A great story that is completely relevant to our current culture and economy, where online games are real life are closely interwoven. I loved Anda'sA great story that is completely relevant to our current culture and economy, where online games are real life are closely interwoven. I loved Anda's journey as she built up her self-esteem as a girl gamer, figured out the ins and outs of social justice, and defended her friends. Jen Wang's art is fantastic, as well. This is one book I'd happily hand to my nieces once they're a little older....more
Gorgeous and moving and heart-breaking and hopeful, all at the same time. The writing is so transcendent and descriptive, it often felt like I could sGorgeous and moving and heart-breaking and hopeful, all at the same time. The writing is so transcendent and descriptive, it often felt like I could see the action taking place in front of my eyes. I loved the narrators alternating between Noah at age 13/14, telling the story of what broke them, to Jude at age 16, telling the story of how they were healed. The more we lived inside each of their heads, the more we loved each of them, and truly felt both their agony and ecstasy.
I loved living inside Noah's head because everything was vivid Technicolor, full of life and felt with deep passion. His brilliance both connected him with and disconnected him from the world around him. When we finally got inside Jude's head, she was so locked up with guilt, she was being strangled by it. If she hadn't met Oscar and Guillermo, if she hadn't fought to free herself from her stone prison, if the secrets hadn't come out, she would have eventually imploded.
Most of the time, when teens fall in love and talk about forever and soul mates, the cynic in me rises up and rolls her eyes and says, "yeah, sure." Despite my natural cynicism, though, I found myself truly believing in the emotional connections between these characters, in the whole idea of split-apart souls, and people who are meant to be together. It doesn't mean I don't think there's anyone else out there that Noah and Jude could be happy with, other than Brian and Oscar; it just means I believe in the strength of their connection, their passion to be together. Who knows what will happen down the road, but for now, they have each other, and they have happiness.
I love how interconnected everyone was, the impact each person had on the twins and each other. Noah and Jude both knew Oscar, but a different version of Oscar. Noah and Jude both knew Guillermo, but a different version of Guillermo. Noah and Jude both loved their mother, but knew a different version of her. The accident was no one's fault, and changed everything; but somehow, still, nothing was changed. (view spoiler)[The twins lost their mother, Guillermo lost his love, but their lives still collided, as they were meant to do. Whether that was spurred on by their mother and grandmother's ghosts is up to you to decide. (hide spoiler)]
The twins' mother is a hard character to deal with because she has such a strong pull on their lives, and the power to make them delirious happy or ridiculously miserable. I truly believe that she loved the twins' father, so it's heartbreaking (view spoiler)[to see their relationship fall apart, and her affair with Guillermo. As much she and Guillermo were passionate in their love for one another, I feel like she should have honored her commitment to her husband and her family. I get, though, that it's a tricky situation: personal happiness versus committed unhappiness. And in all likelihood, if she had stayed with the twins' father, everyone would have ended up miserable anyways. But it's still a hard thing to see, perhaps because it is so real to what life is like. (hide spoiler)]
Most of the time, when books wrap up happily (or as happily as they can), as much as I desire happy endings, part of my can't help but think, "well, that was convenient." Not so this time: this ending felt happy in its own way and perfectly perfect, and this is definitely a book I'd recommend.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I picked this one up from the library because I recognized the author - I've had her book The Princess and the Hound on my list to read for a while, aI picked this one up from the library because I recognized the author - I've had her book The Princess and the Hound on my list to read for a while, and thought maybe I HAD read it (I haven't), and it sounded interesting. This is officially the first book of the year that I thought, "I'll just read a few chapters before going to bed," and suddenly, it's 3 AM and I only have a third of the book left, so I might as well stay up and finish it, right? I don't think that's an indicator that this book is fantastically written or perfect or anything like that, it's more that I just kept wanting to know more, to figure out these characters and know what was going on with them.
The concept is interesting: there is an island with magic that was split in two by a grieving King, and when the country was split in two, the magic was as well, with the magic of war, taweyr, settling on the king and primarily men, and the magic of nature, neweyr, settling on primarily women. Somewhere over time, those that did not harness the power expected of their gender, the ekhono, were reviled, persecuted, and executed, especially in the southern kingdom. Into these two kingdoms are born 2 princesses: Issa in the north, with strong neweyr magic, and Ailsbet in the south, with strong taweyr magic, which she must hide even from her family.
I liked all of the characters well enough, but to be honest, I didn't feel much depth from them. I didn't feel like I ever got to know them enough to predict what they would do and what they were feeling. Instead of feeling Issa and Kellin falling in love, I had to be told that they were. I kept thinking that maybe this book would take the whole gender-persecution issue that hearkens so much to the LGBTA rights issue a step further, and maybe the two princesses falling in love would have been the action that united the two kingdoms according to the prophecy. Sure, they can't have a child that literally combines their DNA and their magic, but it's MAGIC. Surely a marriage between two princesses could have some effect. But that's not the way this book went.
I'll be curious to see what happens in these series, as this was clearly just the first book. Too much was left unresolved. I can't see Ailsbet staying away forever, but if traveling across the ocean really takes away her taweyr magic, she can't really help with the prophecy. That leaves Issa and Kellin to figure it out, I guess. I didn't see a publication date or anything for a second book on goodreads, so I'll just put this on the back burner and check back in a few years....more
After so many near-deaths and resurrections in this series, it's finally happened. Some one is dead, for good. Or so I'm assuming. (view spoiler)[It'sAfter so many near-deaths and resurrections in this series, it's finally happened. Some one is dead, for good. Or so I'm assuming. (view spoiler)[It's hard to really believe Commander Root is gone, because with their magic, it seemed like they could always save anyone. But being blown to bits is pretty final, so I'm not sure how they could possibly bring him back. I am really sad for that, and will miss his presence in this series. (hide spoiler)]
This book was fascinating because we got to see what this new, memory-wiped version of Artemis looked like. Yes, he was back to his old, thieving ways, but deep down, something had changed in him that he didn't understand but couldn't deny. I am relieved that Artemis and Butler were (view spoiler)[ able to successfully retrieve their memories, (hide spoiler)] but it's interesting that to do so didn't just require learning anew about the fairies, but being truly made to believe it by being told it from a completely trustworthy source. Now that Artemis has these 2 sets of memories swirling around in his brain, I can't wait to see how he grows up. I love the way he treated the Fairy Thief painting, which was exactly as I had hoped he would.
Poor Holly went through so much this book. (view spoiler)[Losing Julius Root and then being the one blamed for his death was just heart-wrenching. I was surprised when she decided to quit the LEP because they provided her with much leeway in contacting the surface and working for the greater good, but I can see how she would have a hard time working with them, considering how they have treated her, especially that new jerk commander guy, Sol. (hide spoiler)] I'm looking forward to seeing Holly's transformation from official to unofficial investigation, her partnership with Mulch, and her growing relationship with Artemis.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm not very active in the YouTube community, so I hadn't heard of Zoe Sugg before my 17-yo niece asked for this book for Christmas. As I am all aboutI'm not very active in the YouTube community, so I hadn't heard of Zoe Sugg before my 17-yo niece asked for this book for Christmas. As I am all about encouraging reading as much as possible, I immediately said, "you will get that don't worry about it" and ordered it for her. And of course, I couldn't actually gift it to her without reading it myself first!
This was a really sweet book about learning to love yourself and fighting to overcome your fears, whether they be debilitating panic attacks or evil ex-bestfriends who have some strange power to make you feel like crap.
I feel old even saying this (I swear, I'm only 33! That's so not old!), but things are so different for kids these days. The accessibility of the internet and the anonymity it can provide can be a good things at times, like when Penny's sole outlet for her thoughts and fears was her anonymous blog. Had Penny's blog not been anonymous, she likely wouldn't have been so honest in it, for fear of judgement or rejection.
Unfortunately, the internet also has a rather dark side. Not only is information spread quickly, often without verification, it can also be anonymous. The anonymity of the internet allows honesty, but it also allows all the cruelty, meanness, and idiocy that people would be ashamed to express to your face. Things like the video of Penny on stage are easily uploaded, even if it is only as a joke, and one things are online, there's no way to take them back. That video was small beans compared to (view spoiler)[the hateful backlash Penny received when the world assumed she was a "homewrecker." Even if that story had been true, though, why should the world care? According to public record, Noah and the other girl had been dating for a month, and so he's not allowed to meet a girl he likes better? The lying would have been an issue, but it would have been THEIR issue, not the world's. (hide spoiler)] this is all stuff kids these days have to deal with, and I can't imagine it will get any easier as time goes on. The sooner someone can learn not to listen to the haters, the better, and this book could be a huge inspiration for people who are struggling with those issues.
Noah and Penny's relationship was sweet, although a bit too perfect, but I appreciated that their families were involved, too, as it made everything seem at least a little more realistic. The cynic in me doesn't believe in that soul mate stuff, but I want to believe it can happen for some people, and you should trust your gut in those situations. I just worry that girls (and guys) will build up unrealistic expectations for their relationships in the future, and expect falling in love to always feel like this. I guess I just need to remember back to my youth: I loved reading these kind of fairy tale love stories and I think I turned out ok.
I get why Noah didn't want to tell Penny the truth, but he had to tell her eventually, and surely in person would have been better. The likelihood of her not finding out was so small, and the distance made it much harder to explain. (view spoiler)[I've never been famous, so I don't know for sure, but I can imagine being seen as cute-boy-I-like-maybe-love-Noah instead of internet-famous-YouTube-singer-Noah would be a luxury he assumed he'd never have again. (hide spoiler)] The chance to be seen as just yourself, no filters or expectations, was something that both Penny and Noah wanted, and for a magical week, that's exactly what they had.
I want to take a side step and talk about Elliot for a moment. Despite being Penny's oldest, closest, and most reliable friend, Elliot felt a little uneven sometimes. The more I think about him, though, the more it seems that that unevenness is what makes him so real. If he had been Penny's always-there cheerleader, he'd be just a one-dimensional, yes-ma'am puppet. Like a real person, Elliot had other stuff going on in his life, and as much as he was there for Penny, supporting her fiercely through every issue, his every second wasn't focused on her. His responses and actions had rational reasons behind them. (view spoiler)[It was hard to hear about Penny falling in love and her parents accepting Noah so willingly when his own father wouldn't accept him, and he wasn't ignoring her calls and texts, he legit had his phone taken away.
-- side note about Penny's parents: what parents let their 15 year old date an 18 year old they had just met in a foreign country, even if he does seem nice and you're working with his grandma!? Still seems crazy to me! --
In the end, I'm glad that Elliot and Penny didn't let misunderstandings ruin their fantastic relationship. (hide spoiler)]
My main issue with this book, other than my general skepticism, was how quickly everything wrapped up. The resolution with Elliot and Penny's friends at school felt natural (view spoiler)[and epic, if you consider her and Elliot's milkshake showdown with Megan and Ollie (hide spoiler)] I especially loved her brother Tom's support through everything, and her family helping her through the panic attacks. Mostly, I'm referring to (view spoiler)[how quickly Penny forgives Noah for lying to her. She goes from being sad on the beach, to being angry, to being over everything, all in the space of maybe 10 minutes. For a girl who was so brokenhearted that even I was crying my eyes out for her, that seemed like such a short transition to happy ending. I'm not saying Noah didn't deserve forgiveness, but it seemed like the memories of how good they were together in NY trumped everything else in the end. I just can't imagine that Penny could really and truly be fine enough that she's ready to joke around and make out. But maybe that's teenage hormones? I feel like a more natural reaction would have been not just talking about what happened, but explaining how the things that happened as a result of the big lie effected each of them, and acknowledging that there are issues they will have to work through in their relationship if they were going to make it work. But maybe that was just understood, and didn't need to be said. (hide spoiler)]
Romance aside, this book is definitely relevant to the issues teenagers are facing these days, and hopefully it will be comforting and helpful to my niece and everyone else who reads it. I can't wait to hear what she thinks about it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm more of a marvel/independent comic fan than a DC fan, but I loved the new batgirl redesign by Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, and Brenden Fletcher I cI'm more of a marvel/independent comic fan than a DC fan, but I loved the new batgirl redesign by Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, and Brenden Fletcher I couldn't help but see all over tumblr, so I decided to pick an issue up and check it out, to see if I'd want to read more.
First of all, the art by Babs Tarr, with colors by Maris Wicks (who drew me an awesome Hawkeye-as-a-giraffe at this past year's ECCC), is fantastic. It's playful and engaging, with great pacing and style. I'm not surprised, as I've loved everything I've seem from Babs on tumblr, but it's stop great to see in action.
The storyline in this particular issue was interesting, with Batgirl trying to fight off someone trying to take over her persona on social media and eventually real life. It was entertaining enough, but eventually I'll need to read more Batgirl if I'm really going to get investing in her story. I just don't know enough about her character to love her yet, and this issue didn't tell me much, other than she dislikes the spotlight on her persona rather than her actions, and she doesn't like people ruining her reputation as an upright citizen vigilante. Also, she wouldn't say no to hanging out with cute cops names Liam. But who would?
I'll definitely look into checking this one out once it's in trades. I don't think I could read this one in single issues, and not just because it cuts up the storyline too much. My main issue is all the full page ads. I know Marvel has ads, too, but for some reason, theirs seem to blend in with the issue a little better. The ads in this one stood out so glaringly, it interrupted the flow of reading. So yeah, trades for me for sure....more
Another fun adventure, though the parts of this one were hard to read, particularly the section where I thought maybe (view spoiler)[Butler might actuAnother fun adventure, though the parts of this one were hard to read, particularly the section where I thought maybe (view spoiler)[Butler might actually die this time. I'm relieved he doesn't, but still, that part of the story was brutal to read. Not only is Butler Artemis's best friend and body guard, but I am so quite fond of him at this point. I can't imagine the series continuing without him. (hide spoiler)] Luckily, we don't have to worry about that, though his role in Artemis' schemes will certainly be altered now.
It was also hard and strange to hear of someone outsmarting Artemis. Not checking the location before a meet is certainly uncharacteristic for him, and I have to wonder if his lax approach to this last job was due to his impending retirement. At least it lead to one good thing: another adventure with the fairy folk.
I love watching Artemis, Holly, and the rest have to work together, mostly because they do so fantastically. Mulch is hilarious as always, and I love that we got to see more of Juliet, both her personality and her fierce abilities. (view spoiler)[I'm happy to hear she is headed of to America to try her hand at wrestling, but like Artemis, I hope she comes back before long. Artemis needs at least one Butler by his side at all times. (hide spoiler)]
The biggest impact this book has on the series as a whole has to be the consequences of the mind wipe Root insists Artemis, Butler, and Juliet be give, completely erasing the fairy folk from their memories. It's mostly upsetting because over the past 2 years, Artemis and Holly have built a relationship of trust between one another, as much as she wants to deny it and claims he'll never change from being a criminal. I'll be sad to see that relationship go, even if it is just on Artemis' side. Holly has been a good influence on him over the years. Even if Artemis CAN restore their memories somehow, will it also restore the emotional development he went through? (view spoiler)[Because, of course, once his mind was wiped, he was back to focusing on taking on the family's role as chief schemer and moneymaker. He warned them that this might happen, and Root decided to risk it anyways. It will be interesting to see if Root regrets mind wiping them in the first place, when he sees what havoc an unrestrained and 2-years-older Artemis can wreck on their civilization. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A fascinating concept and a fantastic first issue. Not only is the art gorgeous, particularly the stunning covers, but we've got a great introductionA fascinating concept and a fantastic first issue. Not only is the art gorgeous, particularly the stunning covers, but we've got a great introduction to some of the characters, as well as an understanding of the basic concept of this world, thanks to a random skeptical reporter. Every century, gods (a certain set of gods? rotating cast?) are reincarnated into humans, to live a few years and provide the ultimate inspiration for humankind. Viewing and hearing them can be a transcendent experience. These gods have power, but they are far from perfect.
I am looking forward to reading the first trade of this series, which just came out and I am waiting for from the library. More thoughts on the series will come then. I finally went ahead and bought the first issue, though, because I love the split face cover on the second printing of this first issue and want to eventually get it signed and added to my framed comic wall. Isn't it just so cool? I love that the 2 faces echo the duality of the god and human dynamic.
I'm a big fan of Kelly Sue DeConnick, so I definitely wanted to pick up this first issue of her new book the day it came out. I'm still more of a fanI'm a big fan of Kelly Sue DeConnick, so I definitely wanted to pick up this first issue of her new book the day it came out. I'm still more of a fan of reading books in trade rather than single issues. The only thing I didn't like about this issue was that it was over too quickly. I wanted more! It could have used a little more in depth explanation about what exactly was going on, but at least we have a good taste of what's to come.
Already, we can tell this is a rich world with fascinating characters, and I just want to know more about Kamau Kogo, Penny Rolle, and the rest of the NCs. It's still unclear what exactly qualifies you as noncompliant. Is it being reported by someone like your murderous husband who wants to "trade you in for a newer model"? Is it being a murder yourself? Is it not looking like what people expect? I guess we'll see as the issues roll out.
On a personal note, I definitely have become more of a feminist over the years as I've gotten older. It's been a strange, sometimes uncomfortable struggle at times, but at this point in my life, I don't particularly care what people other than my family and friends think of me. And even with those people, there are some things that I still don't care what even those people think, mostly about superficial but expected-of-women things like shaving legs and wearing makeup and dressing up and being skinny. The beauty standards expected of women irks me to no end, because even if I don't personally feel pressured by them anymore, I can't make anyone else not feel that pressure themselves. I worry about my 9 nieces as they grow up, I worry about my sisters and friends as they stress about their weight and finding the perfect outfit, I worry about my family and friends potentially worrying about me NOT caring about those things. All I can do is try my best to be supportive and reiterate when things don't really matter. It seems so natural to me not to care that I often have to remind myself that most people don't feel the way I do. I feel like it will be a constant struggle as life goes on.
There are lot more feministy things I could say, but I'll save those for my review when the trade comes out. For now, I'll just leave you with this: great art, good beginning to a story, and an introduction to some interesting characters. If you're into single issue comics and fighting back against the patriarchy, definitely pick this one up today. Otherwise, add it to your list and check it out with me when the trade comes out....more
If you're curious about this second book in the Artemis Fowl series, I'll assume it's because you've already read the first. I loved this one more thaIf you're curious about this second book in the Artemis Fowl series, I'll assume it's because you've already read the first. I loved this one more than first because we got to see more of the fairy world and got to see Artemis and Holly work together and come to respect one another. Each of them couldn't have accomplished their goals without one another, and so they each owe one another quite a bit at this point.
This one was a really fun adventure, but the highlight has to be (view spoiler)[Artemis finally getting his dad back. Artemis seems so much like an adult most of the time, but when he talks about his dad, he can no longer suppress that kid in him who just desperately wants his parents back, and wants his life to get back to normal. Artemis is truly a genius, and that plan he came up with, to rescue his father by shooting him, was slightly crazy, but thankfully it worked. (hide spoiler)]
I can't wait to see what happens next book. It was funny when Artemis noted that he'll be hitting puberty soon and will probably feel differently about Holly then. Is it weird to ship an 80-yo fairy with a 13 yo human? I don't actually want to see anything romantic between them, because that would be strange and uncomfortable at this point, but I really enjoy seeing their growing friendship and fondness of one another.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I love the Humans of New York blog - Brandon Stanton has the amazing ability to marry beautiful portraits of people with interesting stories or randomI love the Humans of New York blog - Brandon Stanton has the amazing ability to marry beautiful portraits of people with interesting stories or random little facts about these people's lives.
This book is truly a treasure, both wonderfully designed and full of gorgeous photos that are at times married with words. I would have loved even more stories, as some photos only had locations ascribed to them, and one of my favorite aspects of Stanton's work is his ability to tease a story out of people. After reading the introduction, I realized that in the beginning, Stanton didn't even interview people as he does now, which like contributes to the many portraits without more significant stories attached to them. It was really fascinating to hear about his own journey and see the evolution his project went through to get to where it is today.
I honestly couldn't put this book down, and was brought to near tears several times. Not only would I recommend this book to both fans of the HONY blog and lovers of photography, I actually bought this book as a present for a few of my friends, because I knew they'd love it. I can think of no higher praise....more
I've been following Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York blog for a while now, and love both his portraits and the stories he eases out if people, aboI've been following Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York blog for a while now, and love both his portraits and the stories he eases out if people, about their lives, about their days, about their favorite memories and favorite things.
I picked this book up as a gift and figured I might as well read it before passing it along. The pictures are fantastic, as expected. Kids can be unpredictable and hard to photograph sometimes, but Stanton does a great job capturing each kid. The text is pretty basic, and clearly meant for kids, as a sort of inspirational, warm and fuzzy word hug. It's okay for what it is, but I wish it had a little more of the essence of his work with adults, something that tells us something about each kid pictured.
I'm not talking about names or anything identifying that might be dangerous. Stanton doesn't even identify the adults he photographs, let alone the kids. I'm talking about an anecdote, or maybe something each kid said, or their parent said about them: "Bugs are my favorite, I like them for breakfast." "I'm waiting for my brother, he likes to play with me after school." "Unicorns are made out of marshmallows." Kids can say some funny and poignant things, and it would have been fun to inject each page and each photo with even more personality.
Definitely still a book I'd recommend, mostly to a family with fairly little kids....more