Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson, Illustrated by Leila Del Duca

Cover Image

Genre: YA Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Rating: 5 Stars


Synopsis:

Princess Diana believes that her 16th birthday will be one of new beginnings–namely acceptance into the warrior tribe of Amazons. The celebrations are cut short, however, when rafts of refugees break through the Themysciran barrier. Diana tries to help them, but she is swept away by the sea–and from her home–thus becoming a refugee herself.

Now Diana must survive in the world outside of Themyscira for the first time; the world that is filled with danger and injustice. She must redefine what it means to belong, to be an Amazon, and to make a difference.

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed is a story about growing into your strength, battling for justice, and the power of friendship.


Disclaimer: First and foremost I would like to thank DC Comics for providing me with an e-copy to voluntarily read and review. This in no way sways my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.


REVIEW

WOW. This graphic novel was truly something else. Graphic novels have been doing an amazing job for YEARS tackling societal issues. This one specifically brought awareness to child trafficking, which is still prevalent in the world today. Although this book was geared towards children,  do feel that this serious world issue would make an age appropriate impact on the reader. This book also has LGBTQIAP+ rep, issues surrounding bullying, culture, homelessness and loss of family, sexual harassment, and foster care.

This new origin story was definitely a 5 star read for me. I really connected with this version of Wonder Woman. I love that she feels alienated and lonely, but she still does what’s right for other children in the community. Laurie Anderson did an amazing job creating a character that shows determination to make this world better, despite challenges.

The illustrations were beautiful. I loved the way the illustrator depicted the scenes. Often times I feel like I’m not getting the full story with such a short dialog and with this, I definitely felt connected to the story.

I appreciate that this version of WW tackles the themes of immigrant life in our society, and the extreme weaknesses we have in our availability of social services. I think that discussing issues like this with children of all ages is important. We are never too young to understand our privilege and it’s role it has on shaping the world around us. This brings to light people who do not have those same privileges and how we can learn to become activists just by caring about other people.

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#TEAM CINDER!

#TEAMCINDER

Calling all of my fellow Lunartics and Marissa Meyers fans, check out the stepback art for the new paperback edition of CINDER! I am so proud to be a part of this series and having the opportunity to reveal this art, as well as the new cover to you all!

These paperbacks are gorgeous and I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the series! They are available for pre-order now and will be available February 4th, 2020! Keep your eyes open for the stepback art of Scarlet, Cress, and Winter in the next few days on Instagram! Follow the hashtag #LunarEverAfter! Go #TeamCinder!

 

Cinder Stepback Art Reveal

 

 


[SYNOPSIS]

A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future. This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. 


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Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre:
YA Contemporary
Rating:
5 Stars

Don't Read the Comments

Synopsis:

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was sent to me for free by Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way sways my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is also usage of mature language but if you’re a gamer, you 100% would be okay with it (it isn’t often). I would let a 14 year old read this.

TW: mention of abuse, depiction of assault, harassment, online bullying


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

And now I’m going to set this world on fire.”

Just as the synopsis says, Divya is now my queen. She is smart, sassy, independent, strong, and all around a badass non-princess who most definitely does NOT need saving by anyone.

I essentially inhaled this book in one sitting. It hit me right in my nerdy gamer girl heart. All of the nods to current pop culture really made me feel like these characters were real. The level of conversations they had with each other was so authentic. Aaron’s relationship with his little sister might be my favorite part of the story. The romance was sweet, didn’t feel forced, and added that blushing edge to this story. It didn’t overshadow it, but I enjoyed the addition of it to the plot!

As a WOC, it really made me feel seen with both MC being brown. The relationships they had with their parents are so similar with POC across the board ranging from working your ass off to help pay for rent to the expectations of being a doctor and the pressures of a high paying career.

“My Armada! I love you!”

One of the things I loved about Divya was that she was a streaming diva who built an empire all on her own but gave credit to her best friend and her fans at every turn. She knew she would not be where she was without them and it helped me root for her as she was not a spoiled, entitled brat like the antagonist of the story. There is a scene in this book that moved me to tears! Side note: I seriously wish Reclaim the Sun was a real game!

Thank you for making me feel seen, you made gaming and streaming important in a novel, and who gave us a nerdy chick who is Mario and not Princess Peach.

This book will be available on January 28th, 2020 and is available at most retailers for preorder!

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Over the Top by Jonathon Van Ness

Over the Top by Jonathon Van Ness
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: HarperOne/HarperAudio
Genre:
Adult Memoir
Rating:
4.5 Stars
Audio Narration:
5 Stars

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Synopsis:

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.

The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.

Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was bought by me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



NON SPOILERY REVIEW

HONEY! This book was EXACTLY what I needed to start 2020 off right. This book had me going YES QUEEN straight from the get go. JVN is not only an inspiration to people everywhere, but this memoirs proves that he’s been unapologetically him from the get go and that was so refreshing. His spirit shined through from the moment he decided he would make a name for himself while carpet figure skating.

I listened to this book via audio and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While you don’t NEED his voice to get the context, some of the inflections he adds to his stories are just so much more entertaining. This book made me laugh, tear up, and then filled my heart with hope. I also really want to hug his mom because she is the original queen of fierceness. I love her.

While some of the things that JVN talks about (sexual abuse, STDS, drug use, harassment, etc) may be difficult to discuss, he talks about what happened openly, and provides resources for anyone who may be struggling with these issues. This isn’t as much of a “how to” but more of a, “you don’t have to be a product of your past,” type books. I really encourage my friends to read this if they need a little pick me up!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online!

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date: April 21, 2005
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre:
Adult Fantasy
Rating:
5 Stars
Audio Narration:
5 Stars
Steam Level: 🔥

Elantris (Elantris, #1)

Synopsis:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was bought by me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Not that anyone is surprised, but I loved this book. This is Brandon Sanderson’s first published work and I love how different it is from his other novels. This book focuses primarily on political intrigue rather than the magic system (which I found so interesting and would love to learn more). I loved the reimagined idea of zombies! Elantris is within the Cosmere so it’s an important book to read!

This book is driven by the characters. While there is a lot of world building, the plot/characters are what really bring this story together. Raoden is the biggest cinnamon roll of all time, Sarene is such a strong, fierce, intelligent woman, and Hrathen is… well.. you’ll find out! The mystery surrounding what happened to Elantris will keep you turning page after page. Although like many of Sanderson’s work, this book does not focus on romance, but it does have a star-crossed lovers trope going on (that trope is my favorite!) The relationship between Raoden and Sarene is just so sweet and genuine and they’ve never even met.

If you haven’t read Sanderson yet and are wanting to dip your toes into an adult fantasy, this or Warbreaker is a good place to start!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online! Brandon Sanderson’s next book in the Cosmere, Stormlight 4 (untitled at the moment) arrives November 2020 and is available for preorder!

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Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Audio Narration: 4 Stars
Steam Level: 🔥🔥

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was gifted from PenguinTeen as a gift due to Four Dead Queens being nominated for a GoodChoice GoodReads Award! This in no way impacts my review; all opinions are my own.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Wow! This standalone book totally swept me away! I haven’t read a royal fantasy in a while and it really took me by surprise!

I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the murder of the four Queens and the story of Keralie, the thief entangled in the murders front the get go! This book was fast paced and kept my attention chapter after chapter. Some of the twists I never even saw coming! I listened via audio and I absolutely loved the narrators; they did a phenomenal job and brought the characters to life! I really enjoyed the romance as well. I think the story could have functioned well without it, so what we did get was cute and exciting!

I think it’s important as an adult reader to meet books where they are. I am rating this book as if I were 16 years old, and my teenage self would have LOVED this book (my adult self does too!) There are some moments of more mature content but nothing I wouldn’t let a young teen read!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online! Astrid Scholte’s new book THE VANISHING DEEP arrives March 3rd, 2020 and is available for preorder!

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Wild Wednesday – WWW

 

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and brought back by Taking on a World of Words.

Rules are to just answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently reading: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
This book is CUTE. I am only a few chapters in and I am such a sucker for those steamy, adult romcoms! I’ve already found myself laughing. It’s giving me Fix Her Up vibes with it’s character driven, spicy romance that I am a sucker for!

Recently finished: The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland
This book was on my radar because again.. sucker for fast, cute romance! It was a free audible membership listen for December!  This was an enjoyable fast paced Christmas novella and is definitely an adult read in language and content! I really enjoyed the characters and I already miss them! This was perfect for my desire to read a little holiday book!

Overall Story : ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Characters: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Steam Level: 🔥🔥
Audio Narrators: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Next: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
This book was sent to me by my friend Erin (IG: @story_hoarder). Her and I send each other books and ARCs to read and she said this one would be perfect for me! I am so excited to finish up Well Met to start on this one! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads!

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”




I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and get a lot of reading done!

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Topic Tuesday – Hype Disappointments and Ratings

Today for Topic Tuesday I want to talk about some of the books that just didn’t live up to the hype for me and how I rate them. I feel like people think that Goodreads is the place to tell everyone how you feel personally when really we should be focusing mostly on critically – the characters, the plot, the setting… it drives me crazy when someone KNOWS they don’t like this author, or this genre and they rate the book poorly. “I don’t like adult romance so 1 star.” Like ? Why are you even reading it? Just say, “not for me,” and don’t rate it because you didn’t really give it a fair chance because you already didn’t like it!

I don’t believe that it’s fair for us to also rate books that are for an audience that isn’t for us poorly.  I’m a 31 year old, I’m not middle grade, or YA so when I rate a YA book and it’s too juvenile, I rate it as if I were that age. How would I feel back then? I see people on Goodreads reviewing books like City of Ghosts saying its too young and giving it 3 or less stars. Excuse me?!

I’m not trying to make this a negative Nancy post but I do think it’s important that we are honest with ourselves and our audience. I think we need to remember that authors are people to and we can’t bash them or rate their books poorly if we read it when it wasn’t marketed towards us. So with that being said, here are some books that for me, critically and personally, did not live up to the hype regardless of the issues listed above.


  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – There are so many problematic themes in this book just for the sake of being problematic. I have zero interest in reading TWK and QoN.
  • After by Anna Todd – Again, problematic and abusive themes that don’t really get addressed… it’s romanticized.
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare – Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THE INFERNAL DEVICES, but I cannot get into TMI. I’ve tried multiple times. I think the writing is poor and there is a weird taboo relationship theme going on here.
  • Dark Age by Pierce Brown – I am so beyond disappointed in this book. I was bored for so much of it. This adult scifi definitely needed some more meat.
  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young – Another book that felt like it had zero plot. I didn’t connect to any of the characters.
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee – This book was just all around bad. It was promoted as a YA scifi/fantasy but I wouldn’t want my young teen kids to read this. The inappropriate language was flippant and unnecessary and seemed to be there for show. The plot had mega holes.

Now, although these books didn’t work for me personally or critically, that doesn’t mean they won’t work for you! I am a FIRM believer in people reading, no book should be shamed (unless it’s ridiculous… yall know what I mean), so if The Cruel Prince makes you happy, I’M HAPPY FOR YOU! I want you to be excited and to celebrate reading in any capacity!

I’m back posting this because I forgot to publish it yesterday LOL!

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TGIF – FORREAL

Oh my gosh you guys! I haven’t posted anything for like.. 2 weeks? I am SO BEHIND it’s not even funny! I’m sitting here stuffing my face with leftover pasta, just thinking about the insanity that has been my life. Let’s rewind a little.

Last Wednesday – Chuck ran himself over with a power jack with a pallet of beer on it; busted his foot wide the hell open! We sat in the ER for 6 hours for them to give him 3 stitches, a boot that was too small, and no crutches even though they charged insurance for some. Luckily his work is covering the cost of the medical bills but DANG, his foot was gnarly! Chuck was off Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday so naturally we treated this like an unexpected vacation. Hence the reason for my lack of posts. My family will always come first y’all!

This Tuesday – This was Chuck’s first day back at work. I had so much catching up to do, mainly over on Bookstagram! I was so behind on my own comments, my algorithm group comments, my DMs… holy moly my DMs were wild! Most of them were well wishes for Chuck so that felt really good!!

Wednesday I was finally getting back into the groove of  my social media life. I was caught up on my partnership posts and started reading An Ember in the Ashes via audio with @bibliomaniacamanda because she’s never read it *GASP*. I love that series with my whole heart.

Thursday I had to help at my son’s school for a teacher luncheon and then I had Chase’s parent teacher conference. Chase’s reading score is off the charts for second grade and the rest of his report was so impressive. I am so proud of my little guy!

Friday – today… BOO BLAST. I woke up this morning and loaded the kids up, met my cousin at Lowes to pick up hay bales, delivered them to the school and started setting up for the Boo Blast/Trunk or Treat event. This was for the catholic schools in the region. It started at 5 so I went and set up a cute little trunk (a camping scene lolol) and made a ton of Mom jokes that the kids didn’t laugh at but the parents did (SCORE). Chase had a blast! My in laws had Xander and took him to the event for a little bit, but it was just so cold!

So… here I am, sitting at the computer trying to give an update of the whirlwind that has been my life for the last two weeks. Xander is asleep and Chase is off with his bio dad for the weekend. I hope everyone has been enjoying their Friday and I hope you’re loving what you’re reading! Along with AEITA, I’m also reading Royally Screwed, which is an adult smut novel and my oh my is it steamy! Shane East (who is Steve West) narrates it and it is just so good! If you’re looking for a good adult, non cheesy romance with a good plot, This series is for you! They are all standalones as well!

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Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas

Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas
Publisher: Little Big Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

Kia LaStrauss can see into your soul with the touch of her hand. She can see your fears, desires, wants. She can see your past. Your present. Your future. She is a Soulwalker. 

New Orleans is the city Kia calls home: a city of revelry, jazz, wonder, and magic. She grew up listening to stories of magic and mysticism, but they were just stories… or so she thought. After experiencing two visions of the future, Kia learns of the existence of Soulwalkers, and that she is one of them. With the help of her mentor Ian, she begins to learn what she is capable of, and the consequences of her newfound power. But even Ian cannot prepare her for what she will discover. 

Kia is thrown into a world once unimaginable, where the touch of a hand could kill her and every new discovery can change the course of her life forever. 


DISCLAIMER:
Thank you Cassidy Thomas for this free finished copy to read and review. This is no way shapes my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.


REVIEW

I really enjoyed this YA urban fantasy! I love stories that center in New Orleans because the world-building is always so rich. Within this world, we have Soulwalkers, people who can see your soul with a touch… however, there is a balance to this magic system. This adds a level of stress to this ability, throwing me for a loop when you learn about Kia’s first walk. This book explores more magic than soul walking but I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprises! This book has many twists and turns, some totally unexpected! This is a super quick, exciting read and I would recommend this to anyone who likes books you can devour in a sitting!

I liked the multiple points of view as I’m always wondering what everyone is thinking other than the MC. It just gives a book more depth to me.

***could be considered spoilery***

I enjoyed the romance aspect as I’m a total romance sucker. The only thing I think can be worked upon is the term of endearment. Ian would call Kia kid when they had a “mentor/student,” relationship but once it was more it seemed a bit demeaning. Calling the person you’re interested in as “kid,” isn’t for me, but honestly I think it could just be my own opinion! Other than that, I was totally rooting for the characters!

This book is available for preorder on Amazon and will be available 12/3!

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