Comics · Fantasy · Fiction · Graphic Novel · Julia P · Page-Turner · Quick Read! · Science Fiction

Saga, Vol. 8 | by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga, Vol. 8 (Saga, #8)

Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2017, 146 pages)

The saga continues… ha! But seriously, I’m ready for volume 9 and I wish I didn’t have to wait until October for its publication.

The family drama continues as Hazel and her parents try to survive in the midst of a chaotic universe. The social commentary in Vaughan’s work combined with Staples’s amazing artwork  make this a series not to be missed. I’d definitely recommend Saga if you haven’t already picked it up. Sure, there are parts that are graphic, but there’s so much packed into each volume!

4/5 stars

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For the Home · Julia P · Non-Fiction

Practical Houseplant Book | by Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway

Practical Houseplant Book

Practical Houseplant Book by Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway
(DK Publishing, 2018, 224 pages)

I’m always looking for ways to give my house a homier feel. Since I managed to kill the last houseplant I had this seemed like a book that was right up my alley. Things are broken down into sections so you get a feel for how to organize plants, what plants are best suited for different environments, tools you’ll need, and crafty things you can do yourself. It was helpful that this was such a visual book (you can always count on DK for that). I think I got the most mileage out of the section that breaks plants down based on type and highlights the level of difficulty for their care. I now have an incredibly long list of plants I would love to nurture in my house!

I wasn’t a huge fan of the craft section BUT it did help me to see that some of the looks I might go for are things I can try and do on my own. If you’re a houseplant novice this is a great introductory text for you. I’m excited for my next visit to Fahr Greenhouse to see what catches my eye… if you see more houseplant books on the blog in the near future you’ll know I’ve been moderately successful 😉

3/5 stars

Fiction · Sue S

The Forgotten Road | by Richard Paul Evans

The Forgotten Road

The Forgotten Road by Richard Paul Evans
(Simon Schuster, 2018, 272 pages)

The Forgotten Road is the second book in the Broken Road Series by Richard Paul Evans.

Below is the Goodreads description:

Chicago celebrity and successful pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash. But thanks to a remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life—and love. Narrowly escaping death has brought Charles some clarity: the money, the fame, the fast cars—none of it was making him happy. The last time he was happy—truly happy—was when he was married to his ex-wife Monica, before their connection was destroyed by his ambition and greed.

Charles decides to embark on an epic quest: He will walk the entire length of Route 66, from Chicago to California, where he hopes to convince Monica to give him another shot. Along the way, Charles is immersed in the deep and rich history of one of America’s most iconic highways. But the greater journey he finds is the one he takes in his heart as he meets people along the road who will change his perspective on the world. But will his transformation be enough to earn redemption?

I found this second book in the series to be very similar to The Walk Series which was also written by Richard Paul Evans. I honestly was a little bored reading the first half of The Forgotten Road with all the little known facts about Route 66 in each town that Charles James walked. The story did get more interesting after Charles began meeting people on his journey on Route 66 to California. I didn’t realize that Route 66 starts in Chicago and ends in Santa Monica, California. Now I am looking forward to reading the third book which doesn’t yet have a release date.

3.5/5 stars

Autobiography · Essays · Julia P · Memoir · Non-Fiction

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel | by Alexander Chee

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee
(Mariner Books, 2018, 288 pages)

I grabbed this book as soon as I saw it sitting on the “New Books” shelf at my public library. I feel like there was so much buzz about this book prior to its publication that I couldn’t not pick it up. This collection of essays reads as more of a memoir since it essentially chronicles Chee’s path to becoming a writer. The essays are beautifully written and I fully understand why there was so much pre-pub buzz.

The end of the Goodreads summary reads, “By turns commanding, heartbreaking, and wry, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel asks questions about how we create ourselves in life and in art, and how to fight when our dearest truths are under attack.” I’d definitely recommend this, especially for those who love literary fiction and enjoy reading memoirs by writers.

4/5 stars

Fiction · Julia P

The Gypsy Moth Summer | by Julia Fierro

The Gypsy Moth Summer

The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro
(St. Martin’s Press, 2017, 400 pages)

I had been hoping to pick up Fierro’s first novel, Cutting Teeth, from the library but it was checked out when I got there so I was able to grab her more recent book. The Gypsy Moth Summer is set on Avalon Island (which is meant to be an offshoot of Long Island) in the early 1990s. The same summer that Leslie Day Marshall moves back to her hometown is also one where Avalon Island is beset by gypsy moths. Leslie came from a prominent family in Avalon and it’s somewhat scandalous that she’s returning with a black husband and mixed children in tow.

As Leslie reasserts her presence in town various factions of Avalon are battling to stay relevant. There are gangs, love stories, racial issues, betrayal… all matter of things go down in the infested heat of that summer. This is a novel that keeps your attention as you try to figure out where Fierro will take the story next.

A number of reviews compared The Gypsy Moth Summer to The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to finally getting my hands on a copy of Cutting Teeth.

3.5/5 stars

Comics · Fiction · Kelly M · Pop Culture/Entertainment · Quick Read! · Science Fiction

Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol. 3 | by Mike Johnson

Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol. 3

Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol. 3
by Mike Johnson; illustrated by Josh Hood, Megan Levens, Tana Ford
(IDW Publishing, 2018, 144 pages)

This graphic novel follows members of the “new” original series from alternate realities in multiple unexpected forms. For example, Kirk shows up as a plant in one reality and a woman (Jane Kirk) in another. The paths of characters from different realities intersect in different plots (e.g., plant Kirk might have been paired up with male Uhuro in a storyline). It was a little hard to follow sometimes, but interesting to see the characters in different forms. For fans of Star Trek.

3.5/5 stars

Essays · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Pop Culture/Entertainment · Women

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud | by Anne Helen Petersen

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman
by Anne Helen Petersen
(Plume Books, 2017, 234 pages)

I know Anne Helen Petersen from her pieces on Buzzfeed. I follow her on Twitter. I subscribe to her newsletter. I knew I would be picking up this book I’m just surprised it took me so long. This book is comprised of 10 essays, each focusing on famous woman who is considered “too” something; meaning she has taken it upon herself to exist outside the boundaries of what society views as the appropriate way for a woman to behave. Petersen covers women from Serena Williams and Lena Dunham to Caitlyn Jenner and Hillary Clinton. She is deconstructing what it is about these women that makes people simultaneously love them and love to hate them. Petersen deep dives into how these women refuse to limit themselves by the societal norms so many people want to force upon them.

This is definitely a book I’d recommend.

4/5 stars