Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Disney Kilala Princess Vol 1






Title: Disney Kilala Princess Vol 1

Author: Rika Tanaka

Contributors: Nao Kodaka

Genre: Graphic Novels, Manga, YA, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Media Tie-In

Series: Disney Kilala Princess

Amazon: UK - USA







A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This is a re-release of one of Tokyopop's most popular titles.

Seeing as how Tokyopop are back, back, back! and working very closely with Disney, they're doing another release of the series, which was first given unto the world (sorry, I'm in a really weird mood,) circa 2007.

It's still as cute today ;)

This is a manga volume, and reads right to left, in traditional manga style.





Premise:

Kilala is living in admiration of her favourite Disney princesses. Little does she know that they're about to help her save the day!




Best bits:

This book is so sweet and cute and kawaii that I'm going to get a cavity from all the sugar! At the same time, it's not sickeningly-sweet (which takes some skill!)

There are bits of what can only be described as swashbuckling action, and Kilala is a relatable heroine with a pet mouse. I defy you to resist the sweetness!

I actually quite liked the romantical-aspects, true it verged on insta-love, but managed to juuuuust dodge the most annoying parts of that trope (plus, we're dealing with Disney princesses - insta-love is going to happen. Deal with it.)

I also liked the way Snow White (our princess for this volume,) was a part of the story without dominating it - this is Kilala's story, not Snow's.

But neither do the Disney elements feel forced - they're woven in very well, particularly when you consider the balance of the manga style with the more traditionally 'Western' style of Disney princesses, which this volume totally pulls off :)





Not so great bits:

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once (let me know if you got that reference, I will love you forever,) -

GIRLS SHOULD NOT BASE THEIR ENTIRE FUTURE PLANS ON MEETING A HANDSOME DUDE TO MARRY. #JustSaying.

Also, if you're looking for something deep and intellectual? Yeah... this isn't the book for that.

Don't get me wrong, it's sweet, it just has the net substance of cotton candy (hence the cavities.)





Verdict:


A fun and sweet manga that any fan of princesses will love, but which is perhaps a little heavy on the gender stereotyping in places.

Still, it's an enjoyable read. :)














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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A Rough Guide To Supporting Authors When You're Broke

There's a lot of great books out there. So many, in fact, that you could easily splash the cash on numerous volumes of lovely paperbacks, hardcovers, and e-books... if you actually had the cash.

If, like me, you don't have that much money and have already sold your soul several times over (whoever collects first gets the prize! My bet is on Goodreads - I think I owe them about 3 souls,) then you can still support authors and the wider publishing/bookish industry my nerdlets!

...You just have to be a bit more inventive about it.












Firstly, there is nothing better for books than a good ol' fashioned library.



Sit down and let me explain how libraries help not hurt the publishing industry:










  • Libraries actually have to buy the books they lend out (true story,) which means if an author proves popular (i.e. is borrowed a lot,) then the library is more likely to buy copies of that author's books in the future.

  • You can 'try before you buy' - some books I just wouldn't've bought if I didn't already know that I like the book/author because I've borrowed their work from the library.

  • Libraries are free marketing! - nothing works better than word of mouth, and covers on display. Never underestimate the power of copies on shelves - books can reach a wider and wider audience if there are people actually reading them.

  • Libraries make readers happen - get that child in there asap!






That's all well and good, but how else can we support authors when we're broke?




Let me tell you some things that can help, my nerdlets, listen...









  • You can yell at your friends and family to READ THE BOOK.

  • You can ask friends and family for the book for birthdays, Christmases, or as ransom payment other occasions.

  • You can follow your favouritest authors on social media/RT, like, re-blog, share, and generally spread the word about the author and their work.

  • You can write reviews on your own blog, Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever, and promote your review on social media. Talking about books is awesome, and does half the work. The more people are interested, the more people will buy books.

  • You can add the book to your TBR, or your 'read' list, on Goodreads - this means your friends on there will see that you've added it, and might check it out themselves.





When you do have money (*laughs hysterically at the thought of having spare cash*) think about what book you're actually going to buy.

Will that £5.00 for a back-list title mean more, to a smaller publisher, than the £15.00 price tag of the new bestseller does, to a bigger one? (Obviously, substitute your own currency where necessary.)










That doesn't mean you can't buy your favourites, it just means that it's good to think every now and then about where your money is going.

If you can borrow the bestseller from the library, but can only find the smaller title in an online store, then you have the chance to do the option that supports more books and saves you money on top.






This is especially important when supporting diverse books and authors, and supporting independent authors and publishers.

Money talks in this world my friends (sigh) so use your purchasing power wisely.

J. K. Rowling's new book is always going to sell millions of copies - if you want her new book (man, I want Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!) then ask for it for your birthday.

A debut novelist at a small or niche publisher? Far less likely to sell. So every copy counts. Buy that copy while you have the cash in hand.










But don't let people make you feel bad for not supporting the industry enough. You know how much you can afford - they don't.

If it wasn't for review copies, library books, and second-hand stores, I honestly don't think I'd be able to draw attention to so many books, and help other readers find the books they'll enjoy.

I don't blog for the books (I didn't even know there were review copies when I started - little naïve creature that I was,) but I'm firmly of the opinion that if publishers want the publicity that bloggers can bring, then they need to understand that we can't afford to buy every book vying for our attention.







But even if you're not a blogger, you can do your part.

I'm not asking for much - in fact, if you want to get your paws on all those books, I've probably just saved you some cash.

Just think about how you spend your money, and if you find a good book, don't be afraid to talk about it! (But if you don't want to, then meh - do your own thing!)









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Monday, 22 August 2016

The Harry Potter Tag

I was tagged by the lovely (and Harry Potter mad!) Emily @ The Paperback Princess.





Right, here we go then:




Flagrate - Writing Charm 

A book you found the theme interesting but you'd like to rewrite:



Urm... let's see... ooh! I know!

I'm going to go with These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (UK - US), just because in places I found the prose slow and restrictive (which, in fairness, reflected the character's situation very well, but made for slow reading.)





(You can read my review of These Shallow Graves here.)






Alohomora - Unlocking Charm 

A series where the first book made you hooked:



For this one, I'm going to say The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (UK - US) because it started a love affair with A Series of Fortunate Events that had me buying the new one whenever it came out :)




I loved these books as a kid (and still do!)






Accio - Summoning Charm

A book you wish you could have right now:



The Fireman by Joe Hill (UK - US) - dudes I need this book! I had a preview and it's so so so so so so GOOD!




I need to read the rest of it; I'm a Joe Hill junkie and I need my fix dammit!






Avada Kedavra - Killing Curse 

A killer book:


I'm not sure what's meant by 'killer' here, so I'm going with a book that killed me with feels:

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (UK - US) has so many the feels! It's like 'NO! LEAVE HIM ALONE NOW, THAT'S ENOUGH! STOP IT!'





...or something like that, anyway ;)

(You can read my review of Salem Falls here.)






Confundo - Confusing Charm 

A book that you find very confusing:



Golem by Lorenzo Ceccotti (LRNZ) (UK - US) - an exceptionally beautiful graphic novel... but I still have no freaking idea what was going on.




(You can read my review of Golem here.)






Expecto Patronum - Patronus Charm 

Your animal sigil* book:


*The original wording for this category was 'your spirit animal book.' But I'm aware that many Native Americans find the use of the phrase by non-native-peoples offensive.

Doubtless, I've used this phrase before myself, as I wasn't aware it was problematic, and if I find any instances where I have used it, I'm going to remove them. I just feel like I don't know enough about the culture to use this phrase correctly, so I'm not going to use it at all.


In terms of this tag-category, I'm going to interpret the 'patronus charm' as a personal sigil or emblem (or, in this case, a book) which symbolises an aspect of the bearer.





Righty-o, I'm gonna throw you lot a curveball here (Bookish Rebel and all that) and go with Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's Umbrella Academy series of graphic novels (Vol 1: UK - US)... because it's just me all over.





There's a girl who's part-violin. The mental hospital is called Shinyview. There are vampires in the Vietnam war in the second volume (Vol 2: UK - US.)

As The Bestie assured me: 'Gerard Way is officially in your head!' (You can always count on your Bestie to believe in the catastrophic levels of your randomness.)







Sectumsempra - Dark Charm 

A dark, twisted book:



Right... I read a lot of dark and twisted books. (I'm kind of a goth at heart. (Yes, a goth-punk nerdgirl, it happens dammit!))

So... which one to pick...

Right! I'm going to go with The Crow by James O'Barr (UK - US.)






The Crow is a darkly beautiful book. It's blood and pain and love in book form. It takes the darkness and makes it somehow awfully beautiful, and beautifully awful.

I met James O'Barr at a Con a few years ago.

It's one of the best moments of my life, in honesty. He's a very dark person - but a very beautiful one, all the same. And I have a pic with him, me, and The Bestie, which is one of my most prized possessions.






Aparecium - Revealing Charm 

A book that surprised you in a good way:


Straight James/Gay James by James Franco (UK - US) - somehow, James Franco, that uber-skilled filmmaking human bean, can also write AMAZING POETRY.





I mean, how is that even possible?!?!?!

(You can check out my review of Straight James/Gay James here.)




I'm not going to tag anyone - do it if you want to!




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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Nerd Church - When Are You 'Good Enough?'

Dearest nerdlets, ambition is a great thing to have. It means you wanna follow your dreams - and that's fab.

But dudes, if you're anything like me, you may have a tendency to feel like you're not 'good enough' - no matter how hard you try.










The thing is... we're too hard on ourselves.

As long as we gave it a shot, we should accept that we did do 'good enough.' Who decides what 'enough' is anyway?

Ambition is great. But pushing yourself until it hurts and then being down on yourself that you didn't do 'enough?' Take a break. That's a good way to hurt yourself.

The important bit, my dear nerdlets, is to keep going. Pace yourself. Feel proud of the small achievements. Celebrate every step you manage along the way.





But if you think you're not 'good enough?' That you're not doing 'enough,' not strong 'enough,' not skilled 'enough,' then think of it this way:

Think of your best friend in the world. Think of them being in exactly the same situation you're in now. Would you criticise them? Would you tear them down?






No, 9 times out of 10, you would build them back up again (and the 10th time is reserved for illegal stuff, like drug-dealing; and stupid stuff, like wanting to eat paint.)

So, little nerdlets, let me explain something (something which I need to learn myself):

You are 'good enough.' You just have to believe it.






'Nerd Church' is a weekly post where I blather on and pretend I know what I'm talking about discuss 'issues,' social stuff, and life in general. :)










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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Review Time! - Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life By Liesa Mignona (Ed.)








Title: Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life

Editor: Liesa Mignona

Genre: Non-fiction, Essays

Amazon: UK - USA





A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Frequent readers of this blog will be aware that yours truly is a nerdgirl extraordinaire with much-love for the superpowers and the capes.

Superheroes are more than just characters to me - like books in general, they are a lifeline.

This book - about how superheroes can be real-life heroes too - was calling out my name.





Premise:

Superheroes can be a huge part of our lives - in this compilation, contributors from Neil Gaiman, to Jodi Picoult, to Leigh Bardugo, write about what superheroes mean to them.




Best bits:

I dare anyone to not find something here which speaks to them.

Whether you're a superhero fan or not, you will find one essay at least, among the many here, which shows how the deepest meanings can be found in the pop culture we drink in every day, often without giving it a second thought.

And it will serve as an explanation, I hope, to all of the people who look at cosplayers, comic-conners, and fandom, with disdain.

There are reasons we love this stuff. Heroes matter.








Those of you already converted to all things labelled 'Marvel' and/or 'DC' will love this book. It's a celebration of the things we love, by others who love them too.

This book shows that superheroes are as versatile as their readers - often fun and light-hearted, with a variety of traumas and complexities in their histories, who, at the end of the day, are human. (Yes, superhuman counts as human too.)

And, as most of the contributors are already writers of a pretty high calibre, the whole thing manages to flow pretty damned well.

I read it straight-through, but the beauty of an essay book is that it's easy to dip in-and-out of. If you don't connect with one essay, just find one that's more interesting to you :)





Not so great bits:

OK, so, there were superheroes discussed here which won't be known to the general public (i.e. the non-nerdy,) and there were a couple that left even me wracking my brains for reference-points.

I managed to muddle through, but readers who are less knowledgeable on all things hero may wind up skipping the odd essay here and there.

And, obviously, when given a book with this amount of voices you aren't going to agree with all of them.








The essay about Wolverine promoting 'real' masculinity? Yeah... I wasn't a fan. Especially as 'real' masculinity here seemed to involve promoting violence. Just not my thing, pal, sorry.

For people who dislike such things, I should mention that there's swearing.

Also, this book deals with a lot of issues which people may find themselves coping with.

Including (but not limited to): bereavement, mental health problems, sexual abuse, child abuse, and a huge amount of family issues.

It's all handled very well, but I thought that I'd give you the heads-up: this is a beautiful book, but it deals with some very hard subjects.





Verdict:

Any fans of superheroes (or those who want to understand the proper care and maintenance of your nerd,) will find a beautiful and inspiring collection of personal experiences.

Sometimes, superheroes are real heroes too.













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Friday, 19 August 2016

Friday Fics Fix - Sometimes, Dearest Nerdlets...

I love being a fangirl. I do. I have sold my soul to the likes of Loki or Sherlock, and squeed along with the best of 'em.

But I totally understand that, to the non-fandom initiated, we do appear... let's go with 'unusual.'









And I've read my fair share of 'unusual' fanfiction this week... sometimes you just have weeks like that when it comes to reading fanfiction. It happens.

So, my problem was what to recommend to you lovely people. Because this is a fairly accurate transcript of my thoughts when reading a lot of these fics:



'Oh this actually seems quite good, good characterisation, only a few spelling issues...








Oh, ok - that bit's a little unusual...








Yeah... that's for specific tastes. Doesn't do it for me... but, y'know, whatever floats your boat...







Wait. Wait a minute.

Oh God. Who...why would you-? What...?









How does someone even know that that's-? Who would THINK of writing this?

Oh. Oh boy. NO. NO WAY. RETREAT. UNSEE! UNSEE!'
















My dearest nerdlets, I have read some stuff in my time... yet still these things surprise me.

Maybe it's a good thing - I must've retained some tiny scrap of normality somewhere along the line. Who knew?






So yes, the rec. I have for you this week is smutty as all get out. But you have not read what I've read. Be thankful for that.

OK, so this is a BDSM story. You know what I'm going to say next - 18+ ONLY (stay in school, don't drugs, and don't drop out to mug little old ladies. K?)






This might be about a Stucky BDSM relationship, but it's actually kind of sweet and based in emotions and all that stuff. :)

(This week seems to have been my week for sweet BDSM stories *shrugs*)

(Fangirl note:

As you probably know if you've spent time on this blog, Stucky is where Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Bucky Barnes have a sexual/romantic relationship.)




This week's fic then my dearest nerdlets is:

you belong (to me) by hermionesmydawg



The fic author declined to capitalise the title - so I haven't either. But actually the grammar/spelling isn't too bad. (Considering this is fanfiction.)

So, yeah - go enjoy this oddly sweet bit of m/m bdsm porn.






I'm going to go and question my life choices while trying to forget the stuff I read this week. Have fun!




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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Comics Wrap-Up - You're Second Hand Smoke








Graphic Novels




Ok, so I've been on a bit of a graphic novels binge... but that's ok, right...? (Shhhh, it's fine!)

I've reviewed two graphic novels this week:





The first is Limbo, Volume 1 (UK - US) - a trippy book with a unique style and layers of both plot and world. Def. worth checking out if you're looking out for something a little different.














The other is Malice in Ovenland by Micheline Hess (UK - US) an all-ages book about a girl from Brooklyn who finds herself in the middle of a fantasy world... in her oven!
















So onto the graphic novels that I've read this week.

Which is actually like 5 graphic novels. Because that's just how I roll sometimes.






The first four all belong to the same series, because this week, my dearest nerdlets, I took a walk on the wild side and read Stjepan Sejic's Sunstone, Volumes 1-4.






Amazon links:
Vol 1 (UK - US)
Vol 2 (UK - US)
Vol 3 (UK - US)
Vol 4 (UK - US)








This is a series about two girls in a BDSM relationship. It sounds a lot dodgier than it is.

It's actually a really sweet series about love, friendship, and relationships, with a background of some excellent artwork. (And I totally got the Blood Stain references - Vlad online gaming. I laughed so hard!)






Yes, it moves into porn territory - but it never gets visibly (ahem) down to the business; at least, not in frame. I'm not gonna lie though - there is nakedness, and there is explicit sexual content in a BDSM setting.

There is spanking, bondage, and many many other references, alongside more nudity than... I was gonna say than you can shake a stick at, but that sounds dodgy in this context... let's just say there's a lot of nudity. 






But none of this is done in a lurid or cheap way (which somehow actually makes it sexier. #JustSaying,) and many (though obviously not all) of Sunstone's fans aren't into BDSM, or a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

It really is a testimony to just how good this series is that its fan-base is not restricted to any particular niche and/or group of people.

That said: there is much sexy-times. 18+ only please guys (right, done my bit for adult responsibility and all that!)





The other graphic novel I read this week is a lot tamer, by far.

This week, I read Disney Kilala Princess Volume 1 (US) a re-release from Tokyo Pop of a popular 2006 series which was out-of-print, but now is back! :)









This is impossibly kawaii, and I'll be reviewing it soon. :)




Single Issues


More of Stjepan Sejic's work here (but not a premise of sexy-times for this series): this week I read Switch #1 (UK - US) and #2 (UK - US).

This is a series about a girl - Mary - who ends up being bonded with a Witchblade, and stuck in a battle between the light and the dark (neither of which are acting all that nice at the moment, in honesty.)














The first issue was great, but felt a bit like: dude, sit down, we have some stuff to go through.

I preferred the second issue 'cos that's where the characters and the whole fantasy-deal-y really start to develop :)









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