Book Review: The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
Series: Early Earth
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Source: Purchased

In the tradition of The Arabian Nights, a beautifully illustrated tapestry of folk tales and myths about the secret legacy of female storytellers in an imagined medieval world.

In the Empire of Migdal Bavel, Cherry is married to Jerome, a wicked man who makes a diabolical wager with his friend Manfred: if Manfred can seduce Cherry in one hundred nights, he can have his castle–and Cherry.

But what Jerome doesn’t know is that Cherry is in love with her maid Hero. The two women hatch a plan: Hero, a member of the League of Secret Story Tellers, will distract Manfred by regaling him with a mesmerizing tale each night for 100 nights, keeping him at bay. Those tales are beautifully depicted here, touching on themes of love and betrayal and loyalty and madness.

As intricate and richly imagined as the works of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s One Hundred Nights of Hero will capture readers’ hearts and minds, taking them through a magical medieval world. 

You might remember me reviewing The Encyclopedia of Early Earth not too long ago. I ended up buying The One Hundred Nights of Hero since I enjoyed both the art style and the subtle humor in The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, and I was not disappointed.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero is the story of a young woman, Cherry, who is married to an evil man, Jerome, who bets a friend that he can’t seduce Cherry while Jerome is away. If his friend, Manfred, succeeds in seducing Cherry, Jerome is willing to give him both his castle and his wife. When Cherry finds out about the wager, she knows that Manfred will do everything in his power to sleep with her, including by force if necessary. Luckily, her maid, friend, and lover Hero is a member of the League of Secret Story Tellers and weaves stories, night after night, to keep Manfred distracted from the seduction.

I loved the larger story here, including the positive portrayal of a f/f relationship in a time when that was not accepted, but what I really adored were Hero’s stories. The stories were empowering, fantastical, and whimsical. The stories could be a bit quirky and a bit sassy at times, but everything balanced so well that I don’t really have any complaints.

I had initially thought I’d rate this four stars, but looking back… there’s nothing I didn’t like, so it turns out it’s a five.

#mm19: through the years


Have you read The One Hundred Nights of Hero? What about The Encyclopedia of Early Earth? Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC review: We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate. 

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.

I’ll be honest and admit the the only reason I really requested an ARC of We Are Lost and Found was its cover. I was also pretty intrigued by the setting (New York City in the early 1980s) and the fact that this basically sounded like a YA version of Rent. Well, after reading it, I can say that it definitely isn’t YA Rent, although it was an interesting and well-written book.

So… we’ll start with the good. I loved Becky and James. They felt like they could really be my friends. I liked Michael’s complicated relationship with his brother. I pretty much love anything set in the 80s, so that was a definite plus for me too. I also thought that the book was really well-written.

Things I liked less were the lack of quotation marks throughout the book — it made it very difficult to determine who was talking, if anyone, and really pulled me out of the story — and what felt like a lack of plot. I mean, sure, it’s about a gay boy in 1980s NYC amid the AIDS crisis, but nothing huge happens.

The synopsis of this book compares it to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which, for once, is a pretty accurate comparison. I had the same problem with that book, so it might just be an issue of me not really connecting with this type of story.


Have you read We Are Lost and Found? Can you recommend any good books on this topic? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini Review: Here by Richard McGuire

Here by Richard McGuire
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: December 4, 2014
Source: Borrowed

Here is Richard McGuire’s unique graphic novel based on the legendary 1989 comic strip of the same name.

Richard McGuire’s groundbreaking comic strip Here was published under Art Spiegelman’s editorship at RAW in 1989.

Built in six pages of interlocking panels, dated by year, it collapsed time and space to tell the story of the corner of a room – and its inhabitants – between the years 500,957,406,073 BC and 2313 AD.

The strip remains one of the most influential and widely discussed contributions to the medium, and it has now been developed, expanded and reimagined by the artist into this full-length, full-colour graphic novel – a must for any fan of the genre.

I feel like I’m starting a lot of reviews recently by saying, “I want to start off by saying…” but here I am again, starting by saying something. In the case of Here, it’s that I’m not reviewing this as a book, because there’s really not a story here. I’m reviewing this as an entertainment experience and a work of art. Because, the thing is, there are very few words in Here. This is a book about a room, or even a place in the world, over the course of billions of years.

It’s hard to put into words what exactly I thought about this book, mostly because I was so impressed that a room could tell a story without any set characters and with very little dialogue. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones where the same thing was happening in the room decades apart. I also loved the prehistoric scenes since they had some of the most beautiful artwork.

It’s rare for me to want to buy a graphic novel after I finish it, but this is one I’d love to have on my shelf.


Have you read Here? What’s the most unique book you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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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?
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DNF review: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Rating: N/A (DNF)
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Borrowed

When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin… time is not on their side. 

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. 

Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week to

• fake an elopement
• convince family and friends they’re in “love”
• outrun armed robbers
• survive their worst nightmares
• travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe… just maybe… love.

There are some mild spoilers in this review, but nothing too serious since I didn’t even finish the book.

When the second mystery prompt for romanceopoly (read a historical romance where the heroine is either a wallflower or a courtesan) was released, I didn’t quite know what to do, so I turned to their list of recommendations. I found that A Week to Be Wicked was currently available at my library and had a pretty high Goodreads average (4.12 stars!), but though I spent several days trying to read it (and even got up to page 200), I found that this style of romance just isn’t for me.

The biggest problem I had was that I didn’t care for either Minerva or Colin. Colin is pretty much just a womanizer who decides to change his ways after meeting the right woman, and I might have liked that more if I hadn’t already read it ten thousand other times. I appreciated the idea of Minerva’s character, a smart woman who cares more for science than men and has no time for a womanizer who barely deigns to throw attention her way. However, in practice, Minerva basically stops caring about her research as soon as Colin tosses her the tiniest bit of attention. She’s concerned enough about her research to put her own life in danger… at least until she experiences her first orgasm, and then she really couldn’t care less about it.

There were parts of this book that made me smile, parts that made me laugh, and a whole ton of parts that made me cringe. I can see why this kind of lighthearted romance is a favorite for so many people, but it just wasn’t what I look for in a romance novel. I feel like, having read more than half of it, I gave it a decent enough shot that it can count toward the reading challenge. I’m not, however, going to waste any more of my time on it.

#romanceopoly: mystery #2


Have you read A Week to Be Wicked? Do you know of any good historical romances?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Source: Borrowed

Before our history began, another now forgotten civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Isabel Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth’s unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.

As intricate and richly imagined as the work of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s debut will be a welcome addition to the thriving graphic novel genre.

I had never heard of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth until Alex @ The Paperback Piano recommended it to me. I requested that my library add it to their collection, and surprisingly, I got an email only a few days later that it was ready for me! I really enjoyed this graphic novel.

Although it’s based on Bible stories and traditional folklore and mythology, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is an incredibly creative and original story! It follows a Storyteller from the land of Nord who searches the world for the missing piece of his soul, featuring a god named BirdMan and his two children, Kid and Kiddo. I loved the stories, the characters (especially Kiddo!), and the touch of humor in the writing.

This is what a graphic novel should be — the artwork and the writing complemented each other, creating a really cohesive book that was just plain fun to read. The slightly fantastical spin on well-known stories (Noah and the whale and the Tower of Babel, for example) made it even more enjoyable. The only thing I could have wished for was a little bit deeper exploration of the overall premise. I loved the individual stories, but the actual “search for his soul” seemed to get lost in everything else that was happening.

I saw The One Hundred Nights of Hero in a local bookstore before I read this and I’m hoping it’s still there! I’d love to read more from this author.


Have you read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth? Is it on your TBR?
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Book review: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

I checked this out from my library as an audiobook, mostly because there were hardly any holds on it (at least compared to the physical book). While I enjoy listening to nonfiction audiobooks, I’m not as much of a fan of fiction. Something about having fiction read to me usually kind of ruins it, but this was the perfect book to listen to in audio format.

The whole book is written as an interview with the band, and the audiobook is narrated by a full cast that did an absolutely amazing job. I started listening to this audiobook on a Saturday morning and finished it that same night. I didn’t even take any breaks while I was listening. I cooked, I cleaned, I wrote blog posts, and the next thing I knew, the book was done.

I think that the first thing I want to say is that Daisy Jones & the Six felt like a real band. It’s not like I hopped over to Spotify to look for their music or anything, but it was described so well that I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were real. The characters were so well-written that they felt like real people. Quite honestly, I’m amazed.

I always find it harder to write a five-star review than a negative one, and I’m kind of lost for words right now. I don’t know what else I can really say about this book other than I loved it.

#mm19: one sitting reads


Have you read Daisy Jones & the Six? Is it on your TBR?
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