Some Books You Might Not Have Heard of and That Definitely Deserve More Hype (Pt. 3)

All good things come in threes, right? So here’s my third post of books I think need more hype 🙂 You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Let’s get into it 😀

 

  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell
    Rowell is most famous for her YA books, and mostly for Eleanor & Park (which I LOVE) but I feel like less people know she’s also written two adult books, which are just as great. They’re pretty much still written in YA style, but about people in their 30s or late 20s. Landline is one of them, about a woman who works really hard, then gets the opportunity to write her own tv-show (or at least the pilot). But at the same time she struggles with her home life, then, after a fight with her husband she finds out that the old landline in her childhood bedroom connects to the past… Really cool concept and wonderfully written.
  • Notes From the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
    This book is about a girl, I think set in the 90s, who loves film and embarks on a project of making a film. But after love and hurt and all the other things that encompass teenage life happen to her, the film becomes something the hadn’t expected at all. I really liked it when I first read it, which has been a few years, and I thought it was really cool set against this artsy scene.
  • Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann
    This is a really, really cool series about a girl who gets stuck in other people’s dreams. It’s been a while since I read it but I remember loving it and being so impressed my the premise. Most people on Goodreads either love it or hate it, but I thought it was pretty well-done.
  • A Storm of Ice and Stars by Lisa Lueddecke
    This is set in the same world as A Shiver of Snow and Sky and it’s just as atmospheric, although a little less action-y, and really enjoyable and for some reason not that well-known online! It doesn’t have a lot of GR ratings yet and I think it definitely deserves more hype. Read my full review here.
  • I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
    This is about a girl who lives in a trailer park and feels there’s no way out of that place. But she’s hoping to get into art college and do something different with her life. It’s also about a boy who went to the Marine’s to escape this place, but had to return without his leg. It’s a really beautiful story about hope and love and resilience. Really one of a kind.

 

So, that was it 🙂 Hoped you enjoyed it! Have you read any of these books? Got any recommendations yourself? Let me know in the comments!

 

Author Appreciation | Emma Mills

Welcome to Author Appreciation, the blog series (perhaps, this is only the first one!) where I shout out my favorite authors and their books!

Emma Mills writes YA novels that are always funny, always sweet and always real. Her stories are dressed differently, sometimes about life lfirst & then emma millsong friendships, sometimes about new friendships, sometimes focused more on family and sometimes focused a liiiiittle more on romance. But what I love about them is that the romance part is never the main part of the story, even within the romance, there’s always a strong sense of friendship first between the two characters, and there’s always an overall emphasis on the importance and complexity of friendships.

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My Favorite Graphic Novels

I really love graphic novels, and I have a whole shelf dedicated to them because over the years I’ve gathered a modest collection. So today I thought I’d share my favorite graphic novels!

  • Nimona by Noelle StevensonIMG_20200315_160400_336.jpg
    This is my absolute favorite. It was originally a webcomic and it’s really cool you can still see that in the art as the artist developed their style over time. It’s also quite clear when you read the story that not everything was completely planned out from the beginning (at least, I think so!) and you can feel the plot and the characters and their relationships and backstories develop as you’re reading. The changing art style really complements that. Besides it’s also a lovely and exciting story, mixing fantasy and sci-fi tropes and I’ve just never seen anything quite like it.
  • The Adventure Zone, Here There BeThe adventure zone here there be gerblins Gerblins by McElroy and Pietsch
    I’ve talked about this graphic novel before, and you can read my full review here, but basically this is the graphic novelization of a comedy DnD podcast that I really love!
  • Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    O’Malley is famous for the Scott Pilgrim series, but honestly I like this little story much better. It’s a quiet story about feeling lost, cats, and finding something – even if you don’t know quite what – in a simple yet expressive style.
  • Through The Woods by Emily Carroll
    I think this is quite a widely known collection of short graphic stories, and it’s really one of my favorites. It’s creepy in a unique way and the art is just gorgeous, blown-out terrifying sometimes.IMG_20200315_160124_416.jpg
  • This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
    This is a very beautiful story about first crushes and growing up, and the heartbreak of life, seen through the eyes of a young girl in her early teenage years. A simple line-art style is both gentle and sensitive and raw in its storytelling. (tw miscarriage, abortion mention)
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
    A girl does not feel like she fits in, then she finds a ghost, that seems to help her but might not be what it seems to be.. A really cool and slightly creepy story!

 

Have you read any of these graphic novels? What are your favorite graphic novels recs? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review | Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

“And my mom told me that part of growing up is just … learning that people come in and out of your life, and that there are all kinds of levels of friendship, all different types”

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When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting elective in her senior year, she thinks it’ll be an easy credit. Instead, it’s a disaster. First, her childhood friend who she doesn’t speak to anymore, Jamie, is part of her group, and then their amazing plan to boost listeners threatens to blow up in their faces in a series of hilarious circumstances. Everything spirals out of control, but perhaps that’s okay.

I’m a big fan of Emma Mill’s books, as they’re always lovely and funny and full of interesting characters. I was really looking forward to Lucky Caller, and I wasn’t disappointed!

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This book has a chaotic but really hilarious kind of plot. Things go wrong, they’re feverishly trying to be patched up, things go wrong again, and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, it turns around again completely surprising you. It might seem a bit unrealistic at times, but it doesn’t feel strange or unrealistic within the fiction. It feels magical in the way it can sometimes feel when the right coincidences happen at the right time. I really loved how Mills solved the ending, even if it’s a little over the top. It’s okay to just have fun with a story!

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Reading During Distressing Times

The times right now are.. distressing, to say the least. Routines are upturned, the news is scary, people panic buy heaps of toilet paper. It’s okay to be concerned, scared, sad, but it’s also okay to distract yourself for a bit and take a break. To do something you enjoy, that takes your mind of things. We need to take care of ourselves, and of others, and reading can really help with that.

So I’ve made a list of the kinds of books (with some recommendations) I reach for when things feel too overwhelming! I hope it helps someone maybe. Here it is, what I read during distressing times..

 

Rereadsthe peach keeper sarah addison allen

I have a shelf in my room where I put the books I love to reread most often. Most of my shelves are very high up on the wall, I need a small ladder to get to them (or perform some unstable acrobatics) and this is the lowest shelf so I can easily get to them and reread them when I need it. What’s great about rereading books is that you already know what is going to happen in the story, so even if it contains distressing parts, you are prepared (or you can even skip them, it’s okay!). Besides, the stories might remind you of calmer times. My personally favorite books to reread are: anything by Sarah Addison Allen, but especially The Sugar Queen or The Peach Keeper.

 

Children’s Books

I admit, children’s books can be very distressing and scary (think Coraline) but there are some books among them that are just very calm and cute and portray a world where not much can go wrong. Especially the very short books that are mostly pictures, because it doesn’t require much brainpower and looking at beautiful art always calms me down. If you still have books from your own childhood, it might be especially comforting to reread those, because they remind you of simpler times. My favorite children’s books are: The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox, both by Astrid Lindgren, and, what I’m currently reading, the Brambly Hedge books by Jill Barklem.

 

Non-Fiction

lucy worsley jane austen at home

I like to read non-fiction when I can’t handle the emotional turmoil of most fiction books, but it’s tricky, because some fiction books hit you hard with the truth. So you need something that isn’t reminding you that the world is on fire, but books about smaller things, or perhaps just not about your own life, or about something that has already come and gone. I’m currently reading Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem, and it’s wonderful in it’s extraordinary ordinariness, and a reminder that life happens and goes on. I also like to read about history, like Jane Austen At Home by Lucy Worsley. Or, one of my favorites, The Stopping Places by Damien Le Bas. Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart is good if you like gardening, short pieces about gardens.

 

Graphic Novels and Comics

The adventure zone here there be gerblins

There are some very distressing graphic novels out there, but I find that they can also be very absorbing because you have both the text and the art to look at. They can really take you out your own worries for a bit, plus they’re often short and easy to read, so you don’t need much brainpower. Comics I like to read are Customer Service Wolf by Anne Barnetson or False Knees by Joshua Barkman. A graphic novel I love is The Adventure Zone.

 

 

Nothing At All

Sometimes, reading just doesn’t work. You’re just too stressed to focus on it. It’s okay to not read for a while if you can’t or just don’t feel like it. There are so many other things to calm you down. I’ve been watching comedy shows on Netflix. Even finally started watching Virgin River on there (which I love but can also be stressful). It’s also a good time to get creative, because it’ll make you feel like you’re doing something. I’ve been making coloring pages for some children we might need to entertain now the schools are closed, and put them up for download for free, so if you like coloring, you could print them!

Do whatever you need to comfort yourself, wash your hands, take care of each other and yourself. We’ll get through this!

Do you have any recommendations for calming reads and/or activities? Share them in the comments!

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Book Review | Silver in The Wood by Emily Tesh

“The Green Man walks the wood,” he tried explaining. “But the wood remembers.”

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Tobias lives in the forest, hidden from most passers-by, away from the villages, together with his cat and his dryads. He’s there to protect, both the wood and the people, but mostly lives a quiet life. Then one day a handsome young stranger passes by his window, and he invites him in. With the coming of the stranger, everything changes, and Tobias will have to face his troubled past.

I was quite excited to read this novella (it’s about a 110 pages) because the premise just sounded right up my street. A mystical Green Man living in the woods? Romance? Old secrets better left buried? Dryads? Hell yes. IMG_20200217_173109_338.jpg

And I really enjoyed it. The story is quite creepy and exciting, the plot well-formed and well thought out. While it wasn’t revolutionary, it went places I didn’t expect it to go. It managed to let the plot develop just so that it all makes sense but you can’t quite predict what exactly is going on. I especially love that the story has its own lore that is a big part of the mystery, and also existing lore from our own world. Especially because the story is told through the eyes of someone who is part of that lore. It’s really well done.

I also really liked all the characters and their relationships between them. I especially loved Henry Silver, and how he’s much more than he initially lets on. I also thought his mother was an interesting character! Plus I loved all the dryads and how they were described, and how they spoke. Tesh really managed to bring them to live.

The only things I didn’t like that much were both the writing style and the pacing. The writing just didn’t completely pull me into the story, I kept being aware that I was reading, rather than completely disappearing into it. It could have just a little more atmospheric detail, I think, personally, a little more to pull all your senses into the story, a little more padding. The pacing feels quite erratic to me, even though there are ‘rest points’, I had a feeling the story was rushing through the events a bit too fast.

All in all a really cute story with an interesting plot and great characters, but it could have been a little bit better.

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Film Review | Little Women (2019) (with some spoilers)

Warning: this review contains spoilers for both the book and the movie.

Years ago when I read Little Women, and I loved it. So when I heard a new adaptation was coming with an amazing cast, I knew I had to see it. (And had to WAIT till February before it was released here!!)

I had seen the 2017 mini-series and the 1994 film, but both of

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those were a little disappointing to me. The characters didn’t entirely feel the way they should be to me, still a little too sweet, still a little too meek, as if the writers/directors hadn’t looked past the moralistic side of Little Women (in my humble opinion). And the pacing was often off, either to slow and too fast.

So I was looking forward to the new one, but also not trying to get my hopes up.

I needn’t have feared. Little Women (2019), directed by Greta Gerwig, is amazing.

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