Talon by Julie Kagawa

17331828

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it at Chapters/Indigo

Buy it at Barnes & Noble

Buy it at Book Depository

Buy it at Amazon

I’ve been waiting to read this series since the first time I heard the premise. A book about dragons in a modern day setting? Count me in! So of course I dived in the moment I saw the last book in this 5 book series set to publish next year. Overall I enjoyed the read, but unfortunately I have to day I may have over-hyped the series a bit.

Synopsis: Talon is set in modern day California and follows main character Ember Hill as she and her twin brother, Dante, are finally set free to complete the final part of their training to successfully infiltrate human society for a few months in incognito. Ember and Dante must learn about the outside world of dangerous humans, how to act and be one of them, all in order to continue to provide and keep safe their secret society of ancient dragons masquerading as humans (known as Talon). And of course, there is the evil society of dragon hunters of watch out for. But things aren’t what they seem. After Ember comes across a dangerous rogue dragon named Cobalt begins to question everything she’s been taught and been training for her whole life.

Rating: 6.5-out-of-10 Unicorn Horns.

Overall I enjoyed this story and the magical otherworldly aspects. The way the dragons have evolved and adapted over time in order to assimilate into human society is something that has kept me interested enough to keep picking up the next in the series. Normally this is the kind of story I love to pieces; ancient dragons, secretive societies, mysterious-not-what-they-appear characters, and a defiant, strong heroine, but the characters seemed to fall a bit flat. I kept recognizing them in the many other similar Y.A characters I’ve come across, and so found them all a bit too predictable for my liking. The only characters that really stood out to me were a couple antagonists.

Even though the story is interesting, I felt that the characters brought things down for me, that and everything seemed to be heading down an all too predictable road. I’d still recommend this book to teen urban fantasy lovers as the story begins to grow more complex in later installments, but would warn away those looking for stories with unique characters/character driven stories. 

Pre-Hiatus Review Highlights

Hey guys! I’d just like to do an overall highlight of some of the reviews posted before I went on hiatus. I missed doing one for the months prior and would still like to highlight a few, so here’s a condensed overview of the reviews I posted before going on break (Click on the title to read more):

Best Snowball (Series)
*By “Snowball” I mean a series/book that starts incredibly slow, but is worth the wait*

Shaman King, Vol.1: A Shaman in Tokyo by Hiroyuki Takei

Shaman Kiing.jpg

The series is about a young Shaman named Yoh, who in the first volume is starting at a new school in Tokyo…Through a series of events which involve ghosts, supernatural occurrences, and encounters with a “thug” named Ryu, Manta and Yoh become friends…In this volume we are introduced to Admidamaru, a 600-year-old samurai ghost and to a fellow Shaman named Ren who has a particularly sinister interest in Yoh and Admidamaru…

I give Shaman King, Vol. 1: A Shaman in Tokyo a rating of 7 out of 10 Unicorn Horns. Overall the story was not amazingly entertaining, but that did not bother me at all because the story quickly picks up towards the end and you can easily identify the main focus/purpose of this initial volume in the series.

Best Artwork

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez

lockeandkey

After their father is killed, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move to the family estate, Keyhouse in Lovecraft, Massachusetts with their mother Nina….The youngest of the Lovecraft siblings, Bode, comes across a key that unlocks a Ghost Door which separates the soul of the person who “walks” through from their body. In the nature of all good fiction the story is not easy sailing from then on and the family soon has much more to worry about than just healing and moving forward.

I give Locke and Key a well deserved 7.25 Unicorn Horns out of a possible 10. In addition to the well executed storyline this graphic novel has exceptional artwork. Gabriel Rodríguez’s illustrations in this series is mind-blowing and his art style lends itself so well to the story.

Best Character Development

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi

81sBG8M7GEL (1)

Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy set in a kingdom called Kohka. The story centers around main character princess Yona as she prepares for her 16th birthday. Yona, the only child of widow King IL, is a pampered young lady, but things quickly change. Very quickly. As most know nothing good happens for royalty on their coming-of-age birthdays. 

Rating: 8.5/10 Unicorn Horns. I did NOT at all expect for this story to turn out the way it did. I can promise watching this fiery spirited princess transition into a determined warrior with open eyes to the reality of her kingdom is every bit worth it.

Most Thought-Provoking Story

The Beauty, Vol. 1 by Jason A. Hurley & Jeremy Haun

TheBeauty_01-1.png

“Two years ago , a new sexually transmitted disease took the world by storm. This S.T.D. was unlike any other that had come before. This was a disease that people actually wanted. “Victims” of this epidemic were physically changed by the virus. Fat melted away, thinning hair returned, skin blemishes faded, and their facial features slimmed. It became known as the beauty.” Pg. 1 of The Beauty

Rating: 9.5/10 Unicorn Horns! One thing I loved was the bits of real life socially controversial thoughts and ideas about beauty woven in here and there…

Wayward: String Theory, Vol. 1 by Zub, Cummings, Rauch, Bonvillain, & Dillon

*This Review Is Spoiler Free*

Wayward_Vol1-1

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it at Chapters/Indigo

Buy it at Barnes & Noble

Buy it at Book Depository

Buy it at Amazon

Hey mom…I’ve been seeing invisible glowing lines in the air that lead me to important places or terrifying supernatural shit

I picked this one up by random…okay, no, that’s a lie. I picked this up and decided to review it purely because it has a ton of kitties on the cover accompanied by a chick looking like she’s ready to kick-ass. Other than that I knew nothing about this series going into it. So never expected to find that this story is almost like a Japanese comic (manga) in American comic form. 6.5/10 Unicorn Horns.

Synopsis: This story, largely translated from Japanese, begins with main character Rori Lane moving from her father in Ireland to start over with her mother in Japan. On her way home from giving her new settings in Tokyo a quick tour she gets surrounded by a clan of cats, attacked by kappa (monsters/demons from Japanese Folklore), and saved by a strange cat-like girl. This of course, along with the strange red threads only she can see, leaves her beyond confused. As she obeys her urge to follow these threads before a dark threat descends over the city, she’s lead to dive further into her strange new power, and unveil the “patterns” to the puzzle of ‘what the heck is going on?’. These patterns often lead her to a variety of new people. All with strange powers of their own.

wayward_chapter1.pngpgs. 4-5 of Wayward, Vol. 1

Overall I enjoyed this story and liked all the characters- Rori, Shirai (Rori’s first friend who has strange powers of his own and must eat living spirits in order to survive), the strange-cat-girl named Ayane, and others we meet later on. Though I have to admit, the dialogue/character interactions felt off here and there. I also can’t say the story always flowed well, as there were some odd transitions and things that didn’t quite add up or felt choppy/rushed. Either way this urban fantasy is set in a different country from what I’m use to (outside of most manga/anime I’ve read/seen), and riddled with Japanese Folklore which makes it very unique in many ways, and stands out from the crowd (there are notes in the back of the book providing snippets of background information). 

The pictures on the other hand were beautiful and I LOVED all the pretty colours. According to the forward at the beginning of this volume the scenes of Tokyo, the high school Rori attends, the city’s people, and the overall feel of Japan were truthful depictions of the country as opposed to an Americanized and glorified view. I’ve never been to Japan so can’t really comment, but will say that it was pretty cool seeing a realistic depiction of Japan in comic format (again outside of some manga/anime). 

Though the execution of the story wasn’t the best the overall idea is very intriguing, and with the way the 1st volume ended I get the feeling things will get better. Much better. I can honestly say I am looking forward to more. This wasn’t a favorite, but I’d still recommend this to most urban fantasy, folklore (especially from Japan), and superpower fans.

One Lovely Blog Award!

onelovelyblogaward1

RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  2. Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  3. Share 7 things about yourself
  4. Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  5. Include this set of rules
  6. Inform your nominees

200-46

They have all been very late, but I’m incredibly happy to have gotten so many awards for the blog! A big thank you to Sophie for this nomination! If you don’t already know Sophie’s Blame It On Chocolate Blog is filled with a ton of great book reviews using unique and mouth watering chocolate graphics, and an occasional post on other things like Loot Creates and anime reviews. You can view her blog and her fun to read award answers by clicking: here.

7 More Unicorn Facts

1) My first ever tattoo! I’ve LOVED the look of tattoos so naturally I have always wanted to get one, but have kept putting it off. Seeing as how I’m such an indecisive person, I was afraid I’d quickly grow bored of something so permanent. Now after doing tons of research and thinking I’ve finally figured out what I’d like to do! And am sure I won’t regret my choice.giphy (2)

2) Disney, Pixtar, DreamWorks, etc. I love them ALL. I sometimes get odd looks when I admit this one, but I still love watching animated kids movies. Even in theaters. It helps to have younger relatives to take to the movies.

640_Pixarmovies_DisneyPixar
thirty_one_dreamworks_animation_movies_by_espioartwork_102-d87agav

3) I have always been into various arts and crafts and D-I-Y projects. I often find myself looking up new D-I-Y projects, trying to figure out how to do various arts and crafts (mainly book related) thing myself. Making my own bookmarks, bookends, and bookish bracelets are just some of the things I’ve tried out. 

giphy (3) download.jpg

4) As a kid I used to bring just about any stray- a ton of cats- home. This…unfortunately included a couple wild animals (a few baby birds and a squirrel). So even though I was really quiet and usually opted not to socialize with the human race, I quickly became the go-to person in my neighborhood for petsitting and most animal related problems.

1a55756a6f9c54c30007f24866d34027 giphy (4).gif

5) I’ve got a green thumb. Keeping and caring for all those animals, both stray and pets alike was all quite costly…much too costly. So now, until I’m certain I can financially afford it, I’ve substituted said stray animals and pets with dozens of houseplants. 

images

6) Recently I somehow came to develop a “strong appreciation” (a.k.a borderline obsession) with art books for anime/manga. It makes sense in a way considering my habit of looking up fan art on anime/manga I really enjoyed and lovingly gazing at posters, but I can’t say I thought I’d ever be so into it.

maxresdefaultc257cd234ed503b3c26db1745978e161d_gray_man_2-wallpaper-1366x768

7) Lastly, I am an expert at procrastination. I have tried many times to properly schedule things so I don’t leave it to the last minute, but for unknown reasons it usually doesn’t work out…

giphy

Nominations:

  1. The Book Heathen
  2. Kirsty’s Book Reviews
  3. The Book of Meghan
  4. Myopinionsblog
  5. Media Shadow Reads
  6. Pokeninja@ bakphoontyphoon
  7. MorganFaye @mybookjourneysite
  8. Eve Messenger
  9. Ayesha @The Writing Whale
  10. Daiyamanga

*I look forward to reading everyone’s response, but of course there is no pressure to get to it right away or to do it if you already have multiple times :)*

The Versatile Blogger Award

oie_transparent-11

Rules
  • Show the award on your blog & thank the person who nominated you
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 blogs of your choice
  • Link your nominees & let them know of your nomination

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was nominated to do The Versatile Blogger Award by Sophie at the *A-M-A-Z-I-N-G* Blame It On Chocolate Blog! Sophie nominated me quite a while ago, so most of you may have read what they wrote for this Award, but if you haven’t please head over there and read the post that they did for The Versatile Blogger AwardWell, seeing as how it has taken me so long to get around to doing this post…let’s jump right in! 

200-48

The 7 Unicorn Facts 
  1. It is incredibly difficult for me to pass disorganized and improperly shelved books at the bookstore and be able to resist the urge to rearrange them correctly. Even my bookish best friend sometimes can’t hold back from chuckling at me when I’m reorganizing shelves on one of our many trips to Chapters.                                             giphy (4)
  2. Let me preface this fact by just stating that I do not own a VCR. However, I do own a VHS collection of mostly children movies. It’s mostly for nostalgic purposes…or so I shall say because hilariously enough, I started collecting them after not having a VCR for years upon years. So, yup I’m going to play the nostalgia card on that one!   giphy (3)
  3. I can “play” the Violin, Piano, and Guitar. I can play each with a varying degree of skill and I’m not a prodigy or anything with any of those instruments, but I absolutely love it.                                                                                                                        giphy (2)
  4. Almost everyone I eventually become acquainted with says that when they first met me they thought I was incredibly quiet, unapproachable, and reserved. Although I do have a case of RBF, I’m actually quite “haunted” and have random outbursts of giddy foolishness that most would never have expected from me…well, that is until they really get to know me and then I feel comfortable enough to be my genuine weird, creepy self around them. blwtnbtcmaeugvg
  5. I LOVE DESSERTS! I just love them so much! A lot of people prefer savoury foods over sweet foods, but I’m a definite sweets lover. I have a particularly prominent obsession with cookies. Team Dessert all the way 🙂   giphy (1)
  6. I adore art and creativity. I am not an artist, by any stretch of the imagination, but I love sketching, painting and making drawings of the most random stuff. I have absolutely no skill on a level that I could allow myself to consider myself an artist, but I love creating and illustrating, and it’s one of my longest maintained hobbies.giphy  
  7. I have an incredibly huge weak spot for boxed sets of novels, manga, and graphic novels. There’s just something about having a collection, or portion, of a series contained within a uniformed and beautifully decorated box! In my defense…it’s both practical (for storage and preservation purposes) and cost effective to collect a series in a boxset.  

200-3

The 15 Nominees 
  1. Ryuji’s Anime Review 
  2. Fragglepuss 
  3. D Talks Anime 
  4. Melting Pots And Other Calamities 
  5. 100 Word Anime  
  6. Mel To The Any  
  7. MovieJoltz   
  8. Redheaded Book Lover  
  9. Emma the Book Lover 
  10. Hit or Miss Books  
  11. Doddy About Books 
  12. Purple Pancake Blog 
  13. The Book Heathen  
  14. Books We Left Unread   
  15. It’s A Reader’s Life   

I will contact each nominee throughout the week and let you all know that you’ve been nominated. I tried to make sure that everyone I nominated had not already done this Award, or at the very least, had not done it in the past few months! I look forward to reading all of your posts for the Versatile Blogger Award! 

THANKS FOR READING!

200-7

The Sunshine Blogger Award! Part 1

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!!! What?!? Thank You!

200-32Gify

sunshine-award

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

I want to extend a very big thank you to Matthew from Matt-In-The-Hat -who does some awesome posts on manga, video games, and anime- for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! This is an incredibly belated post in response to this nomination, but I’m doing my best to catch up with all these amazing nominations. If you haven’t checked out his original post where he nominated me, please head over to his blog post here. I’ll be doing a post on the other nomination once I’ve finished catching up with the others. 

11 Questions:

1. What kind of trading cards, if you any, do you collect?

A: I haven’t gotten into trading cards since the Pokémon craze as a kid. I’ve seen some pretty cool looking ones recently, but don’t have much of an interest in getting back into it. 

2. How do you play video games? On console, portable device (Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita), Smartphone, or PC?

A: I don’t play many video games overall. There is an Xbox in my house as well as a PS, so I’ve picked up a few here and there, and do play quite a few on my phone though.

3. Do you have a favorite game board to play?

A: Umm…I’m pretty out of touch with board games, but I loved Sorry, Chess, and Monopoly (yes I know I just cheated and gave a list lol, my mind will forever insert plurals into these kinds of questions).

4. If you met someone that wants to get into anime, what anime series would you recommend them?

A: It would depend on their tastes, age, and favorite genre, but in short EVERYTHING. Lol, seriously though, I’d agonize about which ones to recommend before ultimately spewing out the extensive list of all my favorites.

But, just in case anyone is interested, I’ve thought out the ones I’d be quick to recommend to complete novices by genre. Though these aren’t necessarily my favorites, I loved them all and overall I’d say…

Fantasy:

47421  Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or 

50337  Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit 

Thriller:

71553  Death Parade or  9453  Death Note

Mystery:

18793  Monster or  76116  Beautiful Bones

Action/Adventure:

47347  Attack on Titan 

75919  Princess Mononoke (fantasy adventure movie)

Romance/Comedy:

79999  Your Name. (Kimi no Na wa.) (movie)

80356  Mob Psycho 100

Drama:

35721  Wolf Children (movie) or  

80136  A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) (movie)

Sci-Fi/Dystopian:

43399  Psycho-Pass (sci-fi & dystopian) or  

19644.jpg  Cowboy Bebop (sci-fi)

Horror:

33465 The Future Diary or  75509  Another 

**Almost everything I listed here is intended for adults or older teens. There are links leading to where the pictures are from and a short synopsis of each show (trailers, episode count, rating, score, reviews, etc.). Now excuse me while I agonize about all the wonderful stuff I’ve just left out. 

tumblr_nw4d42hryc1rpuw07o1_500Gify

5. If the same person asked what anime to avoid, what series would you not recommend?

A: This is much easier to answer! Diabolik Lovers  

200-68Gify

6. What was the recent movie you seen this year, 2016?

A: Umm… I’m just going to go with the last movie I remember seeing last year which was the live version of The Jungle Book! 

MV5BMTc3NTUzNTI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0NjU5NzE@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_.jpgIMDb.com

7. What’s the recent cringiest moment you have ever experienced (in anime terms or non)?

A: My entire life! Lol, I kid. In terms of anime the most recent is pretty much my entire, very short lived attempt to watch Super Lovers. 

8. Do you remember your first follower when you started to blog?

A: Ummm… I have the memory span of a goldfish lol. But luckily for me I can look it up! Hold on a sec…Okay, here we go First follower ever: Urbanpo’E.Tree(s)

First follower since actually blogging is: Dirty Sci-fi Buddha

9. Who do you follow the most as soon as you log in your WordPress account?

A:  Michel’s blog: Raistlin0903. He’s got a lot of amazing movie/TV show reviews, and has some reviews on games that have made me seriously consider getting into more video games outside of GTA, Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age: Orgins, and a few others. 

10. If you could have any food or meal for your last meal, what would you eat? (money is ignored)

A: Desert…just all of the deserts. Literally ALL of them. 

200-80

11. What’s the number 1 goal do you plan to do in 2017? It could be about your blog or personal life.

A: I don’t do personal; therefore, blog related. Let me think . . . to actually follow through with all the new changes I’ve made: posts that are not book reviews AND be more present/active on social media.

Nominations:

  1. Leaf
  2. Artistbybeauty
  3. Papersuns
  4. Booksofonesown
  5. Acacia aurora @toritsukamanga
  6. Lealea477 @Icysquirrel
  7. Fujisei
  8. Emma The Little Book Worm
  9. Avi and Vishwa@ Panic at the Bookstore
  10. Sarah@ Between the Pages
  11. Ariana@ The Quirky Book Nerd

If I’ve missed that you’ve done the award many times before, or don’t participate in awards please just consider it an honorable mention 🙂

My Questions: Feel free to pick and choose between these questions and the ones I answered if you like.

  1. If you could speak another language what would it be and why?
  2. Name your favorite hobby outside of reading/watching anime. When did you start it?
  3. Which fictional character(s) (game, movie, TV show, book) would you most what to meet in real life?
  4. What is the best novel, manga, and/or comic you’ve read so far this year?
  5. If you could live in a book, TV show, or movie what would it be?
  6. What is the best TV show and/or anime series you’ve seen this year?
  7. How would you survive a zombie apocalypse?
  8. What movie, book, anime, game, and/or TV show are you most anticipating the release for?
  9. If you could pick any animal in the world (fictional or otherwise) to temporarily change into for a day what would it be and why?
  10. What is your favorite dessert of all time?
  11. Name the top 5 places you most wish to travel to in the future (fictional or otherwise). 

Zeros by Scott Westerfeld

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

zeroes-final-cover-450

Find it on Goodreads

Buy it at Chapters/Indigo

Buy it at Barnes & Noble

Buy it at Book Depository

Buy it at Amazon

I can’t say I love all his books, but I will say I am definitely a fan of Scott Westersfeld. So I was genuinely excited about his new series Zeroes…well new at the time seeing as this was published late in 2015. Aside from the author the premise seemed pretty interesting as well so, like with many of his books, I added it to my collection.

Zeroes is YA about a group of diverse teenagers born with special, and somewhat unique/original abilities. The story bounces from each of  six main character’s POVs, but starts off with just two, Ethan and Kelsey. Ethan (code name Scam) has just come from a date and using his unique ability- he thinks of something he wants, walks up to a person, and a foreign voice comes out of his mouth with enough intimate knowledge about the person to charm them into just about anything- tries to get himself a ride home. Unfortunately for him his ability appears to have a somewhat dark side, and ends up getting him into a very complicated situation where he’s forced to call up his old friends (Crash, Flicker, Anonymous, and Bellweather A.K.A Glorious Leader) each with there own special ability. 

Kelsey (A.K.A. Mob), a mysterious girl with the ability to feel the pulse an flow of a crowd and influence it, pulling or pushing them along with her moods, is mainly focused on just enjoying this crowd riding feeling at parties. Though all this fun comes to a screeching halt the night she crosses paths with Ethan and finds her father in deep trouble.

I honestly can’t tell if I really liked this group of characters or not. Watching them as they learning to use and control their abilities was pretty compelling, and I found myself anticipating the moments when they learned new aspects of their gifts, questioned their abilities, and revealed snippets of their childhood struggle with what they were and could do. But other than a few moments here and there, I can’t really say I loved any of them. The flow of the story and the diversity (race, economic background, gender, physical abilities, and overall personality) of the characters kept things interesting enough that even with less liked characters I didn’t feel the usual need to skip right over someones POV. The story line wasn’t action-around-every-corner interesting, but had a really nice flow going for it, balancing action with character insight and development.

Overall this was a good start to an interesting series. 7/10 Unicorn Horns