burn tension! Will they or won't they page turning suspense. I'm planning to re-read it soon.

Once Upon A Prince - A heartwarming, but realistic, modern-day royal fairy-tale. Inspired by Will and Kate.

Because of Miss Bridgerton
- Just when I thought Julia Quinn couldn't top herself, she did. Reads like a romantic comedy!

A Kingdom of Dreams - I'm super biased for this one, it was one of the first romance novels I ever read. Medieval at its best.

My Life Next Door - A great YA romance with a timeless feel. Will steal your heart and melt it.

The Last Unicorn - Romantic in a tragic-sort of way. A unicorn who nearly changes forever for her love. Gah, breaks my heart.

Stepping on Roses - For a manga, it read like a historical romantic comedy. Drama, suspension, tension, mixed with hijinks.

By Your Side - One of my latest reads, but I loved it! Sweet mixed with serious issues.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your SideBy Your Side by Kasie West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sweet, page-turner YA with a surprising amount of serious issues: anxiety disorder/panic attacks, foster care, near fatal car accident, hospitalization, and a parent with a drug addiction. I'm impressed how effortlessly the author weaved it all in without bogging down the romantic tension!

The main character, Autumn, is definitely an inspiration for girls with anxiety. The YA world needs more characters like her. When Autumn finds herself accidentally locked in a library over MLK weekend (ah, jealous, being locked in a library is almost bucketlist worthy IMO), she feels abandoned and forgotten by her friends and family. Little does she know, Dax, her quiet, loner classmate with the bad reputation, has also been locked in the library, on purpose.

The characters bond over their circumstances. Only slightly reminiscent of the princess (Claire) and the rebel (Bender) from The Breakfast Club, in a good way. However, when Autumn and Dax are free of the library, life suddenly becomes more complicated. Autumn needs a distraction just as much as Dax. A secret friendship emerges, and soon, more.

This was my first read by Kasie West. I definitely plan to check out more of her work in the future!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics/Manga

Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics/Manga

Ah, yeah! I feel like this week's meme was made for me!

Cat Vs. Human - It's too funny and also, too true. A cat-owning comic for cat-owners by a fellow cat-owner.

Seconds - Although Scott Pilgrim was great, I love that the main character of Seconds is a 20+ lady. Also, time-travel.

Hyberbole and a Half - A motivational and hilarious comic! It's so cool that it's autobiographical. Gah, still waiting on the sequel.

Stepping on Roses - I felt like I grieved when this series was was so funny, yet nail-biting that I struggled to find a series to replace it in my life.

I Am Pusheen The Cat - It's just too adorable. Even looking at the cover, how can it not make you smile???

Black Bird - Reads like a good YA paranormal romance. If you're into YA vampires or Inuyasha, this is a great what-to-read-next.

Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice - I can't say enough how well done this manga version is! Love it, revisit, and even color it, often!

Skip-Beat - On-going drama! Lights! Camera! Action! If you've ever daydreamed about becoming a movie star, this is a great escape. Lots of hijinks!

Batman: Earth One - I actually bought this as a gift for my brother, but decided to read it and see if he'd like it. I ended up liking it myself! It's as good as any Batman movie you've enjoyed.

Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye - True, it's old Star Wars canon, aka none-of-this-really-happened. However, it's clear that this "A New Hope" lost sequel influenced all the movies that have followed. It's a time-piece, but very cool.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Books and Authors To Read If You Like Jane Austen

Top Ten Books and Authors To Read If You Like Jane Austen

Ah, I intended to do this topic last year, but ran out of time. Anyhow, here it is now! Yay for Jane in January!

Jane Austen's World: The Life and Times of England's Most Popular Author - If you love all things Austen, this book contains an insightful look into the culture and customs of her world and novels. Includes biographical information on Austen, as well as, breakdowns of each book.

Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury - Ditto for this great book! If you're the hands-on type, this treasury contains card inserts of Austen's personal letters. An interactive must for any collection.

Georgette Heyer - Pretty much anything by this author is Austen-ish! Born in 1902, Heyer really captured the large sense of community, details, and some of the humor created by Austen. I like to think of her as an Austen fan writing for Austen fans.

George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans - Although her novel Middlemarch is a huge undertaking, at its heart, her portray a whole community and romantic complexities are reminiscent of Austen's work. The main character, Dorothea, is a complex heroine and very memorable.

Augusta Jane Evans - Sadly, a lot of her work is out-of-print. However, if you can find a copy of "St. Elmo" you're in for a dramatic story, the likes of which, Catherine from Northanger Abbey would love.

The Bronte Sisters - Even though Charlotte was no Austen fan, each sister created a romantic drama as page-turning as an any Austen novel. Their work is much darker. However, their heroes are, arguably, as heart-grabbing as Darcy.

Austenland - If someone creates a real English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, please sign me up! Next best thing, this entertaining story of a P&P obsessed lady looking for a Mr. Darcy of her own.

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure - As far I as know, there's no highly interactive Jane Austen video game or app (shucks). However, this choose-your-own-adventure is the next best thing. Wield the decision making power of the heroine and make your way through the Austen world.

Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover's Romp through Jane Austen's Classic - Too adorable! If you love cats and Austen, this is hands down, the perfect combination. I have the urge to dress my cat up like Darcy now.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - True, it's not for everyone, but I thought books and movie were strangely entertaining. A pop-culture trendy way to see Austen in a new light? Either way, fun for the Austen fan on Halloween.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten Underrated Books (On My Goodreads "Read" List)

Ten Underrated Books (On My Goodreads "Read" List)

On your Goodreads "read list" it's easy to browse underrated books by sorting based on "number of ratings". Here are a few underrated gems that I enjoyed.

Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy, #1) by Maud Hart Lovelace - I loved this classic children's story. It was actually recommended to me on author Meg Cabot's website. However, I've never met anyone in person who's read or heard of the series. It's a great old-fashioned timepiece.

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Stacy King - A beautiful manga edition to any Jane Eyre fan's collection. Sadly, I couldn't find it in stores anywhere! Oshie had to special order it for me.

The Courageous Princess - This was my gateway into graphic novels. It's a wonderful girl-power fairy tale. Great for fantasy adventure lovers who also like stories similar to The Neverending Story.

Wreath by Judy Christie - A heartwarming tale of survival, perfect for anyone who enjoys inspirational YA fiction. Reminiscent of "Where The Heart Is." Well done and kept me turning the pages late at night.

The Adventures of Buster Bear by Thornton W. Burgess - Another forgotten classic from yesteryear, my grandmother's generation. If you like sweet animal stories, such as Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows, etc, this is for you.

The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff - Wow, I reviewed this so long ago, like 2010, but it still sticks out in my memory. It's currently out-of-print. However if you're obsessed with the Victorian era like I am, this heartwarming tale is worth buying used.

The Worrier's Guide to Life by Gemma Correll - Hilarious! A life-style guide for all us overthinkers. I loved this so much and got tons of lols from it. Highly recommended.

Film Isms...: Understanding Cinema - Ah movies. This nifty little guide helped me understand my favorite genres and even learn what some my favorite genres are. Includes helpful examples and recommendations.

Clues to American Dress - Quick, handy overview of American fashion through the ages. Great for students, history lovers, writers, and artists.

Fat Cat Art - Love art? Love cats? Love art AND cats? Then sit back and watch how well a ginger cat improves famous masterpieces. Oshie and I were busting out laughing in the bookstore.


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