Midweek Mini Reviews #9

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

If you follow my blog, you will know that I loved Alice Hoffman’s last book, Faithful. However, I was a bit reluctant to pick up her latest book The Rules of Magic as I never got into Practical Magic and wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea. For those who are familiar with Practical Magic, you will recognize the world and a couple of the characters in The Rules of Magic. However, it’s not necessary to be familiar with Practical Magic as The Rules of Magic is a prequel and can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone. In The Rules of Magic we become acquainted with the characters of Franny, Violet and Jet who are all endowed with magical gifts. I especially loved that we see Franny and Jet grow up from little girls to old women. Getting to see their thoughts and motivations made me want to root for them even more and it was nice to see that the tragic Owens curse didn’t completely stop them all from love and happiness. Similar to her other books, Hoffman’s writing whisks you away to the world of the characters so that you feel as if you are right there beside them as they go through life. I’m glad I ended up picking up The Rules of Magic as I was able to discover yet another enchanting and magical book.

Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena & Jess Zimmerman

The idea and history of witchcraft has always fascinated me enough so that it lead me to picking up Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman’s Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven. With the exception of the various “spells” and “rituals” Basic Witches at its core reads like any other self-help book. Empowering and female positive, I adored the beautiful illustrations and the straightforward and non-judgemental voice of the book. And while I wasn’t all that into the “spells” I loved learning about the feminist history that surrounds most of the stereotypical witchcraft beliefs and practices. Additionally, the “spells” are relatively easy to do and some of them do seem fairly reasonable as well as practical. For instance, I truly enjoyed the information on smellomancy as well as the cooking magic suggestions as I definitely agree that warm milk and honey are perfect for when you want to relax. A fun, light-hearted and unique read that’s perfect for the modern young woman who needs a little extra “boost” in life.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

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Book Review | The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson

Authour:
Hope Nicholson
Format:
E-Galley
Publication date:
May 2nd 2017
Publisher:
Quirk Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“A woman’s place is saving the universe.”

For as long as I can remember I have always loved reading comics and graphic novels and manga. And I love discovering new titles and characters in those mediums which is why I felt that The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History would be an enjoyable read for me.

Unlike the majority of other books about the comic book medium, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen focuses exclusively on female characters, especially those that have been forgotten over time. Divided into decades, the book serves as a great introduction to comics for those new to the medium while at the same time introducing new characters and stories to those who are already familiar with the genre. In particular, I loved that for each profile, there is a section that tells you where to go to read more about the character you just learnt about.

Overall, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was an enjoyable read. The book is written in a way that makes it accessible to all, and the layout of the book makes it easier to navigate and find what you’re looking for. It also makes readers stop and think about how comic books and, in particular female comic book characters have evolved over time and how the representation of females in comic book continues to change. This is one of those books that I would love a follow-up to, as I feel that there are so many more characters that were left out of this one and I would also love to discover even more female comic book characters and stories to read. A must read for all comic book fans and even those who are looking to dip their toes into this medium.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting on Wednesday #23 | The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson

wed Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

sis

Synopsis:

A woman’s place is saving the universe.

Think comic books can t feature strong female protagonists? Think again! In The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen you ll meet the most fascinating exemplars of the powerful, compelling, entertaining, and heroic female characters who’ve populated comic books from the very beginning. This spectacular sisterhood includes costumed crimebusters like Miss Fury, super-spies like Tiffany Sinn, sci-fi pioneers like Gale Allen, and even kid troublemakers like Little Lulu. With vintage art, publication details, a decade-by-decade survey of industry trends and women s roles in comics, and spotlights on iconic favorites like Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel, The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen proves that not only do strong female protagonists belong in comics, they’ve always been there.

Growing up with comics, I still am a huge comic nerd today. And even before I got my hands on a sampler of this book I was excited for it. Fortunately my excitement has not died since reading the excerpt as I had a lot of fun learning about all the comics that featured female protagonists. I also loved that after each character, there’s information on what comics the characters appear in and where they can be found. This is probably one of my most anticipated releases from Quirk Books come May and is definitely a must read for comic fans!

What books are you “waiting” on this week?

Book Review | Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

WWAuthour:
Sam Maggs
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
October 4th 2016
Publisher:
Quirk Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m a total history buff and I love learning about kick butt women whose accomplishments have been mostly lost to history, thus this book was the ideal read for me. Furthermore, it made for a perfect companion for Jessica Bennett’s The Feminist Fight Club, which was the other book I was reading at the same time.

Sam Magg’s Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History showcases an array of pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors many of whom I was unaware of, like Dr. Okami Keiko (the first Japanese woman to get a degree in Western medicine from a Western university) and Dr. Anandibai Joshi (the first woman physician) who were actually well acquainted with each other. I also loved reading about Dr. Marie Equi, who was a birth control advocate and not afraid to get physical to defend what’s right.

In addition to the 25 women that were featured there were also various mini biographies in addition to interviews with women who today are working in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field. Overall, Wonder Women was an entertaining read due in part to the illustrations as well as Maggs’ witty commentary throughout the book of the women featured. And I appreciated how diverse the women were in the book as there were women of various races, sexual orientation and status. A great read for young girls and anyone who is looking for a bit of inspiration.

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories is by various authours who are all members of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), an organization of mystery and crime writers based in NYC. Some of the more familiar names that can be found in this collection include Mary Higgins Clark who also serves as the editor of this collection as well as Ben H Winter (The Last Policeman trilogy), Lee Childs (the Jack Reacher series) and T. Jefferson Parker (Silent Joe, California Girl).

What is it about? Manhattan Mayhem is a collection of short mystery stories that were put together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America. The collection is edited by well known mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark and it contains new and original mysteries from eighteen different mystery writers. Together all eighteen stories take you on a tour of all the iconic neighbourhoods in Manhattan, New York.

mantthanmayhem

Where does it take place? The stories take place all over New York, spanning across several neighbourhoods and even throughout different significant time periods.

Why did I like it? I’ve wrote before on this blog, that what I love the mainly about these short story collections is that I become exposed to the works of authours that are new to me. Also, with Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories, it is evident that there was a enormous amount of time, effort and thought spent on the exterior and interior of the book as the production quality is quite high. Additionally within the book, I adored how each story has photos and a map of the neighbourhood its set in which actually helps set the mood for each of the eighteen stories.

And reminiscent of several other short story collections, there were various stories that were a hit with me, while others were a bit of a miss. Either way I loved how short the stories were as it made it effortless to pick up the book and put down and pick up again later, which is the ideal solution for those who love to read on their morning and/or afternoon commute. Of the eighteen stories, one of the stories that were Three Little Words by Nancy Pickard, which concerns a 26 year woman who is told she doesn’t have much time left and she decides the only thing she wishes to carry out before she dies is to tell truth. This simple decision turns out to have major ramifications for every person around her, including her doctor. I also thoroughly enjoyed Trapped by Ben H Winters, a play about a murder mystery which was my personal favourite for the reason that it has such a well thought out, splendid twist to it. Finally, I loved Chin Yong-Yun Makes a Shiddach, since I can definitely relate as I have relatives that resemble the mother in the story. This story piqued my curiosity enough that I would love to check out more books from S.J. Rozan where the daughter of the mother in this story is the protagonist.

When did it come out? June 2, 2015 from Quirk Books

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

fangirlAuthour:
Sam Maggs
Format:
Hardcover, 207 pages
Publication date:
May 12th 2015
Publisher:
Quirk Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Every fangirl is different. Her very identity as a fangirl is predicated on the fandom that gives her all the feels.” (p. 16)

When I first heard that this book was coming out, my interest was positively peaked. As somebody who considers herself to be a geek and a fan girl, I was definitely interested to read what Sam Maggs had to say.

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks resembles a “how to” guide on the different aspects of fandom such as cosplay, conventions in addition there’s also a glossary of key terms when it comes to feminism and all things geek. While for countless geeks, the material in the book perhaps may seem akin to common sense, I thought it was written in a manner that made it entertaining to read regardless of whether or not you are familiar with the topics discussed in the book. Furthermore I certainly appreciated the section on kick ass female characters as I truly was unaware of several of them, and now that I know of them I am definitely putting them on my list of comics and books to read and shows to watch. In addition I loved reading the interviews with well-known personalities on what being a fan girl means to them.

Overall, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy serves as an excellent introduction to all things geeky, and I loved that it was written from a feminist perspective that is accessible to all. Therefore even if you aren’t new to being nerdy/geek, I believe there are still a few useful things that you can pick up from this book including the section on the list of online resources and websites that are ideal for those looking maybe meet other geeks and gain further knowledge. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a book that I will definitely be passing along to my fellow geeky friends, even those that aren’t avid readers.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting on Wednesday #21 | The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

wed

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read.
It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
fangirl
Authour:
Sam Maggs
Publication date:
May 12th 2015
Publisher:
Quirk Books

Synposis:

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild

When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed it right away. I love that there’s finally a book aimed at female geeks, and I can’t wait for this book to come out. I plan on sharing this book with my group of friends from high school as we all identified ourselves as geeks and would definitely find this book a very useful as well as fun read.

What books are you “waiting” on this week?

Mystery Monday | The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben H. Winters Series Review

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

“The end of the world changes everything, from a law-enforcement prospective.” (The Last Policeman, p. 117)

lastpoliceseries

In Ben H. Winter’s The Last Policeman, Winters takes your usual police procedural story and turns in on its head. He does this by changing the setting and making the story occurs in a world much similar to ours, only with the difference that in his protagonist’s world a comet is on the verge of hitting earth in a few days and the world as the characters know it will end.

In the first book in the series, The Last Policeman we are introduced to Hank Palace a police officer who has been rapidly promoted to the rank of detective. This is a result of numerous people, including detectives leaving their jobs as they see no point in continuing to work when the world is ending. However that does not mean that there won’t be crime, and in this book hank finds himself investigating the death of a woman whom he is sure was murdered. Readers also meet other characters who will go on to become major players in the series such as his sister, Nico who I found to be annoying in this book even though I found Hank to be an extremely likeable, every day kind of man. The story overall was interesting and I loved the concept in the book which combines science fiction/dystopia fiction with a mystery. The Last Policeman, being the first book in the trilogy of course ends with a chilling cliffhanger that made me relieved that I had the second book on my shelf.

Countdown City continues the story of Detective Hank Palace as he comes to the aid of a friend and tries to find her husband. This being a world where there is chaos since of the world is ending shortly, making the task awfully difficult. I enjoyed the world building in Countdown City as we become acquainted further with the underground movement that Nico has joined in addition to finding out more with reference to the mysterious organization that is in charge of the movement. There is more action and conspiracies and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Therefore even though I enjoyed The Last Policeman more, Countdown City was an exceptionally strong follow-up to The Last Policeman.

When it came to World of Trouble, I needed to endure a bit of a wait before I received a copy for review as it hadn’t released yet when was done with Countdown City. Fortunately I was able to obtain a copy shortly after it released and I couldn’t wait to start it. In World of Trouble, there is a bit of a time skip as we see Hank leave his “home” to go in search of his sister. There were plenty of flashbacks and jumping around in this book which made it extra confusing for me than the last two books. Nevertheless, World of Trouble was an interesting wrap to this thrilling trilogy as it ended with a conclusion that felt both satisfying and realistic. All in all The Last Policeman series was a series that was definitely different. For the majority, I enjoyed these books as they resembled science fiction movies. Thus if you’re a fan of mysteries and police procedurals and are looking for something unusual check out this series!

I received copies of these books from the publisher, Quirk Books for review. Though regardless of how these books came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying by Carol Leifer

Authour:suceedbus
Carol Leifer
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 224 pages
Publication date:
April 8th 2014
Publisher:
Quirk Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying is a sort of memoir written by Carol Leifer, who is a comedian, writer, producer and actress. In case you haven’t heard of her (I know I didn’t before picking up this book), she was a writer for shows like Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live, in addition to being one of the creators of The Ellen Show which was a sitcom starring Ellen DeGeneres.

Initially this book did intrigue me, and so I was more than happy to start reading it when a friend of mine suggested I pick it up next. How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying was an interesting look at one woman’s career, I love reading about how she got her start and how supportive her parents were of her dreams and goals. And I think it was a nice touch that she wove pieces of incredibly useful and practical advice that can be applied to any career and not just show business within the anecdotes and stories that she tells about her life. Overall there was an excellent mixture of life stories and practical advice throughout.

While several of her advice may seem obvious to several readers, I personally felt that I learned so much. In fact, I found myself putting various sticky tabs throughout my copy, all while having the urge to highlight or underline certain things in the books so that I can go back and find them again in the future. All in all, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying was an extremely straightforward and highly entertaining read. It is a book that you want to savour because it’s so short and you don’t want to miss anything. And despite being chocked full of useful and practical advice, the conversational tone of the writing allows it to not come off as too preachy. I would highly recommend this book for anyone currently looking for work especially in this economy.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.