Review: Candy Hearts

Candy Hearts, by Tommy Siegel had me laughing the whole way through. These quick, one panel cartoons are quick-witted and cut straight-to-the-point. 

I found Siegel’s use of the traditional Valentine’s Day candy as a mode to discuss relationships unique. I enjoyed the idea of each person with their inner monologue written on the outside.

Candy Hearts publishes on February 2, 2021 – just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the advanced review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Around the World in 18 Ways

This was such a cute children’s book! What’s more important than learning how to say hello and goodbye, please and thank you? 

Around the World in 18 Ways teaches young children how to say these four phrases in 18 languages.

In a world that is more and more connected, learning these basic phrases is so important! Whether you’re traveling, or just armchair traveling. 

The illustrations in this are also gorgeous. Any child would be captivated by the pictures and learn about the country from what’s in the illustration for each country.

Around the World in 18 Ways publishes in May 2021, just I time for us all to (hopefully) start traveling again!

Thank you to NetGalley and Vanita Books for the advanced review copy!

Review: Adventurous Me

I’ve been listening to audiobooks on my daily commute. It beats the alternative – listening to the news on NPR talk about coronavirus and the election. The tagline for Adventurous Me: “Boring? Tiresome? Predictable? We’ll see about that,” made me think of my commute immediately: boring, tiresome and predictable.

This book, on the other hand, was none of those things. When Trish’s husband decides he’s had enough of their marriage and leaves, Trish sets out for an adventure. Her adventure takes her to Bliss – a fetish club for the BDSM lifestyle.

Trish jumps into the lifestyle feet first, training as a sub with the “dungeon master” Dave, before she signs up for an annual event that assigns her to a Dom for two weeks. Trish is assigned to Clint – a brooding, quiet dominate.

I found that once I realized this story was about Clint and not about Trish, I was much more interested in the story. While Trish was a fine character, I couldn’t connect with her. However, I found Clint’s growth as a character much more enjoyable.

Not that there was a lot of “story” here – but this was the perfect escapism listen. This was very hot, steamy and smutty chapter after chapter. And it definitely made my commute less boring.

I do think I would have enjoyed this book more had I read it. I think the narrator might have ruined this one a little bit for me. She tended to end sentences in a lilt that felt like a question, when it wasn’t a question. And, her actual questions always sounded too much like begging.

Thank you to Spectrum Audio and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Review: The Switch

Oh my goodness, The Switch was such a super cute listen!

Leena is in her 20s, her grandmother Eileen is 79. Both of them are tired of being stuck in their rut. When Leena learns she’s being forced to take a 2 month sabbatical from work, she escapes to her grandmother’s to unwind.

That’s when they match a plan – a two-month swap. Leena will live in her grandmother’s home and take care of her projects in rural Yorkshire; and Eileen will move into Leena’s flat in London.

I loved Eileen – every meddling moment and romantic encounter of Eileen’s time in London. While Leena is much closer to my age and personality, I connected more with Eileen.

The narrators, Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones really brought this book to life! This was the perfect audiobook to listen to while commuting – some love and romance, definitely times when I found myself laughing out loud. 

Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Dramacon

I was supposed to go to Otakon this summer with my anime-loving niece. But with COVID putting the brakes on all plans, we had to cancel out trip. I’ve been to book conventions before, but never an anime convention…and Otakon is one of the top 10 largest in the US.

But, finding Dramacon felt like I at least was able to attend an anime convention between the pages. Dramacon followed Chriss, who is a vendor in Artist Alley with her independent manga over three years at the Yatta Anime Convention.

Chriss and her friends deal with toxic relationships, cheating, familial expectations, and following your dreams. This was an enjoyable read – and full of high school romance and drama.

I definitely loved Chriss and Matt’s dynamic. They definitely had some of the best lines. Like…

Chriss: “Ah, yes, tact.  Tell me you’ve at least heard of it.”

Matt: “In passing. A most foreign concept if you ask me.”

This omnibus collection has been released to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Dramacon Vol. 1.  Thank you to TokyoPop, author Svetlana Chmakova, and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Leave Only Footprints

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. – Mason Cooley

As a National Park nerd myself, I absolutely enjoyed reading Leave Only Footprints, Conor Knighton’s journey through the National Parks. He spent a year visiting “America’s Best Idea” – starting in Acadia National Park in Maine and working his way through all 59 of them.

I could relate to many anecdotes – like how often to wind up chatting with people on the trails, or making big plans, only to realize you’re not in shape for the hike you chose. And the scenery he describes throughout the book – I’ve been there and lived it in many of the parks – and he describes it so perfectly.

I also found myself pausing at times to Google and research some of the parks and places that I haven’t been to – and while they were already on my bucket list, some of them were moved up and places and destinations around the parks were added. Not to mention, considering visiting at off times of year – like Yellowstone in the winter.

I truly enjoyed Conor’s writing style – a perfect combination of casual and humorous; reflective and insightful. The entire book feels like a long conversation with an old friend.

This was also a enjoyable read during this COVID-19 quarantine. While I would normally be out in the spring visiting the National Parks myself, I was able to visit 59 of them through the lens of Knighton’s words.

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