April 26, 2016

The Reading Book Post, April 26th


Hello, everyone! Easter in Greece is celebrated this weekend, and so I'm in festive mood. Comicdom Con was once again a fantastic experience and you can see a photo of my cosplay on my instagram. Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Jonathan Tel received the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for his short story, called The Human Phonograph. He is the first British recipient of the award.


  • David Lagercrantz is planning on writting the fifth novel in the Millenium series in a different style. More specidically, he has informed us that it will be written like a Raymond Chandler novel, or even the biography of Zlatan Ibrahimovic that he has ghostwritten.


  • An Ember in the Ashes is a novel that we all loved. And, it's getting a sequel, which will be called A Torch Against the Night. You can now read the first chapter of the long-awaited novel, which will be published on August 30, 2016.


  • The next book written by a celebrity that we are going to read is definitely the comedic essay collection that Anna Kendrick will be writing. As the actor has informed us the book will be called Scrappy Little Nobody


  • Good Omens, the collaboration of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, is getting a TV adaptation. Neil Gaiman himself, has finally agreed on doing it and the script is almost three quarters finished.


  • A few days ago, on April 21st, was the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth. Audible released a new audio version of her most popular novel, Jane Eyre, narrated by the actress Thandie Newton. You can listen a clip from the audiobook.

  • Another anniversary was a few days ago, on April 23rd: the one that marks the death of William Shakespeare. To celebrate the occasion, there is a new tube map where each stop has the name of one of the bard's characters.

  • Jungle Book is one of the most celebrated children's books. 10 artists have recreated their favourite scenes from the novel and the result is marvellous! 

  • What Book Series Is Your Life? Take the quiz to find out! I got The Hunger Games, what about you?


April 14, 2016

Review: Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Title: Paper Girls, Vol. 1

Author: Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrator: Cliff Chiang

Coloring: Matthew Wilson

Publisher: Image Comics

Date of Publication: April 5th, 2016

Number of Pages: 144

Find it at : Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collects Paper Girls #1-5.

Review

Well, if I want to be honest, the cover of Paper Girls impressed me so much that I simply had to read it. And when I learnt that it was written by Brian K. Vaughan my enthusiasm grew even more. Needless to say that I don't really need an excuse to pick up a comic book.

The dawn after the Halloween, four girls are out in the streets delivering the morning papers. But something strange is happening: alien monsters and humanoid creatures have invaded Earth and the girls are finding themselves going from one danger to the next. 

Honestly, I would never have guessed where the story was going from the comic's summary alone. Before I had started reading it I had the impression that it would be some sort of coming-of-age story. I wouldn't say that I was disappointed, just a little surprised.

Beside this fact, the pace of the comic book was amazing. On each page, there was something different that both moved the story forward and added elements to the suspense. There wasn't a clear indication which creatures were good and which bad, and so every time the girls met with a new one I was literally holding my breath. Of course, this was a little confusing at times, but I expect to find more in the second volume when it comes out.

The problem with Paper Girls was the characters. There wasn't enough character development and I felt that I needed to know more about each girl's past. Maybe we'll get some kind of backstory later on, but for the time being the information we had just wasn't enough. The only character that was instantly distinctive was Mackenzie because she was the tough one. I wonder what made her act like that. Also, I felt that the girls were too young, being just twelve years old. For me, it would be more fitting to the illustrations if they were fourteen or a bit older. 

My very first impression of Paper Girls was quickly confirmed: the are was INCREDIBLE! Both the illustrations and the coloring were so distinctive and memorable. I'm sure that this is an art style that I will remember no matter what. You just have to take a look at it to understand what I mean!

I also really loved that this comic was so 1980's! The clothes the girls were wearing, their hairstyles and everything shouted that we were in this particular decade and it was awesome. So much nostalgia!

Paper Girls was an amazing read! It had great action, many twists and I can't wait to read more. A must-read for the comic book lovers.

April 11, 2016

The Reading Book Post, April 11th


Hello, everyone! I'm so excited because next weekend I'll be attending Comicdom Con in Athens. If any of you will be there, come say hi. I will be the one dressed as Rin from Fate/Stay Night. Anyway, as usual, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was given to Meg Rosoff, for the body of her work. Among her novels are How I Live Now and Just In Case. Moreover, the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist for 2016 was revealed earlier today. 

  • A very rare Shakespeare folio was discovered in Scotland last week. This is the first published collection of the playwright's works and dates in 1623.

  • Kimberley McCreight's next novel, The Outliers, is coming on May 3. But until then you can watch the book trailer, see the cover and read an excerpt from the book!

  • A book that explains how all the portal worlds relate to each other? Yes, please! Here is the method of relating the one world to the other and a map created with some of the most known of those worlds, like Narnia, Oz and The Dreaming. 

  • What you have when you take the covers of children and young adult paperback editions of the 1980's and change the titles based on the images? Of course, hilarity! Take a look at this Twitter account! 

  • Which Childhood Classic Book Best Describes You? Take the quiz to find out! I got The Secret Garden. How cute! what did you get?

April 10, 2016

Review: When Time Comes, by Cat Nicolaou

Title: When Time Comes

Author: Cat Nicolaou

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Date of Publication: March 8th, 2015

Number of Pages: 114

Find it at: Book Depository

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!


Summary

Athena can't avert her eyes. Alex Dane is back in Greece. Her mind wanders in time, six years ago, to the island of Rhodes. Three lustful days with him and a precious gift he left her with. All she needs is a leap of faith, but will he fly? Dare they dream again When Time Comes?

Review

We all have celebrity crushes. They might be actors, singer, athletes, or even authors. Athena, our protagonist, was lucky enough to experience a weekend romance with her favourite singer, Alex Dane. Naturally, after this weekend they had to part ways, never to see each other again. But fate had other plans for Athena. She would never forget Alex, not after the gift he gave her. Six years later, there was still hope for our young protagonist, as Alex would visit Greece again for a concert and he also planned to retire from constant touring. 

When Time Comes was a very cute novella. The plot had something of every fangirl's dream, the ending even more so. There is no surprise whatsoever as to what would happen at the end, but this fact didn't take away any of the enjoyment. On the contrary, it felt cozy and sweet. 

My problem with this book laid with the characters. There was very little to none character development, as well as backstory. At the end of the novella, I couldn't really that I knew neither Athena nor Alex. I could relate with Athena at the very beginning when she was desperately searching for a job. I know how it feels and it certainly felt very familiar to me. Another thing that I didn't really like was the fact that Alex offered his apartment to Athena for the weekend, even though he had just met her. It just felt too unreal. It was something that needed to exist to help the plot go forward and nothing more.

But I really loved that the story of When Time Comes took place in Greece and more specifically in Rhodes. I had been there some years ago and it was such a beautiful island and the town of Rhodes was so romantic, that it totally fit the mood of the story. Imagining Athena and Alex there was just perfect!

All in all, When Time Comes was a very enjoyable read. Sure, it had some problems, but if you're looking for something ideal for a cozy night in, then this is the book for you! 

April 9, 2016

Review: Turbulence: Career, Drugs, Sex; Intertwined, by Edward MacMillan


Title: Turbulence: Career, Drugs, Sex; Intertwined

Author: Edward MacMillan

Publisher: Self-published

Date of Publication: 2015

Number of Pages: 218

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!

Summary

Hotel executive Kevin Logan was the unsuspecting victim of a Mexican cartel's plot to test a diabolical distribution program using the airline baggage system to smuggle hard drugs into the United States. Discovering this plan by accidentally intercepting his forwarded baggage originally intended for a flight to Asia, Kevin chose to forego law enforcement notification and store the drugs while he continued his travel assignment that was deadline oriented and fraught with consequences to his company and his career. That decision set off a global drug chase halfway around the world threatening him and others, including a romantic interest that became entangled in the chase.

The tale, set in the nineteen seventies, before personal computers, cell phones, the internet and Homeland Security, provided minimum communication tools, but especially, an ability to cope using his experience and wits. Saddled with a stash of drugs worth near a street value of a million dollars, and a criminal enterprise desperate to silence their distribution plans, only that combination of experience and wits, aided by the love of a beautiful woman, could give him any chance of survival.

Review

It's been a while since I read a thriller, a story that would keep me at the edge of my seat and fill me with adrenaline. Well, none of this happened while reading Turbulence.

First of all, the plot started off quite interestingly. Kevin Logan was a hotel executive, who discovered in his luggage some carefully packaged drugs along with a tracking device. Because he had some urgent business matters, he hid the drugs and left the device in the house of a random flight attendant that he had just met and spent the night with. Then, until after the half of the book,  we followed him as he handled his business problems, which totally destroyed any suspense that has been created. Somehow, the storyline returned to the drugs, along with the action. The flight attendant, Alison, also returned to the plot because she had to bring the device to Kevin, and he decided out of nowhere that she was the love of his life. After this, the ending was anticlimactic and to be honest, I didn't really care much about the fate of Kevin and Alison.

The main problem with Turbulence was that the drugs were always in the background during the whole book. They were like a shadow in Kevin's life, that never posed to him a real danger. Instead on focusing on the action, we learnt what an amazing businessman Kevin was, how good looking he was, what an amazingly good lover he was, how many women he got, what luxuries he had, his workout routine, how he stayed in suites while traveling to the hotels he managed, how he traveled only first class, and the custom tuxes he had made. Seriously, I was fed up reading about how good looking, rich, smart, and generally awesome he was!

Furthermore, the romance in the novel came unnaturally and was forced. We never learnt anything about Alison to make us care about her. Kevin only spent a few hours with her, just like a one-night stand. After a couple of weeks that he contacted her, not only she was waiting for him, but he realised that she was the love of his life! How can she act like he is the best things that ever happened to her, only by spending some hours with him? And when they indeed met again, what did they do? Of course, they went on a date and had sex again and again. Meanwhile, the cartel was sending them warnings, but who cared about this little danger?

The story was set in the 1970's. This didn't really affect the story, except for the means of communication. Rather than using e-mail and mobile phones, Kevin used telephones, beepers, and fax. I only spotted a small anachronism: Kevin listened to some music on his CD player, a device that was first released in 1982. But this is just a minor thing.

I won't hide that Turbulence was a disappointment to me. Not only the action was minimum, the story didn't even focus on what it was supposed to be about. If you take the drugs out of the title, then you would have a better description of the novel. The flight had many turbulences.     

April 5, 2016

Infographic: Most Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century

Hello, everybody! 

Here is an infographic concerning the most frequently challenged books of the 21st century. The banning of books is something that I'm very sensitive about, and the facts of this infographic are revealing. Have you read any of the books in this list?  

From now on, I will try to bring you a new infographic each week.

April 4, 2016

The Reading Book Post, April 4th


Hello, everybody! These past days, it has finally started to  feel like spring and I couldn't be happier. It's the season to take a book and read in the park! Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • The Ted Hughes Poetry Award 2015 was given to David Morley for his poetry collection The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems. Moreover, the 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award winners, honor list, and long list were announced. The two winners of the award are Eugene Fischer, for The New Mother, and Pat Schmatz, for Lizard Radio.

  • Kurt Sutter along with BOOM! Studios will launch a new comic book series, called Lucas Stand. The comic will be written by Sutter and Caitlin Kittredge and the art will be created by Jesús Hervás. The first issue is due in June, but you can see the cover right now!

  • Any Outlander fans here? This Friday, April 8th, an Outlander prequel will be released. The novella will be called Virgins, will be standalone and it will follow Jamie Fraser as a young man.

  • Last year, we fell completely in love with the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This fall, prepare for the release of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! I can't wait!

  • According to a recent study, the grammar errors and typos affect the reader's perception of the writer differently depending on their personality traits. It's interesting that the level of education didn't affect the readers. Instead traits like introversion and lack of openness were very important.

  • Which Strong Female Character Are You? Take the quiz to find out! I got Katniss Everdeen, how about you?

April 3, 2016

Review: At the End of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier



Title: At the End of the Orchard

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Publisher: Viking

Date of Publication: March 15th, 2016

Number of Pages: 289

Find it at: Book Depository


Summary

1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.

1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Review

When it comes to historical fiction, Tracy Chevalier is definitely one of the authors that I particularly like. After reading novels such as The Girl With the Pearl Earring and The Virgin Blue, I anticipated eagerly her latest book, At the End of the Orchard. Indeed, this was the novel that I expected the most in March.

At the End of the Orchard told the story of James and Sadie Goodenough, as well as the story of one of their children, Robert. The Goodenough family was trying to survive the difficult conditions of the Black Swamp, where they had established themselves. One of the most important elements for their survival were the apple trees that they tried to grow, which were the pride of James. But there was a huge difference in opinion between the couple: James wanted to grow apples that were meant for eating while Sadie preferred the trees that grew apples for the production of cider and applejack. The other part of the novel followed Robert as he traveled through America, chased the gold fever and ultimately finding what he wanted from his life.

When we got to know the Goodenoughs, the relationship between James and Sadie was declining. I couldn't stop thinking that I was becoming the witness of a failing marriage, where both of them were completely unhappy. Their argument seemed to be only about the trees, but its roots laid deeper than that, in the Black Swamp itself. Sadie was the worst possible mother I've ever encountered in literature. She was headstrong and hot-blooded, saying things only to hurt James, acting without thinking and wondering about consequences. What she did in the camp, was unforgivable to me. But James was a likable enough character, although I'd like to see the tenderness he showed to his apple trees extend to his own children, as well. He knew that Sadie was miserable, but he didn't do a thing. I'm not quite sure though what he could actually say and not backfire. The characters of both of them depict on Robert's personality later on. Whenever he thought about his father, he was always connected to the trees, and especially those Golden Pippins he loved. But he couldn't even stand thinking about his mother, I can't blame him since the last words he had heard from her before leaving his home hurt him deeply and made him doubt his existence. Despite the trauma that he carried, Robert somehow managed to find himself and grow into a goodenough man.

At the End of the Orchard also had a great variety of secondary characters. First of all, the Goodenough children, from which Martha is the most important since she was closer to Robert. Despite her appearance, she was a strong woman. Another character that I really liked was Molly, the somewhat romantic interest of Robert. His relationship with her made him grow up, take responsibilities and think about the future. But Robert's new life wouldn't even exist without his employer, William Lobb, who offered him a job that he really loved.

With this novel, I was instantly transferred into the US of the Gold Rush era. The research that the author made showed into every detail of the life back then, as well as the descriptions of the sceneries that the characters moved. Moreover, the descriptions of all those apple trees and the grand sequoias were magnificent. It's no wonder that every time I was reading this book I wanted to eat an apple! I mean, how can anyone resist, while reading about apples that taste like lemon, and honey, and have an aftertaste of pineapple?

At the End of the Orchard is a great historical novel. The characters and the relationships between them are the central points of the book and the result is touching and heartwarming. It is definitely one of the most highly recommended books of the year!

April 2, 2016

Weeckies: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (International Children's Book Day)


Hello, everyone! Today, 2nd of April is the International Children's Book Day and in order to celebrate it I've chosen one of the most beloved children's book! It's none other than Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, which was published on 1963.


Max, a young boy, was dressed in a wolf costume. But he was naughty, so his mom sent him to his room without supper. Soon enough his room began to change and he reached the land where the wild things are. He played and played with the beasts until they were all tired and went to sleep. But then Max felt lonely and sad and wished the he was somewhere with the one that loved him the most.                                                                                                                                                         Max is a naughty boy, but he also has a vivid imagination. He manages to become the king of the wild things, even though they are scary and have terrible claws. In the end of his journey, he learns something important. He wants to be near the ones that love him, his family. There is even hot supper waiting for him in his room.

The illustrations of Where the Wild Things Are are beautiful! I might even say that they outshine the story, which is quite simple. It is safe to assume that Max was dreaming the whole time, but a child would definitely appreciate the journey into this faraway land. If you are looking for a gift for a little reader, then you shouldn't look any further!


Do you like Where the Wild Things Are? Which is your favourite children's book?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...