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Papillon by Miwa Ueda

Sunday, October 30, 2022

It’s no fun being a high school outcast. It’s even harder when your twin sister is the most popular girl in school! The ultra-glam Hana is the ultimate teen queen, but her sister, Ageha, is just a shy tomboy. Hana loves being the center of attention so much that she’ll do anything to keep her sister in her shadow. But Ageha has a plan that will change her life. Because no one, not even Hana, can hold Ageha back forever. . .

Goodreads Summary

I love Miwa Ueda's stories and this one is no different. The story develops with Ageha feeling "othered" in her own home; she grew up with her granda while Hana was raised by their parents. Although Ageha and Hana were twins they were very different in both personality and focus with Ageha working hard on her studies and Hana focusing more on fashion and boys.   The author takes care to develop Ageha while leaving Hana's character less developed until later in the series. Right away, the reader is drawn to Ageha and her gentle, empathic nature. 

Within the first half the story, the reader meets two potential love interests of Ageha's. The story continues with Hana plotting to give Ageha's happily ever after trouble at every turn. I loved the romance and relationship development between Ageha and her "sensei." It was a relationship that the reader could only dream of having in reality. The romantic scenes were more than just physical, but also emotional. I found myself hoping that Ageha would achieve her happily ever after with her Sensei after the first book in the series. 

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Mere Mortals by Erin Jade Lange

"Two teenage vampires are turned mortal and must face the greatest nightmare of all--high school"--

This hilarious, fresh take on a classic vampire tale follows a pair of hundred-year-old teenage vampires who are turned mortal and must face the greatest nightmare of all—high school.

Charlie and her brother, Reg, have been vampires for…a very long time. For a century, they enjoyed the glitz and glamour of life as members of the wealthiest vampire clan. But now, after one careless mistake, they’ve been expelled from the vampire community and dumped in the middle of Nowhere, Iowa, to live as mortals.

Suddenly Charlie has to deal with zits, tears, and—worst of all—high school. But things start to change when she and Reg find a group of friends, including the deliciously good-looking Dexter. And though Charlie would give anything to be vampire again, she begins to appreciate some of the new experiences that humanity brings too.

But nothing could make them forget the life they’ve left behind. When they’re offered a second shot at immortality, Charlie is desperate to seize it. It’ll just mean a total betrayal of all her new friends, who will have their minds wiped of their memories of her. She can handle that if it means she can live forever…right?

Goodreads Summary

I was enjoying this book up until the end. It will be difficult to give a solid review on Mere Mortals without alluding to the ending. When I first met Charlie and Reg, they had been changed from vampires to humans by an Elder council as punishment for their transgressions. Charlie was ardently against being human while Reg appeared to be adapting better. As the plot continued, the reader observed Charlie repeatedly attempting to contact vampire clans to gain backup for her attempt to transition back into a vampire by appealing to the Elder council. When Charlie meets Lina, her attempts appear to have finally found a sympathetic ear. 

I enjoyed the story. For whatever reason, I wasn't overly attached to the supporting characters and the love interest of Lena's, Dexter, wasn't very "romantic." Reg's love interest, Poe, was a little more interesting and true-to-life due final events of that relationship, but I didn't feel a strong attachment to that duo, either. The premise was well-developed and enjoyable, but the ending, for me, felt a bit like a waste. Althought I know there was supposed to be some kind of moral lesson behind the ending it felt more to me like a disappointment of one's own convictions. I do hope to read more from the author in the future; her ideas are innovative. 

2 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

Goodreads Summary

I loved this book. I read it in a day, it was a perfect blend of romance and fantasy, and I loved it. The romance that bloomed (pun intended) between Violet and Cyrus was genuine and easy to get wrapped up in. I would have preferred more romantic scenes between the two of them, but the scenes provided by the author felt very realistic. The romance was easily the best part of the story. 

The fantasy portion was very well-developed. I could picture the scenes as they flew by from the ball to the arrival of Cyrus's potential bride to the true evil behind the mystery. The author's ability to lay out the prophecy and fulfill it so neatly was fun to read. The red herring she wove into the story's plot was both intentional and hard to look away from. The supporting characters were funny and fleshed out despite being more secondary. When it came time to turn the last page I found myself hoping for this to be a series even though it seemed unlikely from the ending. The ending itself was not very predictable; I was a little surprised by it. 

4 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The World Deserves My Children by Natasha Leggero

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A laugh-out-loud funny collection of insightful and razor-sharp essays on motherhood in our post-apocalyptic world from comedian Natasha Leggero.

When Natasha Leggero got pregnant at forty-two after embarking on the grueling IVF process, she was over the moon. But once her feelings of bliss dissipated, she couldn’t help but shake the lingering question: Am I doing this right? And then, Should I be doing this if the world is about to end?

In The World Deserves My Children, Natasha explores themes like “geriatric” motherhood, parenting in an environmental panic, fear and love, discipline (and conflicting schools of thought on how not to raise a brat), and more. Ultimately, Natasha determines that motherhood is worth it. After all, where do you think the next five generations of humans will be if the only people who are having kids don’t believe in science? The world deserves my children.

Goodreads Summary

This book contains everything from the midnight rantings of a sleep-deprived new mom to gallows humor. One thing the title won't do is fail to make the reader laugh. Readers who have children are likely to nod along with the author's observations of motherhood while readers without children will do...well, the same! This book is very relatable and easy to finish in a few days. I didn't know much about Natasha prior to reading this book, but now I feel as if I could pat her shoulder consolingly on the street as her child does something embarrassing. Although the author uses humor to express her frustrations at new motherhood and everything (joys and evils) that accompany it, I could also feel how much she loved her daughter through the pages of the book. 

I enjoyed the author's portrayal of her experience with IVF, finding "The One," and dealing with him after the wedding. I can appreciate almost every example the author cites. I was excited to pick this book up because it is difficult to find novels that touch on "geriatric motherhood" in any way other than negatively. It was refreshing to read a positive take on late maternity and a different perspective into biology's rat race. I hope to read more from Natasha in the future. 

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.

Goodreads Summary

I was very skeptical when my sister brought this volume home from Barnes and Noble. However, I soon fell in love with the character of Persephone. The pictures, though crudely drawn, are enticing and help make the book difficult to put down. I soon associated certain characteristics and mannerisms with each character. The author's rendering of ancient Greek gods is a fun, fresh new take on ancient beliefs. Although the reader probably has a good idea of where the story is going and what might occur along the way, the author has new ideas and manages to insert humor and evoke emotional reactions within the reader. I found myself quickly turning the pages to find out what would happen next despite knowing the myth of Persephone and Hades. There were moments when I wished the author fleshed out the characters a little more as it was sometimes difficult to feel connected to them; however, I tried to appreciate the flawed characters for what they were.  I was surprised, but happy to learn that there were more books in this series and can't wait to read more from this author! 

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ