Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn

Series: Paper Girls, Vol. #2
# of Pages: 128
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication: November 30th, 2016
Source: Library E-Book
Genre: Sci-Fi
Goodreads | Amazon 

Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, return with acclaimed colorist Matt Wilson and innovative letterer JAred K. Fletcher for the second volume of PAPER GIRLS, as the hit series continues with a bold new direction. After surviving the strangest night of their lives in the Cleveland suburb of Stony Stream, intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future... the year 2016. What would you do if you were suddenly confronted by your 12-year-old self? 40-year-old newspaper reporter Erin Tieng is about to find out in this action-packed story about identity, mortality, and growing older in the 21st century.

Oh Brian K. Vaughn, you really know how to write a hell of a comic book series. He never ceases to amaze me and blow my mind with his narratives. As this is the second book in the comic book series I wouldn’t recommend reading the rest of this review because of spoilers.

Volume 2 of Paper Girls picks up exactly where volume one has left off. The four paper girls are transported from their time in 1988 to 2016 where they meet the adult Erin. This volume definitely pushes the characters and readers to consider who they can and can’t trust as they attempt to figure out what has happened to their world, but there is also this interesting struggle between younger and older Erin. She acts in the stereotypical fashion by judging the life that the older version of herself has been living. She gives off this air of knowing best while not truly knowing anything. It’s such an interesting dynamic to read and watch. And when Vaughn throws in the possibility of another Erin, shit hits the fan. This comic book also brings forth the interesting question of whether one would want to know the day and time of death. It’s quite heartbreaking watching one of the characters deal with this revelation.

While I know that most (this includes myself) find Paper Girls to be quite confusing at times, I will admit that I find it to be fast-paced and really intriguing. Like the first volume, volume two leaves the reader wanting more answers. It’s time travel so it can be easily assumed that a lot of the components of the book are going to be complex, but readers are also put into positions to gain as much information as possible from issue to issue. I can very well admit that I didn’t know how to react to seeing three versions of Erin in addition to the confusion on who to trust. I would recommend that if you feel nervous about continuing keep going because the volumes do get better. The relationships that you see form between these 12-year-old girls and the adventures that they embark on is definitely rewarding. And the art! The art is phenomenal. The color palettes match the writing perfectly to make for an enjoyable visual experience. There are also so many nods to 80s so pop culture fans would truly enjoy. I’m typically not a huge fan of science fiction but I’m really enjoying this series. 


American Royals by Katharine McGee

Series: American Royals, #1
# of Pages: 448
Publisher: Random House
Publication: September 3rd, 2019
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon 

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

Quite frequently I go through phases of wanting to read a good historical fiction book. I’m quite sure that having a bachelors degree in history does nothing to improve these sudden, frequent urges. Last year American Royals caught my attention when I discovered that it was a re-imagining of American history in which George Washington never became President of the United States, but took on the title of king. As a result, this novel follows the modern-day descendants of King George Washington as they navigate their royal duties. American Royals follows Beatrice, her twin siblings Jefferson and Samantha, Daphne, and a family friend, Nina. Each struggle with the idea of status, belonging, friendship, family, and love as it pertains to the kingdom and their roles in it.

"She could smile until the bitter end, no matter what it cost her--because she was a Washington and had been trained to smile through anything.
Even through her own heartbreak."

One thing that McGee does well is her ability to capture the varying voices of each character. Each character views and handles the struggle of being a part of the kingdom in such an interesting and complex way. They battle stereotypes and community assumptions. More specifically, Beatrice becomes the key character in the discussion of gender roles as she battles to become the kingdom’s first queen. However, some of the more complex issues that the characters faced were downplayed by unnecessary and cheesy drama. Instead of using the opportunity to create a unique and complex novel, McGee ended up writing a rom-com that was akin to the stereotypical reality TV show. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every single moment of the drama; however, the history student inside of me was cringing. There was barely any monopolization of this new idea of the United States having a monarchy instead of a democratic republic. As a result, I felt as though McGee simply utilized that premise as way to draw in readers. In addition to her inability to use the government structure as a catapult into a roller coaster of a plot, McGee left out some important voices specifically Native and Black voices.  I don’t think it’s appropriate to write any historical novel of the United States without including these voices.

"She hated that her siblings thought she was cold or unfeeling. Just because she'd been brought up to keep her emotions hidden didn't mean that she never experienced those emotions."

While I did find quite a few historical issues with this novel, I won’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy the drama. I think it would make a brilliant Netflix show. It was childish and unnecessary, but it made for a good story. I particularly enjoyed the narrative surrounding Nina as she is the only character in the book that does not have money or ties to any royal lineage. She was down to earth and I related to a lot of her experiences and feelings.

"All I know is that when I need to eat my feelings, my feelings taste like Wawa milkshakes with extra M&Ms."

I think that if McGee would have just spent time writing a rom-com she would have had a better book. Attempting to add the “historical” perspective was grossly ineffective and honestly this could have been a story about the British royal family. It wouldn’t have made a single difference in the world. I’m still debating on whether I plan to pick up the second novel in the series, but the looming drama makes me excited to see what could possibly come next.


Friday #56, #70 Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:
  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading

Series: Throne of Glass
# of Pages: 406
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Published: August 2nd, 2012 
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Source: Owned Copy 

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

"She traced a finger over a splotch of fuchsia silk on her dress. All those books, with no one to read them."

I love this line from the book because it reminds me that even those Celaena is an assassin she loves to read. This book is a re-read for me as I attempt to finish the Throne of Glass series this year. What are you reading this Friday?

Can't Wait Wednesday, #70 The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication: May 12th, 2020 
# of Pages: 400
Genre: Contemporary 

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses. When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

The brief discription of this book was enough to capture my attention. And then I looked at the cover. I literally cannot wait for this book to come up and I'm thinking about pre-ordering it for my kindle. This is the kind of book that everyone needs to pick up in their spare time.


Anti/Hero by Kate Quinn and Demitria Lunetta

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 160
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication: April 14th, 2020
Source: Copy Provided by Publisher
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Goodreads | Amazon 

A new graphic novel for middle-grade featuring all original content and characters found here in Anti/Hero! As if middle-school wasn't tough enough, two students who are sworn enemies run into big problems when a freaky event makes them switch places! Now they must work together if they want their old lives back, but the journey of being in someone else's shoes may bring some BIG surprises. Don't miss out on this new original graphic novel from author Kate Karyus Quinn known for her work on Not Hungry, The Show Must Go On, Down with the Shine, Another little Piece and more

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'm back with another DC Zoom review. I've done several other reviews for their new middle grade series. Check out Diana, Princess of the Amazons here, The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid here, and Black Canary Ignite here. Each of these books were phenomenal and Anti/Hero proves to be no different. This graphic novel follows two very different, yet similar middle school girls: Piper and Sloane. Piper considers herself a hero, but has such a difficult time controlling her strength while Sloane is more of an antihero who conducts a series of crimes for a very important reason. It is during a competition and a heist that their worlds collide forcing the two girls to see past their own lives and build empathy for one another.

While the other graphic novels were based on characters that have had a presence in DC comics, Anti/Hero introduced new and exciting characters. Piper is from a Latinx background and lives with her abuela and uncle instead of her parents. She has super strength and considers herself a hero, yet struggles with how to effectively help the people in Gotham City. In addition, she struggles with academics and coping with the absence of her parents. In contrast, Sloane lives with her single mom who struggles to maintain a job and pay bills. While weak physically, Sloan is extremely intelligent and commits petty crimes to help support herself and her mom. As a result, she spends a great deal of time alone. At first glance, it appears that these two characters are complete opposites, but throughout the graphic novel the reader finds that they have more in common than initially perceived. I absolutely loved the dynamic between the two girls. Their relationship was authentic with successes and failures. There were times when they got along really well and there were times when they could not see eye to eye. What Quinn and Lunetta managed to do successfully was illustrate the importance of empathy. By the end of the graphic novel, each girl had a different level of respect for the other's background and circumstances.

Like the other graphic novels, Anti/Hero had a quick paced plot with various twists and turns. While there were some aspects of the plot that were obvious, there were others that I did not see coming. There was a Freaky Friday element to the book that added such an interesting element to the character development. I did want to know more backstory about Sloane's family particularly her grandfather and his ties to Gotham city; however, I can understand the writers not wanting to delve too much into to side characters for the sake of the length of the comic as well as consideration for the intended audience. With the being said, the plot of the story is incredibly accessible and one that I think will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

One last component of the graphic novel that stood out to me was the artwork. I'm a sucker for a comic book/graphic novel that uses bright colors and Anti/Hero illustrator, Maca Gil, definitely uses a beautiful array of colors to portray the story. Outside of inking, one of the most important tactics that Gil utilizes to illustrate the relationship between the two girls is through panel work. There were several times when Gil would use a full page and divide the panels into contrasting pieces of art to show the different lifestyles and characteristics of the main characters. It's such a remarkable attribute of the story.

Overall, I thought that this was an amazing introduction to new DC characters with a fast paced plot, great characters, and beautiful artwork. I hope that this won't be the last time that we see Sloan and Piper.


Fred's Big Feelings and Patricia's Vision (Mini Review)

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 40
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication: January 14th 2020
Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Book
Goodreads | Amazon 

A picture book biography about Fred Rogers, the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely; at other times, he was playful and joyous. But when Fred’s feelings felt too big, his Grandfather McFeely knew exactly what to say to make him feel better: I like you just the way you are. Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the television program that would go on to warm the hearts and homes of millions of Americans. But one day, the government threatened to cut funding for public television, including Fred’s show. So, Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capitol Hill to make his feelings known.

This was such a phenomenal picture book about a man that definitely that impacted my childhood. I think that a lot people are coming out with various things that reflect the life of Mister Rogers; however, I often struggle with reading non-fiction so this was a great starter place for me as an adult. I learned a lot. I didn't even realize that Mister Rogers had a TV show in Canada before he piloted Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I also didn't know that he stood before congress and argued for funding to remain intact for public television. I also didn't realize that he purposely sought to take classes child development to better understand the developing emotions of children. Fred Rogers was a phenomenal man and this definitely provided a great insight to his life. I absolutely loved the artwork in this picture book. The colors were so rich and beautifully utilized to reflect the joy that people often receive from watching Mister Rogers. One of the most unique elements was the use of dotted lines and hearts to exhibit the love and joy that came from Fred Rogers. It truly warmed my heart to see such a brilliant element added to the artwork. There were beautiful pictures of Fred, children enjoying Fred, and characters from the TV show. Overall, this was beautifully drawn and written picture of the life and legacy of Fred Rogers. 

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 48
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Publication: January 7th, 2020 
Source: Library Copy 
Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Book 

The inspiring story of Dr. Patricia Bath, a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who pioneered laser surgery—and gave her patients the gift of sight. Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a career option for most women—especially African-American women. This empowering biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to save and restore sight to the blind, and her decision to “choose miracles” when everyone else had given up hope. Along the way, she cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.

Whewwwww! Ya'll this one was definitely a good one for Black History Month. I honestly didn't know anything about Patricia until I read this book and I'm so glad that I did. She was such an AMAZING individual and I learned so much about her fight to become an ophthalmologist. She NEVER let anyone deter her from following her dreams. It was so inspiring to read her story especially when I learned how much she did for communities. What I'm beginning to love about publishing companies that specifically publish picture books is that they are set on releasing books non-fiction black narratives that do not focus on the "popular" names that we're used to seeing (i.e. Martin Luther King, Jr.). Understandably, these stories are important; however, I do believe that different voices deserve the opportunity to be heard. The artwork was also amazing. Every single panel including a quote from Patricia. They were absolutely beautiful and were quotes that could definitely be applicable to your every day life. 


Sunday Post, #38 Week 102394700 of Quarantine

This week went by faster than the weeks that I've had before since we started quarantining. I'm getting used to this new routine. I've been a little stressed this week hearing that our Governor is set on opening up our state quickly. I understand that our economy has to be restarted, but I also want our government to take the necessary precautions. I feel so deeply for those who have been affected by COVID whether it's personally or financially. I just want the world to heal for the better and here in the US politics seems to be getting in the way of providing safety. Other than that I've been enjoying my time with my daughter and family. It's been a lot of fun. I'm finding a balance with blogging and reading and working from home. I've also been walking in between 2.5 -3 miles a day which has helped lower my stress levels. I'm hoping that I can keep it up. I read quite a bit this week and I'm excited to share it with everyone. Keep reading!

This week I read a total of 1094 pages which is pretty decent considering that I'm a full time stay at home mom to a 6 month old now HAHA! 

The King Maker (4 Stars), Anti/Hero (4 Stars), Pizza My Heart (3 Stars)

 Muffin Compares to You (3 Stars), Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed (4 Stars), Fables Vol. 5: Mean Seasons (4 Stars)

Sweet On You (3 Stars)

Thank you so much to the authors and publishers for these books! 

I want to keep it realistic in my expectations of what I plan to accomplish this week, but I've been reading so much lately. My goodreads goal was 100, but I've already read 70 books this year. 

  • Fried's Big Feelings & Patricia's Vision (Mini-Review)
  • Anti/Hero (Review) 
  • Waiting on Wednesday, #70
  • Locke & Key, Vol. 1 (Review) 
  • Friday #56, #70 
  • American Royals (Review)