ARC Review: Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.

Queen of the Sea is one of those graphic novels that I’d seen floating around the book blogging world for a while before I decided to read the ARC. I’ve definitely been in a graphic novel mood recently and an alternate history featuring fictionalized versions of Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary seemed really interesting.

The beginning moved really slowly and I had to consciously decide to keep reading. While the illustrations were nice and the characters were interesting, I felt like there was actually very little plot, especially for a book billed as “a rich reimagining” of royalty. Also, for being a graphic novel, this book has a lot of pages that mostly contain walls of text with few actual illustrations.

Fortunately, I felt that everything picked up a lot about halfway through. The plot finally started to capture my interest and I no longer had to force myself to keep reading. That said, I’m still not sure that I’d recommend it. All in all, not a bad read, just maybe not one for me.

#ps19: a novel based on a true story

Have you read Queen of the Sea? Do you like alternate histories?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

  • Review: The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez
  • Review: Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Summer 2019 TBR
  • Review: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  • Tag: Who Am I Book Tag
  • Review: Shutter, Vol. 1 by Joe Keatinge
  • Mini Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

2 things this week:

  • Last Saturday, I went to my first Broadway show (Be More Chill) and then had chocolate fondue at Max Brenner, so that was a pretty great night.
  • I kind of just realized that I’m going away in like three days and had a little bit of a panic, but I’m like 99% sure everything is going to be okay now. Luckily, one of my best friends is really, really great and agreed to cat-sit for me over a holiday weekend with basically no notice.

Blog hopping:

  • Paige is celebrating her one-year anniversary and doing a giveaway!
  • Speaking of giveaways, Hamad is also doing one over on Twitter!
  • Amy reviewed some diverse graphic novels!
  • Andy talked about YA books with transgender protagonists!
  • Ally gave some tips on using Goodreads!
  • May is hosting the Third Annual 2019 Book Blogger Awards! (If I can get my act together before the deadline, I’m going to try to do my own nomination post!)

Song of the week:


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 30, 2018
Source: Borrowed

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone. 

Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

I have heard it said we are the uninvited.
We are the unwelcome.
We should take our misfortune elsewhere. 
But I hear your mother’s voice,
over the tide.
and she whispers in my ear,
“Oh, but if they saw, my darling.
Even half of what you have.
If only they saw.
They would say kinder things, surely.”

This is going to be a very short review because this is a very short book. I read it in just a few minutes, but it left an impression. This little book is a prayer from a father for his son and, oh my, it really made me feel things. It’s only 48 pages long, but by the time I finished, I wanted to cry.

This is the first work I’ve read by Hosseini and now I can’t even imagine why. If he was able to break my heart in 48 pages, I can’t imagine what he can do with a full-length novel.

#mm19: diversify your reading
#ps19: a book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America

Have you read Sea Prayer? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Shutter Vol. 1 by Joe Keatinge

Shutter, Vol. 1 by Joe Keatinge
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 19, 2014
Source: Borrowed


Marvel Knights: Hulk and Glory writer Joe Keatinge teams up with artist extraordinaire Leila del Duca for her Image Comics debut in an all-new ongoing series combining the urban fantasy of Fables and the globe-spanning adventure of Y: The Last Man.

Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer of an Earth far more fantastic than the one we know, is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.

Collects Shutter #1-6.

I mostly picked up this graphic novel because of the cat on the cover (shocking) and promise of adventure, but it just left me feeling confused.

There’s a lot happening in the not-very-many pages of this first volume, and I didn’t feel like anything was really clarified by the end. A lot of things were touched on — Kate’s family history, some secret siblings, a talking cat, a skeleton butler, a trans friend, some random flashbacks to Indiana Jones-style adventures — but nothing was really elaborated on enough to make a complete story. I felt more like I was reading ideas than an actual book.

This felt like it wanted to be Saga but didn’t want to blatantly copy it, and it definitely wasn’t even close to Saga-level good. It was entertaining enough, but I’m not invested enough to pick up the next volume.

#mm19: diversify your reading
#romanceopoly: leather lane

Have you read Shutter? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: Who Am I Book Tag

Appromxately a month or so ago, Siobhan tagged me for this Who Am I? Book Tag! Sorry it took me so long to get to this one!

If you were a book genre, what would it be?

I’d probably be a YA contemporary, even though I’m in my late 20s now. I feel like my life, especially recently, is very much like the contemporary romances that I love. Just last weekend, I had a romantic Ferris wheel ride on Friday and then went to dinner and a Broadway play on Saturday.

What villain from a book do you identify with the most?

Holland from V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy!

What protagonist are you most similar to?

Probably Bailey from Alex, Approximately. Bailey is a dodger who will go to any extreme to avoid confrontation or an awkward situation, and wow, same. I also live in a little bubble where I only talk to the same few people and have met my favorite person through the internet.

Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?

I was really into the Twilight series when I was in high school (who wasn’t, really) and I felt like I really related to the characters. Now, looking back, I would take so many issues with that series if I re-read it.

What recent book read would you love to be a character in?

Maybe Lost at Sea? It’s not the happiest book, but I would not mind having the friend group from this book.

How do your reading habits show off in your personality?

Like Siobhan (and Kay before her), I pretty rarely DNF and am also pretty stubborn about things. I also love reading romances and that probably shows in the fact that I love spending time with my boyfriend.

What book taught you something about yourself?

It took a while to realize it, but looking back, The Lover’s Dictionary really helped me realize a lot of things about myself and the situation I was in at the time I read it.

I’m not going to tag anybody, but please feel free to do this tag (and link back to me so I can see your answers!) if it looks like fun to you! Which protagonist are you most similar to? If your life were a genre, what would it be? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Source: Borrowed

Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

Way back when I blogged over on Tumblr, a movie called Blue is the Warmest Color came out. Everyone talked about it. You couldn’t escape it. I always planned to watch it and never did, but when I saw the graphic novel that the movie is based on at my library, I decided I had to read it.

It was heartbreaking.

This is the story of a teenage girl discovering and coming to terms with her sexuality. It’s the story of the ups and downs of her relationship with a somewhat older artist. It’s incredibly emotional and very well-written. The illustrations complement the writing perfectly.

The only criticism I have, and the only thing keeping it from a full five stars, is that the ending felt very rushed in comparison with the rest of the story. We got this really detailed history of a relationship and then a surprise plot twist and it was done. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just made the ending feel a little off.

The only other thing I want to mention is that this graphic novel is definitely not YA. It includes both nudity and sex scenes, and although they’re not particularly explicit, they’re definitely something to be aware of.

#mm19: diversify your reading
#mmd19: a book in translation
#romanceopoly: freedom friars

Have you read Blue is the Warmest Color? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Summer 2019 TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is pretty fitting since I just shared my (lack of) progress on my Ultimate 2019 TBR the other day. Shockingly, I am not going to be talking about all of the 84 books I still need to read from that list. Instead, I’m going to share ten ARCs and books I’ve recently bought that I’m hoping to read really soon.

Without further ado, today we’re talking about my summer 2019 TBR.

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

I got this ARC at BookCon and I’m super excited to read it! I loved Emergency Contact and can’t wait to read more from this author. 🙂

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

I am so, so excited to have this ARC and I cannot wait to read it. It’s definitely on my more immediate TBR.

No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant

This is another ARC I got at BookCon and, after meeting the author, I’m even more excited to read it!

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

I’ve been hearing such great things about this book and I’m really excited to read it! This is another BookCon ARC.

She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

I’ve been slowly working my way through this ARC. I’m really enjoying it but keep getting distracted by other things. I’m hoping to finish it this week!

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

I just bought this graphic novel about two days ago and I’m really looking forward to reading it!

Little Birds by Anais Nin

Erotica published more than 20 years before I was born isn’t really my typical thing, but I couldn’t resist buying this when I found it in the “old and unusual” section of my library’s used bookstore.

Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris

I received this ARC a couple months ago and it’s probably about time that I read it!

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

I picked this up at my library’s annual book sale, mostly because I really liked the cover. I’m really looking forward to eventually getting around to it.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

I just picked this up at the library two days ago and I’m probably going to dive into it very soon!

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Do we have any of the same books on our summer TBRs? Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk in the comments!