Weekly Update

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

  • Review: Dodge City by Josh Trujillo
  • Review: Comics for Choice by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Ø.K. Fox
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite tropes
  • Review: I love this part by Tillie Walden
  • Tag: Summer Sweatalong Book Tag
  • Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • Nothing this week!

2 things this week:

  • This last week has been an adventure, that’s for sure. “Getting stuck” is a strong way to put it, but my flight out of Tennessee was cancelled while I was at the airport, so that was a bit of a situation. I made it back to my apartment (and my cat) eventually. 🙂
  • I got to meet my friend’s new baby earlier this week, and I’m going to go hang out with her tonight, too. I love babies. ❤

Blog hopping:

  • Hannah wrote about problematic tropes!
  • Kaleena talked about transitioning to a self-hosted site!
  • Sarah shared YA books dealing with mental health!
  • Vicky recommended books based on the emoji mashup bot!

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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ARC Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher

The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 

Let me just start this review off by saying that The Lady Rogue was one of my most anticipated books for the entirety of 2019. Jenn Bennett is one of my all-time favorite authors (if not the favorite, I mean… just look at that drawing of me holding Starry Eyes below) and I basically devour everything that she ever writes. As much as it pains me to say it, The Lady Rogue and I did not click as much as I’d hoped.

Part of this, I think, is definitely me. It’s been a stressful few weeks in this household. Major life changes are coming and I’ve had very little time to read. I’ve been in the mood for something I can sit down and finish in one sitting, not a book that would take several hours of my time.

I picked this one up and put it right back down a few times in the past month because I just couldn’t get into it. But I threw this book in my backpack when I took a quick weekend trip to Tennessee, just on the off chance that I’d get a minute to read it, and ended up with a cancelled flight and, finally, a lot of time to read. And while it might have taken me several weeks to get into it, once I got into it, I finished it in a couple of hours.

All of this is to say that this is not a bad book. There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. And three stars is not a bad rating! It’s one of those it’s not you, it’s me kind of things.

I will explain.

First things first, what I liked. As always, I love Jenn Bennett’s writing style. She’s one of those writers that, once I get absorbed in the book, I can just go for hours without stopping. The action was steady, but never too much. I loved our main character, Theo, and her adventures traipsing around Europe in search of a mystical ring and her missing father.

Now, for what I wasn’t so sold on. I’ve spent a little bit of time sitting here thinking about why exactly I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved Jenn Bennett’s other work, and I think a lot of it comes down to the genre. I’ve had a hard time recently getting into this fantastical kind of adventure story recently (see The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy).

I also associate Jenn Bennett with cute contemporary romances (see Starry Eyes, Alex, Approximately, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Serious Moonlight) and although there’s the barest hint of a romance here, it felt kind of like an afterthought. Huck was definitely my least favorite of Bennett’s love interests and I really struggled to feel any chemistry between him and Theo. But, again, romance isn’t really the point of this book. The adventure is the point, and I kept having to remind myself of that.

I think, all in all, that The Lady Rogue is a really well-written, really fun YA historical fantasy. If you go into it knowing that’s what it is and are prepared for it to be very different from Bennett’s previous work, you’ll probably enjoy it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite of her work, I can still appreciate the good writing and the good story, and I’m so excited to read whatever she comes up with next.

#mm19: mode of transportation

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

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Tag: Summer Sweatalong Book Tag

Thank you to Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts for tagging me in this one! It’s been a good two and a half months or so, but I finally did it! (Sorry it took so long.) At least it’s still summer. 🙂

The Rules

  1. Link back to the original creator of the book tag (thebookwormdreamer).
  2. Start off with telling us your favourite season and why it is/isn’t summer!
  3. Tag five friends to take part.
  4. Enjoy!

My favorite season: Spring

I have no opposition to summer. I think it’s great to be able to do a ton of stuff outside and I feel like the summer vibe is usually more relaxed than the rest of the year, but the heat. I like spring because it’s when everything finally thaws from winter, the snow melts, everything starts blooming, and I can open my windows and let a nice breeze in my apartment.

Don’t Stop!
a book you couldn’t stop reading

Hyperbole and a Half is a 371-page book that I read in one sitting.

You’re a Cheetah
a book you read in just one day

I think most graphic novels I’ve read would fit this prompt, so I’ll just go with one I recently finished: I love this part by Tillie Walden. Heartbreaking, but so good.

Couldn’t Let Go
a book you reread straight away

Literally none, sorry. I rarely reread, and never right away.

Calm It Down!
a book that got your heart racing

Definitely Saga. From the beginning, I had to know what would happen next.

Second Best
a sequel that you read faster than the first

Don’t get me wrong, I had no opposition to Amour Amour, but Infini was really something else. I connected with this book immediately and could hardly put it down.

Books On Fire!
a series you read straight through

I haven’t done this recently, but one series I can remember marathoning was The Hunger Games. I read it over spring break in college and barely stopped to sleep.

Midnight Madness
a book that kept you up late

My classic answer for this kind of prompt is Me Before You, which kept me up until about 2am when I had to be to work the next morning by 7:30.

I’m tagging:

Lori 🌴 Jamsu 🍹Rae 🐚 Consu 🌻Cait

Please feel free to do this tag even if I didn’t specifically tag you! (And, of course, no pressure if I did tag you and you already did it or just aren’t interested.) Which book got your heart racing? What series did you read straight through? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: I love this part by Tillie Walden

I love this part by Tillie Walden
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Source: Purchased

Two girls in a small town in the USA kill time together as they try to get through their days at school.

They watch videos, share earbuds as they play each other songs and exchange their stories. In the process they form a deep connection and an unexpected relationship begins to develop.

In her follow up to the critically acclaimed The End of Summer, Tillie Walden tells the story of a small love that can make you feel like the biggest thing around, and how it’s possible to find another person who understands you when you thought no-one could.

I think that it took me all of ten minutes to read this book. It’s a graphic novel, it’s 68 pages, and it is very emotional. This is going to be a pretty short review because, like I said… 68 pages.

This was my first graphic novel by Tillie Walden, and I have to say that I’m impressed. While it was very, very short, it was also very, very emotional. I don’t think I was necessarily prepared for the amount of emotions this book would make me feel, but I really enjoyed it.

The only reason I’m not rating it five stars is that I would have loved for it to be a little longer and to explore things a little more fully, but all in all, this was a great graphic novel and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Have you read I love this part? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite tropes

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is favorite tropes, and I don’t think anyone will be particularly shocked by this list, but here we go. . .

I’m also giving a ton of recommendations in this post, so I hope you love these books as much as I did!

friends to lovers

The DealJosh & Hazel’s Guide to Not DatingNot So Nice Guy

enemies to lovers

The Hating GameArrogant DevilAnything You Can Do

relationships developing through texts

Emergency Contact

fake dating

The UnhoneymoonersThe Kiss QuotientRoomies

road trips

Amy & Roger’s Epic DetourSeven Ways to Lose Your HeartLost At Sea


Blurred LinesThe Virgin Romance NovelistRoommates

pining from afar

Royal ScandalRed, White & Royal Blue99 Percent Mine

brother’s best friend/best friend’s brother

The Dating ExperimentBro CodeKaleidoscope Hearts

second chance romance

Starry EyesInfiniLove and Other Words

boy/girl next door

My Life Next DoorWallbangerLola and the Boy Next Door

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! What are some of your favorite tropes? Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review: Comics for Choice by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Ø.K. Fox

Comics for Choice by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Ø.K. Fox
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 2017
Source: Borrowed

Comics for Choice is anthology of comics about abortion. As this fundamental reproductive right continues to be stigmatized and jeopardized, over sixty artists and writers have created comics that boldly share their own experiences, and educate readers on the history of abortion, current political struggles, activism, and more. Lawyers, activists, medical professionals, historians, and abortion fund volunteers have teamed up with cartoonists and illustrators to share their knowledge in accessible comics form.

Comics for Choice is edited by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and Ø.K. Fox, and contains comics from exciting cartoonists like Sophia Foster-Dimino (Sex Fantasy), Leah Hayes (Not Funny Ha-Ha), Anna Bongiovanni (Grease Bats), Jennifer Camper (Rude Girls and Dangerous Women), Ally Shwed (Sex Bomb Strikes Again) and Kat Fajardo (Gringa!, La Raza Anthology), and reproductive justice scholars like Rickie Solinger, (Reproductive Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know) Renee Bracey Sherman (Program Director, We Testify), and Dr. Cynthia Greenlee (Senior Editor, Rewire).

I didn’t really know what to expect when I checked this anthology out from the library. All I really knew was that it was a ton of abortion stories and that it would probably make me very, very sad. The thing is, while I can’t see myself ever getting an abortion (except in a very extreme case), I don’t think it’s my place to tell anyone else what they can or cannot do with their life and their body. That means that I’m very firmly on the pro-choice side of the debate. I thought it might be a good idea to expand my horizons a little bit and learn more about abortion.

Turns out that this book was possibly not the right place to go for that. First of all, there are a ton of stories here. A ton. Most of them are very, very short, and most of them feel like they were put together very quickly. There are a lot of misspellings and a lot of grammatical issues. A few of the stories looked more like drafts than finished art. It’s not the end of the world, I guess, but this is a book that’s been put out into the world for people to purchase. I expected more from it.

As for the stories, some of them hit me very hard. I can’t imagine being in the situation that a lot of these women were in and I can’t imagine how difficult the choice to get an abortion must be. I also found the stories from the abortion doulas and clinic escorts very interesting. I hadn’t even known that abortion doulas were a thing before I picked this book up! But some of the stories seemed to be there just to prove a point or push an agenda, which is something I don’t really appreciate, even when it’s a point or an agenda that I can get behind.

When this anthology was good, it was good. But when it wasn’t good, it was just disappointing. Overall, I think two stars is probably the best I can do here.

Have you read Comics for Choice? Do you have any recommendations for feminist nonfiction?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Dodge City by Josh Trujillo

Dodge City by Josh Trujillo
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Dodge City is a YA sports comedy about making sense of a chaotic world and growing up against the insane backdrop of competitive dodgeball, told through the eyes of oddball Tomás and his teammates.

Life comes at you fast, but dodgeballs come way faster! Tomás is a teenage misfit, but when he joins the Jazz Pandas dodgeball team, he’s thrown into a family of oddballs and outcasts who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the summer regional dodgeball championships. Through a season of highs, lows, and blows to the face, Tomás might finally find a place where he truly belongs, and the person inside himself he didn’t know he could be.

I checked this graphic novel out from my library because, first of all, it looked like fun, and second of all, I more or less enjoyed the first several issues of Fence. A graphic novel focusing on dodgeball sounded like it would be a great time — after all, Dodgeball was one of my favorite movies when I was in high school.

The thing is, I feel like this graphic novel was a lot of nice art featuring a ton of diverse characters and not much else. There’s not much of a story aside from the dodgeball, and what little story there is is kind of choppy and confusing. This is definitely a fast-paced story, but it’s almost too fast for anything meaningful to happen. The characters aren’t particularly well-developed either — four issues in and I feel like I know them about as well as I did on page one.

All of that said, I don’t think this is necessarily a terrible graphic novel. There’s definitely potential for character development and for the story to improve, but I don’t know that I’ll be jumping at the chance to read any more of it any time soon.

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

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