Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Graphic Novels Read in 2016


Hey, guys!

      I have read 14 graphic novels in the past year and I really really liked them overall. I can't wait to read more graphic novels in 2017, but until then, here are the books that I read in 2016!


~~~



Scott Pilgrim Volumes 1-6 by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Page Count: 192
Published on: May 1st 2011
Published by: Oni Press
Genre(s): YA, Graphic Novel, Manga, Humor, Romance, Fantasy, Comics
Source: Borrowed from Blaine
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon  
My Ratings: 4.5 stars (all)
When Finished: February 19, 2016




      I really enjoyed this series. I'm so glad that my friend Blaine lent me his copies. I really liked the art style and the plot line. The characters were really funny, and I really enjoyed them as fictional people. At first I was kind of confused about whether or not there were magical or science fiction-ish concepts, but as I kept on reading, I just rolled with it. In the first couple volumes, I found the endings to be a bit rushed, but I just went with it.


18630542
Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley & Nathan Fairbairn


Page Count: 323
Published on: July 15, 2014
Published by: Ballantine Books
Genre(s): YA, Graphic Novel, Manga, Humor, Romance, Fantasy, Comics
Source: Borrowed from Ethan
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon  
My Ratings: 4 stars 
When Finished: May 24, 2016

My friend Ethan lent me his copy of Seconds during the last week of my senior year, and I managed to finish it in two class periods. I wasn't expecting to read much at all that day, but I didn't have much to do during the first couple of periods because I was either done with a project or we did our final a week early to get other stuff done. I liked this graphic novel quite a bit, but it definitely wasn't as good as the Scott Pilgrim novels. I loved the art and I loved the basic plot, but I wasn't as interested in Seconds as I was with the SP books. I don't think anything can measure up to the awesomeness of Scott Pilgrim...




16071864157981661726271417450811


Page Count: 193; 189, 208; 192
Published on: March 1, 2010; July 1, 2010; December 4, 2012; March 26, 2013
Published by: Kodansha Comics
Genre(s): Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopia, Manga
Source: Borrowed from Reagan

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon  
My Ratings: 4.5 (all) 
When Finished: July 12, 2016

During the Summer Cram-A-Thon, I read the first 7 volumes in the Attack on Titan manga series by Hajime Isayama. I had watched the first season of the anime show earlier in the year, and it has become one of my favorite anime and manga series. The art, I admit, is much better in the anime, but I do like how the art is progressing through these volumes. The story is really nicely done, and there's more information on the characters than in the anime.


~~~

      Overall, I read some really great graphic novels this past year, but they weren't my absolute favorites that I've read, but I still really enjoyed them. I really enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim books and I really enjoyed Bryan Lee O'Malley's art style. I also really enjoyed reading the original story that Attack on Titan originated from. I've been a huge fan of AoT for a while, but it was really cool to see what was included in the anime and what wasn't. The whole writing style was so gorgeous, and I can't wait to read more of the volumes in the series. 


(Sorry for the weird spacing in this post. I couldn't fix it.)

Here's to another year of graphic novels!!!

Happy reading all!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

{Review & Discussion} Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

30117284

Page Count: 468 Published on: January 17th 2017 
Published by: HarperCollins Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA Source: Print: Hardback Age Rating: YA
Trigger Warning for self harm, racism, and able-ism (READ DISCUSSION BELOW AT YOUR DISCRETION)
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}
Twitter: @VeronicaRoth
My Rating: 4 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?
Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.



~~~
Hey, guys!


I would like to start this review by stating that there are some who consider this book to be very controversial and problematic, and there are also those who do not see it that way. As the whole point of literature is for entertainment and the stimulation of the mind, I believe all literature to be open for interpretation. I am as white as they come and I'm an able-bodied person who's been relatively healthy for the majority of my life. As I've not had to deal with being a person who is a part of the marginalized part of the population, I of course cannot and will not speak for those communities. I will include the other reviews and discussions that I consulted in order to form a well-rounded opinion as well as using my own full opinion. I went into this book knowing of the issues that were being discussed, but I went in with an open mind. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the discussion that came from this book just made it even more interesting. My interpretation of the book was quite different from the other more talked about reviews and discussions, so I will link those below as well. 

Review:

I honestly enjoyed this book. The controversy behind this book just made me think even harder about the aspects that were seen as problematic. This book is a character driven and I thought it was done really well. I enjoyed the world building that went into this novel. Roth’s world building skills are done well, in my opinion. I think this whole new world was one of my favorite parts of this book. I enjoy it when authors are able to create a completely new world and do it well. Even though, this book had pretty good world building, I would still like a bit more about their oracles. The whole concept of fate is so interesting to me, and I’d love for it to be explained more in the next book. Overall, the world building was done really well, but there are still parts that are a bit foggy to me.

Let’s talk characters. I’m not as connected to the characters as I would like, but I did love how strong the main characters were. Both had a different way of being a strong individual, but they fit so well together. Their overall character progression was naturally done and I enjoyed that very much. Cyra was a bit of an enigma. At first, I had a hard time connecting to her and fully understanding her character. She’s so mysterious and she’s such a deep character. As I got to know her, I started to enjoy her story and I started to root for her. The fact that this book was in dual perspective (and it was done really well!!!) sold these characters for me. I adore their stories and the complexities behind their personalities.

The whole concept of their currentgifts and the whole idea of the current was really interesting to read about. Currentgifts were basically the force mixed with super powers. They can be really influencial or they can destroy a person. Akos has the ability to stop the current and cancel out gifts and Cyra has the ability to cause pain/kill people. She’s also constantly in pain from her currentgift. That’s where the ableism comes into the discussion. I’m not educated enough to comment on that, though….so google it. At first, I was pretty confused about the whole concept, but as the book progressed, it was explained very nicely. I’m interested to see where Roth goes with this.

One of the points I want to get across is that there isn’t a good guy or bad guy group. Everyone has their negative points and everyone has their positive points. As the book develops, the reader really gets a complex look at the politics behind the two nations and the universe as a whole. It’s definitely a science fiction story, but I also saw it as a high fantasy story.

If you enjoy high fantasy/science fiction novels, then this is definitely for you. I would take into consideration that this book has some controversy and some problematic aspects to it, so if you don’t think you can handle anything that may be triggering then I recommend that you forgo this book.


Discussion:

In the beginning of the year, when this book first came out, there were many different conversations that were taking place on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, BookTube, etc. Mainly negative, many very upset by what they had read…Or rather, they were outraged by the information that they were reading about. This outrage over problematic content was first brought to light by the blogger and writer Justine Ireland in her blog post about Carve the Mark and it's harmful trope of "the dark skinned aggressor". This of course, caused a lot of backlash towards Roth's newest book. Readers and activists in the BookTube community soon swarmed to inform every one of the problematic content. 

At first, I wasn't even really interested in reading this book, but then everyone was bouncing different opinions and I genuinely became interested to form my own opinion about this book. Everyone was so invested in banning this book and telling people to not read this book, but I've talked to quite a few people who are actually interested in reading this book now. Veronica Roth actually wrote up a blog post to address the false or misconstrued accusations made about the racist aspects of this book. Let's just break it down a bit. I think Veronica Roth's blog post puts this issue into better terms. She discusses the races of her characters and the worlds she has created. Her blog post really sparked my interest in the thought processes that went into her book.


Shotet is not a culture of dark-skinned individuals. Thuvhe is not a culture of light-skinned individuals. They share a history (discussed on pages 124-129 of the book); they share bloodlines.
~Veronica Roth~

I honestly think that the racist accusations towards this book are false. However, I am white, so I might just be mistaken. Before you think I’m being an asshole, please let me explain. There are so many interesting factors that I feel are being ignored. Veronica Roth put it very nicely in the quote above. While I was reading this book, I didn’t see the Shotet or Thuvhian nations to be all white or all of a black race. From what I gathered, and from what Veronica wrote in her blog post, her universe and her whole world isn’t connected by their race, rather it is connected by their bloodline. That is, I didn’t think the people really were connected in a traditional sense. People just managed to gain the traits that are more prominent in their person. So if someone has a darker father and a white mother then they could end up being any color under the sun. The characters are so diverse and different. I’m not sure if my explanation makes any sense, but that’s how I saw it. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

Let’s just talk about how people are assuming that the Shotet nation and Thuvhe nation are either black or white. Uh….no. Okay let’s just look at some quotes that Veronica Roth mentioned in her blog post. I had marked these in my book as well. I thought these would be beneficial to this review…especially concerning the race issue.

~~~

Akos’s Thuvhesit Family:

Cisi: “Dark curly hair framed her face…” (p319) 
“I could tell Cisi’s skin from Isae’s only by its darker shade.” (p385) 
Akos: “He had fair skin, and a kind of wary tension in his body, like he was bracing himself.” (p60) 
Eijeh:  “Eijeh’s eyes were pale green. An unusual color, like iridescent insect wings…against his light brown skin, so like the milky earth of the planet Zold, they almost glowed.” (p64)

Cyra’s Shotet Family

Ryzek: “…his skin was so pale he looked almost like a corpse.” (p60)
Cyra and Ryzek, compared: “I was tall, too, but that was where my physical similarities with my brother ended. It wasn’t uncommon for Shotet siblings to look dissimilar, given how blended our blood was, but we were more distinct than most.” (p61)
~~~

These quotes are taken directly from the book, but Roth mentioned them in her blog post as well. I think these are very important to mention, as they show how diverse and how different the whole cast of characters were to each other. Even family members had differing skin colors and their family wasn’t defined by their skin color it was defined by their bloodline. Does this make any sense? This is one of the fantastical elements that I loved about this book.

Veronica Roth also goes into her thought and research process when it comes to the languages that her characters use and what she based it off of and the different religious aspects of the book and where her research led her. If you are concerned about those parts, then I recommend you look into that.

Of course, there are always other perspectives that have to be taken into consideration. Because literature is always open for interpretation, there will always be those who are triggered by certain behaviors in books. Everyone has their own triggers. Someone’s triggers are someone else’s inspiration. Francina goes into depth about that in her Carve The Mark & triggers videos. I recommend you take a few moments of your time to watch them.

Other Videos/Reviews/Resources:

Francina Simone’s Carve the Mark video: {click here}

Francina’s video about triggers: {click here}
Veronica Roth's blog post: {click here}
Sabaa Tahir's Response {click here}

I'm sure there are more reviews and discussions online and on YouTube, so if you'd like to start a conversation then don't hesitate to! I consulted more sources than these, but these were a few of my favorites. 

Happy reading, all!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books


Thursday, March 16, 2017

{DNF} The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza

34457021

Page Count: 262 Published on: March 3rd 2017 
Published by: NeerHaven Press Genre(s): Fantasy Source: Print: Paperback via Author Age Rating:
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Twitter: @mwgarza
My Rating: NO RATING






Goodreads synopsis:

Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this.

It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad's home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their great-grandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again.


~~~

Hey, guys!


      I won't be rating this, as I just care to. This is just one of the books that I don't think I need to rate. There are some books that I DNF that I absolutely hate, but there are some that I know aren't for me, so why rate it? The Last Shadow Gate is like the latter. 

      I got about 55 pages into this book (20-ish %) and I just couldn't get into it. I didn't enjoy the writing style. The children's narration style didn't fit their ages, their personality, and it just wasn't how children and young adults speak. The way Garza wrote these characters was kind of infuriating. I didn't enjoy them at all. I found the characters that I encountered to be very boring and bland. They were just so obvious and the relationships were just very underdeveloped from the beginning. The sister-brother dynamic was kind of annoying. There was no explanation for their rivalry and nastiness and the reader was just kind of expected to understand why they were constantly picking on each other. I have siblings, and we're rude to each other sometimes, but we have reasons. There didn't seem to be a reason for these to...and if there was, I missed it. You'd also think that I'd like at least one character within the first fifty-ish pages, but I just found myself forcing myself to read the book. It took me at least 2 hours to get into this book. I usually give iffy books about 40 or 50 pages before I DNF them, but I found myself just forcing myself to get to that area so I could stop. It wasn't fun.


      Overall, I was just very bored and uninterested from the first page. I found myself rewording sentences and basically asking the questions my creative writing professor asks me when I'm writing. It just wasn't a writing style that enjoyed. I couldn't connect with the characters, which is a very important aspect to me, and I just wasn't enjoying myself. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't make myself read it if I didn't enjoy it. 

      At this time, I'm not too interested in reading this book, but I might pick it back up once I'm definitely in the mood for it. There are so many interesting aspects to the plot that I would love to explore, but until I'm in the mood, I'm not going to pick it up.

      I'm sure there is an audience for this book, but I'm not a part of it. If this book sounds interesting to you, then I highly encourage you to do so. It wasn't because I absolutely hated Garza's book, it just wasn't for me. So if this sounds interesting to you, then give it a go! 


Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

{Announcement} I Am Now A Book Depository Affiliate!!!




So I've been approved to be an affiliate for Book Depository!

What Does This Mean For Me?
This just means I get 5% for every sale that is made through my affiliate link.

What Does This Mean For You?
More giveaways!
More prizes!


What Is Book Depository?
Book Depository is an online bookstore/delivery service that caters to more than 100 countries and provides free shipping worldwide! Not only is there free shipping, most of the 17 million titles that they keep in stock are usually on sale. I've seen books at a reduced price from maybe 2%-90%! Not all of the books are on sale, but the good majority are! I love this site. The free shipping is fantastic and the books come within a reasonable time. The books come from everywhere, so pay attention to the shipping rules and stuff. 


My Affiliate Link: {click here}

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository


If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me through my social media! I will link all of my links below! 

Happy reading, all!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

{Q&A/Review With Bailey} Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver

11923030

Page Count: 307
Published on: October 4, 2011
Published by: HarperCollins
Genre(s): Fantasy, Middle Grade, Adventure, Paranormal, Children's
Source: Print: Paperback
Age Rating: G (ages 6-10)
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter@OliverBooks


Bailey's Rating: 5 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.



~~~

Hey, guys!

     This past Christmas, I bought Bailey a copy of Liesel & Po and she's already read it twice. She has been so happy with this book, which makes me so happy that I bought it for her. It's such a great feeling when I find a book that she adores to read. Share a book that you think your siblings ...or even Bailey... would love. 

Here's what Bee had to say about Liesel & Po!
~~~


Q: What is Liesel & Po about? Can you summarize it?
A: It’s about how Liesel has to take her father’s ashes to the willow tree and small pond to take him to rest. She meets Will and Po and Bundle. They help her on her quest to the willow tree.

What would you rate it? 
A: 5 stars. I’ve read it twice.

Q: What did you like about it?
A: I liked that it was it didn’t tell what time it was. At the end of the book it said something really cool. But spoilers. I like Po. He’s sassy. I liked Liesel because she likes to read and she’s quiet. I liked bundle because I think he’s mostly cat…he meows a lot.

Q: What did you dislike?
A: I didn’t dislike anything. I love this book.

Q: Are you going to read more of Lauren Oliver’s books?
A: Definitely. I’ve already read The Spindlers. I want to read The Curiousity House trilogy. It looks interesting. I’m going to read her YA books when I’m allowed to.


Other Reviews By Bailey: {click here}

Enjoy!
Happy reading!
Olivia & Bailey
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

February 2017 Book Haul



Hey, guys!

      I did so well this past month! Well...it looks like I did...I actually ordered more books on Book Depository and pre-ordered a few books on Amazon, but they're not here yet so it looks like I did well. *sneaky grin* Here are the books that I bought/received this month.

 

  • The Odyssey by Homer
    • I read this book in high school and I meant to reread it for one of my history classes for a paper, but I may just end up skimming and spark-noting it. I'm not even sure. I'd love to reread it, but it's just so dense and archaically written. It would take a while. 
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
    • Oh my gosh I love Phantom. I've already read and reviewed this on the blog, so I'll link the review into this little blurb.
    • Review: {click here}
  • On A LARP by Stephani Deoul
    • This book was sent to me for an honest review, and I plan on reading it very soon. I can't wait to go into this world
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
    • My amazing boyfriend bought this for me for Valentines Day and it's absolutely gorgeous! I cannot wait to get into this book. I've only heard wonderful things.
Pre-orders:
  • A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
  • The ACOTAR/ACOMAF coloring book
Other Orders:
  • Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Bookish-Related Goodies (Ordered and Received)

Ordered:

  • 2 Candles from @BiblioFlames on Etsy 
    • I ordered 2 candles from her clearance sale, but I'm hopefully getting 2 2oz candles: Night Court & Hufflepuff Common Room
  • 1 painted copy of A Court of Mist & Fury (by Sarah J. Mass) by @cityoffiction on Etsy
Received:

  • Fantastic Beasts magnetic bookmarks (6)
  • (3) ACOMAF quote magnetic bookmarks
  • To the Stars quote boomark (1)



I love supporting independent bookish Etsy artists. I think their work is so fantastic and I love the variety that there is. If I could buy everything that they put out, I would. 

Favorites:

  • ACourtOfCandle's Hufflepuff candle
  • To The Stars Who Listen... paper bookmark
  • The Niffler mag bookmark
  • I am broken... mag bookmark
I can't wait to show you all my newer packages that come soon. I'll post unboxings on Instagram, so follow me there for impromptu unboxings! I'm also trying to post every day, so I hope you enjoy that.

Happy reading, everyone!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

[Guest Review: Review by Cheryl] Striking Terror by Denis Lipman

31085660
Page Count: 320 Published on: October 15, 2016 Published by: Piscataqua Press Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller Source: Print: Paperback -via author Age Rating: YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}
Cheryl Rating: 4 stars






Goodreads synopsis:

Micah, a teen with a talent for magic, befriends a Palestinian girl preparing for a terror attack but her change of heart changes everything. Now Micah must use every trick up his sleeve to stay ahead of a vengeful brother and his murderous gang-not only to save his friend's life but to thwart a deadly plot to engulf the West in the explosive cauldron that is today's Middle East.


~~~

      Well, Olivia's Mamaw is back. I volunteered to do a review for her since school keeps her pretty busy. And Mamaw actually enjoyed it. 

      The book, Striking Terror, by Denis Lipman, is a YA novel that speaks to young and old. The story could be taken right from the pages of the news stories, but the characters are what I found interesting

      The main two characters, Micah and Shireen, are young teens who find themselves embroiled in the danger and cultural whirlpool of life in modern day Jerusalem. At first, I was a bit skeptical of the situations in which they found themselves. In retrospect, however, knowing the teen penchant for reacting on emotional impulses, I see them as plausible responses. 

      The writing was good and the story interesting from page one to the end. This could well be a set-up for a series of adventures.

      I would recommend Striking Terror to readers of any age who love excitement and foreign locales. I am giving it a four-star review. Some might give it five, but I'm Mamaw, and I'm rather stingy with my stars.

Good reading, all
Mamaw Cheryl

Other Reviews by Mamaw Cheryl: {click here}