Goldilocks Wanted Dead or Alive: A Graphic Novel from the Land of Stories

With The Land of Stories, Chris Colfer has built one of the most intriguing and entertaining fairy tale worlds in literature, a world that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. I’m delighted he expanded that world further with this graphic novel centered on Goldilocks—both her past and present. This is a thrilling story that contains action, adventure, humor, drama and a whole lot of wisdom and love.

After escaping the authorities for a crime she never meant to commit, Goldilocks has been living in the Dwarf Forests, where criminals are free to roam. However, one day, Cinderella’s husband, Prince Charming, decides to conquer the Dwarf Forests by executing everyone in it, planning to offer the land to his future son. There’s no way Goldilocks will ever let that happen, but what can one girl do against a whole army?

The main thing that turned me slightly off about this graphic novel was its visual aspect, the actual graphics. They are very cartoonish and not super detailed—bright colours and little shade. They are pretty perfect for a young audience; children who I’m guessing love these types of illustrations. I personally did not care for them at first, but I’ll admit the lively colours did grow on me and the exaggerated—dramatic—facial expressions added to the story’s atmosphere.

The rest is pretty well executed: the storyline and character arcs. Even the supporting roles fit well into the story and I found myself wanting to see even more of one particular character whose presence is not often seen but rather often felt: Red Riding Hood. I am wholly in favour of a graphic novel featuring her as the main heroine, or anti-heroine, rather. As for the actual heroine, Goldilocks, she is, of course, superb. She’s strong, three-dimensional, smart and, overall, a survivor, which is exactly what you need to be to live in the Dwarf Forests. I can only recommend this book and Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories series. If you haven’t read it already, it’s never too late. While I do recommend getting to it before picking this up, it is not a requirement.

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for a review.

Not Our Summer – Casie Bazay

I started this book after coming out of a book slump that went on for a long time, and yet I only finished it a couple of minutes ago. It took me about three weeks to read because it’s the type of book that has an adequate amount of good things—things that I like in my reads—but never enough to really keep my attention for a long time or to make me want to pick it up again after I put it down. For example, it has nice writing, family relationships, some mystery, adventure, deep talks, energy, realistic characters and scenes… but none of these elements really stand out.

In other words, it’s a debut novel through and through. I don’t like to say this, because some debut novels are actually pretty spectacular, but there is a lot that this author can improve and I’m sure she has the ability to. I would say that one of the things that kept me from being too intrigued was how planned the story seemed to be. From the beginning, we know which activities the two cousins will be doing. Why not keep those a secret until they have to happen? There is one revelation that I did not see coming, but overall it is not a story that keeps you on your feet.

That does not mean that it doesn’t have value. As mentioned in the first paragraph, it contains various elements that can give meaning to a story or make it enjoyable to read. I do admit that there is quite a lot of teen angst, which makes it hard sometimes to emotionally connect with the heroines, since they are often driven by their own anger, ego, annoyances and hormones to be in touch with their more humane and vulnerable thoughts, emotions and welcome the input of others around them. With that being said, I was touched by their grandfather’s letters to them and their slowly growing connection. We have here an enemy-to-friends type of dynamic, so if you enjoy those this could work for you. On the other hand, if you have no patience for lots of teen angst, you might want to skip it. My last point is that the author managed to wrote a beautiful ending. Everything comes together rather nicely. Well done!

Thank you Hachette Book Group for the copy in exchange for a review.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You – Ally Carter

852470I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Published: 2006
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Friendship, Adventure, Boarding School, Romance


REVIEW:

I can’t believe it had been four years since I last read this book. It’s a shock because four years ago my life was different than it is today and so was I. I couldn’t wait to reread this book, not just because I had missed it but also to see how I would react to it now that I’m four years older and with more experiences behind me. Continue reading

The Good Luck Girls – Charlotte Nicole Davis

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The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: October 1st, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Adventure, Feminism, Dystopia, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Sisterhood


REVIEW:

This story will intrigue many people and there’s a reason for that. It’s a mash-up of different genres and themes: historical fiction, dystopia, western, adventure, action, sisterhood, romance, fantasy. You’d think the result would be a mess or a really complex plotline that one cannot make heads and tails of but actually the author manages to explain everything well and ease us into the world-building without dumping every information on us in the first chapter. Continue reading

Anya and the Dragon – Sofiya Pasternack

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Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: HMH BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Dragons, Magic, Friendship


REVIEW:

It should not be legal for a book that promises to be so exciting to end up being so… dull. I choose my Middle Grade reads wisely, because so few actually appeal to an older audience, even though I believe they should be for everyone, not just for children. Yet clearly I made a mistake this time by letting myself be wooed by the beautiful cover and the promise of an intriguing and entertaining plot. Continue reading

Dark Shores – Danielle L. Jensen

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Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Piracy, Politics


REVIEW:

This is a DNF for me. I instantly knew after reading the first page that it would be a DNF. Sometimes you just know. It’s like when you meet someone knew. The first conversation you have with that person can determine whether you can connect on a deeper level or not. Of course, it’s good to give the other person a more meaningful chance than one simple conversation, so I pushed through that boring first page. But like most relationships, if the beginning isn’t beautiful, the rest of it usually isn’t. It CAN get better, but that’s extremely rare and involves growth. Continue reading

Catwoman: Soulstealer – Sarah J. Maas

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Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 7th, 2018
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Pacing: Fast
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Action, Superheroes, Family, Romance, Friendship


BLURB:

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing. Continue reading

Circe – Madeline Miller

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Circe by Madeline Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Adventure, Magic, Family


BLURB:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. Continue reading

Seafire – Natalie C. Parker

37822534Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Pirates, Action, Adventure, Revenge, Loyalty, Family, Sisterhood, Feminism, Romance


BLURB:

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet. But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for? Continue reading

Black Wings Beating – Alex London

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Black Wings Beating by Alex London

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, War, Animals, Adventure, LGBTQIA+


BLURB:

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists. Brysen strives to be a great falconer–while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe. Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power. Continue reading