Friday, April 28, 2017

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Blazer + Bray in exchange for an honest review*

Of Fire and StarsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Of Fire and Stars

Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Recent Release Date: November 22, 2016

Synopsis: Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other. 



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Review: I want more books like this! Queer YA Fantasy! Of Fire and Stars checks so many of my boxes. There's a queer romance element. It's YA. There's political intrigue. It's a fantasy with amazing worldbuilding and elemental powers!


All of the characters have depth and their relationships develop naturally throughout the book. The characters complement eachother nicely. The world is also so intriguing. We stay mostly in a castle and the surrounding city, but the world beyond is delved into thoroughly

I liked seeing Mare's passion for horses. I'm not that familiar with horses, but I could connect to her passion. 

I give this awesome book a 5/5. I HIGHLY recommend it to readers looking for a Queer YA Fantasy! I want more books like this! NOW!


--PAUL

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 2 - Paul's REVIEW

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 2
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 2
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Illustrators: Hendry Prasetya & Thony Silas
Recent Release Date: March 14, 2017

My REVIEW of VOLUME ONE

Synopsis: The Power Rangers face their most powerful threat yet.

As Rita enacts her plans for world domination, the Rangers are left powerless and without Zordon to call on. This is the greatest threat they have ever faced and the world hangs in the balance. Enter the age of the Black Dragon from writer Kyle Higgins (Nightwing, Batman Beyond 2.0) and artist Hendry Prasetya (Power Girl).

Continue the adventure with the untold origin of the Green Ranger illustrated by guest artist Thony Silas (Batman Beyond 2.0), and the ongoing hijinks of Bulk and Skull from writer Steve Orlando (Supergirl) and artist Corin Howell (Bat-Mite). 



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Review: I am LOVING these BOOMI! comics! These comics hit all my nostalgia buttons, plus they add more depth to the very shallow original material. At the beginning of this volume, Rita makes a proposition to Zack, deepening his character. Goldar's captivity also adds to his character. This series just keeps adding awesomeness to the show of my childhood. 


I give this second volume a 5/5. That last panel!!! I can't wait for Volume Three! I highly recommend this series to comic book readers who loved Power Rangers in their youth.


--PAUL

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Vol.1: Black Squadron (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Poe Dameron, Vol. 1: Black SquadronAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: Star Wars: 
Poe Dameron, Vol.1: Black Squadron
Author: Charles Soule
Illustrator: Phil Noto
Recent Release Date: December 13, 2016

Synopsis: Poe Dameron, former Republic flyer turned Resistance fighter, is the best pilot in the galaxy. Hand-picked for the resistance by General Leia Organa to lead a squadron on a top secret and vital mission...Poe sets off investigating sites of historical importance to the Force. Revealing backstory leading directly into the holidays' greatest adventure, follow Poe and his X-Wing squadron on covert missions against the First Order brought to you by writer Charles Soule (Star Wars: Lando, Daredevil) and artist Phil Noto (Star Wars: Chewbacca, Black Widow)!

COLLECTING: POE DAMERON 1-6



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Review: I was really looking forward to this comic. It's the first look into the prequel-era in comic book form. Poe Dameron and the Black Squadron are all about action! I loved seeing the other Black Squadron members from the film like Snap Wexley and Jess Pava. 


The actual story and missions in this volume aren't that interesting, but the characters are great. Poe and BB-8 are quite the team. Agent Terex is also a cool antagonist. I am definitely looking forward to the second volume. I keep my eyes peeled for any hints that POe may have an interest for a certain former stormtrooper in the future. No clues yet.

I give this first volume of Poe Dameron a 4/5. It's a fun comic for fans of the Resistance pilot.   

--PAUL

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saban's Power Rangers: Aftershock (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

Saban's Power Rangers: Aftershock
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Title: Saban's Power Rangers: Aftershock

Writer: Ryan Parrott
Illustrators: Lucas Werneck & Robert Carey
Recent Release Date: March 28, 2017


Synopsis: Five teenagers, brought together under extraordinary circumstances, are entrusted to defend Earth against alien threats as...the Power Rangers. 

Based on the world wide phenomenon, the Rangers have returned to the big screen like never before and this authorized original graphic novel serves as a direct follow up to the blockbuster film.



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Review: This comic shows the aftermath of the events shown in the new Power Rangers movie. The Rangers are helping with the lingering effects of Rita's Goldar monster. Angel Grove is dealing with the massive demolition of the city. 


A frown came to my face when I saw the zords on their own. I was hoping the Megazord would be stuck together for any potential future films. There isn't much added in this comic than what was in the movie. I'm sure it was being written while the movie was still going through the editing process because some of the characters didn't quite feel the same as their movie counterparts. There's also an odd emphasis on romantic and gender jokes. 

If you liked the movie, this comic will bring you back into the universe of the newest Power Rangers, but it's not as good as the other BOOM! comics. The ongoing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series is a must read! This comic is also pretty short. The first volume of the ongoing series is included in the back as a preview and takes up about a third of the book. I give Aftershock a 3.5/5


--PAUL

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

BLOG TOUR: The Princess & The Page by Christina Farley - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!


Welcome to a world where magic spills from the tip of a pen. THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE is Christina Farley's first middle grade, releasing from Scholastic Press. Make sure you enter the $25 gift card giveaway at the end of this post!

ABOUT THE BOOK









START READING

BAM!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida with her husband and two sons where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that's in disguise as a cockatiel. You can visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com.




MY REVIEW

I love a good fairy tale as much as the next princess and I was so excited to hear that Christina was writing one about a princess and a magical pen! It sounded like exactly the type of book my younger self would have loved, and I have been anxious to read it! A princess, an evil step-sister, a dragon, a magical castle (based on a real castle!), and a whole slew of other fairy tale characters? Definitely count me in!

From the very beginning, I felt like Keira was living in her own twisted version of a fairy tale. Her mother doesn't allow any pens in the house - only pencils - and she is not allowed to read or write any fiction. It's kind of crazy, and I can't really blame her for having a secret stash of writing supplies. There's a secret, magical pen though, and I actually kind of enjoyed how the explanation was spread throughout the book. It made for a great mystery and as the story progressed, made it easier to understand Keira's mom's crazy rules. 

Most of the characters are very likeable - at least the ones who aren't villains! I really enjoyed watching Keira's friendship with Chet develop and grow. They make a great team and it was fun to see them sleuthing together. It was also nice that there was no hints of romance or anything underneath their friendship. It seems like every fairy tale princess ends up with a prince at the end, but anything more than friendship would have felt forced, I think. Bella, on the other hand, kind of annoyed me, but I can definitely understand why she and Keira are such good friends. They seem to balance each other out and have each other's backs even when they disagree. I'd love to see more of Keira, Bella, and Chet! 

I think my favorite part of The Princess & The Page was the mystery surrounding the pen and the fairy tale. From the blue light emanating from the pen, to the WW symbol on the case and everywhere in Keira's story, to the ghosts in the castle and the people who are in both the story and real life, there was never a dull moment. Even when Keira is  going about her planned activities for the day, there's always something strange afoot and a mystery to be solved. If she doesn't continue writing stories, I think she'd make a great detective. 

Overall, this was a really fun story that kept me hooked and left me wanting more. I could definitely see this book being a standalone - the story wraps up nicely at the end and doesn't leave too many loose ends. I still have plenty of questions that I hope might be answered in a sequel - or a prequel about Keira's grandmother! - but at least there isn't a cliffhanger or anything that would make for a very agonizing wait. I would definitely recommend this to a younger crowd of readers, especially anyone who loves princesses, castles, magic, and even a good villain or two. It would be a really great book for a parent or older sibling or even babysitter to read with a younger child. I can't wait to see what Christina has up her sleeves next! A strong 4/5 from me.


CONTINUE THE BOOK TOUR

Mar. 23th - Ana Loves Books
Mar. 24th - YA Book Madness
March 25thLiterary Rambles
March 27thTwinning for Books
March 28thMundie Kids
Mar. 29th - All Things Christine
Mar. 30th - YA Book Divas
Mar. 31st - Word Spelunking
Apr. 3rd- Mine of Books
Apr. 4th The AP Book Club
Apr. 5thMiddle Grade Ninja



ENTER TO WIN

One (1) lucky winner will receive:

$25 gift card to their favorite book vendor. Giveaway open internationally. Enter below or HERE.



Monday, March 6, 2017

Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1
Author: Keith Giffin
Illustrators: Howard Porter
Upcoming Release Date: February 7, 2017

Synopsis: Fred. Daphne. Velma. Shaggy. Scooby-Doo. Roaming the globe in their lime-green Mystery Machine, they've solved countless crimes and debunked dozens of sketchy supernatural shenanigans. 
But what if the horror was real? 
Something terrible has transformed our world, turning millions of people into mindless zombie hordes. And only five people well, four people and one mangy mutt have the smarts, the skills and the sheer crazy courage to stare down doomsday. 
Can these pesky kids and their canine companion using every incredible contraption in their arsenal defeat the evil that has overwhelmed planet Earth? We ve got only one thing to say about that: ZOINKS! 
From comics mastermind Jim Lee and the superstar creative team of Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001), J.M. DeMatteis (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) and Howard Porter (JLA) comes SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, a whole new spin on the most beloved paranormal investigators in history. Get ready to give Scooby Snacks a whole new meaning! SCOOBY APOCALYPSE VOLUME 1 collects issues #1-6.



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Review: This is a completely new take on the classic Scooby-Doo characters. In this telling, the gang has yet to meet and live in a world that is on the brink of an Apocalypse full of rampaging monsters. Daphne is a journalist with Fred as her lackey cameraman. Velma is a member of a secret lab. Shaggy and Scooby are connected to the lab, but are still that comic duo everyone loves. 


I really like how these classic characters were re-imagined. Aspects of them are modernized. Shaggy's hipster look alone is very now. 

The concept is cool, but the execution isn't quite there. The story is slow and the exposition is prevalent. The art style is excellent and the designs of the characters and the monsters are really cool. The allude to classic monsters from the original series. The references to cliches from the show are done well. There's always a twist to them. 

I give this graphic novel a 3.5/5. Although I did enjoy it, I never was truly pulled into the world. The storytelling is slow and there were many dragging parts. I recommend this to Scooby-Doo fanatics, but if you're unfamiliar with the classic characters there isn't much for you in this comic.  

--PAUL

Friday, January 13, 2017

Paul's TOP TEN Books Read in 2016

2016 was a year of uneven reading for me. I read a total of 47 books, but a big chunk of those were graphic novels. And when I did read, I did it in bursts. This was another great year for YA Fantasy books with the start of a few very promising series. 2016 was also a great year for representation and diversity in YA. 2017 is only going to improve. It's time to share my favorite reads of the year. Below you will find the TOP TEN books that I read in 2016. Click on the titles or cover pictures for links to my reviews!



 MY TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2016


Ahsoka

False Hearts (False Hearts, #1)

Bloodline


Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)

Otherbound


Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)


Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)



What were your favorite books of 2016? What books are you looking forward to in 2017?


--PAUL