Friday, December 14, 2018

January {2019} YA New Book Releases

The Me I meant to be – Sophie Jordan 
January 1, 2019

The Similars – Rebecca Hanover 
January 1, 2019

A Sky for Us Alone – Kristin Russell
January 8, 2019

Analeise Rising – Brenda Drake
January 8, 2019

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America – Ibi Zoboi & Various Authors 
January 8, 2019

Even if I Fall – Abigail Johnson 
January 8, 2019
The Wicked King – Holly Black 
January 8 2019

Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus 
 January 8, 2019

What Mama Left Me – Renee Watson
 January 8, 2019 

When the Truth Unravels – RuthAnne Snow 
January 8, 2019 

White Stag – Kara Barbieri
 January 8, 2019 

You Won’t see Me Coming – Kristen Orlando 
January 8, 2019 

96 Words for Love – Ava Dash, Rachel Roy 
January 15, 2019

Echo North – Joanna Meyer 
January 15, 2019 

Famous in a Small Town – Emma Mills 
January 15, 2019 

Firestarter – Tara Sim 
January 15, 2019

Let’s go Swimming on Doomsday – Natalie C. Anderson 
January 15 2019

Our Year of Maybe – Rachel Lynn Solomon 
January 15, 2019 

Stain – A.G. Howard 
January 15, 2019

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Choksi 
January 15, 2019 

Someday we will Fly – Rachel DeWoskin 
January 22, 2019

Song of the Dead – Sarah Glenn Marsh 
January 22, 2019 

All is fair – Dee Garretson 
January 22, 2019 

Circle of Shadows – Evelyn Skye 
January 22

Imprison the Sky – A.C. Gaughen 
January 22

No one Here is Lonely – Sarah Everett 
January 22 

Only a Breath Apart - Katie McGarry 
January 22 

Ship of Smoke and Steel - Django Wexler 
January 22, 2019

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me - Olivia Hinebough 
January 22, 2019

The Cold is In her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale 
January 22, 2019 

The Vanishing Stair – Maureen Johnson 
January 22

Undying – Meagan Spooner, Amie Kaufman 
January 22 

Unnatural Disasters – Jeff Hirsch
January 22 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer 
January 29 

Come Find Me – Megan Miranda 
January 29

Death prefers Blondes – Caleb Roehrig 
January 29 

Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard
January 29 

Ransacker – Emmy Laybourne 
January 29

Spin – Lamar Giles 
January 29 

The Cerulean – Amy Ewing 
January 29 

The Dead Queens Club – Hanna Capin 
January 29 

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali - Sabina Khan
January 29

The Wild Lands – Paul Greci 
January 29 

King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo 
January 29, 2019

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend

Title: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Author: Jessica Townsend
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 Stars

A cursed girl escapes death and finds herself in a magical world - but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart - an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests - or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Morrigan Crow is a cursed child. She was born on Eventide.  That means that when she's 11, she will die at midnight on the end of the next Eventide. Then she meets a man, Jupiter, who, in a very Harry Potter "Yer a Wizard" type moment, chooses her as his candidate to join the Wunder Society, and whisks her off to the Free State. 

While there, Morrigan meets many people who enthrall her, teach her, and in some cases annoy the crap out of her.  (Come on, she wouldn't learn much if she got along with everyone she knew.) 

Morrigan also sees some pretty amazing and magical things like:

* A talking magnificat
* A chandelier that can regrow into whatever shape it wants
* A smoking room that fills with different scented types of smoke (it's really more like a fog)
* A bunch of daring people who use sort of heavy duty enchanted umbrellas to jump off the top of a building. 

The characters in this book are as charming as they are well-developed. They are all distinct from each other with their own personalities, quirks, and dreams. That's not always a given in books these days - there are a lot of books where they characters all just seem to blend into each other. But that is not the case with Nevermoor.  These characters are all their own, as well as being utterly charming and delightful - even the ones who are here as the bad guy characters.  They are all so well-written!

This story itself is marvelous as well.  It is well plotted and as well developed as its characters.  There were moments of tension and joy throughout the book.  Everything fits so well - and even though this is a fantasy book, you'll never find yourself saying "Oh that could never happen."  I mean, we all know in fantasy, there are things that could never happen - but the events in this story fit so well together.  This is a well thought out, well written story.  You and your kids or nieces and nephews or grandkids will love it!

Nevermoor is filled with moments that are absolutely absurd - like when Morrigan's parents think a curtain on the floor is her dead body (thanks to Jupiter's magic), and moments that are so funny and delightful.  This is a book that kept me laughing and wanting to know more from beginning to end.

The only complaint I had about this book was that Jupiter gave Morrigan a nickname and called her Mog several times throughout the book, even though she said that she preferred to be called Morrigan.  If someone tells you they don't want a nickname, don't give them a nickname - call them by the name they tell you!  That's just common respect. 

Other than that, I loved every single second of this books - and I think you will, too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Movie Review: The Crimes of Grindlewald

FYI: Spoilers Ahead.  Massive, massive spoilers ahead.  If you haven't seen The Crimes of Smelly Balls, and you want to, don't read this review!

Also, this is going to be long - so grab a beer (or a pop), a bowl of popcorn maybe, and settle in for a nice read.

You read that post title right: I said movie review! I know, I know, this is a BOOK BLOG - but Y'all, give me some credit - it's a "Wizard World" movie.

If you haven't seen the movie or the trailer, here's a trailer for your, um. laughter and confusion:

Originally, I was not going to see this movie.  I was disappointed in the first movie - and then, I uh, watched a bunch of reviews on the youtube from people who hated the Crimes of Grindelwald.  And I thought - Gee Do I really want to spend money to see this movie?!  But, curiosity and a devout sense of loyalty and love towards the original 7 Harry Potter books got the better of me. So, I went to see this movie.

My reaction?  Well...

This movie was confusing and disjointed at best.  The movie opens with Grindelwald (or "Grindelwald") being released from what I understand is a jail cell in MACUSA (the Magical Congress of the United States.)  Something makes it's way into his cell, blows up, lots of smoke, etc.  So, then a few aurors come along, take Grindelwald out of his cell, he's taken away in a carriage, and once he's in this carriage, he manages to pull a con and escape, with his newest follower - this dude:

So, then a bunch of crazy shit happens, okay?  We find out through the course of this movie that:

1. Jacob Kowalski DIDN'T FORGET ANYTHING!  Remember at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, when Jacob and every other muggle (oh, oh sorry - NOMAG!) in NYC had magical rain fall on them that was supposed to obliviate them?!  REMEMBER THAT?!!  Yeah, so Jacob comes in, making out with Queenie (we'll get to that in a minute), and Newt sees him and he's so confused.  Jacob's explanation is that the magical water only washed away the BAD MEMORIES!  He says "I ain't got any bad memories."  He has some confusing memories, and some weird memories, but no bad memories so he still knows everything that happens in the first movie.

Now, in case you are new to this whole wizard thing, the definition of obliviate is:

A spell that can erase the memory of someone, partially or completely

So, yeaaaah.  Maybe I'm missing something - but I don't see anywhere in that definition that says the obliviate spell only gets rid of bad memories.

2. Credence is still alive.  Yes, that Credence:

I mean, I'm not the only one who remembers that moment at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie WHEN CREDENCE GOT KILLED BECAUSE HE WAS AN OBSCURIUS RIGHT?!?!?!

Well.  I GUESS NOT! 

So, Credence is alive.  Then he somehow ends up in France in the same circus as Nagini (more on that in the next point!)  Passive little Credence is traveling around with this magical circus and keeping tabs on Nagini. 

Then, he meets Grindelwald. He seems really enchanted by Grindelwald, because The Big G tells him "Hey I know a secret about your family - if you want to learn it come to my special meeting!"  So, resurrected Credence goes to this meeting, then, when all hell breaks loose, he and Grindelwald make their way to Nurmengard, the castle turned prison.  And that's where Grindelwald tells Credence (right at the end of the movie) that Credence IS A DUMBLEDORE!

Did you read that?! 


Well, here's the thing, yo!  Like, G is sitting here like "Hey you're a freaking Dumbledore!"  BUT HERE'S THE THING: Kendra Dumbledore died in 1899.  Also, during the time when Credence should have been born, Percival Dumbledore was in Azkaban.  Sometime in the 1880's until his death after 1890-ish, Percival was in jail.  Also, as far as I know, Percival is not an animagus.  So, he could not have transformed into an animal to escape and impregnate Kendra again.  SO HOW is Credence a Dumbledore?!  HOW!!?!?!??!?!?!?!

3. Nagini is an enslaved young Eastern Asian woman who can turn into a snake (against her will.  She was born with a curse that turns her into a snake.) Apparently, she is a Maledictus, and this causes her to turn into a snake every night - and eventually, she will turn into a snake permanently!  WHAT?!

So, she's part of this circus.  She's kept there to show off that she can transform into a snake! Anyway.  Let's break this down.  Nagini, the snake from the HP series, is a human trapped in a snake's body and then enslaved by Voldemort.  In the entire HP series - the entire bloody series - there is not one mention, NOT ONE MENTION, that Nagini is a maledictus.  NONE.  Nagini was just a fucking snake throughout the entire HP series.  So.  Now, the Crimes of Grindelwald comes along, and suddenly Nagini was actually a woman who turned into a snake.

Not only that, but she is an enslaved woman of Eastern Asian descent - and I really want Jo Rowling to explain that to me?  Because this feels really racist and really continues the trope of the passive Asian woman who is going to do whatever you want, because that's just life.

This whole idea that there is this group of people who are or should be seen as subservient and passive and slaveworthy just because of who they are needs to end.  Asian women are not just this group of people who should be treated this way - they are people.  They deserve to be treated like they can be empowered and they deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as every other person.  This whole point brings me to my next point:

4. Leta LeStrange's mother!  Oh boy, her mother.  This plot line is an absolute shit storm.  I mean, horrible.  Okay. So.  Leta is this school crush of Newt's that we first heard about in the first Fantastic beasts movie.  We learn some shit in this movie that is disturbing at best.  It's racist as all get up as well.  Leta's dad is at this party.  He sees this beautiful woman and he wants her to be his!  Like, he's just thinking "I'm gonna just claim that lady because smoking hot."  So, instead of doing the normal thing and introducing himself to her, and getting to know her, he casts a spell on her and enchants her, they get hitched, make a baby, and she dies.  The Only Reason they were together at all is because he enchanted her to be his - without any consideration to what she wanted and without even talking to her first. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! 

They they have Leta, and her mother dies.  So, Leta is brought up by this horrible wizard who couldn't even marry a woman for love - and then shortly after Leta's mom dies, her dad goes and has another lady that he marries - and they have a son!

The who situation is so fucked up I can't even!  Maybe he would have done the same thing to a white woman, but I doubt it.  I really doubt it. Why? Because the woman he marries after Leta's mom dies is white, and even though I don't think they loved each other, I think they were married with no enchantments whatsoever. So, yeah. 

5. Minerva McGonagall is in this movie, fully grown and teaching at Hogwarts - even though this movie takes place in 1927, and Minerva McGonagall was not born until 4th October, 1935.  Yes, that's right: Minerva McGonagall is such a good witch that she was teaching at Hogwarts before she was even born!

6. Some lady named Bunty, who is Newt's assistant, basically has an orgasm when what splashes on her while Newt is riding one of his magical creatures.   Like, y'all I AM NOT JOKING - Newt comes home, yells for Bunty, finds her down in his magically HUGE Basement that has a lake/giant water tank of some sort containing this magical creature:

So, Newt's in the basement.  And he tells Bunty she can leave.  (Here's Bunty, BTW:)

Anyway, Bunty is getting ready to leave, and Newt hops on his creature and rides around.  As he is doing so, he and this creature do a little jump that splashes water all over Bunty, and my hand to the gods, she is standing there as this happens and is moaning as if in the throes of ecstasy.  The scene could have given that restaurant orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally a run for its money!

Does your head hurt yet?!  Mine does. 

But, I have more!

7. Queenie!  Okay - so:
Point A. Why did Queenie think it was okay to cast a spell on Jacob to make him fall in love with her?!  He already loved her!  He would have gone to the ends of the world for her.  But no, she cast a spell on him to make him trail her around and get engaged to her, blah blah blah.  She wouldn't have needed to do that though.

Point B: WHY would Queenie join Magical Hitler, AKA Slimy Balls?  The Big G doesn't believe that muggles and witches/wizards should get married. But we know Queenie supports marriage between magical and non-magical people.  So, why would she suddenly be on board with joining the Big G's army?!  I just don't believe that she would have - it is inconsistent with her character.

8. The entire title of this movie is: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  FANTASTIC BEASTS!  Now, here's what I say: Split this into at least two, maybe three movies.  One that talks about Fantastic Beasts and one that talks about the Crimes of Grindelwald.  

Basically, this movie was a hot mess.  It had so many different plot lines and stories that it was hard to keep track of what was going on, and there were so many plot holes that this did nothing to enhance to wizard world.  Nothing. Save your money and watch some other movies instead.

Also, get a new screeenwriter - because Jo is not in her element here.  She could do great things with novels - as we've seen in the original 7 HP books.  But she's not a screenwriter and that is painfully apparent from this steaming pile of crap of a movie.

Now, If you're in the mood to check out some (rather amusing) reviews of this movie from booktubers and youtuber people, go click on the videos below: