Versatile Blogger Award Part 2!!

Hey guys! I just want to give another big thanks to meltingpotsandothercalamities for the award. I was nominated quite awhile ago, but…well…have been falling behind quite a bit on the blog. I’d like to fully apologize about this post going up early a couple times (please just ignore the previous posts if you were one of the people who saw it unfinished). If you haven’t yet, please check out her post and blog here.

THE RULES:
  • You have to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog! (Being kind)
  •  Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination (passing the love, that was given)
  • Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice (At least)
  • Share 7 facts about yourself (being truthful)
7 More Unicorn Facts

1) I have a thing for hardcovers. Something I expect many fellow book bloggers may have in common, but when you’re tight on money…saying it makes things a bit difficult is an understatement. 

Graphic Hardcover Books Collection_10 Fubiz.net

 

2) I enjoy listening to all genres of music. The level of “like” varies from “LOVE” to “okay”, but there isn’t a music genre I’ve come across (at least so far) where I was unable to find a least one song I found enjoyable.

Image result for music genresTDSB School Website

 

3) I love learning about different cultures/religions. If I could major in Humanities centred around world religions, history, culture, literature, and philosophy for the rest of my life I’d be in heaven.

Image result for humanities and social sciencesTDSB School Website

 

4) I’m a 90’s baby. I die a little every time I come across kids that don’t know what VHS, Furbies, CD Walkmans, and Blockbuster is, or the greatness of Hey Arnold , Rugrats, and The Land Before Time 😥

Image result for pencil sharpener

 

5) I’d like to one day try pottery. The random clips I’ve seen of people moulding has me convinced it must be fun, albeit a bit messy. 

Image result for potteryAnamcre Pottery Studio

 

6) Some of you have probably guessed as much by now, but I occasionally write self notes and comments in my scheduled posts (some random, some post related brainstorming)…Unfortunately these comments/notes occasionally publish by accident (I swear WordPress has it out for me)…and tend to be written in some very colourful language.

200-6200-12

 

7) I love lightning and thunder. Common sense tells me I should be terrified, but in it’s place I feel incredibly excited. The second I see/hear it I always end up acting like a kid seeing snow for the first time.

Image result for lightningmedium.com
Nominations
  1. Mel To The Any
  2. Media Shadow Reads
  3. Hit or Miss Books 
  4. Sarah@ Between the Pages
  5. Ariana@ The Quirky Book Nerd

*I still have a ton of awards and tags to catch up on, and know many of you have already done most of these a few times over, so until I’ve caught up I’ll only be nominating around 5 bloggers per tag/award. If I’ve missed that you have done the award/tag already and aren’t up for doing it again, please just consider it an honourable mention*

 

Advertisements

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

*This Review is Spoiler Free* 

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it from Chapters/Indigo

Buy it from Barns & Noble

Buy it from Book Depository

Buy it from Amazon 

 

Tanner Scott is one semester away from being done with High School and free of Utah.  Before their final semester of High School begins Tanner’s best friend, Autumn, dares him to register for a  Seminar class at their school and after being accepted into the class he must draft a book. In only four months Tanner, and the other students in the class are expected to complete a novel. Sebastian Brother, is a Mormon student, who has returned to Provo High to mentor the Seminar Class. He  was able to sell the book he wrote in Seminar after he graduated. Somewhat of a local hero and the son of the local LDS church leader, Sebastian is the boy Tanner never pictured himself falling for but, as life would have it, Tanner begins falling for Sebastian and it would seem the feelings aren’t as one-sided as you’d expect. 

I was excited for this novel because I was in the mood for some LGBTQIA+ YA Fiction around the time that I discovered this book. I had been anticipating the releases of They Both Die at the End and Release both of which feature queer main protagonists. While in the store picking up those two titles I stumbled upon Autoboyograpy and I decided…what the hell, might as well pick this one up too. I do have a gift card…and I sure am glad that I did. When I got around to reading the novel and went to add it to my Goodreads account I realized that the author duo, Christina Lauren, are the same people that wrote the Beautiful Bastards series and I began to anticipate the horror show that I thought this book would be. I was pleasantly surprised that I ended up not despising this book.

One of the highlights of the writing in Autoboyography is the fact that the characters are fairly well-rounded and fleshed out. Each and every character felt believable, relateable and individual. Tanner’s parents were lovely, his best friend Autumn felt over-the-top but in a way that just seemed so ‘her’, and Sebastian’s parents were very well thought out and layered.

There were some things that I went into the reading experience incredibly hesitant about or came to be weary of as I discovered certain aspects of each character. As this story is not own-voice and on top of that, the authors are both women, I had very low expectations of the representation and portrayal of a bi-sexual, male main-protagonist. Once again, their writing surprised me on that front. Tanner is a bi-sexual guy who stands by being bi-sexual and even addresses some of the stereotypes that are associated with bi-sexual people. Sebastian’s character is not portrayed in the clichéd -closeted, hyper religious guy  discovers that he likes boys, or at the least, this one boy. But due to his religious beliefs and/or family, he is unable to display his feelings/attraction to the guy. So, this story is going to end with a lot of sexual tension and a heart-broken protagonist who fell for the “straight” gay guy- but, instead his character is complex. A lot of the aspects of Sebastian’s religious beliefs and trepidation with being attracted to Tanner are explored and explained throughout the story and dialogue between them. This provides a particular sense of believe-ability and authenticity to the story and to these characters. 

If you have tried reading either of this writing duo’s series’ (Beautiful Bastard or Wild Seasons) and were not a big fan…or in my case couldn’t even make it through one quarter of the first book in the Wild Seasons series before DNF’ing the book…I would highly recommend you still give Autoboyography a chance and not let those reading experiences deter you, like I almost did. This novel is such a far departure from their previous “popular” series’. I give Christina Lauren’s novel Autoboyography a rating of 7.5 out of a possible 10 unicorn horns. I would definitely recommend this novel to Contemporary lovers, especially those looking for LGBTQIA+ stories.   

 

 

200 Followers!!

Hey everyone!! Sorry for the long absence, had quite a few life changes this year and couldn’t give the blog and my followers the attention deserved. I’ll be trying to go back to a regular schedule now, or at least post and visit everyone when I can.

Anywho, this is a tad bit overdue- as in three or so months *cough, cough*-but I’d still like to to give my heartfelt thanks to all of you for continuing/starting to follow maniacalbookuincorn (especially given all of this year’s vanishing acts). You’ve all helped me in various ways, and though I’m a bit late I still feel the need to say:

jim carrey thank you GIF

New Release: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

This Review is Spoiler Free

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it from Chapters/Indigo

Buy it from Barns & Noble

Buy it from Book Depository

Buy it from Amazon

I struggled for some time trying to think of the best way to form my thoughts on this book into something coherent, and not just a paragraph of gushing. Then I came across this gif:

200w-2

And this one:

200-35

Both of which chronologically summarize my feelings about this book perfectly! But of course, I can’t actually leave my review at that…no matter how tempted I am. I will say that most of my love of this book comes from the fact that I honestly missed hearing about it. I’ve seen the cover pop up here and there, but otherwise have heard almost nothing, so was expecting nothing. I’ve been feeling a bit sick of teen fiction (not including manga) for awhile now, so it was only the title and coverlust that drew me into hesitantly picking this up.

Synopsis: Using second person narration with multiple POV’s, Maxwell begins this story with a small group of mageus, lead by Prof. Lachlan, working together against their ancient nemesis, the Order, in modern day New York. Things sound pretty rudimentary at first, a group of supernaturally gifted people fighting against a group of religious fanatics trying to wipe them out, but there are a few catches. The major one being the terror of a deadly trap called the Brink, and Esta, raised and trained by Prof. Lachlan to take down the Order. She is also an amazingly talented pick-pocketing, lock picking, time-travelling thief. And it is these skills that get her sent back to 1902 in New York on a lone mission to steal a book- the Ars Arcana- that may finally lead to their freedom.

Rating: 9.5/10 Unicorn Horns!

This rich story-line, set primarily in 1902, was nothing to sneeze at. In addition to the gripping scenes of the magic welding mageus hiding, outwitting, and fighting the Order (who are at the beginning of forming a curious mix of alchemy and emerging technology), there was also the terror of the Brink to contend with. Many mageus travelled to New York due to rumours of a better life only to find that once they enter the city they cannot leave. Well, at least not without being stripped of their powers and dying in agony, or facing a lifetime of severe mental/emotional instability if they survived the mysterious force field surrounding the city. The effects the terror of this trap and the raids by the Order had on the mageus living in New York was amazingly well written, and just one of the many things that made me devour this book. 

It is this terror that the group main character Esta grew up in, and the street gang leader Dolph are fighting to destroy. Esta’s mission is to meet up with Dolph, the well-known leader of one of the bigger mageus gangs in New York’s 1902 underbelly, infiltrate his crew and prevent someone called The Magician from making the Ars Arcana disappear from history. It was the characters in 1902 that I fell in love with. Esta is a very strong young woman who’s resilient character I admired. Dolph, his crew, and The Magician himself are all complex characters with beautifully conflicting values and resulting contradictory actions. I loved that the gritty reality of the situation the mageus were faced with was actually reflected in the hard choices many of the characters struggled with. 

Though this book did still have some of the elements I’ve grown tired of in teen fiction, a few overly common troupes, those things weren’t so overbearing that they felt like they robbed the story of worth. I didn’t give this book a full 10/10 because in addition to that, part-way through the book things started feeling a bit dragged out. This wasn’t done enough to take off a full point, especially considering all those twists, turns, and bomb dropping towards the end.

mqdefault

Maxwell took some of my most loved themes, a historical setting rife with realistic social problems and strong characterization, then wove it into a beautifully entertaining story. I definitely recommend this one to all!

Arata: The Legend Vol. 1, by Yuu Watase 

This Review is Spoiler Free

Image result for arata the legend fight

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it from Chapters/Indigo

Buy it from Barns & Noble

Buy it from Book Depository

Buy it from Amazon

Completely disinterested. That’s how I felt about this series at first. I came across  this series a few years ago, took one look at the cover, and decided it wasn’t for me. I figured that was the end, but a few months ago I was forced into a game of Jack in the Box. No matter where I went- online forums, the library, Goodreads recommendations, random book comments- this series would make an appearance. To be honest it started to creep me out, and so (of course) I became interested enough to give it a try! I have never been so happy to be stalked by an inanimate object before 😃

Synopsis: On one side you have Arata. This young adult is the next in line to lead the Hime Clan- long line of females who, every 30 years, have proudly produced a new ruling princess for the kingdom. Only thing is…Arata is a boy.

Image result for arata the legend anime

On the the other side we have the leading protagonist, Arata Hinohara, a regular high school student with great athletic skills and the grades to go with it, seems to just be starting over from a complicated past. That is, until said past seems to follow him to his new school.

Image result for hinohara arata bullied

These two very different worlds clash when Arata (the Hime Clan leader), is falsely charged with the murdering the ruling Princess during a sacred succession ceremony and chased into the human devouring forest.

This is when Hinohara (the regular school student) takes centre stage. As the mysterious forest forces a body swap between these two characters, Hinohara finds himself in a magical kingdom being hunted down by the 12 Sho (12 chosen rulers welding the most powerful Kamui– gods in the form of weapons).    

20170828_084325

pgs 100-101

Rating: 9/10 Unicorn Horns!

Needless to say this was an unexpectedly non-stop, action packed read. The action and adventure the series begins with only continues to increase as Hinohara finds his place in the new fantasy world, and discovers a power of his own. The characters, setting, dialogue (the humours banter was a real bonus), and touch of romance, are all things that came together to make this one of my favourite series.

A big part of what makes this series great for me is the main character Hinohara. The way he faces and overcomes his own weaknesses, quickly becoming a stronger person who does his best to actively grow and stick to his moral convictions is something that I find was approached/written beautifully (. I recommend this one to any action, adventure, and fantasy lover! 

Image result for arata the legend anime

There is also a 12-episode anime version if you want to check it out. Though it covers only a very small portion of the manga, it does adapt most of the important parts (with a few changes of course) up until the last few episodes where events start showing up out of chronological order.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

*This Review is Spoiler Free 

28245707

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it at Chapters/Indigo

Buy it at Barnes & Noble

Buy it at Book Depository

Buy it at Amazon

During the month of June I read exclusively LGBTQIA+ books in celebration of Pride Month. I aimed to read as much own-voices fiction as possible, and in my search, it did not take too long to come across Queens of Geek, especially considering that it was a fairly new release. I was immediately drawn to the premise because felt like this story would be a romp of fun and celebrate fandom. The premise promised many different points of interest and definitely did not disappoint.  

Queens of Geek, follows a group of three friends who have journeyed from Australia to San Diego to attend SupaCon in celebration of one of them making their film acting debut. The story is told in alternating POV between Charlie, a Chinese-Austarlian, Bi-sexual female YouTube star who has made a cross-over to film and, Taylor, a plus-sized cosplayer, who’s got anxiety and autism spectrum disorder, romantic feelings for one of her best friends Jamie, and has a Tumblr following to be jealous over. I appreciated going into this reading experience knowing very little about the story besides the information I provided above, so I will not delve any further into the plot to provide a more detailed synopsis.  

Queens of Geek was an incredibly fun read. There is so much within this story for readers to nerd-out over. The story feels a bit rushed towards the last quarter of the novel; however, I didn’t mind the change in pace too much as it actually adds a sense of authenticity to the atmosphere of the book. Anyone who has ever attended any sort of Con (books, comics, movie, fandom, cosplay) knows that the experience is incredibly fast paced and rushed. There is an overload of events, signings, panels etc, and the book delivers in giving you a feel of that. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

*This Review is Spoiler Free

17453983

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it at Chapters/Indigo

Buy it at Barnes & Noble

Buy it at Book Depository

Buy it at Amazon

I have been aware of Anna and the French Kiss since 2012 when I first started watching Booktube videos. I can admit that I was incredibly uninterested in ever picking these novels up. There was way too much hype surrounding the books, everyone seemed to LOVE them, and I couldn’t go onto any bookish social media without having them paraded in my face. Lo and Behold, I ended up picking up the series this year. I felt I was finally ready to give them a try because I wouldn’t be going into reading this novel with overly high expectations due to the numerous recommendations I’ve received.  

Anna’s famous Author father sends her from her family home in Atlanta to study abroad at the “School of America in Paris” (SOAP) for her Senior year of High School. Anna is devastated that she will be away from her best friend, Bridgette and Toph, the guy she has a crush on and finally got to kiss before leaving Atlanta. Anna resigns herself to communicating via email with the friend and crush she left behind, but finds herself having a hard time and breaks down on her first night at SOAP. Anna is eventually fortunate to find herself a group of friends and even a best friend in the charismatic and charming, Etienne St. Clair. As the school year progresses Anna feels that her friendship with Etienne could possibly evolve into something more than platonic. Problem is, Etienne in already in a relationship with his girlfriend Ellie.  

I will preface the ‘meat’ of this review by saying that I didn’t absolutely hate the story, but I for sure was not in love with it by any stretch of the imagination. Honestly, if I had read this novel when I had been younger I may have enjoyed it much more than I did. It is difficult to overlook the blatant emotional cheating that occurs during the story and the incredible display of double standards. The writing is very easy to read and the story has a consistent flow. The story is not disjointed until the end where certain issues that cause a certain level of conflict are not resolved in a realistic manner. Due to the fact that this story is a YA romance/contemporary fiction there is a certain level of teen angst that is to be expected; however, there are areas where it is difficult to relate to and/or understand Anna’s train of thought in regards to her “friendship” with Etienne and also with her bestfriend Bridgette from Atlanta. There is a well balance cast of side characters, some of whom the reader will get to see in subsequent books. For the most part the secondary characters were well developed and didn’t seem to be there just to take up space on the page. 

Overall I was underwhelmed with the story and with Anna as a character. She was wishy-washy and had a separate set of rules for herself than she did for others. Anna was fairly self-absorbed while managing to not have a very great level of self-awareness and not know what it is that she wants. I would recommend this novel to people who love YA romance reads and that would not be put-off by having a storyline that uses cheating to drive the plot forward and/or a main protagonist that is emotionally unreliable and unsure of themselves in an off-putting way. I give Anna and the French Kiss a rating of 4.5 out of a possible 10 Unicorn Horns. Happy Reading!