Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

Seeing Redd

Rating: ★★★1/2

Genre: Fantasy, retelling

Medium: Paperback, disc

Synopsis: Alyss Heart has returned to her kingdom and is readjusting to her royal life, after having been in London for so long.  Luckily for her, she has Bibwit Hart, Homburg Molly, Hatter Madigan (on sabbatical), and, of course, Dodge.  While she’s rebuilding a land repairing from Redd’s rule, Redd is plotting her revenge on Earth.  With the help of King Arch from Boarderland, Redd creates a plan that will keep Alyss on her toes.

Review: Normally I’m more of a book person than audiobook person, but after a move and placing a hold at the library, this CD fell into my hands.  But, that wasn’t going to stop me. Let me begin this review by saying that if I’m putting effort into finding my old library card so that I can finish a book I had only half-finished before moving back home after college, it’s a good book.  Don’t let the rating fool you–this series is great.  But, middle books will be middle books.

This book was a ride.  Now that Alyss is being re-introduced to her kingdom, we are also being normal-introduced to the kingdom–and its neighbors.  We discover characters who are thought to be dead, characters who are immoral, and characters unsure if what they’re doing is right. Now that this segment is done, I can’t wait to read what happens next!

(And, on another note–the CD was great!  The reader was super funny and amicable.)

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood is a Myth

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Humor

Medium: Paperback, comics

Synopsis: With the occasional help from her bunny-friend, Andersen depicts common occurrences in adulthood with humor.  These topics include college, having a job, dealing with your body, and, of course, the fact that toenail nail polish never really comes off.  Andersen deals with these subjects using comics as her medium, which gives the audience a specific look at how frazzled we all are as we move from teenagers from adults.

Review: Andersen describes moments in her life as well as common moments in everybody’s lives with such humor that you have no choice but to identify with her.  Her drawings are satisfyingly funny, and each comic leaves you with a feeling of “she gets me” or, oh, crap, “what am I even doing with my life?,” which are thoughts I am personally glad somebody else shares (and is open about sharing).  Her bunny-friend is frequently the voice of reason–a voice she often ignores.

The entire style of this book is perfect for a gift or quick read.  And, if you like soft and fuzzy things, definitely buy this book (the title and Sarah’s sweater are both fabricated, and it’s GREAT).

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey by Kaur

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Poetry

Medium: Paperback

Synopsis: In four different chapters, Kaur takes us through her trauma, suffering, and healing using gentle but direct language.  She discusses topics such as women’s bodies, sex, rape, heartbreak, and loneliness.  This book helped her heal, and can help others heal as well.

Review:  I was very glad to finally have read this book!  It’s been circulating in my friends’ reading groups for quite some time.  Kaur’s language is beautiful, as well as the illustrations which accompany certain poems.  While the book and content are beautiful, it is not one for the lighthearted: this book’s format was intended to help her sort through her trauma.  This being said, I also think this is an important book to read.  Kaur opens up to not only help herself, but to help others.  I read parts of this book out loud to my mom, and even my mom, a sometimes harsh critic, thought that the poems were poignant.

However, having seen poems circulate social media such as Tumblr, and having heard my friends rave about it, I was expecting certain topics to be discussed more explicitly.  This book has also been acclaimed as a hugely feminist book–which it is.  Unfortunately, for me, some of the poems discussed feminist subjects which I personally felt well-versed in already.  For me, this left these poems feeling redundant to me, but that’s not to say that they are not important poems.  There are many people on many walks of lives that need to be told that their bodies are beautiful no matter what, and to not let men outlast their stay with them.  For that reason, this book gets 4 stars instead of 5.

A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano

A Girl on the Shore

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Young Adult literature, teen romance

Medium: Paperback, graphic novel

Synopsis: Koume is a young girl in pursuit of a boy.  Keisuke is a young boy in pursuit of Koume.  But, neither are able to get what they want for the time being.  Koume wants a boy who is too mature and reckless for her.  Keisuke wants the selfish and attractive Koume.  Koume, unable to obtain her crush, settles for Keisuke’s body.  And, of course, nothing good can come from a selfish, sexual girl and a depressed, longing boy.  Both of them are searching for something bigger than either of them, and the quest for it transpires before high school exams take place!

Review: What I expected and what I got were two completely different things, and I was pleasantly surprised!  However, don’t read this in public–this is a manga and boy, let me tell you, it has a lot of steamy scenes.  Which, first of all, I really enjoyed!  These kids are teenagers, and they’re doing what teenagers do, which is exploring their bodies.  It’s so nice to be thrust into a story where the two main characters are already together.  By establishing that, we’ve passed the honeymoon phase, and we’re readily more able to enter the plot of the story.

The overarching theme of the novel was beautiful, and helped the plot close full-circle.  The art is stunning: you can tell Asano took a lot of time in order to perfect it.  All in all, if you’re looking for a quick, steamy read, this is the book for you!  Alternatively, if you’re looking for a graphic novel which depicts struggles that have to do with the romance and struggles that have to do with the characters separately, this is the book for you!

Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet

Dirty Pretty Things by Faudet

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Poetry

Medium: Paperback

Synopsis: Faudet discusses his previous relationships and lovers with tantalizing prose and poetry.  He allows the readers an insight to his life, and to the various situations he and his lovers have been in–whether it’s watching hentai, having sex out in the open, or watching his lover deteriorate from a harrowing drug addiction.

Review: I bought this book at Barnes and Noble simply because it looked pretty, and because the few poems I flipped to were so well written.  When I entered it on my Goodreads, I was pleased to find out that this was a book on my To-Read list!  So, over the course of the next two nights, I curled up in bed and let myself be taken in by such beautiful poetry.

After reading this in its entirety, I realized two things: his short poems and longer poems are spaced out in a way that ensures you don’t read it too quickly or too slow, and that this was one of the most erotic things I’ve read in a long while.  His writing is beautiful and sensual–a type of writing that immerses you in it, that you need to bask in.  In all honesty, I don’t read a whole lot of poetry, but let me tell y’all that this book will easily find its way to my ‘favorites’ bookshelf.

La Détresse et l’Enchantement by Gabrielle Roy

La Detresse et l'enchantement

Rating: ★★★★

English Title: Enchantment and Sorrow

Genre: Autobiography, memoir

Medium: Paperback

Synopsis: Gabrielle Roy is a Quebecoise author who has written countless tales and stories.  In her autobiography, she recounts her childhood and how she and her family lived in poverty, her schooling days, and how she later becomes a teacher.  After years of remaining in Canada, Roy decides to move to France, and experience a new type of life.  There, she meets suitors, friends, and strict administration.  Through her realistic language and imagery, Roy allows readers to understand why she is who she is.

Review: I received this book through my university’s bookstore, thanks to my professor ordering it for our French class.  The class’s purpose was to read accounts of different French-speaking countries–so if you’re looking to break out of American-centric literature, this might be the book for you!  In all honesty, I had to read this book in French, and while I can understand and interpret a good portion of it, I’m sure I missed a lot of information as well.  In terms of somebody who is learning the French language and about different cultures, this book expanded my vocabulary and helped me read French more efficiently.

What struck me the most about this novel was the language.  There were many quotes that I felt the need to write down because they were so poignant not because of their flowery language, but because of how realistic Roy portrays her past.  While there is a tad of nostalgia lingering between the lines, Roy makes it very obvious that her life was filled with hardships and that she worked very hard to get where she is by the end of the book.  All in all, this novel was inspiring to me: seeing how one person can go from sickness and poverty to travelling the world and becoming a famous author is an important story  for anybody struggling.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars

Rating: ★★★1/2

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Series: The Looking Glass Wars

Medium: Paperback

Synopsis: What we know about Alice in Wonderland is wrong.  Wonderland is real, and  after being separated from her world, Alyss Heart is determined to prove it.  Alyss is the princess of Wonderland: a world run by both white and black imagination, a world with card soldiers, a world that has tea parties and caterpillars (though not in the way you may think).

On Alyss’s 7th birthday, the kingdom is taken over by the black imagination user, her Aunt Redd.  With the help of Hatter Madigan, Alyss escapes through the Pool of Tears and lands in London, England, where everything is different and everyone thinks she’s making up stories.  Hatter Madigan lands in Paris, France, and begins searching for her.  But, what is Alyss to do when everybody thinks she’s making up stories?  And, more importantly, how can she get back to Wonderland?

Review: This book fell into my hands thanks to some of my close friends–I’ve been trying to delve into fantasy more, and I figured that before I moved back home, I’d like to read some of their favorite books.  When I saw this series in the stack of books they gave me, I was a little bit wary.  In recent years, Alice in Wonderland has become a sort of trope, and has been done quite a few times before.  Nonetheless, I had free time, and who was I to judge a book by its cover?

Immediately, I was thrust into this fantastic world of Alyss’s, and I fell in love.  With loveable characters such as Alyss, her childhood friend and sweetheart Dodge, her tutor Bibwit Harte, and guard Hatter Madigan, it was easy to tell that this was not going to be an ordinary retelling of Alice in Wonderland.  For me, this book is placed right between children’s literature and young adult literature.  It has fairly lengthy chapters and quite a few intense fight scenes, but the conversations between the characters were humorous in a way meant for a younger audience.

But, as an adult, reading it was fantastic.  This book provided me with many more emotions than I was expecting–mostly revolving around family drama (both by birth and by adoption) and Dodge.  And with loose ends still not tied up, and a threat looming over Wonderland, I can easily say that I am excited to read the next two installments of this series.

Spoilers/a few more afterthoughts under the cut!

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