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January 23, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Published June 7th 2011 by First Second
Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.
I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately. This time I read Anya's Ghost and enjoyed it. I didn't know really what I was going to find, only a ghost. But I found Anya to be a rich character, embarrassed by her heritage, not happy about her body and trying to fit. So when she find a ghost, and after being scared of her, it seems like she found a friend.

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

The story about the ghost surprised me a little. It wasn't really scary, but that's ok to me. I don't really like to read terror. But I did like the twist it had, and how it ended. Also, I liked that Anya was a realistic character and in some ways I could relate to her, it isn't easy to have a different culture and try to fit in to avoid bullying, but at the same time not forgetting who you are and what's right and wrong. The art helped with the reading too, it was beautiful and it showed well the character's feelings.

Overall, Anya's Ghost was an enjoyable read and I think it's a good novel if you want to start reading graphic novels.

More about this book at GoodreadsAmazon, The Book Depository.

January 21, 2016

Book Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Graceling Realm #3
Published May 1st 2012 by Dial
Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.

But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck's death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck's reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and it's only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle - curious, disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.

Whatever that past holds.

Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . .
I don't know why it took me so many years to read Bitterblue. I loved Graceling and Fire, the previous books from the series, and I was impatiently waiting for this book to be published. But then it got lost on my long to-be-read list and it wasn't until the first days of January that I cleaned all my shelves and realized I still needed to read it.

This book was different from the previous books. Maybe it's because I was younger when I read Graceling and Fire, but Bitterblue took me a while to get caught in the story. I liked Bitterblue, the character. She is eighteen and curious about her kingdom, but doesn't know anything about how to be a queen. All she does is sign papers, but when she starts sneaking at nights out of the castle she realizes she doesn't know anything about her own city and people. She wasn't physically strong and brave as other female characters from this series, but I liked her curiosity and her mental strength to keep looking for the truth, even when it was painful. Sometimes she acted too foolish and dependent from others, but after all she is still too young and doesn't have parents to feel protected and supported.

I liked to read about characters from the other books, as Katsa and Po, and also meeting new characters. Bitterblue makes new friends at her city that will help her understand more about her kingdom and the things she doesn't know, but there weren't 'wow, amazing' to me. Also she has a love interest, which wasn't my favorite because he was too spoiled and treated her wrong sometimes, but I liked his change in the end and their story ended pretty realistic considering she is a Queen.

Bitterblue wasn't my favorite book from the Graceling Realm series, probably because I was expecting something else, but I still enjoyed reading it. Kristin Cashore knows how to write a good story and excellent characters. I was curious about all the mysteries surrounding Leck, the evil king and Bitterblue's father, and I loved the new discovery made at the end of the book. I don't think there are going to be more books from this series but I'll happily read another book with new adventures.

More about this book at GoodreadsAmazonThe Book Depository.

January 17, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published May 12th 2015 by Harper Collins
The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
I've reading lots of comics and graphic novels lately and goodreads recommended me Nimoma. I don't know how I somehow missed this one last year, but I'm glad I read it and enjoyed it so much!

Nimona is a fun shapeshifter who wants to be a villain. So she goes to Ballister Blackheart, the super villain of the town, to be his sidekick. Ballister might not be a hero, but he isn't your typical villain. But together they are almost invincible and they will prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, the hero of the town and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't as good as everyone thinks they are.

I loved Nimona since the beginning, she was fun and childish, but a little bit evil. She wasn't a stereotype (you wont find those in this novel) and was the perfect companion for Ballister Blackheart, a serious and evil-but-not-so-evil man.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This story started very light, just fun interactions. But then it got deeper, exploring the characters pasts and their motives to be evil. It was a surprise to find such rich characters in what I thought was going to be only a fun novel, but it caught my attention and I could't stop reading. How could I? There were dragons, magic vs science, fights, cats, friendship and even a gay relationship.

Overall, if you want a fun but deep and heartwarming story, I strongly recommend you to read Nimona. It was amazing!

More about this book at GoodreadsAmazon, The Book Depository.

January 14, 2016

Comics Review: The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
What if you can leap tall buildings and defeat alien monsters with your bare hands, but you buy your capes at secondhand stores and have a weakness for kittens? Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks brings charming humor to the trials and tribulations of a young, female superhero, battling monsters both supernatural and mundane in an all-too-ordinary world.
I loved The Adventures of Superhero Girl! It was such a fun book, I read it in just one sitting. The illustrations were cute and it went along perfectly with Superhero Girl. Superhero Girl was a funny character, she is in her early 20's and have some super powers, but is a little bit insecure and it doesn't help that in Canada there isn't a lot of crime....and that everyone loves her perfect superhero brother. This book makes fun of superheroes and super villains, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Superhero Girl faces ninjas with crowns, a marshmallow villains, an skeptical guy who doesn't believe she's a superhero and forgetting to wear sunscreen and end-up with mask-shaped tan lines in.

The Adventures of Superhero Girl is totally recommended if you want something light and fun to read.

More about this book at GoodreadsAmazon.

January 11, 2016

Comics Review: ALIAS Vol. 1 - 4

Alias Vol. 1 / Vol. 2 / Vol. 3 / Vol. 4
Published May 1st 2003 by Marvel Comics Group
Once upon a time Jessica Jone was a costumed superhero. But not a very good one. Now a chain-smoking, self destructive alcoholic who is the owner and sole employee of a private investigations firm specialising in superhuman cases. When she exposes one hero's identity her life becomes expendable.
After watching the Marvel's Jessica Jones netflix series, I wanted to know more about her. So I decided to read the comics and I wasn't disappointed. The tv series is based on the comics, but not exactly the same.

These are comics for adults, very dark and realistic. Jessica Jones is a failed superhero that now works as a private detective. She is rude, alcoholic and lonely; and spends her days between investigating her cases,  fighting her way out and having casual encounters with Luke Cage and Ant Man. She is a different female character than the usual, she isn't interested in being a super hero anymore, but ironically still wants to save the day....her own way.

Personally I wanted to know more about Kilgrave, the tv series villain. It does show up on the last volume, but not as much as I wanted. But he still have the same effect on Jessica's life.

This is one of those times when I liked more the adaption than the original story. Obviosly I can't compare a four volume comics with a 13 episodes mini series, but I think Marvel and Nexflix knew how to expand this story. I still enjoyed a lot the comics ALIAS, specially the many superheroes that appeared in it and many details that the tv series forgot, so I really want to read the next Jessica Jones comics, PULSE.

More about this comics at GoodreadsAmazon.

January 9, 2016

Spotlight + Giveaway: A Cupcake Christmas by Beth Barany

A Cupcake Christmas: A Magical Tale of Romance and Adventure

Touchstone Series #5
by Beth Barany
What if you risked losing your baking legacy by cooking up a love truly special?
Florian MacMillian needs a final job to complete his baking resume—preferably a job where he’s unlikely to blow things up with his unruly magic—before returning to the North Pole and taking his rightful place as Master Baker to all the elves.
Kate Delore desperately needs help in her fast-growing cupcake business. Florian is a perfect fit, so she brings him on as baker. Florian is happily up to his elbows in batter, and Kate’s business is booming.
But when things heat up between them, Florian wonders if he should risk his legacy to cook up something truly special.

About the author Beth Barany

Beth BaranyAward-winning author, Beth Barany writes in two genres: young adult fantasy and contemporary fantasy romance.

Inspired by living abroad in France twice and Quebec once, she loves creating magical tales of romance and adventure to enchant readers into new worlds where magic conspires to bring more love into the world.

In her off hours, Beth enjoys walking, reading and watching movies, and traveling, with her husband, author and singer/song writer Ezra Barany.

Beth Barany lives in Oakland, California with her husband, a cat named Leo, and over 1,000 books.

When not writing or playing, Beth runs her own company helping novelists as a book midwife and teacher to help them write, market, and publish their books. She holds authors’ hands while they push their book out into the world.

Website | Get a free first-in-series story here!

January 7, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

Published May 6th 2014 by First Second
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.
This One Summer is a coming-of-age graphic novel, it's the story of Rose, who always goes with her parents to Awago Beach, where they spend summer. It used to be a great place, where she could play with her friend Windy. But this summers everything changes when her parents fight and Rose, being only a adolescent, doesn't know how to deal with it.

First  I must say I loved the way it was illustrated. The monochromatic illustrations made it easier for me to feel like I was at Awago Beach. Also, the characters were so rich! It's not easy to find a novel with non-stereotypical and well developed characters, but in this novel not only we can get to deeply know Rose, but also the secondary characters. Each one had an opportunity to explain their feelings and in the end it made this story very realistic.

I wasn't sure what to expect of This One Summer, specially after reading things as 'redefine the teen graphic novel'. I'm not an expert, but I can see that this novel is special. It gets into you, you can see Rose suffering, being angry, curious...essentially growing up just in front of you, and in a way that makes you devour this novel in just one sitting.

More about this book at Goodreads, Amazon, The Book Depository.

January 5, 2016

Book Review: Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Published September 28th 2010 by Mira
This Christmas, Emily Merkle (call her Mrs. Miracle!) is working in the toy department at Finley's, the last family-owned department store in New York City. And her boss is none other than Jake Finley, the owner's son.

For Jake, holiday memories of brightly wrapped gifts, decorated trees and family were destroyed in a Christmas Eve tragedy years before. Now Christmas means just one thing to him and to his father. Profit. Because they need a Christmas miracle to keep the business afloat.

Holly Larson needs a miracle, too. She wants to give her eight-year-old nephew, Gabe, the holiday he deserves. Holly's widowed brother is in the army and won't be home for Christmas, but at least she can get Gabe that toy robot from Finley's, the one gift he desperately wants. If she can figure out how to afford it.

Fortunately, it's Mrs. Miracle to the rescue. Next to making children happy, she likes nothing better than helping others and that includes doing a bit of matchmaking!

This Christmas will be different. For all of them.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle was everything I wanted it to be. A simple and heartwarming story around Christmas. You know I love Christmas books but this season I didn't have time to read any except this one, and I'm so glad I picked it!! It was so good, I stayed until midnight to finish it. It has good characters and a well written story, which isn't easy to find in holidays books. I should have known it was going to be good, after all it's Debbie Macomber. The romance was very cute but I'm glad there was more in the story that only romance, some of it was sad and a little bit nostalgic but the ending was a perfect HEA.

Overall, I loved Call Me Mrs. Miracle. Apparently there is a movie (?), it seems like the perfect book to make a movie about. It's the #8 book of the Angelic Intervention series, but you can read it as a stand alone, as I did. 

More about this book at GoodreadsAmazon, The Book Depository.

January 3, 2016

TV Series Review: Marvel's Jessica Jones

Marvel's Jessica Jones

Marvel and Nexflix released a weeks ago a new series about Jessica Jones, a private investigator/failed superhero. I didn’t know what to expect from it, but I started seeing so many tweets and articles saying it was amazing, that I decided we (my boyfriend and I) had to see it. Also, lots of people wanted to see David Tennant (Doctor Who) as a villain, well, it was disturbing.

Anyway, we both like everything about superheroes. Well, not everything, but must of it. We watched Daredevil together and really liked it, but you may have notice that it’s unusual to have a whole series dedicated to a female super heroine. I can only remember Supergirl at this time, which was also released a few weeks ago.

So I didn’t know anything about this Jessica Jones. My boyfriend’s exact words were: She is a failed class B superhero. Not a lot to start, but what we both found out was that Jessica Jones rules!!

I’m just going to say it: This series is amazing and you have to watch it.


First, because if you are looking for a real female kick ass character, Jessica is! Forget about the cute, I’m-not-sure-how-to-use-my-powers-but-I’m-strong, innocent girls. She is a woman, she has suffered a lot, and she is dealing with it (and Krysten Ritter was the perfect choice). She knows her strengths and limitations, but isn’t whining about it, at least not in front of other people. She lives in the worst apartment, she has a problem with alcohol, and she’s trying to make her own living. She is not heroic, but she is definitely a heroine deep down. Her heroine career didn’t work, but not exactly because she wasn’t good at it.

Jessica Jones and Kilgrave

But let’s talk about Kilgrave. You want an evil character that really scares you? Not the usual villain who wants to rule/destroy the world, but someone that if you ever meet him, your life wouldn’t be yours anymore.

That’s Kilgrave, or The Purple Man. His power is making you do whatever he wants, you only have to listen. At first it doesn’t sound too dangerous, he isn’t super strong, he can’t fly. He isn’t famous. But why would he want that? He can have anything, and anyone, just by talking. Combined with an evil mind, it makes him one of the worst villains. There is no escaping from him, as Jessica Jones knows.

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage

There are a couple of other characters that helps this story to develop. Everyone has their own history and in the end, all of them will be affected by Killgrave. My favorites were Trish Walker, Jessica’s best friend, and Luke Cage, for obvious reasons. But I must say I really liked the cold-hearted lawyer Jeri Hogarth.

This series is dark. Darker than Daredevil. We aren’t talking about a few killings and blood (there are lots of it, btw), but psychologically dark. There is physical and psychological rape, murder, sex, drugs and alcohol. But it makes it more realistic, it could happen in the real world if superheroes existed. Not everyone is a hero, not everyone wants to rule the world, I think most people would act as Kilgrave, selfishly.

So if you are looking for a series that won’t let you stop until the last chapter, Jessica Jones is the one.

January 1, 2016

Hello 2016!

Happy New Year! Did you celebrate a lot? My family and I celebrated at home, having a delicious dinner, calling family from other countries, playing monopoly and waiting until midnight to watch the fireworks. We have some traditions to receive the new year as writing goals, eating 12 grapes, eating rice and lentils for abundance, and receiving the new year with money on your pockets and passports and luggage to travel. I really enjoy these traditions, I think they make the day more fun. Do you have any traditions to celebrate the new year?

One of my goals is to read!. My goal (as last year) is to read 50 books. I feel confortable with that number, it's still a challenge because I have to make time to read, but I don't want more stress it my life. Reading is my hobby!

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Gaby has
read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.

What's your reading goal for 2015? Do you have any other goals?